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Buratai’s footprints and the task ahead of COAS Attahiru

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*Army professionalism has curbed Nigeria’s multiple Security Challenges,  Buratai Commends Officers and Soldiers*

Buratai’s footprints and the task ahead of COAS Attahiru

Combating terrorism or insurrections is acknowledged globally as quite an arduous assignment. Soldiers who command such warfares must necessarily be brave, courageous, and determined combatants of the trenches. It’s not a task for the faint-hearted!

The ex-Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria, retired Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, remonstrated these rare qualities abundantly when he scored the shots on the podium of terrorism combats in the country.

But a very honest verdict on the ex-COAS, as the honcho of anti-insurgency operations in the country from May 2015 to January 2021 can only be gleaned from the enduring whirlwind of his exploits, long after he quitted active service.

Even unpatriotic misanthropes can sight the legacies of Buratai which have refused to be fogged by the thickness of billowing smokes; whether of partisan and ethnoreligious flavors, as peculiarly Nigerian.

Buratai’s successor, the incumbent COAS and ombudsman of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru might not be caught unawares by the new assignment. But it’sits certain, his predecessor, Buratai left a big-sized shoe, quite uneasy to wear effectively.

An introspection of what constituted the defining principles and convictions, Gen. Buratai weaponized to wilt the storm of insurgencies and insurrections in the country for six long years would certainly prop up the image of a strong leadership character in his persona.

 

Even dispassionate outsiders attested loudly to Buratai’s palpable, unshaken and unfractured patriotism and loyalty to Nigeria. He could be jovial with his subordinates to a fault; but upheld the sacred military doctrines of professionalism, loyalty, and discipline.

He dispensed himself to soldiers generally as a father, blood brother, welfarist, amiable boss, compassionate leader, trustworthy compatriot, and courageous warrior in the trenches. Boko Haram factional leaders, both Abubakar Shekau and the ISIS-backed Musab Al Barnewi, in alliance with Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky of the IMN or Shiites in Nigeria, another terrorist’s sect, wished Buratai dead for his uncompromising stand.

 

Leaders of these sects operating in Nigeria vigorously pursued the agenda of eliminating Buratai through terrorists’ ambushes of his convoy in the Northeast and the assassination plot hatched against him in Zaria by IMN. Though he faced death multiple times in the trenches but remained resolute and undeterred.

 

Buratai’s NDA course mate and friend, who retired much earlier, Major Daniel Banjo (rtd), recalled when he requested for a thanksgiving service in his home state for the ex-COAS; “I remember, about three times, he (Buratai) called me in the middle of the night. He was at the war front. He would call and say things are happening here and Nigerians are not appreciative of what we are doing…He wouldn’t sleep for weeks. He was ambushed three times and he jumped into the bush with his men, with Kalashnikov (AK-47 rifles) and they would be able to kill some and arrest some.”

Hate or love him, but it never escaped the sight that Buratai was relentless and untiring. His troops often chortled among themselves whether this boss ever slept or thought of a beloved family which also needed his attention.

 

He sprung surprises of a talisman with his presence everywhere in the war front, day and night, from North to South. He constantly visited troops and supervised Army units and formations to ensure planned Internal Security (IS) operations or projects progress smoothly and unencumbered. He tolerated no excuses for failure from troops on any assignment.

And to bolster performance and unalloyed loyalty, Buratai also, religiously fulfilled his own part of the bargain by ensuring troops legitimate entitlements and allowances were promptly delivered to them, even in the frontlines. It was one of the many things Buratai got right and it really worked for the Nigerian Army, especially for the troops in the frontlines on terrorism combating expeditions.

 

He treated the families of troops like his cherished assets and personal family. Buratai paid frequent visits to Army barracks, interacted with wives of soldiers, listened to their problems, and remedied them immediately. Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA) explored new frontiers in the economic empowerment of wives of soldiers through various multi-purpose cooperative investments initiatives.

