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Monday, 12 February 2024 06:19

[OPINION] The sea wave against Vice Admiral Ogalla - Jude Eze

In recent weeks, a disturbing wave of blackmail and conspiracies has emerged, targeting Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla since he assumed the position of Nigeria's Chief of Naval Staff (CNS). These dubious allegations, fueled by hidden agendas, seek to undermine the Vice Admiral's achievements, tarnish his reputation, and ultimately force him from office. However, it is imperative that we recognize these conspiracies for what they are and stand against those who seek to sabotage the progress he brings to the nation.
Vice Admiral Ogalla, a distinguished naval officer with an impeccable record, was appointed as the Chief of Naval Staff to lead Nigeria's navy into a new era of professionalism, transparency, and efficiency. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated in words and deeds, dedication to duty, earning respect for his competence, integrity, and commitment to national security.
Under Vice Admiral Ogalla's leadership, the Nigerian Navy has made significant strides in combating maritime crimes, safeguarding Nigeria's waters, and protecting vital oil installations. His relentless pursuit of excellence has resulted in improved operational readiness, enhanced intelligence-gathering capabilities, and successful joint operations with international partners. These achievements have not only bolstered national security but also strengthened Nigeria's international reputation as a responsible maritime nation, while plugging leakages in the crude oil sector.
The conspirators against Vice Admiral Ogalla have propagated baseless accusations aimed at tarnishing his character and dismantling his accomplishments. Their motives remain concealed, but it is evident that their actions stem from self-interest and fear of being held accountable for their own misdeeds.
One of the theories alleges that Vice Admiral Ogalla is responsible for "illegal oil bunkering and betrayal of maritime assets." However, this accusation lacks any substantive evidence. In fact, it is under his command that the Nigerian Navy has intensified operations to combat oil theft, illegal bunkering, and piracy. His efforts have resulted in numerous successful missions, leading to the arrest and prosecution of criminals involved in maritime crimes.
Additionally, these conspirators have sought to falsely implicate Vice Admiral Ogalla in various scandals, aiming to blackmail and discredit him. Yet, there is no substantiated proof to support these allegations, and their timing and origin only serve to raise suspicions about their authenticity and underlying intent.
For those who don't know the CNS in person, a cursory look at his abridged biography may suffice. His sterling military career took off when he enlisted in the Nigerian Defence Academy as part of the 39 Regular Combatant Course on September 16, 1987, and was commissioned into the Nigerian Navy as Sub-Lieutenant on September 19, 1992.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and received the Sword of Honour as the Best Graduating Naval Cadet, recognized for his academic excellence, military training, leadership qualities, and character.
He has attended various courses within and outside the country, including the Basic Hydrographic Course at the National Hydrographic School in Goa, India, and the Junior and Senior Staff Courses at Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji. He also completed the Higher Strategic Course at the National Defence College, Abuja, and holds a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan.
His appointment in the present administration was ad rem, having held several significant appointments, such as Watch Keeping Duties on board NNS AGU, Instructor, Chief Instructor, and Commandant at the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School. He also served as the Base Operations Officer at NNS PATHFINDER, where he played a vital role in combating oil theft and other economic crimes.
His appointment as CNS marked a crucial juncture in the nation's naval history. His dedication, competence, and impeccable record have already brought about significant changes beneficial to national security and the fight against maritime criminality. It is imperative that we recognize and reject the baseless accusations aimed at discrediting him. As a nation, we must stand firm against those seeking to undermine progress and accountability, allowing Vice Admiral Ogalla to continue his transformative work.
This is someone whom these irredentist naysayers are trying hard to stain his image with frivolous allegations. Nigerians have known better. Never again will we allow the self-serving interests of a few override our common good.
The true agenda driving these allegations is rooted in the fear and apprehension experienced by those who have thrived on illicit activities in our maritime space. Vice Admiral Ogalla's uncompromising dedication to eradicating maritime criminality jeopardizes their ill-gotten gains and illegal operations. It is this incentive that fuels their attempts to coerce the President into removing Vice Admiral Ogalla from his position.
Recall that for eight years under former President Muhammad Buhari, no Igbo man was among the service chiefs, none even headed any of the nation's paramilitary organizations. He summarily dismissed the entire geopolitical zone and one of the three major tribes in the country as a "dot" in a circle. To justify his chronic tribal bigotry, that made him enlist majorly his kinsmen and few from other zones to head the nation's security apparatchik, he argued that he appoints "those he knew and who are competent."
This was why after almost a decade of isolating Igbos from the nation's topmost security meeting, President Bola Tinubu's appointment of this Umu Opu Enugu Ezike Enugu State-born Vice Admiral as CNS was hailed across all quarters as a sign that a detribalized Sheriff has taken over the wheel of government. In Ogalla's appointment, competence, equity and merit braced one another. Even the President's fiercest critics hailed him on the appointment. 
But never did he know that the predacious vulturines of our national patrimony felt attacked by it. It marked an end to their parasitic tendencies in our maritime space. Perpetrators of perennial oil theft, sea piracy, crimes of the blue economy etc felt threatened by this singular appointment. And they could not hide their 'dismay' as their fangs were seen early hanging against Ogalla and his historic immaculate career.
They launched aggressive media propaganda against him, and set sail, a myriad of blackmails. Surprisingly, some sections of the gullible public are buying into it. "Blackmail" says ancient Greek adage, "is an act of power and cowardice, a twisted game played by those lacking the integrity to confront their own failings." If Tinubu's "renewed hope" agenda is anything to go by, then he should not give heed to the cheap blackmail being sailed about the CNS Ogalla.
So, by and large, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu holds the key to ensuring that Vice Admiral Ogalla's exceptional service is not undermined by malicious this tidal waves against his voyage. It is crucial for the President to recognize his valuable contribution and take a firm stance against these blackmailers that seek to impede progress and accountability. He pristinely respresents everything Tinubu promised in his manifesto of restoring integrity in our oil and maritime sector.
With his over three decades experience as a soldier, I trust he will navigate safely against these sea wave surging against his sail.
May daylight spare us!
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