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General Buratai’s Defiant Audacity In Leadership – By Philip Agbese

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“Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity.” -Karl von Clausewitz

In Nigeria, audacity in leadership also requires a great dosage of defiant courage. It is because in this part of the world, majority of the people are more atoned to failed leadership predominantly. It sounds odd, but such persons delight in dubiously exploiting failed leaders for personal benefits at the detriment of the whole system.

Therefore, in Nigeria, it is akin to a taboo to display positive leadership. The leader must possess enough content of courage and audacity to break even against dark forces haunting him. The few spoilers, recruit and pay campaigners’ to publicly, malign, distract and outrightly intimidate into submission, leaders with positive disposition, by deploying false narratives and malicious critiques deliberately to dwarf his verifiable good impacts.

It seems to the greatest burden and cross of Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai who has found himself in the midst of devouring wolves now. In the last five years, the Army Chief has deposited in bold imprints in leadership of the Nigerian Army (NA). A soldier gifted with audacious courage; he has repressed the darkest of forces to assert his legacies.

British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill extrapolated; “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” So, Gen. Buratai has courageously proved himself as an exceptional military strategist, tactician, reformist, innovator and a military leadership guru. He has audaciously asserted his mark of positive leadership against all odds and conquered Nigeria’s anti-development predators.

These enemies of Nigeria and foes of Gen. Buratai have stopped at nothing to ply their trade and activate such passions, the antics of distractions or demean him enough to taint his rising profile. Therefore, they hate the association of Gen. Buratai with the Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Gen. Buratai “came; he saw and he conquered.”

But excitingly, history is an impartial arbiter. And like the printed word, history does not lie and it is permanent. Definitely, it would be fair to Gen. Buratai at the appropriate time. It is the general anticipation of the numerous admirers of Gen. Buratai.

But audaciously, the Army boss has conquered the stormy storms and subdued the volley of forces of sabotage and distractions to significantly transform the previously neglected institution of Nigerian Army within a short time. He has proved his mettle as the unconquerable warrior of the trenches in fighting Boko Haram insurgents/ and ISWAP terrorists and a development czar.

Terrorists sponsors and sympathizers have found Gen. Buratai, the hardest nut to crack in the bloody campaigns of the extremist religious sects terrorizing Nigeria. He is the nemesis of armed bandits in the country and insurrectionists like IPOB or their replicas in the configuration of armed militants. Ethnic warlords and armed militias are mesmerized or they have never encountered this dutifully obstinate Army General, who is extremely very difficult to conquer or compromise like Gen. Buratai.

Nevertheless, where Gen. Buratai has recorded confounding impacts in his leadership of the Nigerian Army is in innovations, reformations and repositioning of a once decrepit Army into a proud force and shinning star in the African continent and beyond. He is a beautiful bride whose usefulness to humanity has no end and the signs are visible.

He has launched the Nigerian Army on many fronts of firsts! Whoever believed Nigerian Army would ever upheld the dignity and human rights of Nigerians in its military operations? Whoever contemplated in even in dreams that Nigerian Army would one day subordinate itself to civil authority or “bloody civilians” to the extent of accepting court summons and appearing in civil courts to answer to allegations of professional misconduct by soldiers levelled against them by aggrieved civilians?

But Gen. Buratai has solved the problem easily by establishing the Human Rights Desks at the Nigerian Army Headquarters (AHQs). It is replicated in all major Army Divisions and most times, in locations outside the Barracks and very accessible to potential complainants. Noticeably, the loud noises by human rights organizations’, both indigenous and foreign on alleged human rights violations perpetrated by soldiers have vanished incredibly. It is just a tip of the many innovations, Gen. Buratai’s leadership has birthed in the institution of the Army

Most host communities of Nigerian Army formations and units are truly experiencing for the first time, the generosity of soldiers in discharging its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects in healthcare, electricity, roads, bridges, major culverts, water and many others. It has immensely improved Civil/Military relations. Before Gen. Buratai’s leadership, CSR policy of the Nigerian Army were only embedded in Army Laws. But he has activated and functionalized it for the first time in the history of Nigerian Army.