The ex-army chief further boosted the morale of his troops with packages such as the COAS special allowances and incentives, like special recognitions’ and instant or accelerated promotion of troops who demonstrated proven gallantry, courage, and exceptional excellence in the frontlines.

 

The expansion and re-equipping of the Nigerian Army were another was a focal policy of retired Buratai’s leadership. He relaunched the Nigerian Army on the path of manufacturing its own small and light weapons in the combat of terrorism, innovatively using home-grown technology and human resources.

Under his reign, the Nigerian Army established two new Army Divisions 6 and 8, in Borno and Rivers states; a dozen Forward Operations Bases (FOBs) and Special Task Force units across the country in strict compliance with the new Order of Battle (ORBAT). The initiative brought security closer to Nigerians, boosted troops’ rapid responses to distress calls from entrapped Nigerians, and the operational effectiveness of soldiers in operations.

 

Nigerian soldiers were endeared to Gen. Buratai and performed their official assignments with glee because he prioritized the building of infrastructures for soldiers and officers of the Nigerian Army. He had the stringent focus or absolute belief in the welfare of troops in multiple ways and he knew, soldiers deserve at least minimum comforts to function splendidly. So, he erected new offices and residential accommodations for soldiers.

Therefore, Buratai aggressively relaunched the Nigerian Army on the path of its lost glory in a revolutionary style. The former army chief embarked on ambitious projects such as the massive construction of new army barracks, renovations of dilapidated barracks and army formations, their upgrade and re-equipment with state-of-the-art facilities resuscitation of moribund Army training institutions, and the building of new ones, namely, the Army War College, the Army Aviation School, and the Nigerian Army University, Biu.

 

Buratai garnished it with the generous renovations/upgrades of existing, but outdated army hospitals and the building of new Army Referral hospitals to carter for the Medicare of soldiers, their families, and members of Army host communities. These were legacy projects, signposts of focused leadership, the pillars, and inerasable footprints of his leadership that publicized a reformed Nigerian Army in conduct and performance.

 

The former army chief understood clearly that the success of Nigeria’s anti-insurgency combats basically depended on the assistance of foreign nations in weaponry and technical support. He was conscious of the prohibitions on human rights abuses by soldiers as enshrined in the Leahy Act amendment law. Besides, as a humane and compassionate leader, Buratai was conscious of the human dignity of all Nigerians. He never shirked from punishing erring soldiers.

Consequently, records of his observance of human rights were unequaled in the history of the Nigerian Army. He established the novel Human Rights Desk in the Nigerian Army, manned by a desk officer, and structured in an accessible manner to all Nigerians by its replication in all major Army formations throughout the country. The Army human rights desk handled, redressed, and dispensed hundreds of cases between soldiers and civilians.

 

The Nigerian Army was under the plague of meager budgets for its operations, even in the age of consuming insurgency. Therefore, Buratai imbibed the spirit of transparency, accountability, and judicious application of Army resources for maximum effect. Lack of transparency in the administration of Army resources’ engendered distrust, dissension, and rebellion among officers and soldiers.

 

Foremostly, Buratai resolved the problem by switching over to e-governance in consonance with the policy of the federal government. He established the Army Procurement Department; migrated the Nigerian Army into the IPPIS payment system, and halted the culture of table payment of allowances/entitlements to troops in the war front, which often led to avoidable complaints of diversion.

The former leader of counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria was a famed Military strategist, tactician, and foresighted leader. Therefore, his clairvoyance pricked him of the looming threat of Cyberspace terrorism in combating insurgency in Nigeria. In order to clip the wings of cyberspace terrorists, who were largely Boko Haram sympathizers and agents, Buratai built and launched the Nigerian Army Cyberspace Warfare Command. Its mandate mainly is to secure Army’s classified information from leakage to enemies and certify the preservation of sensitive documents.

