Simon Utsu|31 May 2017
Quote me anywhere —the only thing a Nigerian governor can do when unruly military personnel go on rampage is to call the President to intervene even as he sits helplessly and allows it quell naturally afterwards. The singular fact that the President of Nigeria is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces should/can never be downplayed, overlooked or under-emphasised. I'm saying this because some people were angry with my last post where I insisted that Ayade's name shouldn't be dragged into the skirmish between Navy personnel and Police in Calabar apparently because they aren't impressed with his leadership style.
Anyone being sincere to himself/herself will agree with me that it's almost impossible for regional(divisional) military heads to taken orders from a civilian Governor —at least for now. I learnt the inferno left several police officers dead and the historical Akim police station burnt to the ground…Hmm… DeJa vu? Isn't this how men of the Nigerian Army razed down the equally strategic police station in Ojuelegba, Lagos during Tinubu's tenure as governor? Wasn't it President Olusegun Obasanjo that intervened after several days of unrest?
What happened in Calabar yesterday was very ugly and seems to the be the trademark of the Nigerian Navy who seem to be the most vindictive arm of the military in Nigeria. I remember in the early 1990's in same Calabar, during the administration of Clement Ebri or so when men of the Nigerian Navy went on rampage against butchers(meat sellers) in Watt market. I remember things escalated when a butcher was alleged to have used his cleaver or knife on an off duty Navy officer who came to buy some meat simply because their negotiation for some quantity of meat had gone awry. The officer died on the spot. The next day, Naval officers stormed that market and killed as many meat sellers that they could. Meat wasn't available in Calabar for weeks as sellers all went into hiding. I remember that only one or two bold ones resurfaced after a couple of weeks and were selling their wares from inside the premises(behind) of Union Bank in Calabar.
On a final note, this ego tripping by men of the Nigerian military must be nipped in the bud once and for all by the Presidency. I think if regional military heads know that a hefty punishment awaits them after such public shows of disorderliness and violence from their subordinates, they would be more quick to call them to order. Such acts expose the prevalence(or rifeness) of indiscipline in our armed forces and is a huge dent on our national image globally.
Is a Social Commentator