On July 13, 2023, the Senate confirmed the appointment of service chiefs which were nominated by the president. The confirmation came after the consideration and approval of a motion by Senate majority leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, on the confirmation of the shortlisted candidates. The service chiefs are Major General Taoreed Lagbaja as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla as Chief of Naval Staff; Air Vice Marshall Hassan Abubakar as Chief of Air Staff; and Major General Christopher Gwabin Musa as Chief of Defence Staff.
They had been appointed by Tinubu since June 19, 2023 and have since assumed duty. However, the screening and confirmation by the legislative chamber is a necessary formality. After the Senate’s screening and confirmation, they will be sworn into their respective office to take full charge. For the exercise to take place, the lawmakers suspended order 1b and rule 1b to make provision for the admittance of strangers into the chamber. Thereafter, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Abdullahi Gumel; the nominated service chiefs, and others were admitted into the chamber.
Each candidate highlights career profile and experiences.
During the exercise, each of the nominees highlighted their career profile and shared their professional experiences as well as their plans for their unit with the senators. The Senate spent about three hours of close session for the screening of the service chiefs. Musa pledged that the armed forces will commit to serving Nigerians in accordance with the writings of the constitution. “Under my watch, the Armed Forces shall continue to serve the Nigerian people dutifully and in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other extant provisions of the law for the federation,” he said.
In his own account, Ogalla noted that he would put in his best to upgrade the standard he met, assuring Nigerians that he was fully prepared for the job. He noted that he will improve existing strategies and develop new ones to secure the nation’s waterways. “I fully understand the challenges facing the Nigerian Navy,” he said. He identified the statutory roles of the Force, which is to defend the nation’s territorial integrity as well as protecting the nation’s resources. He affirmed that he was ready to perform these roles.
Navy chief gives comprehensive work plan during his tenure.
Ogalla did not stop there. He proceeded to say that if given the chance to serve, he will lead with integrity, courage and relentless pursuit of excellence. He believes in the power of teamwork, discipline and human capacity development. The serviceman added that he would collaborate with other services to secure the nation’s waterways. He added that he would initiate continuous monitoring and surveillance to achieve maximum results. According to him, he will ensure that every Nigerian Navy personnel and civilian member of staff is equipped, trained and ready to execute the Force’s mission effectively.
He also said he expects all personnel to hold high standards of professionalism, ethics and respect for human rights. It is evident that Nigeria’s economy and well-being is heavily dependent on the maritime environment. Nigerian maritime environment is full of resources. It is also a vital sea lane of communication. He said that it is the responsibility of the Nigerian Navy because of their secondary responsibility in policing duties that this vital lane is kept peaceful and secured. Being fully aware of the tendency and challenges which are being posed by threats to this maritime environment, Ogalla said that he is fully prepared to tackle the prevailing issues of oil theft that has been a burden against Nigeria’s resources.
Abubakar focuses on achieving peace with air power.
Meanwhile, Abubakar said that he would mobilize the nation’s air power to ensure the peace and security of the country, just as the president aspires to. He said, “On assumption of office as the acting Chief of Air Staff, on June 19, 2023, I reiterated my commitment to reinvigorating our fight against terrorism, insurgency and other security threats facing our dear nation.” In addition to cooperation and joint operations with other services, the Force will adopt additional power measures and approaches that will continue to diminish Nigeria’s security challenges, he said.