President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday appointed Major General Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
He replaces Lt General Ibrahim Attahiru, who died in a military plane crash in Kaduna last Friday.
Prior to his appointment Major General Yahaya was the General Officer Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army and the incumbent Theatre Commander of the Counterterrorism Counter Insurgency military outfit in the North East code named Operation HADIN KAI.
Yahaya is married and blessed with children. He belongs to the Regular Course 37.
However The Punch reports that Yahaya’s emergence may spell the end of the careers of about 25 major generals who were of the Regular Course 35 and Regular Course 36.
According to military tradition, the new COAS, who is of Course 37 is junior to these officers and cannot superintend over them.
Yahaya is also junior to the other service chiefs as the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor is of Regular Course 34 Intake; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, both being Regular Course 35 intakes.
It was gathered that the appointment of Yahaya, who is from Sokoto State, was a bit delayed because the President was trying to weigh the ethnic and religion factors in naming a new COAS.
A source said, “The President finally settled for Yahaya because many of the Generals in Regular Courses 35 and 36 were found to be from the same tribe or same state as other security chiefs in the Ministry of Defence, National Security Adviser’s office, the Navy and the Air Force.
“For instance, Major General. Jamil Sarham, of Regular Course 36, former Commandant Nigerian Defence Academy is from Kano, where the Minister of Defence, Major General. Bashir Magashi (retd.) and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, hail from.
“From all indications no fewer than 25 major generals from courses 35 and 36 will leave the force with the appointment Yahaya.”
The source also cited another contender to the top military position, the Chief of Policy and Plan Maj. Gen. Benjamin Ahanotu of Regular Course 35, who is from Anambra state which shares boundary with Delta state where the CDS hailed from.