Spurred by the dire desires to assert in sincere lines but cajoled by the thoughtful scare of self ordained critics, I could not delve into silence or subscribe to cowardice but I adopted the refined traits of a realist in baking this stance. We all owe a dutiful allegiance to the bond envisaged by the doctrine of ONE NIGERIA which we must all preach, seek and practice. Secondly, as a Nigerian student schooling in diaspora, I can picture and reflect on the maltreatments and suspicious mount the activities of the Boko Haram sects earned me and my fellow African students.
Our White hosts normally place us on a furtive routine surveillance because they nurtured the mindset that African students are terrorists, today, it is now a story of the past and my comrades in Coventry University, UK can attest to my claims. Just recently, I overhead a conversation between a group of European students while waiting for Africa’s Richest Man to deliver a lecture. It drew my attention because their discussions was anchored on the brave military leadership skills of and might of Gen. Buratai. I could not help but engage them in a lengthy discussion and I was dignified by their knowledge and praises of the brilliant Army Chief. At the end the encounter, I became poised and resolute to dot these lines to air my views in solidarity with my fellow students of African extraction to the indefatigable leadership of the astute ‘peoples General.
The aftermaths of every form of warfare is laced with a reminisce of the true heroes and a prudent ponder on the acclaimed victories, favoured conquest or the pains of defeat. In whichever milieu, heroes are celebrated and praised while losers are mocked and booed; these certainties are glaringly featured as inherent facts in the history of every nation, it is not a flamboyant jamboree but a pictured reality of history.
At the inception of this present dispensation ably led by President Muhammadu Buhari, he appointed General Tukur Yusuf Buratai as the 26th Chief of Army Staff. To be candid, I joined the legion of misinformed critics and frowned at his portfolio which we all perceived as the height of nepotism. However, in no distant time, our doubts was cleared.
At the onset of his appointment, in line with the presidential directives, the military base was promptly relocated to the epicenter of the Boko Haram terrorists during the peak of unhealthy strives. In a pragmatic swift and proactive style, General Buratai fashioned a paradigm for easy counter and propelled the dreams of Nigerians to a lofty height. The hitherto warped antique of military weapons and armoury was replaced with state of the art rated weapons and he ensured his officers and men of the armed forces underwent a highly sophisticated result oriented military training on how to combat and counter terrorism. In solidarity to Buratai’s humane resolve to quell insurgency, he celebrated the last yuletide season with his troops and slept in trenches. This is a rare but lucid leadership, styled by action, inactions and determined deeds. Buratai’s military tact, style and intelligence is worthy of emulation and a sure guide to any officer who is determined to reach the apogee of his career.
General Buratai sought and reformed the once moribund army; he boosted the morale of his officers and men by ensuring a better welfare package. The Barrack Investment Plan (BIP) was introduced and this catered for the daily needs of the soldiers and their families.
For the first time in the history of Nigeria there is a civil military relationship devoid of friction. Under the leadership of Buratai, soldiers are compelled to respect the fundamental human rights and any erring personnel is reprimanded for his/her crimes. This is a new development shaped and enforced by the dogged humility personified COAS.
Today, the former theatre of war is now the safest heaven and the persnickety natured Abubakar Shekau together with his devilish cronies have gone into oblivion. At this juncture, it is noteworthy to assert that the thorough bred intellectualism and the high professional discipline of Buratai equally paved way for him to crush shenanigans who devised various inimical schemes to deter his resolve to end terrorism. We witnessed the incursion and rebellion of the IPOB secessionist, the Shiite clash, the incessant attack of Fulani herdsmen, the fraudulent accusations instigated by the fallacious reportage of Premium Times and a wholesome empty counter of baseless mischief makers. Be that as it may, the Buratai story can likened to the popular dictum of the cat with nine lives; Gen. Buratai sailed through the hurdles and came out tall. Who God has blessed, no man can curse.
Indeed, citizens and expatriates; Nigerians at home and in diaspora now live and interact freely without any fear of the unknown or oppression defined tendencies from any angle. This highlighted achievements were realised within two years of Buratai’s appointment to steer the country into the realm of peace. Conclusively therefore, laurels cannot equate the selfless service of the bravest General in the history of our nationhood even as we (African Students in diaspora) anticipate an epoch making moment to give honour to whom honour is due.
As Nigerians bask in the euphoria of peace and tranquility fashioned by the rarest breed of military affinity, we must join the league of the congeries of Buratai’s affections which cuts across borders to celebrate the great continental hero of war beyond ethnicity and territorial borders. Nigerians irrespective of our extractions should embrace peace and understand the notion of unity in diversity. Terrorism and incessant clashes cannot make us, it can only mar us. I salute the sincerity of purpose and the apt style of military valour juxtaposed by the timely leadership of Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai. He is celebrated today and forever because his contributions to our peaceful coexistence is forever crested in our minds.
****Uchenna Okereke is the President of African Students Frontiers For Credible Leadership and he contributed this piece from the UK