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General Buratai In The Trenches For All – By Thomas Uzah PhD

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“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” —Max DePree
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In numerous forums, I have always stated that all that is required for Nigeria to make progress is when there is a commitment from those in positions of authorities to provide credible leadership in the task of nation-building.

In Nigeria today, few have distinguished themselves in this regard and without the pomp and pageantry, yet, making great sacrifices without expecting a thank you in return. They have carried on as servants of the people in the discharge of their responsibilities.

One such person is the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, who qualifies to be called a true leader in all ramifications. He has done what others considered as rocket science. He has displayed that once there is a will, there would always be a way.

I doff my hat for Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai for how he has repositioned the Nigerian Army since he assumed leadership. He has not only done well, but he has also returned the Nigerian Army as the Pride of the Nation, with regards to the prosecution of the war against insurgency, as well as other vices that nearly brought Nigeria on its knees.

Today’s Nigerian Army is indeed a professional force that abides by the rules of engagement in its operations. This much is evident in the numerous successes recorded in North-East Nigeria and other parts of the country.

We might not understand the import of the Nigerian Army’s efforts in addressing the security challenges in the country. However, when we look back five years ago when the Boko Haram terrorist group controlled territories in parts of Nigeria and nearly overran the Federal Capital Territory, we would indeed realize that a lot has changed for better.

I recall when Boko Haram terrorist group freely attacked public places and critical government infrastructures in the Federal Capital Territory; many feared that Nigeria might not survive the onslaught. There was palpable fear in the country, so much so that going out and returning safely was somewhat a miracle because nobody knew when the next bomb was going to detonate.

Roads were barricaded as preventive measures. Life was generally miserable for all, the poor that queued in their numbers to board public buses at the Nyanaya motor park, to those working in the United Nations’ headquarters in Abuja before explosives were detonated. It was a gory period in the annals of the country.
Today, all of that has changed. It didn’t happen overnight. Some persons kept vigil when others slept. And the result is what we see today. The barricades on major roads have disappeared. Not a single bomb has detonated anywhere in the Federal Capital Territory. Boko Haram does not control any local government area in any part of Nigeria. Militant groups have been neutralized. And many more exploits too numerous to mention.

If not for anything, we must give honour to whom it is due. That is why we must commend the Nigerian Army’s leadership for its giant strides in the protection of lives and properties in the country. I know for sure that some mischief makers would not agree with the position because they are blinded by the filthy lucre that they get whenever they spread fake news and undermines the efforts to address the security challenges in the country.

I am not one of those that shy from speaking the truth. I must at this point state that Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has led the Nigerian Army in such a manner that has elicited commendation from wide and far. For him, it is all about service, and this has been seen in the way and manner he has personally led the onslaught against criminal elements in the country.

We have witnessed instances where he gets to the trenches with soldiers in North-East, Nigeria. We have also seen how he has traversed the country’s length and breadth inspecting and reviewing operational strategies on times too numerous to mention. This is indeed legendary and one that would take a long time to come by again.

Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai is the soldier’s soldier. He is frequently on the field and not holed up in the luxury of the office. He is tireless and a workhorse who derives joy when criminal elements are neutralized. He is indeed one rare breed that has redefined what leadership entails and a lesson in service to humanity.

For him, there is no time for frivolities. It is also a statement of the fact that during festive seasons such as this, he has been known for moving around all formations and units of the Nigerian Army reviewing and assessing operational strategies to boost the morale of troops. I am not sure we have many leaders in this country with such work ethics as Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.

As I write this piece unlike many others in position of authorities who have closed shop and at home with their families in celebratory mood, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai is currently in the trenches with the troops strategizing and boosting their morale. This is leadership and should serve as a lesson to all who occupy leadership positions in the country. That Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has elected to be in the trenches when others are feasting with families and friends defines his leadership style that emphasizes country first above anything else. This has remained customary over the years.

Nigeria is indeed blessed to have such at this critical point of our existence. He is indeed gallant, and a unique breed will take us a very long time to get in the Nigerian Army again. It consequently behoves on us to do all within our means to support and appreciate the Nigerian Army and its leadership.

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. This is indeed the reflection of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, as he remains in the trenches for all.

Uzah PhD wrote this piece from Kwararafa University Wukari.

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Opinion

The Diaspora Quagmire For Nigeria – By Idoko Ainoko

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It is established that the population of a nation is its strength; the intellectual and positive productive gifts of its citizenry are its power and enviable assets. The overbeaten cliché in the inaugural address by a former American President. Mr. John F. Kennedy’s in 1961, pricked the consciousness of the people to national loyalty and patriotism soberly; “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

It is a timeless aphorism which pulsates with more relevance for Nigerian today, just like yesterday. It is not only the proclivity of Nigerians to sit back and ask what their country can do for them; but added to it is a flourishing proclivity in this negation, flavoured by the unresisted temptation of destroying the even the little the country has done for Nigerians. The trend is very visible among Nigerian reneges in the diaspora.