 

Added to it, Buratai upgraded and re-equipped the Department of Army Public Relations (DAPR)) to handle fake news and propaganda syndrome on the counter-insurgency operations in the country. The DAPR operated 24hours a day and proactively deflected terrorists’ propaganda which previously caused unnecessary public anxiety and panic.

To this end, good leadership examples are worthy of emulation. The onus falls on Gen. Attahiru, who is also an old horse in the game to sustain and improve on these legacies of Buratai by moving a notch higher to turn the table against Boko Haram. It is the necessary antidote the incumbent Army leadership has to adapt if it wants to really succeed to finally cripple insurgents.

 

It’s no longer news that Nigerians are unwittingly beginning to celebrate the Buratai days. But Nigerians want to celebrate the Army at all times and the only alternative is to kick harder, harder than Buratai ever did. Attahiru should be mindful of news of Boko Haram’s dreadful presence in Niger state and predictively, Abuja is now donated to the mercy of terrorists.

 

But fundamentally, all the incumbent Service Chiefs have already clocked 100 days since their appointment on January 26, 2021. Quite unimpressively, media reports are awash with news that 741 Nigerians have been killed by Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists, armed bandits, herdsmen, and arsonists across the country. Neither is it exciting that the southern part of the country is also contending with lethal kidnapping syndicates and killer herdsmen conundrum. Nigerians are no longer singing joyful songs which heralded the new service chiefs and there is a need to redouble the efforts.
Agbese writes from the United Kingdom.

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2023: Babatope Speaks On Tinubu, Adeleke and G-5

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2023: Babatope Speaks On Tinubu, Adeleke and G-5

2023: Babatope Speaks On Tinubu, Adeleke and G-5

 

Chief Ebenezer Babatope, a former Minister of Transport and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) marked 80 years of his existence on earth last week. In this exclusive interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he shares his thoughts on his life and developments in the country ahead of the 2023 general elections. Excerpts:

 

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari and other eminent Nigerians congratulated you on the occasion of your 80th birthday. How do you feel at 80?

 

I feel good at 80 and thank God Almighty because I never knew I would live this long. I am very grateful to God who has kept me this far. My life has been an eventful one because of the time I spent with Papa Obafemi Awolowo in the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). Papa Awolowo gave leadership and inspired us as youths to lead Nigeria and used our privileged position for the common good and advancement of humanity. That is the legacy that Papa Awolowo left behind for us. That is the path I have followed all my life and I am grateful to God who has kept me this far. I am very happy to have been appointed the National Director of the Organisation of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) by Papa Awolowo at that time, and it was a glorious thing to have served under Papa Awolowo because I was lucky that Papa chose me as an official of his party at the time when people who were better than me politically and ideologically were all over the place. And for that, I would ever be grateful to him. So, it was a pleasure to serve the party and to rekindle the energy of Papa Awolowo’s ideological life. Thank God for it, and it was a good reflection, very good memory. I would forever thank my God for making that possible and for making it something I would live with.

 

In a country where life expectancy is below 60 years, what is the secret of your longevity?

 

It is because of the fact that I believe that life is one thing that must be handled with care. You do so by loving the people and doing everything they want as you are enabled to do. The reason why God blessed you is for you to be a blessing to others. That has been my philosophy. The people have the power and that is one of Papa Awolowo’s teachings.

 

What are your regrets?

 

I have many regrets. The Nigeria Papa left has been compromised; it has been destroyed because Papa taught us all the principles that would make the nation great. We never thought we would have this kind of thing whereby elections would be hopelessly rigged by those who are in power to ensure they have political dominance in power and in government. I never knew, now I know better. Suppose you want to win an election in Nigeria. In that case, you must pray to God Almighty and you must pray to God to help you solve the problem of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). INEC is a terrible organization now; they manipulate elections at will; they are never afraid of God Almighty and, therefore, the Nigerian people are held at the mercy of those who do not want Nigerians to have the freedom to elect those who would govern them. The best option one can have, Chief Awolowo said, is a democracy, that democracy is the last option for mankind. Mankind can only progress if we enthrone proper democracy. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, I will share his view in all my interviews. He gave a proper definition of democracy when he was alive. He said, ‘Democracy is a demonstration of craze, crazy demon.’ And he was right. When you have a democracy that was not guided by rules, that has estranged government from the people, then you have ‘demon crazy.’ Not democracy, but ‘demon crazy,’ ‘crazy demon.’ Well, we pray to God Almighty that INEC will, one day, change its mind and give the people of Nigeria the right to elect those who would govern them, and when they do that, they would enable Nigeria to stabilize democracy.

