Ahead of the yearly promotion and retirement of senior officers of the Nigerian Military by the Army, Navy and Air Force Councils, headed by President Goodluck Jonathan, anxiety and palpable tension has gripped those expected to go through the screening of various boards in this regard, with many officers resorting to extra-terrestrial means to see them through.
It was gathered from reliable military sources that the situation became inevitable following discovery that while over 150 senior officers of the ranks of Colonels and Brigadier Generals were qualified to be promoted to the next ranks of Brigadier Generals and Major Generals across the three services, having met the criteria of attending the National Defence College and its equivalent from across the world, there were vacancies for only about 65 Generals across board.
It was further gathered that many officers including Colonels and Brigadier Generals who had missed promotions on two previous occasions are the most affected because if they fail to pass the screening this time around, they will be automatically disengaged from service at the attainment of age on rank.
Consequently, many of the officers have thrown caution to the winds and resorted to the employment of prayer warriors in either the Pentecostal or Protestant Churches, or employment of spiritually gifted pastors who claim they can see and invoke what will happen ahead, while some are on dry fasting.
The employment of Marabouts and Islamic soothsayers is also not left out and this is said to apply to officers of both religions, with promises of special offerings and donations if they are promoted.
On the larger national scene, many officers are said to be lobbying Emirs, top class traditional rulers, top politicians, presidency top shots and those believed to have the ears of the military high command to ensure that certain officers are favoured in the promotions.
However, it was gathered that one of the leading services involved has taken measures which could be categorized as fool-proof to checkmate interference by politicians including Governors and ministers by ensuring physical appearance before the promotion boards and carrying out verbal examination whose outcome will be there for everybody to see and assess.
Such performance will also be recalled in the case of any petition or counter claim by any officer who may decide to employ sympathetic measures to try to hoodwink the unsuspecting public in the event that things did not go his or her way.
Concerning retirement, it was gathered that the same scenario applies especially to the Colonels and Brigadier-Generals rank and their equivalent in the Air force and the Navy, as many of them will be proceeding on terminal leave once they are not able to secure promotions to the next rank.
For the rank of Major General and equivalent in the services, it was gathered that only a few officers across board will be asked to go by next year having attained the mandatory 36years in service or having attained the age on rank in accordance with the terms and conditions of service.