Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh and the Fifth Columnist

by Joe Onwukeme
Nigerian army

In a statement at a conference issued by the Chief Of Defence Staff (CDS) Air Marshal Alex Badeh on 8th October, 2014, described “Fifth Columnist” as moles in Nigerian Armed Forces responsible for the conflicting stories that emanates from the military to the media and members of the public.

He went further to say, “if we know how many condolence messages he has received that his house was burnt that his whole village has been burnt but no Boko Haram has gone to his village”. Less than a month after he confidently made that statement his home town in Mubi, Adamawa state was captured by Boko Haram.

Nigeria armyAfter the attack and capture of his home town, reacting to questions by journalists on tuesday 4th November 2014, Air Marshal Alex Badeh debunked claims that Nigerian armed forces were not capable of defeating Boko Haram insurgents in the North East, he sheepishly said, “if a CDS loses his home town, its same thing as losing Lagos, Enugu and other parts of the country”. In sane countries such comments can lead a Service chief to jail. If a Service chief who boasted earlier that his home town has not been captured and blamed the fifth columnist for peddling such information comes out few weeks later to tell us capturing his home town is like capturing other states calls for questioning.

On Monday 20th January 2014, Air Marshal Alex Badeh resumed office as Chief of Defence staff, speaking during the handing over ceremony, Mr. Badeh said he would do his best to contribute to the stability of the country.

CDS Alex Badeh should have known by now his best is not good enough to rescue our nation from insurgency, Nigerians have lost confidence in him, he has made history in Nigeria by becoming the first serving service chief to have lost his home town to insurgents. Many are calling for his resignation but trust power drunk Nigerians, no matter what happens they can’t swallow their pride and humbly resign, they must stay till the end or bow out shamefully if they are ordered to resign.

On the 1st of October 2014, the United States Secret Service Director, Julia Pierson, the first woman to lead the agency whose duty is to protect the president, his family, the vice president and former presidents resigned amid mounting criticism over series of security lapses, the major one was a breach on 19th September 2014 when an armed man climbed over the white house fence and made it deep into the executive mansion before being stopped.

In her words: “I think its the best interest of the secret service if I step down, congress has last confidence in my ability to run the agency, its painful to leave as the agency is reeling from a significant security breach”.

That’s a society where human beings respects the sanctity of their institutions, they take responsibility in any breach in their security, apologise and resign, but here in Nigeria, any breach in security lapse is a conspiracy theory. It is embarrassing to see our soldiers fleeing without firing a shot and abandoning their barracks when ever they are under attack. It hurts when ever I read or watch how innocent children, women, men are displaced and killed almost on daily basis in the North East. How do our service chiefs et el feel when they hear such news?

Nobody or group of persons should be allowed to inflict pains and take over some parts of our country, it is the duty of our government to take care of her citizens and defend its territory against external or internal invasion.

It is only in Nigeria that the criteria for national honours to our service chiefs and other top security chiefs is just by the virtue of their offices not the impact or what they contributed in curbing insurgency and other security challenges.

CDS Air Marshal Alex Badeh, Lt General Kenneth Minimah, IGP Suleiman Abba, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and other service chiefs should be grateful to democracy, it is in our democracy that a rag tag terrorist group like Boko Haram will take over a battalion, capture some territories in our country, declare the captured territories their caliphate and nothing will happen, if it were in the military era, some of our service chiefs, both the retired and active ones would either have been in jail or dead for such security lapses.

What is happening now in our polity is what you get when you sacrifice credibility on the alter of sentiments, favouritism and ethnicity, until our service chiefs, politicians, law makers, political appointees etc starts to pursue the interest of Nigeria over their selfish interest, accepting responsibilities for their own negligence and do the need full when the need arises, we may never get it right in this country.

Air Marshal Alex Badeh has been humbled by the latest turn of events. Who will he blame this time for the capture of his home town? The moles in the Nigerian Armed Forces he described as “Fifth Columnist” or the soldiers he said deserves to die for constructive mutiny against their officers?

When a tree falls the sound of the fallen tree determines how big the tree is.

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