He Left The Army Better
The earliest lesson I learnt at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) as an already established media practitioner who enrolled in the academic training institute to embellish my skills, was that: “facts are sacred, but opinion is free”.
This has been my beacon in the practical realm of media practice that has spanned over two decades.
Whilst doing the journalism career, I have come to realize that the media needs to set an agenda and not necessarily follow the crowd in such a way that we often read that bad news is good news.
It is factually accurate to state without any fear of contradiction that bad news is good news because this category of sensational stories about individuals, institutions, governments or people are the ingredients that make marketing of newspapers a hot cake.
However, there is another deeper and much more professional angle to journalism that is termed developmental journalism in which the innate creative talents of the writer are deployed to record historical steps and epochs that should shape national and global conversations.
This is the essence of this obviously very brief reflection on an aspect of the rich leadership acumen of the recently retired Army Chief, the Borno State born Military General in the person of Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai (rtd).
The immediate past army head is such a man that understands the powers of the media to such a profound extent that he governed the largest military in Africa with an intellectual mindset conscious of what historians will say about him.
In that light, he told his own story in both the written and pragmatic forms.
However, there is one aspect that he may not even know that it is worth documenting for the benefits of those who will pilot and build upon his legacies in the Nigerian Army which spanned over half a decade.
He was a no- nonsense professional soldier and military officer who took discipline to a frightening dimension thereby attracting all kinds of public commentaries with some believing that he went too far in using the instrument of legal discipline to ensure that his operatives and officers comply absolutely with laid down rules, regulations and the social contract governing military operation whether within or without.
Buratai remains one disciplinarian that was never afraid to wield the big stick to caution even some of his most trusted generals who may have offended the traditions of the army or may have gone beyond their briefs. By doing this, he made a lot of enemies for himself and there’s this external persona created about him by some debaters that General Buratai is brutal.
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Truth be told, he pursued discipline and professionalism with unwavering commitment misconceived as ‘brute force’ by some writers. Others who are favourable to him think he is a constitutional purist . A consensus on how best to situate his approach to professional development and discipline may take some time to evolve fully.
Permit me however to state without any fear of contradiction that he deployed the instrumentality of the law such as court marshals to deal with cases of indiscipline amongst and between the operatives and officers.
A historian said the strength of the American Army is built on solid discipline thus: “A little over 237 years ago, Our Army was established as a result of a fierce start of the Revolutionary War between our fledging union (the United States as we know it) and the British Empire.
Over the course of the Revolutionary War, led by the General of the Armies, George Washington, our Army fought in battles against a much larger and much more technically and tactically advanced Army. Our Army faced significant shortfalls and suffered many defeats at the hands of a seemingly superior force, at least in the initial stages of the war.
As the revolution progressed, the Americans, as they became known were significantly challenged by the lack of funding, equipment, personnel, formal, training, and were literally considered to be “misfits” fighting against trained professionals.”
I will proceed to report him in his exact words and also recollect the exact words of his successor which were made for historical purposes during the official disengagement ceremony.
Beginning with the immediate past Army Chief, these are his words as reported in the media.
The media reported that the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, retired Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, says he left the Nigerian Army better than he met.
Buratai stated this in his valedictory speech during the Pulling Out Parade by the Nigerian Army on Friday in Abuja.
He said that the army underhis watch had achieved tremendous feat in the fight against insurgency and other security threats in the country.
He added that he ensured adequate training of personnel and enhancement of war fare capabilities of the army as well as prioritisation of personnel welfare.
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“Today is a day of appreciation and not a stocktaking, but let me put on record that I left Nigerian Army better than I met it.
“The Nigerian Army under my leadership was able to achieve great feat in the fight against insurgency in the country.
“We have been experiencing pockets of threats here and there, but I can confidently say that no part of Nigeria is ceded to any terrorist group or criminals.
“The counter-insurgency operation is a warfare new to Nigerian Army but over time, we have continued to devise means of tackling the ever-evolving dynamic nature of the threats in the country.
“The Nigerian Army has remained resolute in the discharge of its roles as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I urge you all to continue to rise to the occasion,” he said.
Buratai said that while it was always necessary to say goodbye at a point in life, he said it was not easy to find the right word to say goodbye to the courageous and dedicated team that worked with him.
He said that Nigerian Army also made giant strides in infrastructure development across the country.
Buratai commended the officers and soldiers of Nigerian Army for their dedication and loyalty, which he said assisted him to achieve so much in office.
