Defence Minister says Buhari considered national interest above ethnicity before appointing new Army chief

The minister says Yahaya’s appointment was based on merit and his track records.

Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magashi says Farouk Yahaya's appointment was based on track records. (Punch)

President Buhari recently appointed Yahaya to replace Ibrahim Attahiru, the army chief who died in a plane crash on Friday, May 21, 2021.

Before his appointment, Yahaya, a major general was the theatre commander of operation Hadin Kai, a counter-terrorism military outfit in the north-east.

Yahaya’s appointment was greeted with criticism, as many Nigerians accused the president of being biased with the appointment.

However, Magashi has replied Buhari's critics, saying Yahaya’s appointment was based on merit and his track records.

In a statement by Mohammad Abdulkadri, his spokesperson, the minister said Buhari expediently put national interest above ethnic and religious chauvinism in appointing the new Chief of Army Staff.

The statement reads in part, “He is an organic infantry general who is tested and trusted to actualise the national aspirations to restore peace in the dark spots and areas of insurgency, kidnapping, and banditry, as well as other allied threats to the nation’s corporate existence.

“With the appointment of General Yahaya, President Buhari has expediently put national interest above ethnic and religious chauvinism by fulfilling all requirements necessary. These include his unblemished track records of service, professional, command, and operational competencies among other yardsticks that culminated into his emergence as most suitably qualified new army boss.”

The minister also commended Buhari for appointing Yahaya as Attahiru’s replacement, saying it was well-thought out and strategic.

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