By Thomas Uzah PhD
“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
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.