By David Onmeje
Nigeria is 60, and this indeed calls for celebrations for the journey so far. It has been a journey of ups and downs, a journey of sorrows and lots of laughter, and a journey of incredible feats in the life of Nigeria.
The 60-year-old journey of Nigeria can be a best seller any day and time because of the various intrigues that have characterized our very existence. We have had our fair share of glory regardless of what some want us to believe and see ourselves as failures. Nigeria is indeed a great nation blessed with good people.
Our ethnic diversities even though threatened many times, remains our source of strength and would continue to be in the years ahead. I must also add that Nigeria is indeed a force to reckon with amongst the comity of nations in the African continent as well as globally for the exploits of her citizenry in various fields and endeavours that they have found themselves.
It is, therefore a Diamond Jubilee worth rolling out the drums in excitement. But before we do that it is expedient that we understand that of all the issues in Nigeria, the issue of security of lives and property has remained a daunting task for successive governments in the country. And this was made more complicated since the outbreak of the Boko Haram insurgency in North-East Nigeria.
This critical sector remains that backbone for sustainable growth and development in any given society, Nigeria inclusive. And that we have been able to stay united despite the upsurge of the activities of terrorist and militant groups is indeed commendable and that is why I have always extended my support and words of encouragement to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai who in my considered opinion has significantly sacrificed for Nigeria through his leadership strides in the Nigerian Army.
If we must admit, the coming of Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai as the Chief of Army Staff was indeed timely and strategic in the sense that he inherited a Nigerian Army that was meant to be the pride of the Nation in a most terrible and inert state. A Nigerian Army that was almost stripped naked by the Boko Haram insurgents who bestrode North-East Nigeria like a colossus, so much so that they took over 16 local government areas in states in North East and the Nigerian Army of then were helpless and were notorious for making “technical and tactical” withdrawals from the theatre of operations whenever they come under heavy bombardment from Boko Haram terrorist.
The situation was so terrible that Nigeria was at the brink of collapse as a result of the nefarious activities of the Boko Haram group and other militant organizations in Nigeria. I recall a point during one of the inaugural lectures in the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, it was expressly stated that the years 2009 to 2015 was the worst period in the annals of Nigeria aside the Civil War period. And if not for the turnaround introduced in the Nigerian Army, Nigeria would have quaked under the Boko Haram onslaught.
To think that within a record period, the Nigerian Army was able to turn the tides against the Boko Haram sect by capturing their operational headquarters in the dreaded Sambisa forest tells a lot of the personality and commitment of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai.
In my opinion, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai should be referenced in the effectiveness of counterinsurgency operations because of the success of the counterinsurgency operations in Nigeria. He has indeed proven that once there is a will, there would always be a way, and this is mostly responsible for the success of the counterinsurgency operations in Nigeria.
Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai by every inch qualifies as Nigeria’s Diamond Jubilee Star for his leadership strides in leading the Nigerian Army to exploits. His leadership acumen was brought to bear at the time that Nigeria needed a messiah. And from all indications, he has proven to all that Africa and indeed Nigeria is never short of good men and women with the right motivation and opportunity will deliver on any task and within a record time.
I can’t but doff my heart for Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, who by all indication, has exhibited a great sense of patriotism in service to our fatherland. And we must indeed commend and encourage him to continue to do more exploits in service to fatherland even as he remains the highlight of our Diamond Jubilee this year. Those that understand what it means to lead troops in asymmetric warfare as well as internal security operations simultaneously would not hesitate to sing the praise of Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai to high heavens.
I also think that aside distinguishing himself as a rock-solid infantry general, he has consequently served as a role model to millions of youths in the country, some of who have made decisions to join the Nigerian Army because they see Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai as a worthy role model in patriotism, dedication, and commitment in service to our fatherland. I wholehearted recommend that should youths imbibe some of his traits, Nigeria would indeed be a better place.
As we continue to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of our country, we should also take out time to honour those that have been outstanding in service to Nigeria. Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai aptly qualifies as the Diamond Jubilee Star.
Onmeje wrote this piece from the United Kingdom.