The newly appointed Minister of Defence, Brig.-Gen. Monsur Dan-Ali (retd.), on Friday recalled the controversy that surrounded President Muhammadu Buhari’s secondary school certificate during the political campaigns and berated the then leadership of the Nigerian Army under Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah.
Dan-Ali said he could not understand how the former Chief of Army Staff could come out to say that Buhari, who was a former Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, did not have the requisite West African School Certificate to contest the last presidential election.
The minister made the comment on the first day of his assumption of office as the new Minister of Defence in Abuja on Friday.
According to Dan-Ali, the army leadership should have opposed the claim that Buhari had no certificate even if it meant losing their jobs in the process.
He said, “Where was your integrity when your own Chief of Army Staff stood up and said his Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces had no WAEC certificate. How?
“Please, let us be sincere with ourselves because (on) that very day, you should have stood up and said ‘no’; but because you were there, you could not. If you leave the job, is that the end of your life? If you leave the job, there are other ways, better ways (through which) God can bless your life”.
On his agenda for the ministry, Dan-Ali said emphasis would be placed on integrity, honour and transparency.
He also said that it would not be possible for anybody to be a good leader without the three qualities.
The minister said that President Buhari had displayed a clear resolve to fight insurgency in the North East and had shown leadership as a former military man, who should be emulated by all.
Dan-Ali also urged those in positions of authority to carry out their assignments with the fear of God whose grace gave them the privilege of being appointed into such positions in the first place.
He said, “The President has clearly and openly shown that he is ready to fight insurgency in Nigeria. Gentlemen, the military is all about leadership. The President is a military man and he has shown leadership.
“We, the followers, must show leadership. And what is leadership, if I may ask? Leadership is all about integrity, honesty and transparency. There cannot be a good leader without these three things.
“You cannot be a good leader if you do not have integrity, you cannot be a good leader if you are not honest, and also, transparent. Forget about corruption. Corruption can never come near you if you have these qualities.
“So gentlemen, we should embed these three qualities. We are all selected here by the Grace of the Almighty God. We are in our positions because of the grace of God; it is not because you are better than any other person in your locality or in your course. It is not because you are the best. So you should be answerable to the Almighty God who has honoured us and given us this leadership positions”.