MAJOR GENERAL LEO IRABOR
1. I have the honour to humbly thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR for my appointment as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The appointment has come at a defining moment in the annals of our great nation. At all times, but particularly at a critical time such as this, the call to serve comes with a huge responsibility, which elicits a clear direction and philosophy of leadership to act as guiding principles of conduct, behaviour and a roadmap for action. The overall import of these reflections are to emplace a homogeneous, highly-motivated, disciplined and mission-ready AFN to deliver its constitutional roles and contribute its quota as a foremost national institution to facilitate national security, peace, stability and sustainable development of the nation.
2. Change remains constant in everyday experiences. Within the context of change is embedded a divine opportunity to progress the continuum of service to the security and development of Nigeria, particularly in the areas of: preserving our sovereignty; defending our territorial integrity; protecting our peoples and their cherished way of life; protecting and defending the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999 as amended; defending our democracy; promoting the unity, internal security, peace, progress and sustainable development of Nigeria as well as projecting these values in the international arena. This mandates me to provide direction, guidance and priorities to the AFN.
3. The privilege and honour to lead thousands of patriotic and distinguished Servicemen and women who constantly put their lives in harm’s way in the interest of the nation is very clear to me. As we begin a new phase, it is imperative to understand the basis of leadership and followership as well as the covenant of duty, responsibility and service to the nation. I envisage a knowledge-driven, skill-based, object-focused, fiscally responsible, systematic, creative, forward-looking, ethical and citizen-minded, conscientious and caring armed forces. I look forward to a defence organization where personnel contribute on the basis of their knowledge, hard and soft skills as well as humane aptitudes. I recognize the importance of preserving the time-proven standards of competence that distinguished leaders throughout history. In specific terms, I will advocate for competence, skills and experience, diligence and commitment, decisiveness, honesty, integrity, trust and passion for service. I am equally mindful that we must acknowledge that societal change, evolving security threats, and technological advances will require certain adaptability.
4. As such, I believe that expected results are best achieved out of a clear vision of success and a well-articulated plan of action. This shall involve a controlled system of shared and expanded responsibilities across the entire system but pinnacled at the office of` the CDS. Devolving from national grand-strategic direction, I shall give military strategic and operational guidance to the AFN. I make bold to state that I shall lead by the finest examples that I can set to create the right tone for personnel motivation, active followership and consolidative leadership at all levels of the AFN. In this regard, the broad outline of my leadership focus shall be “To foster a Professional Armed Forces capable of effectively meeting constitutional imperatives”. This broad focus shall be anchored on PEARL as tenets going forward. I shall seek to build the AFN which is Professional, Effective, Agile, Result-oriented and Loyal to the constituted authority as emplaced by the Constitution (PEARL), in concept, shape and outlook. The imperatives therefrom shall espouse a high standard fit-for-task training, sound administration, improved resource management, transparent commitment to core military values of discipline, hardwork, team spirit, patriotism; sustained capacity building in terms of manpower and equipment, enhanced personnel welfare amongst others. Decision-making shall be a collective process of active participation, consultation and consideration. I am convinced that the AFN under my leadership can and will emplace a suitable security environment in the shortest possible time, if we act collectively, decisively and clearly with passion, commitment, integrity and perseverance to achieve our aims and objectives.
5. In view of the transnational nature, scope and implications of many contemporary national security challenges, I shall promote international military cooperation and collaboration as well as combined responses and action through proactive and virile defence diplomacy. In all theatres of military engagement, I shall consult with relevant stakeholders to set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound military objectives. I shall promote collectivism as a fundamental principle in all our interactions and actions. This shall be the fulcrum of our foreign engagements as well as our inter-Services and intra-agency interactions.
6. Domestically, I shall promote synergy and mission command as essential elements for operational planning and execution for all security challenges requiring military intervention across our dear nation. This is because no Service can do it alone and secondly, it is to enable disciplined initiative within any commander’s intent to empower agile and adaptive leadership in the conduct of joint operations. The ultimate purpose is to maximize relative combat power at any decisive point and time. I shall also promote active cooperation and collaboration between the military and other relevant stakeholders, key players, departments, agencies and organisations in aggregating our overall national resource endowments to comprehensively deter, counter, overcome or resolve all security challenges across the nation requiring military intervention.
7. The stakes are high. The mandate of C-in-C is clear. The will and commitment of C-in-C is dogged, solid and motivating. The will and credible resolve of the Honourable Minister of Defence is an added value. Now is the time, the task must be done. We must seize the initiative and take the fight to our adversaries wherever they are domiciled.
Maj Gen LEO IRABOR