However, critics incurably blind to sight reality, can also be told by their trusted confidants that for the first time, Nigerian Army is a proud owner of its own university (Nigerian Army University Biu (NAUB), while Gen. Buratai is leading the Army. It has started training both security personnel and civilians in various strategic disciplines.

These baseless persecutors of Gen. Buratai would also be told that in the 157 years of the existence of Nigerian Army, the specialized first Nigerian Army War College is established under the tenure of Gen. Buratai; It is same for the Nigerian Aviation School and a similar policy, formalization of the consecration of the novel Nigerian Army Female Corps to answer to gender-based issues in operations of the Army in fighting insurgencies in the country is achieved. This unique innovation terminated the blistering reign of female bombers in Nigeria.

With two new Army Divisions, and two new Army Referral Hospitals to offer tertiary medical attention to soldiers and their families, including members of host communities, and scores of Army Forward Operations Bases (FOBs) in instant compliance with the Army’s new Order of Battle (ORBAT) as signposts of Gen. Buratai’s stewardship are beyond mindless reproach by professional haters and wailers.

Gen. Buratai’s reforms and innovations cannot be exhausted in one piece. But who has forgotten that for the first time, a Nigerian Army Chief has sourced and succeeded in using 100 percent local contents or materials and indigenous military technologists, to manufacture hi-tech, world class combat weapons, (such as MRAP Ezugwu) Army uniforms and kits, which are very useful in counter-insurgency operations? The Army Chief is the first to introduce digital Army uniforms with sensors to send signals to the nearest military base if a soldier in the frontlines is distressed.

Undeniably, Gen. Buratai is an endowed and enigmatic leader. How he has succeeding in catapulting and elevating the Nigerian Army to enviable heights, others struggled to eternity, but failed remains a mystery. Manifestly, he is an intellectual dynamite and workaholic soldier, whose appointment as COAS was not by accident. President Muhammadu Buhari knew the reasons for anointing him as both leader of the Army and counter-insurgency operations.

And he has not disappointed President Buhari by transforming the support to his leadership by Mr. President to fruits of legacies for the Army. Gen. Buratai is a soldier who came at the right time to conquer an evil against his country and humanity. He has dispensed this assignment with splendid mastery.

Gen. Buratai is known for brutal frankness. No circumstances compels him to tell a lie for any reason. When soldiers slacked at the warfront and allowed occasional Boko Haram attacks, he publicly blamed subordinate Commanders for dereliction of duty and cautioned them to sit-up.

When he relocated to the Northeast theatre of war to lead the battle from the front in April 2020, where he spent two months, Gen. Buratai who sensed a few soldiers who dread battles; and influence others with such negative thoughts to willingly chicken out of the Army because Nigerian Army of today has no room for the faint-hearted.

Gen. Buratai is described by even very senior officers of the Army as the best military strategist today. Counter-terrorism operations have yielded worthwhile progress because of the countless strategies he introduced which have nicely countered insurgents. The introduction of the Motorbike Battalions, Special Female Corps, Super Camp Strategy, cyberspace warfare and lots more have changed the negative narratives of insurgents as invincible forces in Nigeria. He is always weeks ahead of insurgents/terrorists plans. There is no doubt that leader of counter-insurgency operations has coordinated the war against insurgency perfectly so far.

Therefore, his recent statement that insurgency might last for another 20 years in Nigeria was roughly misinterpreted by a section of the society for their selfish reasons. HTe facts were generously twisted to malign Gen. Buratai and portray him as incompetent. Many alien interpretations were imputed into it and some of the perpetual critics even insinuated that the statement was Gen. Buratai’s tacit acceptance of helplessness over counter-insurgency operations and renewed the malicious calls for his sack.

