The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a civil society organisation, has cautioned President Goodluck Jonathan against what it described as mass retirement of top military officers. TMG in a statement signed by its Chair, Zikrulahi Ibrahim, expressed concern over what it described as the in-appropriateness of replacing highly skilled military personnel with newer officers. “TMG is concerned about the appropriateness of cutting the nose to spite the face, especially in a situation where military expertise and competence are very crucial security assignments,” he said. Zikrulahi observed that not less than 30 senior military officers were retired just to accommodate the newest appointments. “We are not ignorance of the fact that as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, the president has the power to make appointments especially as demanded by the escalating and unending security crisis in the country. We are apprehensive that an exercise of that magnitude may have robbed the country of the necessary services and expertise of these highly experienced officers whom the country has invested so much on,” he said. TMG in a separate statement, also signed by Zikrulahi, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the timely release of the 2015 electoral timetable. According to him, TMG particularly welcomed the gaps between each strand of elections as stated in the timetable. “We particularly welcome the gaps, which we believe will offer the commission ample space to make necessary adjustments in the event of any unforeseen developments,” the statement noted. The group noted that early release of the timetable was not aimed at tempting politicians to embark on premature campaign, but to guarantee the commission more time to address all cases of litigation that may arise from the electoral exercise. The group, however, urged Nigerians to be more concerned about the preparedness and capacity of INEC to deliver on its promises of credible elections rather than dissipate energy on the sequencing of elections. “TMG does not believe that the conduct of the 2015 general election has anything to do with the proposed national conference. If anything, TMG is aware that both exercises are crucial in the life and existence of Nigeria. While the constitution has stipulated that regular elections must be conducted every four years, the same constitution has empowered the president to make pronouncements or proclamations in the interest of the Nigerian people,” he added.
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