By Anthony Kolawole
Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai is one enigmatic leader. He is passionate and tenaciously works according to his convictions on service to fatherland.
Every day he steps out for his official assignments, he faces multiple risks of death from enemy camps, together with his troops. But it’s no deterrence to him and the team, as professional soldiers to the core.
But his resolve never to relent or bow before the forces amassed against his country, who minutely, threaten the security, peace and unity of the nation has eternal remained unbowed.His constant and consistent thoughts are baked on the table of improving the security of Nigerians. On his Facebook page, Gen. Buratai, pensively posted this endearing comment;
“The current crises are both induced internally and externally. So many forces are against Nigeria. The target is the corporate existence of Nigeria as a country. The blame game along ethnic and religious fault lines is not the solution. The military and the security agencies are doing a lot. Much more needed to be done but, surely we shall get the solution. Nigerians must unite to solve this serious challenge.”
It re-validates his infinite his mindset for the insecurity tribulations of his dear country and reveals his irreversible determination, in spite of all odds, to reach the final bus stop of its termination. To repeat the obvious, Nigeria is unpretentiously, on the cliffhanger of insecurity.
Terrorism and its spiral acts of armed local conflicts are still holding Nigeria captive in a few locations. It could have been worse, had President Muhammadu Buhari failed to deploy wisdom or reneged on his campaign promise to secure the lives and property of Nigerians.
But the enemies of Nigeria, both within and outside the country are very determined to plunge the rest of the nation into debilitating violence, killings, confusion, chaos and anarchy.The camps spend more time plotting this evil on themselves and the country, because the time is really auspicious.
The fragrance of the next general election is just months away. And Nigerians know the power monks; supposed “owners” of Nigeria who have brought the country on its kneels for decades hate to see a leader with the strong spirit President Buhari radiates. The enemies are averse to the posture of Buhari to free the nation from these manacles of political, economic, insecurity and ethno-religious servitude.
But the President is more equally determined than the enemies of Nigeria. He has perfectly decoded their gimmicks and subterranean conspiracies to rattle his Presidency and Nigeria.To say, these opponents and enemies have subdued him is off target.
The President is even more primed now to puncture their consuming inferno on Nigeria.He knows of the presence of active internal agents and collaborators and is also superbly aware of their external paymasters as confessed by security agents and confirmed by him.
The shadows funding, encouraging and unleashing violence on Nigeria resonates more loudly from Iran, Libya and other veiled foreign nations. And their internal connivers in Nigeria have grabbed this destructive conversation and are spreading its tentacles incredibly.
The predictions about the break-up and total disintegration of Nigeria in 2015 failed. So, emphasis has shifted to exploiting the nation’s hurtful and hackneyed struggles for political power and the blame-game along ethnic-religious fault-lines to propagate these destructive campaigns of bloodbath. It is against every value and norms which have tethered Nigerians together as a people and a united nation.
Gen. Buratai, the leader of anti-terrorism operations in the country has also adequately discerned and decoded the diction of the detractors. On this one score like others, one senses that he is on the same page with Mr. President and his Commander–In-Chief. So, strategic thinking and actions have never been part of their official exhaustion.
Therefore, when Gen. Buratai released the aforementioned post on his Facebook page, it only reminded of his unshakeable resolve and promise to Nigerians never to let them down on security. Deep thinkers and believers of the Nigerian Project knew the Army boss was expressing his deep-seated empathy and passionate disquiet with the extent internal forces have gone to destabilize their own country.
At the same time, he offered a clue to Nigerians who are unmindful of the grand plots to make their country ungovernable, by serving as canon folders to haters of Nigeria.
From the very first day Gen. Buratai assumed duties in his present capacity, he was very honest and abundantly articulate and coherent to all Nigerians that he has been saddled with a nationally patriotic duty to secure Nigerians and his country from bile acts of terrorism. And that it’s either he succeeds or sacrifices his life in order to give Nigerians peace and security. This much was personally conveyed on his early Tweets and Facebook posts on his handles.
In such early social media interface with Nigerians, the Army boss did promised Nigerians and his fatherland, the defeat of Boko Haram terrorists; the fall of its factional leader, Abubakar Shekau and the liberation of all Nigerians held hostage by the insurgents. He has substantially lived up to his promises.
Insurgents have been weakened to the extent that even striking soft and obscure targets in the Northeast now is as difficult as cracking kernel nut with bare hands. Boko Haram terrorists have been decimated and defeated. They would have loved to do more than the once in a while strikes now. But its impossible.
So, Shekau has fearfully deserted his Sambisa forest’s Camp Zero home in Nigeria and only releases once in a long while, faint, and frustrated voice from the caves and forests of the Republic of Cameroun, where he has presumably relocated.
In his 2018 Democracy Day speech to Nigerians, President Buhari confirmed that.“Today,the capacity of the insurgents has been degraded leading to the re-establishment of authority of government and the release of captives including, happily,106 Chibok and 104 Dapchi girls, and over 16,000 other persons held by the Boko Haram.”
Even the most ardent critics of Buhari’s government, including the opposition have not contested these figures, which untangle the positives, inside government’s counter-insurgency battles in the last three years.
To this end, Gen. Buratai qualifies as a prophet in his own right and Nigerians must necessarily concede it to him. Whatever Gen. Buratai predicted from the outset on battling insurgency has come to pass and the final blow to terrorism and associated acts would also come to pass.
Undoubtedly, Gen. Buratai’s Facebook post streams from the mindset of a leader genuinely worried. Only Almighty God knows exactly what must have gone through the mind of this Army General in the course of the night, when he dissected the problems confronting the nation and came out on his social media handle in this manner. It is what he rarely does.
But it’s apparent that the consciences of Nigerians are being pricked by the Army General’s reflective post. The patriotic commitment of every country men and women to these festering internal armed insurrections is also being tasked.
It begs for innermost soul-searching to make a moral detour, where there are observable lapses. It prods Nigerians to put the interest of this potentially great nation first and forward. It is a call to go into alliances with security agents, even in their small hamlets to completely eliminate terrorism menace from Nigeria.
Until Nigerians think deep and act fast, it’s possible never to candidly appreciate the uncommon sacrifices of the military. And it’s same with the sister security agencies in terminating acts of terrorism and the peace presently savoured.
Unassailably, much more needs to be done in Nigeria’s vineyard of absolute security redemption. But the complete solution would only descend with the support and importantly, co-operation of Nigerians. Military actions alone have never proven anywhere to be an absolute panacea to these strangulating terrorisms and crises, unless it is garnished with the teamwork of the citizenry.
Kolawole PhD is a University teacher writing from Keffi.