But the Army Chief knows the matrix, character and intricacies of asymmetrical terrorists’ operations better than his traducers. Like the COAS asserted, terrorism has been quashed in Nigeria; what is reigning now is indeed insurgency and it will remain with Nigeria for a little longer. It’s because the massive brainwashing and indoctrination of people into the sect has a history which dates back to 50 or more years. Such phenomenon does not dissipate in a jiffy.

No matter his deliberate persecution, Gen. Buratai gathers his momentum to trudge on from Winston Churchill’s advice; “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Indubitably, the COAS is a fearless patriot who will stop at nothing but to say the truth as it is, no matter whose ox is gored.

Agbese is a human right activist based in the United Kingdom.

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Opinion

Sahara Reporters And Dearth Of Investigative Journalism – By Philip Agbese

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Pro-protest and pro-terrorist news blog, Sahara Reporters, has maxed out its usefulness and may just be on the last lap of its viability going by the nature of the sub-par news items it is now pushing out in the name of exclusives or investigative reports.
The latest of such impaired offering from Sahara Reporters was sensationally headlined, “EXPOSED: Buratai, Olonisakin, Two Other Service Chiefs Get Eight Flashy Vehicles, Over 40 Soldiers, More As New Retirement Benefits”.

To start with, there is mischief written all over the headline, which leveraged basic arithmetic to create a sense of impropriety. By lumping the cars for four military chiefs together it promoted the impression that each of the chiefs would get 40 cars when they retire as opposed to the four they are actually getting. Granted that there is the tyranny of the headline, which allows publication to be attention seeking, the body of the story did nothing to clarify this lumping together of the number of cars.
It also omitted to fairly disclose that the cars that goes to each retiring office holder are not necessarily situated in the same city. To have a sense of this, a person of the calibre of a military chief would use a staff car, a pilot and back-up at the very least. The gruesome murder of a former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Barde (rtd) is a lesson to how and why military commander of that status need security and logistics provided as part of their pension.
In my opinion thy the Chiefs deserve what is legally allotted to them even if it is 20 vehicles each and a private jet. Though I know that the modesty of these people will not permit them to have more than two vehicles. Also add that Buratai as COAS still attends public hospitals with his family anytime he requires medical attention.

Interestingly, the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service for Officers (HTACOS) that Sahara Reporters based its malicious publication upon was revised in 2017, which leaves one wondering how that is a big news. It is farcical how the news blog attempted to make it look like the Military chiefs were self-serving by unnecessarily drawing attention to how the HTACOS was revised under their watch. It shows the depth to which the discredited news platform will sink in its quest to tarnish the standing of certain people in Nigeria.

One would have expected that Sahara Reporters would have included in its report the retirement benefits of the counterparts of these service chiefs from other countries of corresponding means. Unfortunately, the web rag failed to do this basic investigation and comparison that would have rubbished its supposed exposé. It would have likely end up with a story that reveals how Nigeria is unable to keep up with other countries in the care of those that risked most of their productive lifetime in safeguarding the rest of the population. The bet is out as to if Sahara Reporters if ever capable of publishing such a report and that is assuming it has the capacity to be objective enough to do same.

Bottom line, the shallow report is a continuation of a tradition that is guaranteed to destroy Sahara Reporters as a news source. Emphasis is on news source because one dare does not qualify that phrase with the “credible” because it is an expression that should not exist in the same sentence with the name of that web rag.

It would be a pipe dream to expect that Sahara Reporters will turn a new leaf to embrace objectivity where Nigeria’s military is concerned. Its desperate bid to hurt that institution and the people that lead it is legendary. This makes it pertinent to counsel the military and its leadership not to waste any effort in addressing the mischief that is replete in that shabby piece. Joining issues with Sahara Reporters is akin to wrestling a hog, one would invariably come out of the tussle all soiled with mud even when one defeated the hog.

What the military chiefs should rather do is to continue to deliver to Nigeria the superlative performance that has been the source of the publication’s anger. The military should continue to decimate the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists that Sahara Reporters is beholden of while sustaining the denial of space to other terrorist outfits that the news site is working for. They should continue to frustrate the foreign partners that collude with this evil platform to torment Nigerians by routing for the ascendancy of terrorism in the land.