 

However, my major regret is my unjust dismissal from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) by General Olusegun Obasanjo without any retirement benefit to date. Obasanjo dismissed me from the services of the University of Lagos in 1978 as a result of the “Ali Must Go” demonstrations of Nigerian students in 1978.I was accused of supporting students against the government when the late Segun Okeowo led the students for reforms in Nigeria’s educational system. The Governing Council of the university later met in November of that same year to turn my dismissal to retirement.

 

The university later sent my papers to merge my services with the then Ministry of Establishment which was then under the late Brigadier-General Solomon Kikiowo Omojokun. I am not blaming Omojokun but today at 78, I served my country meritoriously as a public servant but today, I have no established mark from the federal government to say this is what I have done. I am still bitter because nobody has paid me a single kobo after my services to the university as retirement benefits.

 

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo wrote a letter few days ago where he endorsed Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of Labour Party. Do you think his endorsement carries any weight?

 

Obasanjo can do anything he wants to do but I know people also have the power to also undo things with their votes. Obasanjo can write any letter, in fact, he can endorse anyone he wants. He has freedom and constitutional rights to do that but I know that on election day, Nigerians will decide who they want as their leaders in the next four years.

 

What is your take on the concept of Emilokan in Nigerian politics?

 

Emilokan is Bola Tinubu’s style. When I hear him say that, I began to laugh because he is just wasting his bloody time. I don’t know the conception of Emilokan in the minds of Tinubu but all I know is that Emilokan which literally means ‘It is my turn’ is all about self-interest. Emilokan does not take cognizance of the fact that the people have the power to do things for themselves and choose the leaders they want. Nigerians must choose their leaders and they must be given the opportunity and freedom to do so in an unfettered manner. Emilokan can only become meaningful when you grant the rights and freedom to the people to elect the leaders they want to govern them.

 

Do you think the controversy trailing the redesigning of the Naira should be addressed by the FG?

 

I think we should give the government the chance to succeed. The government has a motive on why it keeps insisting that we must redesign the naira notes and vowed not to extend the January 31st deadline for usage of the old notes. We should respect the decision of the government because the moneybags want to use the Naira. They have stored to frustrate the wishes of Nigerians. So, let’s give them a chance to succeed. By the grace of God, we are going to see the back of the money marauders.

 

The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal has sacked Ademola Adeleke as the state governor and declared Gboyega Oyetola as the winner of the governorship election. As a chieftain of the PDP, were you shocked at the outcome of the ruling?

 

It is a very funny judgment. I know that by the grace of God, the will of the people of Osun who freely gave their mandate to Governor Ademola Adeleke will prevail. The tribunal is not the last, we still have the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. I am confident that they will reverse the ruling of the tribunal and uphold the wishes of the people. The Osun people rejected the APC and chose Ademola Adeleke as their governor and nobody can in a cavalier manner make nonsense of that wish. Those who gave the judgment will be very sorry for themselves because the people have shown to them that they are irrelevant when it comes to who really has the power to determine things for the people of Nigeria.

 

The presidential election is just less than a month away and the G-5 governors led by Nyesom Wike are still adamant on not supporting Atiku Abubakar. Do you think any solution is in sight?

