The Ohanaeze Youth Assembly (OYA) has thrown its weight behind Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi over his call for the retention of “performing” Service Chiefs. 

The South-East youths said it aligned with the governor as his recommendation is without any bias and remain the best so far in the country. 

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Nigeria Army Reference Hospital, Abakaliki, on Friday, Umahi urged President Muhammadu Buhari to increase funding and logistics for the Nigeria Army, rather than contemplating sacking the Service Chiefs.

He noted that the assignment of the Army was not an easy task and as such, needed the full cooperation of Citizens at all levels to succeed. 

In a statement signed by its president, Henry Chukwuemeka Udeh, on Saturday, the Ohanaeze Youth Assembly said Umahi’s counsel is the “most brilliant” and represents the popular view of Nigerians. 

The group further stated that it is happy with Umahi’s commendation of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai from whom, it added that the region has benefited immensely. 

According to the youths, the new medical facility is another ” hallmark of the Nigerian Army under the leadership of the current Chief of Army Staff which to us, comes as a deep reflection of Buhari’s love for the citizens of the Southeast.”

OYA, however, urged Nigerians still in doubt o take Umahi seriously, describing him as a “deep and passionate leader who knows the dynamics of leadership and what is best for the people of this country”.  

Read the full statement below:

As the issue of how to tackle the security challenges in this country remains the dominant theme in public discourse, the Ohanaeze Youth Assembly, (OYA) wishes to align with the best recommendation so far in the public domain for effective security and wellbeing of our nation.

Many including the National Assembly, have in the recent past offered sundry suggestions on how the security challenges in the country can be tackled, with some giving very useful advice while others only succeeded in uttering preposterous standpoint on the matter.

But so far, the counsel offered by the amiable governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, has been the most brilliant and germane recommendation on how best to address the problem. 

Umahi without recourse to ambiguity has called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to contemplate sacking the Service Chiefs as some have suggested saying such recommendations are not only shallow but borne out of selfishness. 

He said rather than succumb to such shallow viewpoints, the President should increase funding and logistics to the military as he noted that the tasks ahead of them are enormous. 

The Governor, who stated this during the ground-breaking ceremony of Nigeria Army Reference Hospital, Abakaliki, also stated that the military needs the full cooperation of citizens at all levels to succeed in defending the territorial integrity of the nation as well as to ensure peace as he totally disagreed with members of the National Assembly over their recent call for the sack of the nation’s Service Chiefs.

His words: “One thing I have realized in this country is that we like to change too much. We want everybody to test every seat. That is not what we need at this crucial time, the country is facing security challenges.”

The Ohanaeze Youth Assembly (OYA) notes with happiness the suggestion by the governor that what the military needs is cooperation and information as it is difficult to do anything without information because, that is what we as a group, have been harping on as one of the solutions to the problem of insecurity in Nigeria. 

The Ebonyi Governor then added that he will be suggesting to Mr President not to consider removing the Service Chiefs at all, “But, we should increase their logistics, we should increase the funding of their armed forces. We should increase the programs that will bring information to the security agencies.”

The OYA also notes that the Ebonyi Governor had also taken time to commend the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai for the good work he is doing for the country. 

We, as a group, see his commendation of the Chief of Army Staff who he described as a very big committed person, and very friendly with the civil society as apt and his assurance to partner with the Chief of Army Staff as in order. 

The OYA wishes to add its voice to commend the Chief of Army Staff for the building of the Army Reference Hospital at Abakaliki as this project will be beneficial to all the 5 states in the region as well as to others. 

We wish to state that a medical facility like the Army Reference Hospital is what the region needs at this time when health issues have become very sensitive as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

We also wish to point out that we have observed that this kind of gesture has become the hallmark of the Nigerian Army under the leadership of the current Chief of Army Staff which to us, comes as a deep reflection of Buhari’s love for the citizens of the Southeast.

The Nigerian Army despite the numerous roles it is playing in countering insurgency and terrorism in the Northeast had done much to ensure peace, security and development in the Southeast. 

We recall how the Chief of Army Staff rescued Nigeria from criminally violent groups in the Southeast who were seeking to dismember Nigeria. 

The Southeast, we dare say, has benefited immensely from the army under Buratai. 

The Nigerian Army had in the last five years, done much to provide basic social amenities and services like potable drinking water, construction of bridges, the establishment of health centres, provision of clothing and food items to communities in the region. 

The OYA notes the renovation of schools in different communities in the Southeast, the installation of solar-powered water projects and the everyday contribution to health and educational services and the settling of disputes among warring communities in the zone.

We are happy that the commendation on the Chief of Army Staff, is coming from no less a person than from a governor who is also an achiever and who in the last five years has done much for his state. 

For want of space, let us mention a few of Governor Umahi’s works which include the construction of 20 roads within the state capital, Abakaliki; construction of the Afikpo-Abakaliki and the Nkalagu federal roads.

He has also equipped schools and approved the promotion of the state university staff, declared an emergency in the health sector and began the reconstruction of general hospitals in the state and built the first virology centre in the south-east from scratch, to reduce Lassa fever and invested billions of naira into the agric sector as soft loans to farmers, which tripled rice production in the state.

The commendation and recommendations from Governor Umahi should therefore not be taken lightly as it is coming from a very deep and passionate leader who knows the dynamics of leadership and what is best for the people of this country.


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