For Sahara Reporters, we are assured that nothing will stop its death spiral as it is increasingly glaring that its publisher, Omoyele Sowore’s ambition of being named as a member of an interim government that would arise from the illegal sack of the current government by mob action is what is driving the dearth of investigative journalism in that publication. The only favour the publication owes Nigerians as it were is to speed up its own demise and it will achieve this by publishing the kind of junk referenced in this piece. It is a matter of time before its shallowness finally turns away those that had endured its lies for some time now.

Agbese is the CEO, TheNigerian News and wrote from Abuja

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Opinion

Nigeria And Her Betrayal By Diaspora – By Thomas Uzah PhD

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Interventions on the political and economic fronts by Nigerians in the Diaspora have been anything but complimentary of our leaders, systems and policies.

It is as if once our intellectuals find their feet in other shores, they develop a contemptuous mindset towards their country and anything happening in the country is viewed from negative prisms.

These Diasporans become perpetual critics whose thirst for castigating Nigerian leaders and their policies is hardly satisfied.

This posture had made many patriotic citizens to conclude that most of these Nigerians living in foreign countries are driven by regime hate hence are not capable of critically and objectively dissecting the situation they choose to interrogate not to talk of proffering  positive solutions.

Rather than come up with ideas for the political and socioeconomic upliftment of their people, Nigerians in the Diaspora have constituted themselves into a nation of nay sayers, cynics and pessimists trying hard to drag the Nigerian state down. 

It is typical of comments from there to reduce every economic breakthrough to happenstance, every good policy to a mere mistake while challenges are elevated as the norm.

While the nationals of other countries seek ways to better their country through researches and pooling of funds from their host countries, the Nigerian Diaspora community is more interested in seeing itself as an opposition party. 

In the 70s, it was a group of Malaysians in the Diaspora who stumbled on the Nigerian palm fruits  and through researches, were able to extract pure vegetable oil from the fruit which they now export to other countries.

But decades after we have sent our sons and daughters to the most technologically advanced countries, our mothers and sisters are still using grinding stones to grind pepper while our men are still using raffia to climb palm trees.

Good and commercially viable agricultural products still perish on their ways to the market because there’s no means of preserving them.

While they have failed in their patriotic duties of using their experiences to help in the development of their country, they appear unrelenting in the bid to rubbish whatever progress Nigeria is making.

This was why when Nigeria was categorised as one the fastest developing economies in the world, it did not make an impression on these set of intellectuals, neither have they said anything since our military turned the tide against terrorists and insurgents that have been disturbing the peace of the country.

Unofficial reports state that there are about 15 million Nigerians in the diaspora and can be found in most countries of the world especially the United States and the UK, followed by South Africa, UAE and other European countries such as Italy and Spain. 

The largest Nigerian Diaspora community is in the US with around followed by the UK.

A survey conducted in the US indicated that Nigerians in the US are one of the highest educated migrant groups.

The survey found that 29% of the Nigerian diaspora older than 25, held a master’s degree, Ph.D. or an advanced professional degree compared to 11% of the US population overall. 

It is said that no country in Sub-Saharan Africa receives more remittances than Nigeria, estimated by the World Bank at around 24.3B per year and 6% of GDP.

This makes Nigeria the sixth country in the world in remittance inflows. 

This ordinarily should have been celebrated as it is quite huge, but the benefits of such potentials are hardly seen at home. This id because they are only channelled towards luxurious and personal interests. Hardly are the inflows invested into the Nigerian economy with a view to ensuring a multiplier effect.

They are remittances through family ties and have not been substantial enough to jump start any aspect of the economy, let alone develop one.

Even the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, which “has the responsibility to coordinate and organize Nigerians in and from the Diaspora to contribute human capital and material resources, including their expertise, for the development of Nigeria and its constituent states,” has not been forthcoming in that regard. 

