By Gift Ogar
It is no longer news that the COAS as the leader of the counter – insurgency operations, belongs to what is called the “strong breed.”
Personally as an operative I do monitor various TV stations and each time the COAS appears on TV screens during interviews including the recent one he granted to educate the public on Nigerian Army operations on the nation – wide counter – insurgency operations, his infectious aura will invoke passions of love on him by anyone. He is soft – spoken, usually calm and calculative, blended with his gift of oratory.
It is no longer news that nature has gifted the COAS so generously. He has excelled as a very combatant Gen who has the unbeatable reputation of a military master strategist and tactician. He is an exceptional Gen who visits and lives with his troops in the trenches much like in military diplomacy. He is a historian and philosopher by academic training. For me, the COAS is a star personality of military history and deploys his intellectual arsenals to find solutions to the manifold contemporary security challenges.
A poet by hobby, the COAS verses are extraordinarily pungent and a gripping commentary on societal problems. Assimilating his poems only reminds one of the lord of romantic poetry, the English-born William Wordsworth. One is often tempted to think, Gen Buratai would have better excelled as an academic don but in all fields, he has come full measure.
In administration and leadership, he exudes uncommon excellence. The COAS has a knack for innovations and reforms. A workaholic and very respected senior officer to the core. He marshals out his plans, set his priorities with time frames and pursues them relentlessly and tirelessly until his targets are met.
With this, he had little difficulty in transforming the disorganized and disoriented NA he inherited into a professional, responsible, responsive and disciplined force. He gave the Nigerian Army a new face and portrait of excellence within months of his assumption of duty as the COAS. Let us not forget that the NA was running into a tattered Army with so many unnecessary dismissal of troops especially with 100% of those dismissal coming from the NE before his appointment.
In addition, as evidence of his innovative ingenuity, the COAS established two new Army Divisions within 3 years of his leadership. He has established 8 Division with Headquarters in Sokoto and 6 Division Port Harcourt in Rivers State. As a leader who is interested in legacies, he has erected modern residential and office accommodation structures in the new Army Divisions so fast. The COAS knows how to pull the right strings to get what he wants for the Army.
Also, remarkably endearing, the COAS has equally established a dozen of Army Brigades, Battalions’ and Forward Bases in different parts of the country especially in places with recurring issues of insecurity just to tackle such insecurity situations. I am happy to mention that he is still expanding in this direction because Delta State has just been given an Army Brigade and Battalion. It is a well known fact that the idea is to facilitate the quick response of troops to all emergency situation in order to smoothen operations against armed criminals for the protection of Nigerians.
With the present COAS handling the affairs of the Nigerian Army, it is so clear that taking a glance at the Nigerian Army today, one sees Nigerian soldiers actively involved overwhelmingly in counter-insurgency operations. Troops are quelling bile and violent insurrectional movements; extinguishing the fires of destructive militancy, quenching the madness of armed bandits and dousing the conflagrations between farmers and herders in different parts of the country.
This in reality shows that the deployment to troops to at least 33 out of 36 States of the Federation for these reasons is quite a bogus operational spread to manage and supervise effectively but our indefatigable COAS has no problems playing his supervisory roles. He is always found everywhere troops under him are deployed for special assignments by paying operational visits to them all the time. From my calculation, he has never spent complete one month on seat without going to visit his troops in FOBs.
Like a nomad, the COAS is a very senior and respected Gen who sits nowhere, but is constantly in motion, hopping from one State to another to oversee the work of his troops at various stations, FOB, Military barracks and operational areas. The COAS dreads failure and avoids it like a plaque. This is evidenced because each time he kick-starts a capital project for the Nigerian Army, he ensures it is completed as scheduled. He hates excuses adduced after failure with a passion.
It is on this spirit that our great COAS gave the Nigerian Army the first specialized conventional Nigerian Army University, Biu (NAUB). The idea of NAUB started like a mustard seed but it grew as the COAS persistently watered it. Based on his efforts, within two years the university became a reality dotted with gigantic and aesthetical edifices. It will interest you to note that students are already observing their second academic session.
The COAS is a visionary and focused leader who is also aggressively pursuing the idea of an aviation unit for the Nigerian Army to make air combats easier for troops in the trenches in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations. An aviation wing for the Nigerian Army has been on the cards of previous leaders of the Nigerian Army but it has dragged for decades without positive results. The present COAS in his characteristic manner is pushing it with an extreme force and tonic.
Foresighted as ever, the COAS first established the Nigerian Army Aviation Corps with Army pilots and technical crew members being trained both at home and abroad. He has established hangers for the Aviation Corps and is in the process of producing helicopters just like he did with the production of the Ezugwu MRAP.
The COAS as a trailblazer at every turn is again set to make history as the COAS who brought to fruition the Army Aviation wing and with this, the admirers of the COAS often times tease him with epaulettes such as “the itinerant Army boss,” or “the mobile General.” And his actions reflect such affectionate wisecrack on his personage.
It is very hard to pin the COAS down to a spot and he is not transfixed in any location. You recall that if you have been following the COAS events, on Tuesday last week, he was in Asaba Delta State to commission the headquarters of 63 Brigade Complex and to also officially authorize the operationalization of the brigade in the State capital. Equally as a COAS who is ever ready for success within another 24hrs, he was in Maiduguri with the troops monitoring the clearance operations of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole. It is no longer secret that with his presence to boost troops morale, Nigerians including the Governor and people of Borno State bear testimony to Nigerian troops decisive crushing of insurgents at Damboa and the destruction of their 19 vehicles the insurgents took to attack own troops. The Governor could not hold his praise for the troops over the success as witnessed.
Meanwhile my findings reveal the COAS is due for Kaduna to inaugurate other new projects and the circle continues on and on. With this, I am bold to say my present COAS is undeniably the restless Gen who wants his troops to win the war on the insurgency. He is a Gen who is always ready to lead and to bury all threats of insecurity in Nigeria. He is also that Gen who hates to sit in one place and merely bark directives.
Gen TY Buratai to me is an amiable Gen by birth from the obscure little town of Biu and an achiever by dint of hard work. He is a Gen by training, a very professional Gen by calling and by action. That is the hidden portrait of Gen. TY Buratai the nightmare and tormentor-in-chief of terrorists. I regard him always as the action-filled and result-oriented Nigeria’s COAS and ombudsman of counter-terrorism operations. Having mentioned all the above, this is the more reasons why some saboteurs and their agents want him removed but I am personally happy that Mr President who brought him to come and fixed the NA and to fight the insurgency knows better.
98NA/46/2456 Ssgt Gift Ogar wrote from NARC Military Intelligence Regiment, Abuja