The diaspora Nigerians creates artificial tempestuous waves for their country and work industriously to drag others into the evil. They assemble in the temples of enemies and foes of Nigeria; freely partake in the plotting of evil against their own country. Nigerians in foreign lands with no shred of moral sanity provides the tonic and lead the pathway for external forces of destabilization and destruction to feast on the intended perdition against their country. It is done unashamedly insofar as gratification in dollars are placed on the table.

But when former President John F. Kennedy spoke to Americans in 1961, he was conscious of the unassailable reality that his country men and woman resides both within and outside the shores of America. His aphorism strongly charged them on national patriotism, and oneness of actions wherever they are domiciled in the world to make America a global force.

Unfortunately, the devil has ferociously snatched the spirit of patriotism and loyalty from most Nigerians in foreign nations. Of course, there are a few diaspora Nigerians who in their lifetime have brought cherish garlands to Nigeria in sports, academics, banking, medicine, ICT, engineering, architecture and in almost all genuine human fortes. But their numbers are very infinitesimal. The bad ones amongst them are in very awful multitudes.

No doubt, Nigeria is so blessed roundly. But through the sheer evil machinations of some compatriots in the diaspora, there are committed attempts to metamorphose Nigeria into the global headquarters of hell on earth. The rhetorical question quivering on the lips of many is that why is Nigeria so blessed, yet so cursed with such a large number of diaspora nationals?

Truly, some blessings turn out to be a curse. It is undebatable that any nation lucky enough to have a recognizable population of its citizens abroad especially in places like the USA, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Germany, Israel, South/North Korea and host of other developed countries should ordinarily be grateful to God for the blessings.

The excitement is because these individuals are able to replicate models of inventions, investments and other wonders of modern technology to their home country so as to also attract the rest of the world to their countries. It is fallacious and unpardonable for those who still think foreigners would abandon their own country to develop the countries of others. Every patriotic citizen hates to see other nations pairing up with the development manifestations of his country and so, he frustrates it in all possible ways. So, its one’s sacred obligation to develop his country.

A responsible and productive diaspora population should dedicate its energies to acquire the best and latest of knowledge of science and technology and import same into the home countries. They earn national revenues in hard currency for their countries from personal taxes and other lawful levies. They passionately defend their home countries against undue foreign interferences and infringements on the sovereignty of their nations of birth.

Quite lamentably, the experience of Nigeria with her diaspora citizens is slightly different. It bows to the absurd and generally adversative to what is obtainable in other countries.

And the Nigerian citizens in diaspora with crooked minds, lays the foundation back home even before escape to foreign lands. That’s why most of them find illegal means of migrating into foreign nations, instead of adhering to genuine and approved procedures.

Very constantly, embarrassing tales of deportation of illegal Nigerian migrants resonates in the files of Nigeria’s Embassies and High Commissions abroad or international news headlines, more than any other African country. The story is the same even with some of those who are legitimately granted access into such countries; because of demonstrated, certified unlawful and discredited conduct.

Nigerian diaspora lords most times are criminals who escaped the shores of their home country after participating in armed robberies, killings, cultism, terrorism and other high-profile crimes against humanity. And when the law haunts them, the easiest respite is to seek refuge by escaping to foreign countries.

While in these countries, they try relentless and tenaciously to hobnob and submit themselves to services of desperate forces whose only agenda is to undermine and destroy Nigeria. These external forces find such diaspora Nigerians as handy and weapons. So, these diaspora Nigerians become the canon folders and torchbearers in perpetrating the external agenda of destabilization and destruction of Nigeria.

And disgracefully too, Nigerians in the diaspora who fail to penetrate the network of the external subversive elements after the soul of their country, end up in these foreign lands as petty thieves, drug peddlers, rapists, social deviants, drug addicts, hired assassins, internet fraudsters and forerunners of other very confounding crimes. And once they are caught, it is either imprisonment or deportation back to Nigeria depending on the gravity of the crime committed. And once you check their records back home, it reveals the same history on their profile.

These are the games diaspora Nigerians play wherever they are domiciled. The lucky ones like leader of the outlawed terrorists gang which has veiled itself as IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu and many others hide under the diaspora umbrella because of their links and protection by the external lords against Nigeria to discharge their covenanted assignment of destabilizing the country. Expectedly, they have attracted nothing beneficial to Nigeria to justify their years of sojourn in foreign lands.

But quite irrationally, the likes of Kanu and co-travelers are obligated by their foreign sponsors never to shrink in this assignment. So, their fake and bogus allegations of human rights violations against the state. To relax in trumpeting it even for a day, leads to serious reprimands and threats by their foreign pay masters to withdraw funding and their residency protection abroad.

Aware of the repercussions of the such withdrawal, it frightens them endlessly. That’s why they exploit every opportunity to sponsor insurrections against the Nigeria state. And they take advantage of some lazy Nigerian youths by massively recruiting these charlatans, miscreants, hooligans, murderers and brigands to amplify the social unrests in the country to the unimaginable magnitude of compromising national security in order to please their foreign pay masters.

Those who believe their veiled antics against Nigeria or misconstrue their preachments on alleged human rights violations in the country as true; can also believe Lucifer came into the world to assist God Almighty accomplish His plan for the salvation of mankind, and not Jesus Christ.

Ainoko is a public affairs commentator and wrote this piece from Kaduna.

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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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