The former COAS also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve the country as well as providing an enabling environment for him to succeed. He also commended the effort of the government of Borno in the war against insurgency, assuring that the war would soon be a thing of the past.
He urged politicians to always leave the military out of politics, adding that the country needed politicians who are statesmen to support the military in addressing the prevailing security challenges.
According to him, there is no gainsaying that there cannot be development without security and lack of development breeds insecurity. He solicited support for the new Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, to be able to deliver on his mandate.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buratai was officially pulled out of service in a parade in his honour at Mogadishu Cantonment, Asokoro, Abuja.”
Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, handed over command to the new Army Chief, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony at the Nigerian Army Headquarters, Abuja, Buratai said he was nearly retired by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, 21 years ago at the rank of major.
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He described his attainment of the rank of lieutenant general and Chief of Army Staff as historic. He said the Army would never remain the same after his exit.
“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo almost retired me 21 years ago when I was a Major. My retirement after 40 years of service is historic, hence calls for gratitude,” he said.
He urged the new army chief to ensure that the Nigerian Army remained professionally responsive in the discharge of its constitutional duties.
Buratai said that the army under his watch ensured support for democratic rule while urging his successor to ensure that the army continued to be loyal and professional.
He also urged Attahiru to remember him for three things notably improved professionalism of the Nigerian army, improved responsiveness of the army in the area of training administration and logistics needs and responsiveness to Nigeria’s democratic imperatives.
“I am proud to say that the Nigerian army has transformed to become professionally responsive in the defence of democracy with utmost loyalty.
“Today we have a professionally responsive army and we have achieved a lot in many areas over the years as well as inter-agency cooperation”, he said.
He commended the principal staff officers, corps commanders, commandants and directors for their cooperation during his time as the army chief.
He also appreciated all the troops serving in all operations both home and abroad most especially the operation Lafiya Dole, Sahel Sanity, Delta Safe among others.
Buratai said as a COAS he was proud to have defended the nation’s democracy and called on officers and men of the Nigerian army to make it their duty to defend and to protect democracy.
In his response, the new COAS pledged to sustain the giant strides of the Nigerian Army under Buratai, adding that he considered himself lucky to have been given opportunity to succeed Buratai.
Earlier, the Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt. Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, said the Buratai came, saw and conquered, adding that working with Buratai was a rewarding experience. Adeosun, while extolling the virtues of Buratai said he had achieved so much for Nigerian army in terms of operational efficiency, personnel welfare and establishment of new units and formations.
The new Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, solicited the support of soldiers and officers to reposition the Nigerian Army. He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for finding him worthy, adding he counted himself lucky to be chosen as army chief.
Yesterday, the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, vowed to rebuild the fighting skills, capacity, confidence and morale of troops to confront security challenges bedevilling the country. He said under his leadership soldiers would be better equipped with the right competences and skills to effectively undertake daring missions in addition to developing special operations forces.
He also assured that threats of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), which are major impediments to military operations, especially in the North East, would soon be a thing of the past.
The COAS stated these at the opening of the combined Chief of Army Staff first quarter conference and Nigerian Army operations retreat in Abuja.
Attahiru, while noting that troops welfare remained his priority, said he would focus on the provision of appropriate kitting and protective gears, weapons, equipment and platforms for troops.
He called on commanders of various army operations to glean from his ‘Command Philosophy’ to ensure that operational and administrative proficiencies of army formations and units are sustained and improved upon.
He said the retreat which was the first since he took over would afford the army the opportunity to reassess the threat environment and review its operations with a view to identifying gaps that could be addressed in the planning and conduct of future operations.
While congratulating officers and soldiers for their unrelenting sacrifices and efforts in ensuring that the army fulfiled its constitutional responsibilities, the COAS charged them to redouble their efforts and deal with adversaries threatening the peace of the country.
“I expect to see directives emanating from these events and subsequently from Army headquarters translate immediately into proactive courses of action that will find solutions and deal with our numerous security challenges.”
This writer hereby recommends to the new Army Chief to dig out the book written by his predecessor about military operations and professionalism.
The then Army chief by getting this book published and hopefully distributed has adopted a key step towards restoring normalcy and professional. conducts of internal security operations by the military.