 

We have tried our best to placate them. At this stage, if they want to go, goodluck to them. If they want to remain in PDP, the better for all of us. Governor Wike and his allies must not arrogate powers that they don’t have to themselves. If they do so, they will make mistakes and may regret it. We all love Wike for his courage but when you arrogate powers to yourself, then you may lose the support of the people.

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Dangote emerges as Vanguard’s personality of the year

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Dangote emerges as Vanguard’s personality of the year

Dangote emerges as Vanguard’s personality of the year

 

 

 

 

Management of Vanguard Newspapers over the weekend bestowed the honour of “Personality of the Year” on the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote.

 

 

 

 

 

The Newspaper rolled out red carpet in celebration of men and women who have distinguished themselves as achievers of excellence in their various fields of endeavors. Governors, Ministers, Heads of Organizations and Parastatals, Captains of Industries, and the Creme de la Creme of Nigeria were at the annual celebration of integrity, hard work, and service to the nation and mankind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Justifying why Dangote topped other prominent Nigerians to emerge as the Personality of the Year, the Newspapers stated that: “No Nigerian today has demonstrated more utilitarian determination and unmatched ambition in business than he has. There is no individual referred to as president, whose persona dwarfs that of the presidents of many nations, yet, he is not the president of a nation. He has and continues to represent Africa very well on the global stage.”

Vanguard further explained that for eleven, consecutive years, he has been the richest man in Africa, according to both Forbes and Bloomberg and that for him to be in charge of the largest conglomerate in West Africa, he must possess some skills, a high level of intellect, and a capacity to manage people and resources.

The Newspapers also said: “The group he founded currently has a presence in 17 African countries and is the market leader in cement on the continent. One of the group’s subsidiaries, Dangote Cement Plc, is the largest listed company in West Africa and the first Nigerian company to join the Forbes Global 2000 Companies list. The group has two other subsidiaries: Dangote Sugar Refinery and NASCON Allied Industries, both listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited, NGX. The Group is diversified and operates in major sectors of the Nigerian economy, including agriculture. Is it necessary to explain why Dangote was chosen as Vanguard’s personality of the year? Not necessarily, in light of contemporary achievements. Yes, whereas there are those who may quickly insist and, therefore, say, his familial linkage to the Dantatas whose humongous wealth cannot be divorced from his achievements, there is a clear difference between latching on to the riches of others to grow and launching into an expanded universe with disruptive ideas that are, at once, unmatched and unique in content, context, and deliverables…”

The Newspaper concluded by saying that: “In the spheres of commitment to serve, drive for excellence, utilitarian determination, philanthropic outreach to help, and contribution to national development, President Aliko Dangote deserves the honour of being named Vanguard’s Personality of the Year, 2022.”

 

Dangote emerges as Vanguard’s personality of the year

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Tribunal Judgement: Governor Adeleke Rejects Tribunal Verdict, Heads to Appeal Court

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Governor Adeleke Frowns at Delay in Payment of November Salary

Tribunal Judgement: Governor Adeleke Rejects Tribunal Verdict, Heads to Appeal Court

 

 

 

The Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke has described the judgement of the governorship tribunal as ” a miscarriage of justice”, vowing to challenge the ruling at the Court of Appeal.

 

 

Tribunal Judgement: Governor Adeleke Rejects Tribunal Verdict, Heads to Appeal Court

 

 

Reacting to the verdict of the Tribunal from his country home, Ede, Governor Adeleke faulted the resolution of the over-voting question in favour of Mr Oyetola, calling it ” an unfair interpretation against the will of majority of voters”

 

 

 

 

 

 

While urging his supporters to remain calm, Governor Adeleke vowed to appeal the judgement at the Court of Appeal, insisting he remains the rightful winner of the July 16 election.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I call on our people to remain calm. We will appeal the judgement and we are sure justice will be done. Let our people be reassured that we will do everything possible to retain this widely acclaimed mandate”, Governor Adeleke declared.

Signed:
Mallam Olawale Rasheed,
Spokesperson to the Executive Governor

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