The new Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya, Friday, assumed office.
Yahaya was received at the Quarter Guard at the Nigerian Army Headquarters by a handful of Army Generals.
Although there was no formal handing over, the Chief of Army Staff met with the Chief of Defence Staff General Lucky Irabor, behind closed doors.
Shortly after the meeting with the CDS, Yahaya went into another closed-door meeting with Principal Staff Officers (PSO) and Commanders.
The appointment of Yahaya as the 22nd Chief of Army Staff by President Muhammadu Buhari has been received with mixed reactions by many Nigerians.
For some, it is a worthy appointment on the grounds of Yahaya’s track record and performance since he joined the Army.
However, a former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka is worried that officers of Courses 35 and 36 would be forcefully retired as a result of Maj. Gen Farouk Yahaya’s selection.
According to him, the country will lose many top generals to early retirement following the emergence of General Yahaya as COAS. One of the generals who might be forced into early retirement, according to him is Major-General Ben Ahanaotu from Anambra State.
In a recent post on social media shortly after the appointment was made public, Chidoka alluded to the fact that he had hoped that the President will use the opportunity provided by the unfortunate death of the former Chief of Staff, Gen. Ibrahim Attaihiru, to appoint a General from other region as COAS.
“President Buhari appoints Maj. Gen Farouk Yahaya as COAS. My friend just woke me up from my dream. I am currently receiving treatment for malaria. One of the good things about President Buhari is that he does not disappoint.
“Sadly Gen. Ahanotu and members of course 35 and 36 will proceed on retirement. Mismanaging diversity will hurt Nigeria deeply….deeply for many years,” he wrote on Facebook.
Yahaya, a major general, was born on January 5, 1966 in Sifawa, Bodinga Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
Mr Yahaya, who is a member of the 37 Regular Course of the prestigious Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), started his cadet training on September 27, 1985 and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps on September 22, 1990.
He has held several appointments including Staff, Instructional and Command.
Notable among the appointments held by the new COAS are Garrison Commander Headquarters Guards Brigade, Directing Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Deputy Director Army Headquarters Department of Military Secretary, Deputy Director Army Research and Development and the Chief of Staff, Headquarters Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield.
He also served as the Principal General Staff Officer (PGSO) to the Honourable Minister of Defence, the Commander, Headquarters 4 Brigade and 29 Task Force Brigade (Operation Zaman Lafiya).
He was also Director Manpower at the Army Headquarters, Military Secretary, Army Headquarters and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army.