Key amongst the components of this green book are the following guidelines that: a. All personnel of the NA comply with domestic and international laws to which Nigeria is a state party. Unless otherwise directed by the Appropriate Superior Authority (ASA), NA personnel will comply with the principles and spirit of the International Human Rights Law (IHRL) during all Internal Security (IS) operations and other Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (MACA) operations that the NA may be deployed to in accordance with Sections 217(2) a, b, c, d, and 218(3) of CFRN 1999 (as amended). b. An effective programme to prevent violations and ensure compliance with domestic and international law is implemented by the NA at all levels of command. c. All incidents of violations of domestic and international laws committed by or against NA personnel, enemy, or any other individual are reported promptly, investigated thoroughly, and, where appropriate, remedied by corrective action.
Others are that the on-scene commander shall ensure that measures are taken to preserve evidence of incidents pending transfer to ASA. e. At all appropriate levels of command and during all stages of operational planning and execution of operations, NA Legal Advisers provide advice concerning domestic and international law as it relates to operations. And f. As much as possible, NA commanders are to use their appointment and provisions made by the military justice system and the AFA, to investigate and sanction violation of international laws which in certain cases are also offences against Nigerian Military Law.
Going by the fact that the current Army Chief of staff lieutenant General Attahiru Ibrahim appropriately acknowledged that his predecessor in office left giant strides, it is only fitting that discipline and professionalism which were the pillars that governed most of his policy frameworks as the head of the Nigerian Army would be consolidated.
Onwubiko is head of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and was a federal commissioner at the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria.
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BREAKING: Obi Speaks On Joining Tinubu’s Unity Government
Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, has given insight into what his position will be if he is invited to join Bola Tinubu’s Government of National Unity.
Tinubu, the president-elect and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been taken to court by Obi over the outcome of the February 25 election.
The camp of the APC candidate had hinted that the former Lagos Governor would form an all-inclusive government to carry all his opponents along in his government.
While featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Obi was asked what he would do if he was called upon to be a member of Tinubu’s Government of National Unity.
In his response, Obi said he was still challenging the process of the election and the declaration.
According to him, the process of the election should be put right first before anyone could talk of the Government of National Unity.
“The first thing I want to see is that the process is right. The process through which you achieve anything is far more fundamental than what you do thereafter. Let us go back first, I am challenging the process and the declaration.
“Until we get it right, then we can talk about a government of national unity. Otherwise, we would go and sit down and say that those who stopped a train and kidnapped people can call us to discuss peace when they have people in captivity. Until things are done rightly, we will be encouraging what we don’t need to encourage,” he said.
When he was asked whether or not he would accept the outcome if it is not in his favour, Obi said he would be shocked if the court upholds Tinubu’s election.
His words: “Issues about the election will be sorted out in court. I will be shocked if this country goes on with that situation. It will then stand that it is a corporate criminalised country. We can’t allow it. We need to start unbundling this criminality.
“When people were talking about structure, it is this fraud and criminality that we witnessed that they were talking about, and we want to unbundle it for the sake of our children.”
The former Anambra State governor said he believes the judiciary would do the right thing.
LP Chieftain Flays Return Of 1999 PDP as Ibori, Henchmen Seek Political Relevance In Delta APC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State is gradually taking on the colouration of 1999 PDP with all of former Governor James Ibori’s ‘boys’ now leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in droves and finding a new home in APC to swell its ranks ahead of the guber elections on Saturday, March 18, 2023, according to a chieftain of Labour Party (LP), Chief Delly Ajufo.
Ajufo described the development as “a gathering of vultures to consume the soul of Delta State,” noting that Ibori, who has suffered a pariah status under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s 8-year administration, now has a chance to reclaim his “godfather or grand commander” position over his godson, guber candidate of APC and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
According to him, Ibori looks to resume his godfather position as Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State, a position that slipped out of his hands since his stint in the UK prison.
Ajufo said Deltans needed to be wary of Senator Omo-Agege’s governorship bid, and see it as a backdoor for Ibori to re-take control of the management of the state’s resources in a manner likely to be worse than the 1999 – 2007 era when he was governor. He warned that Deltans could not have forgotten how Ibori raped the fortunes of the state in his eight-year administration by corruptly enriching himself and his cronies (including Sen. Omo-Agege) that earned him a UK prison sentence. He described the APC as PDP-2 trying to upstage Okowa’s PDP-1 from power, saying Deltans should reward both of them with electoral defeat since both parties have run the country (APC – 8 years) and Delta State (PDP – 24 years) badly.
He argued that none of them deserves to occupy the seat of power in Asaba come May 29, 2023.