Worse still, many of the Nigerians in the Diaspora, wreak havoc of the image of Nigeria by their involvement in crime across the continents.

A release by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for America in year 2020 showed that Nigerian citizens are among the leading nationals in crime.  

Clearly, they have become bad influences on their home country by becoming emergency activists who go out to ruin the peace of the country . 

It has even been alleged that some of their unpatriotic interventions are sponsored to destabilise Nigeria for which they receive financial gratification. 

But these have got to stop. Nigerians abroad must start seeing the good in their country and project same to the world. They must serve as the catalyst for technological advancement and steer clear of the underground moves to use them to destabilise their own country .

Uzah PhD is Head, Mass Communication Department, Kwararafa University Wukari.

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Opinion

ICC: Understanding The Insurgency Within Insurgency – By Richard Murphy

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Nigeria has for over a decade been enmeshed in an intractable insecurity mess due to the unfortunate conspiracy against it by notable international bodies like the ICC and Amnesty International among others, and kowtowing the script of the renegade and insurgents on its soil.

This is indeed a very unfortunate and dreadful situation, as the plot of these people is to ensure a systematic breakup of the country, after it has inexplicably defied all their wicked predictions.

What is unclear or absurd to some, is how it is taking the Nigerian Armed Forces so long to totally bring the insurgents to a complete halt. Given the dare-devil and mindless mindset displayed by these faceless groups, such people are unaware of the huge obstacles strewn on the paths of the Armed Forces in curtailing internecine wars.
In the first place, the Armed Forces of every country is primarily trained and conditioned to wage wars against external aggression and defend its territorial boundaries only.

So, the Nigerian Armed Forces are saddled with a task that they were never prepared for, against their professional ethics to turn their guns against the very citizens they are supposed to protect. This is made more complex when one notes that the insurgents and terrorists are mingled with the civilian population, while the troops are in clear view of the renegades to pick out as guinea pigs.

It is indeed a very sad and miserable situation the Nigerian Armed Forces have found themselves in.
It is therefore most uncharitable for hitherto respected international bodies like the ICC and Amnesty International, to always rise up to the defense of the insurgents, any time the scale of balance is tilted against them.

It is a monumental shame for ICC that ought to know better to allege that the troops are either using excessive force or committing crimes against humanity, when routing the same insurgents that could stop at nothing and deploy any means to prosecute their macabre insidious agenda.

While it is understood that the Armed Forces are under obligation to ensure civilian casualties are minimized in the course of their operations, there is no justification for setting any standards for the Nigerian troops, unless to incapacitate them, faced with the potent danger like terrorism and insurgency.

It is absurd and lamentable that the ICC and its cohorts rather than call these deranged elements to order, or chart a path to ease the crisis, would prefer to stoke the embers of the inferno and tactically fuelling the insurgency further. Less we forget, the International Criminal Court is an international organization and as well a Tribunal that sits in The Hague, in Netherlands, is the first and only permanent International Court with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

It is in every material fact intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore exercise its jurisdiction, only when National courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute such crimes.
Against this backdrop, the antics of ICC and it’s cohorts to level allegations of excess force or crimes against humanity on Nigerian troops, smacks of deep hatred for the Nigerian people and a deliberate ploy to frustrate the Government from overcoming this scourge. If the ICC is sincere in its obligation to protect humanity and human rights, what stops it from condemning the posture of the insurgents and terrorists who are bent on rubbishing Nigeria’s Sovereignty?

It is evident and crystal clear that the ICC’s claims must be aimed at discrediting the gains being recorded by the Nigerian troops, which according to the National Coordinator of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, (CNM) Patriot Sabo Odeh, is a vivid attempt to undermine the efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

This explains why ICC and Amnesty International, always abashedly raise their voices to stop the momentum in their nefarious bid to not only prolong the insurgency war but to as well demoralize the Nigerian troops and invariably embarrass the Government.

It is in the light of these facts that the Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai and the CNM boss , earlier urged the troops to discountenance ICC allegations and remain focused on the task at hand.

