Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, It’s Time To Go Home -bY Sesugh Akume

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Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, It's Time To Go Home -bY Sesugh Akume

I woke up this morning, 11 November seeing 2 disturbing headlines: the first regarding a writer, Mr Elvis Iyorngurum, who wrote calling the attention to the Nigerian military high command's false labelling of him, and the direct threats to his life he has received. He had written a piece 4 days ago, on 7 November, entitled "A Lesson for All Nigerians" to which the military responded. The second, the military's rejoinder/rebuttal of that piece, precisely, denying essentially, that Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, Nigeria's military chief sent a helicopter to evacuate his family before Mubi his home town was taken over by the insurgents on 31 October.

In the earlier piece he had written, reference was made to the reported incidence where CDS Badeh had a military helicopter airlift his family from Mubi, leaving his troops and the residents in the cold. He related that these residents may have boasted that they have the defence chief as their kith and kin, in false hope that their security is guaranteed. And may have been oblivious to the pains and sufferings of their neighbours; and the threat we collectively face, as we are won't to. This piece was first published on a WhatsApp group, then on his Facebook page, and then it went viral, taking a life of its own, because it struck a chord with Nigerians.

That seminal piece has caught fire, and took up a life of its own for many reasons. First for so many years, we Nigerians don't seem to care about each other. We see people as "they", "them"–othering. We do our best to see how different we are, especially along ethnic and religious lines. We never related when we heard that Bama, Baga, Konduga, Gamboru-Ngala, Askira had fallen. The names made no meaning because we had never heard of them before, and we chose not to relate with them and empathise with the deceased, bereaved, disposed and displaced.
Not so Mubi. A mix Nigerians have heard of Mubi before, some have schooled in the federal polytechnic and state university, or know someone who has. There is a mix of Nigerians running thriving businesses there; sorry, who ran thriving businesses there. Almost all the major banks have a presence there, and so on. People in Yola also spread the news of the humanitarian crises faced by the displaced people from there who escaped to Yola, which had become overcrowded. So there was no denying the reality that Mubi had been taken, no matter how state-controlled media like NTA tried to hide it. Or the spin doctors tried to twist it. The pictures shared on social media were from personal contacts, and the news spread by fast way of mouth.

Then reading that article, scales fell from our eyes, and it dawned on many, and we went, "wait a minute": It is indeed true that, when it comes down to it, we're all human first, and we're in this together. That it is indeed true that our rulers don't care about us, or Nigeria, except themselves and their families. And evacuating their families from a crises zone, when it really gets down to it is something the can do. To them the life of the Nigerian is worth less than a used tissue paper. Otherwise, how else does one explain that on 14 April, this year, 276 innocent schoolgirls were abducted in their school in Chibok, and the president said or did nothing! Today makes it 211 since they have been missing. 2 weeks later that same April, Vice president Sambo lost a brother, and president put off a federal executive council meeting, a an official function of state to mourn the deceased. 30 policemen on national duty have been missing, no one says
 anything, but when the petroleum minister's sister was kidnapped, she was brought back within 8 days. Just yesterday, 10 November, over 40 schoolchildren were killed in a bomb blast in their school, but the president cared less, he went ahead with his political declaration to run for office today. One person, a private citizen dies, an official state function is put off. Over forty schoolchildren are murdered, politics goes on. No mourning. Life goes on, it's business as usual. After all, they like the rest of us are mere statistics.

Then all the stories we had been hearing, but had lived in denial about started making meaning. 2 days prior to the article in question, the media had reported that the CDS had a helicopter evacuate his family:

www.thescoopng.com/defence-chief-badeh-explains-feels-fact-boko-haram-captured-hometown/

We learnt that only 64 Boko Haram fighters took over the whole of Mubi:

www.today.ng/news/adamawa-only-64-boko-haram-fighters-attacked-took-control-of-mubi/

A town with a police formation, army barracks, (the thousands of troops the government had said had been sent to the northeast); SSS, civil defence operatives, etc? No, Mubi must have been given, not taken. Further to that, we read that the military are fighting each other; with the army reporting to have been bombed by the Airforce:

www.punchng.com/news/army-accuses-air-force-of-bombing-adamawa-checkpoints/

Mubi itself fell exactly 2 weeks after Badeh himself had announced a ceasefire agreement, and his orders to our military–which at that time had gained momentum and was decimating the insurgents–to stand down their offensive. However, fresh facts have emerged that he had sat down in Abuja, along with Hassan Tukur, Mike Omeri, et al and announced the ceasefire based on hearsay about a negotiation with Boko Haram in Chad:

www.thecable.ng/revealed-chadian-president-fooled-nigeria-phantom-boko-haram-ceasefire

These are part of the reasons Nigerians relate with that piece.

However, the unfortunate rejoinder/rebuttal by DHQ has made everything worse. I am particularly ashamed that our Defence headquarters suffers such an intellectual deficit that it cannot engage on issues and facts, but rather goes personal, and engaging in ad hominem. Aside that, everything said in theirs is false, inconsistent and/or contradictory, the language lacks the decorum, civility and class expected of an otherwise dignified institution as the military. From their falsely/wrongly attributing the evacuation story to the author of that piece, to pretending the piece was intended to malign an individual and the armed forces, to claiming that a citizen stating obvious facts that are already  in the public domain compromises national security, etc. In theirs they do admit that yes, a helicopter went to Mubi 2 days before it fell, not to evacuate the CDS' family but to reinforce on-the-ground troops. There was no aggression in Mubi on 29 October, what
 reinforcement are we talking about here? And when it really mattered 2 days, where was the helicopter?

The threats to Elvis' life coincide with the release of that sham of a rebuttal by DHQ. If his leg as much as accidentally hits a stone, the world knows whom to point at. And that'll be one of the worst ideas to conceive.

Exactly 1 week ago, CDS Badeh was being an honourable officer-gentleman of enough to take full responsibility for the military's failure in prosecuting this war, and among others losing over 20,000 square kilometres of Nigerian territory to terrorists. In light of the foregoing, it's my considered opinion that today may just be the perfect time for him to complete the second leg of what he started: resign. CDS Badeh, it's time to go home!

#TruthSeekers #OurBrothersKeepers #RisingToTheOccassion

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