Nigerian Navy : Officers Raise Alarm over Irregular Appointments
…Urge Naval Chief to revisit,follow manning plan
The outcry over recent planned retirement and irregular appointments in the top hierarchy of the Nigerian Navy some officers alleged will undoubtedly frustrate Federal Government’s efforts to restore and entrench accountability, discipline and efficiency in the Nigerian Armed Forces .
From information gathered , after the retirement of the immediate past Chief of Accounts and Budget (CAB) in the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral BO Oguntola, from the Service on 9 May 2017, the vacuum created was not filled according to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) or the Manning Plan of the Nigerian Navy .
According to sources , who expressed anger over the manner a junior officer replace a very senior officer disclosed that the Naval high command ignored the Manning Plan which calls for the replacement of Rear Admiral Oguntola with the most senior officer next to him in service.
But instead of following this line of replacement according to Manning Plan , one Navy Captain ,K.M Bushi was appointed as the Acting Chief of Accounts and Budgets in the branch, where competent higher officers of the rank of Rear Admiral are available.
Our correspondent gathered that the position of Branch Chief is for officers of the rank of Admiral. In a recent postings, officers below the rank of captains were assigned to jobs far above their ranks. The most senior officer left in the branch was sidelined leading to discontent among both rank and file of NN personnel.
Speaking under plea of anonymity, a serving Commodore said developments following the retirement of Rear Admiral Oguntola and his replacement by a Navy Captain even though there is a Rear Admiral still in service is demoralising as it distorted decades of convention, procedure and tradition.
He explained , “The appointment is unpopular and can only be aimed at achieving or satisfying the personal agenda of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) and not in the public interest.
“How can the CNS appoint a Navy Captain who needs at least eight years to become a Rear Admiral into a position meant for an Admiral as stipulated in the Manning Plan of the NN?”
Another senior officer ,who also do not want is name and rank mentioned said that Navy Captains are supposed to be Assistant Directors and so the appointment of a Navy Captain to oversee the Accounts and Budget Branch is a gross anomaly that can only demoralize officers at a time when the nation requires the total commitment of its service personnel to tackle multifarious security challenges bedeviling the country.
“Many of us are left wondering what criteria or convention, if any, were used by the CNS in appointing a Navy Captain to head this sensitive Branch when his seniors are still in active service.
“In the past, appointments strictly followed rank and there have been cases where senior officers with just weeks to retirement have been promoted in line with this tested tradition. The authorities should investigate if this is a case of personal bias or selfish interest otherwise it will set dangerous precedent for the continued growth of the NN.”
Meanwhile, information also gathered revealed that tradition and convention in the armed services require appointments into posts and portfolios to be based on seniority and requisite qualifications and such practice can only be ignored at the risk of creating discontent and indiscipline.
All those contacted ,who spoke vehemently against what the described as unfair postings in the Nigerian Navy urged the Chief of Naval Staff to reconsider this issue and reverse to status quo, where seniority is the yardstick for appointments .
An officer who believe the irregularities can be addressed by the current CNS, said ” If the CNS can do this , the senior officers will always remember him for an upright ,just and resolute officer ,who not only worked for the good image of the Have ,but also the Chief of Naval Staff ,who boosted the morale of all officers irrespective of ranks .” A Navy Officer posited .
He also stated that if the Chief of Naval Staff Ibok Ekwe Ibas is able to do this , his Statutory duty as the chief of Naval Officer to formulate and execute policies towards the highest attainment of National Security and operational competence of the Nigerian Navy would have achieved . he added .