At last, President Goodluck Jonathan has announced the appointments of new service chiefs following the expiration of the tenure of the current service chiefs since last month.
The President named outgoing Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, as new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) while Rear Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba is named new Chief of Naval Staff (CNS).
Jonathan named Air Vice Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh as the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) while Lt.-Gen Onyabor Azubuike Ihejirika was retained as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
The appointment was contained in a statement issued by Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati in which he said the President also thanked the former service chiefs for their service to the nation.
The delay in the appointment, which is coming a month after the expiration of their tenures, is speculated to have been caused by ethnic politics coupled with intensive lobbying by some influential groups putting pressure on the Presidency.
Appointment of service chiefs usually reflects consideration for professionalism and geo-political zones for balance.
It was gathered that the Presidency delayed in announcing the names as the list was subjected through thorough checks to meet the requirements. It was gathered that the President was bent on choosing trusted officers with good track records.
The delay in the announcement of the new service chiefs had however, caused some disquiet as it was learnt that Jonathan quietly extended their tenures to yesterday though sources later hinted that such was to enable them to celebrate the 52nd independence anniversary in active service.
Profiles of the new service chiefs
Vice Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim (CDS).
57 year old Naval officer and graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji respectively, Ibrahim is also trained with the Royal and Indian Navies. Ibrahim is a Navigation and Direction Specialist. He also holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Ahmadu Bello University. He was at the Royal College of Defence Studies, UK as a member in 2002, where he, in addition obtained a Masters Degree from the Department of War Studies and Public Policy at the Kings College, University of London.
Ibrahim is decorated with the Command of Sea Badge for successful command at Sea on various Nigerian Naval Ships. He was a Directing Staff and a Chief Instructor at the Department of Maritime Warfare, Armed forces Command and Staff College Jaji, Secretary to the Chief of the Naval Staff before being appointed to command the naval operations base, Nigerian Naval Ship BEECROFT in 2001.
In 2003, Admiral Ibrahim served as Commander Naval Task Group. Operation HARMONY in the Eastern Naval command, Calabar before he went to the National Defence College Nigeria as a Directing Staff later same year. He left the National Defence College for the Naval Headquarters as Navy Secretary in August 2005. He returned to the College as Director Curriculum and Programmes Development in May 2006. It was from this appointment that he headed back to the Naval Headquarters as Chief of Administration and subsequently Chief of Training and Operations. In February 2009, he was appointed Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, the appointment he held till his elevation as the Chief of the Naval Staff on 8 September 2010. He was subsequently elevated to the position of Chief of Defence Staff on 4 October, 2012.
Rear Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba (CNS)
Rear Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba was born on 25 July 1958 in Jos, Plateau state, although he hails from Ibusa in Oshimili- North Local Government Area of Delta State. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna, Regular Course 22, the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji and trained at various times with the United States, Royal and Indian navies. He is a Navigation and Direction Specialist and holds a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan.
Ezeoba has had tours of duty on board several Nigerian Naval Ships in various capacities and successfully commanded different classes of Nigerian Naval Ships including the nation’s flagship, Nigerian Naval Ship ARADU. He was a Directing Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji and the National Defence College, Abuja. He would later return to the Defence College as Director Curriculum and Programmes Development.
He also served as the Director of Operations and later as the Chief of Training and Operations at the Naval Headquarters. It was from this appointment that he was appointed as the Deputy Commandant of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji. Thereafter, he was appointed as the Chief of Administration at the Defence Headquarters, the appointment he held till his elevation to the present appointment of the Chief of the Naval Staff on 4 October 2012.
Air Vice Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh (CAS)
Air Vice Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh was born in Vimtim, Mubi North Local Government area, Adamawa state on 10th January 1957. He attended the Villanova Secondary School, Numan, Adamawa state, where he obtained School Certificate in June 1976. He was admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy as a member of the 21 Regular Course on 3rd January 1977, and was commissioned pilot officer on 3rd July 1979. He was promoted AVM on 3rd January 2008.
He started his flying career at the 301 Flying Training School on the Bulldog primary trainer aircraft in 1979. Between 1981 and 82, he attended the Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base in the United States Air Force between January 1981 and September 1982. The senior officer is a Qualified Flying Instructor and has accumulated over 6000 flying hours on the Bulldog 123, Do 128-6, Do 228, Hawker 125, Hawker 1000, Falcon 900 and Gulfstream 5 airplanes. AVM Badeh has extensive International Flight Operations experience.
AVM Badeh attended the Junior Division course at Armed Forces Command and Staff College in 1988, and the senior division course at same institution between 1995 and 1996. He attended the National War College Nigeria as a member of course 14 and graduated in August 2006; the University of Ibadan for his Masters degree.
AVM Badeh has held several appointments, among which are Staff Officer 2 Operations at Training Command, CO Administration, Operations Support and Operations Wings, and then the office of Fleet Operations Officer all in the Presidential Air Fleet and then Commander Presidential Air Fleet from June 2002 to 25 October 2004. He also held the offices of Command Training officer at Training Command, Deputy Director Training and Director of Research at the Defence HQ. AVM was a Directing Staff and Director National Military Strategy and the National Defence College, Chief of Policy and Plans Headquarters Nigerian Air Force. Presently he is the Air Officer Commanding Training Command Nigerian Air Force Kaduna.