ICC, Amnesty international and their cohorts have no moral fabric to question how Nigeria deals with its internal security challenges, not after they have demonstrated times without court that they mean to derail our territorial integrity, rubbish our sovereignty and have openly displayed their contempt for our heterogeneous setting.

So, Nigeria needs to brace up to decisively tackle this scourge regardless of empty charades of the promoters and sympathizers of the terrorists and insurgent groups. God is always on the side of the just and would surely see Nigeria through these harrowing hard times.

It is therefore imperative to now know the enormity of the task at hand. We must all rise up to the challenge and speak with one voice, because ICC, Amnesty International and their cohorts are only exploiting our fault lines to achieve their nefarious plot against our collective wellbeing.

Since ICC has abandoned its statutory mandates and takes delight in compounding our insecurity challenges, it is inevitable to embark on concerted efforts to woo well meaning international power blocs to see reason and check-mate this evil plot.

The international community should put its searchlight on ICC and it’s co-travelers, as they have derailed, compromised and doing the bidding of face-less paymasters.
The insecurity challenges in Nigeria really appear daunting, but with resolute determination, valour and dynamism we can overcome this malady.

The agents of destabilization have perfected their inglorious plans to make a mockery of our democracy.
Nigeria can no longer afford to treat the ravaging insecurity challenges with kid gloves, since our troops understand the danger posed to our democracy by this intractable insurgency, we should rally round them and give all the support they need to check this debilitating menace.

All those either colluding or conniving with these renegade elements do not deserve any sympathy or mercy. Anyone feigning support for the insurgents and terrorists, are in all material fact enemies of our dear fatherland and should be so treated. As an international organization that courts global relevance, ICC cannot and should not be seen to be with the hunt and the hunted.

The territorial integrity of Nigeria supersedes any veiled inordinate ambition of any group, no matter the immense resources at its disposal.  There is no doubt that ICC, Amnesty international and their ilk have hidden agenda and would stop at nothing to play out their given scripts, but we must resist them stoutly, with total vehemence and bravado.

Thank God, the whole world is keenly watching and we should press for overhauling of the structures in ICC, to ensure the intendments that necessitated its existence, are duly served.
Institutions may be noble in frame work but the human angle if left unchecked, could mar, imperil and rubbish its essence.

This is the crass state the ICC has presently degenerated into; hence the UN as a family must save ICC from itself.
The leadership of ICC having derailed since, are now overwhelmed with scheming to appear playing to the gallery while in fact acting out given scripts of their paymasters to the detriment of the sacred responsibilities, they ought to be upholding.

In such a scenario, ICC stands discredited, compromised and lacks the moral fabric to question how Nigeria prosecutes this nauseating insurgency strife. It cannot be working in partnership with our enemies and yet expect us to take it seriously, this is simply because ICC is yet to come to terms with the stern stuff Nigerians are made of.
In the light of the foregoing, Nigerians must eschew tribal-religious differences and work concertedly to stamp out the insurgency threat.

As it is, Nigeria is facing the terrorists cum insurgents at the war front and in the same breath being distracted at will by ICC and Amnesty international, whenever the scale of balance tilts against the renegades.
Since the infractions of ICC and Amnesty international are getting bolder and unceasing, it is imperative to change our approach to the manner of dealing with this itch.

ICC and Amnesty international must not wish us well before we survive. Our survival is from God, who has ordained our existence and weathered all our storms, so it is high time we called the bluff of ICC and its cohorts.
Nigeria is indeed destined for greatness. To attain such a height is a matter of dint of hard work, overcoming all obstacles with total focus on the goals. The present insurgency scourge will in no time fizzle out, once our leaders summon the political will to do the needful. What is fueling the insurgency craze is ineffective planning of our affairs and now that Government is tackling the issue frontally by ascertaining who every Nigerian is, we are sure to soon get there and ICC and its cohorts can go to blazes.

Murphy is a security expert based in Calabar.

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