The Labour Party chieftain also said the gathering of Ibori’s political family under APC is dark and ominous for the state, and urged the electorate to reject both ‘PDAPC’ at the polls on Saturday, and vote for Labour Party (LP) as the only political breath of fresh air that Delta people need now.
“We must sever our links with the people from both parties that have collectively ruined the fortunes of this oil-rich state by running it aground since 1999,” he noted.
Ajulo added that Ibori trying to reclaim his faded godfather position, using APC as his new launch pad was tantamount to vultures gathering to feast on the carcass of a dying animal, a situation that Deltans should not wait to see but to halt it in its tracks outright.
“This is a gathering of vultures and it does not augur well for our beloved Delta State,” said Ajufo.
“Ibori wants to use the APC backdoor to reclaim his faded godfather status since all his allies are dumping PDP in droves and moving over to APC. The signs are not good for Deltans who have been pauperised for so many years in spite of the huge oil wealth that comes to the state monthly. I urge Deltans to see through the evil that’s about to befall them if they elect Ovie Omo-Agege. Of course, PDP is dead, going by February 25, 2023 election. There is no need to bother about it. Deltans will bury whatever remains of it in the guber elections.
“The nightmare we must all now resist is APC taking over. Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege was SSG and Commissioner under Ibori’s eight-year reign of wasted resources in Delta from 1999 – 2007. A vote for Omo-Agege is a vote for the return of Ibori into Delta’s mainstream, with his baggage of corruption and mismanagement of state resources. Delta is tired of another Tinubu returning to pillage the coffers of the state for his selfish interests. We cannot afford to ‘carry last’ on this matter.”
The chief urged Deltans to do for Labour Party what they did on February 25 when they massively voted for Labour Party and Peter Obi, saying they should do the same for the party’s governorship candidate, Deacon Ken Pela and all House of Assembly candidates. He called on all women to look the way of Labour Party’s candidate, Dcn Ken Pela for the governorship election, adding, “We also call on women to rally their own fellow woman, an educationist and erudite scholar, Prof. Nwabogo-Umukoro, to represent and champion women’s causes in government at the highest decision-making level.”
Fayose Quits PDP, Reveals How Ayu Led Atiku To Golgotha
A former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, has disclosed how the national chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party ( PDP) Iyorchia Ayu led the presidential candidate of the party Atiku Abubakar to what he called Golgotha.
Fayose spoke while announcing his resignation from the main opposition party, PDP.
Fayose announced his resignation from the PDP yesterday while appearing as a guest on a programme on ARISE News. Fayose served as Governor of Ekiti State from 2003 to 2007 and 2011 to 2015 on PDP’s ticket.
However, his decision to quit the party appears to be connected with perceived irreconcilable differences in the PDP, which according to him, has fractured the party.
He said: “Let me say this, from today(yesterday) I stay off PDP. In party politics there are certain facts you must be able to speak. I am 62 and I can’t, at this age, begin lying. When something is wrong with your family, confess.”
The former governor, who claimed to have fought for the interest of the party over the years, blamed the loss of the PDP in the presidential election on the leadership of the party.
According to him, PDP was already fractured before the election, with so many aggrieved aspirants whom were allegedly swindled by the leadership of the party on one hand and the inability of the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to reach an agreement with the G-5 governors.
Fayose traced the problem of the PDP to the North-west zonal congress which he said was rigged against Rabiu Kwankwaso in favour of Aminu Tambuwal that led to the latter leaving theparty.
“I warned Atiku that the problem will consume PDP. I told him there was danger ahead,” he said, adding that the G-5 governors demanded that Atiku make a official announcement to run for only one term and hand over to any member in the south but “Ayu was leading Atiku to Golgotha.”
Fayose warned Labour Party’s candidate and second runner up in the presidential polls, Peter Obi to “run away from the PDP” as the current ovation for the opposition has nothing to do with the PDP.
According to him, if the PDP had believed in Obi, they should have given him the party’s ticket.
He saluted Obi’s courage for being able to defeat the likes of Tinubu in Lagos, describing him as “A phenomenon” and “the man of the moment”, stressing that Obi’s victory in Lagos has proved that things are no longer the same.
He argued that for Obi to win in Lagos shows the process was so transparent and as such the outcome of the election should be accepted by all.
Fayose attributed the credibility of the polls to the use of the BVAS which, according to him, is responsible for a realistic number of voters compared to the past when over a million votes were churned out from some states in the Northern part of the country.
He, however, faulted some of the protesters, calling for the cancellation of the polls, describing them as paid agents of the PDP.
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