By David Onmeje
The recent appointment of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd) as Ambassador by President Muhammadu Buhari threw up yet the political sentiment among Nigerians who largely see things from the prism of politics instead of the bigger picture. The hues and cries over the appointment by a handful political opponent is an indication that most Nigerians are not in touch with the reality of what the appointment will bring on board.
Let me state quickly that his appointment will bring on board quite a lot as he has a global network of friends and professional affinity that cuts across borders. His wealth of experience as a war veteran, administrator and peace keeper would in no small measures rob on the nation’s diplomatic efforts, strategy and output.
Thankfully, those that are well informed on the issues at stake in Nigeria with regards to winning the war against insurgency and other acts of criminality are full of praises of Mr. president for making such a brilliant move towards ensuring that the experience of the former Service Chiefs is indeed made available for further use by the country, especially on the global stage.
Commending the appointment of the immediate past chief of army staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai ( rtd), and other former service chiefs, a University Teacher, Dr. Thomas Uzah said it was a step in the right direction in galvanizing the support of the international community in the quest towards addressing the security challenges in the country.
Dr. Uzah, the Head of the Department of Mass Communications, Kwararafa University spoke during a media parley recently.
He stated that the nominations of the former service chiefs were indeed a masterstroke by President Muhammadu Buhari towards utilizing their wealth of experience in service to the country over the years.
According to him, “The appointment of Buratai and others as ambassadors is a rare display of insight by the president because of the gains that would accrue the country in the task at hand. I am glad that Mr. President has thought it wise and expedient to nominate them as ambassadors and I have no doubt with regards their ability to deliver in the critical task before them,”
He further stated that the resume of the new ambassadors is rich and replete with acts of patriotism that would make any nation green with envy.
His words “The new ambassadors are no strangers to us and they are well-positioned to render invaluable services wherever they find themselves. I commend the president in this regard because Nigeria would be the ultimate beneficiary in this trying period in the country. We must admit that they are assets that every nation would want to possess because of their penchant for delivering results in critical tasks as evident in their performance over the years.”
“For a fact, Buratai stands tall from the lot and I have no reservations in his nomination. I am aware of his commitment to the Nigerian cause in the course of the several engagements he has had with the members of the intelligentsia community in Nigeria. He has always been robust in his thoughts and engagements which somewhat culminated in the establishment of the Nigerian Army University, which greatly boosted scholarly engagement in ways to tackle insurgency in Nigeria”
He averred that the appintment of Buratai and others as ambassadors would not only be beneficial to Nigeria but to Africa at large because of the strategic leadership role that Nigeria plays in the African continent.
“The new ambassadors would indeed make Nigeria and Africa proud as they have done in times past evident in the countless recognition they have brought to the country from wide and far. They indeed redefined patriotism and commitment to the African cause in the global arena so much to the envy of other countries. The appointment is indeed credible, timely and a welcome development.”
I agree with those that have seen the bigger picture with the recent appointment of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai ( rtd) as Ambassador for the fact that Nigeria would stand to benefit significantly from his wealth of experience and the vast network he has built while in service as the Chief of Army Staff.
Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd) is a lesson in history on what patriotism entails. His passion and energy towards the Nigerian cause cannot be questioned by any well-meaning Nigerian conversant with how he led the Nigerian Army in the prosecution of the war against insurgency and others.
Therefore, I urge Nigerians to see the appointment of Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai (rtd) as a decision that would come with its attendant benefits in our quest for building and sustaining multilateral ties with countries of the world in galvanizing international support to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
What this nomination brings is that Nigeria would be able to tell the story of the efforts at defeating the insurgency in the country through someone that understands the undercurrents that have sustained Boko Haram for a long time. It would also allow Nigeria to tell the story as it is in the international community because the bulk of the information that the international community has relied on is from third-party sources that have been doctored or diluted to suit certain interest.
The period Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai held sway as Chief of Army Staff has been regarded as one of the most productive moment in the annals of the Nigerian Army in the sense that he introduced institutional reforms that would position the Nigerian Army in better state to confront the security challenges in the country.
It is also instructive to state that the Nigerian Army was rated high in human rights compliance by various bodies under him. It is on record that in the Armed Forces; only the Nigerian Army has in all its units and formations Human Rights desks to address issues of human rights violations by officers and men.
Nigerians must also understand the role of diplomacy, which is neither the invention nor the pastime of some particular political system but is an essential element in any reasonable relation between nations. For functional and sustained International System, diplomacy is used in every corner of the world. Without it, many countries would not be able to conduct successful negotiations.
This fact epitomises President Muhammadu Buhari’s position in nominating individuals such as Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and in my opinion is intended to introduce the diplomatic dimension in the war against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
For some of us conversant with the dynamics in the international arena, this is indeed a welcome development in the sense that President Muhammadu Buhari has recognized the importance of bringing the international community on board in the war against insurgency and the best way to go about it is to ensure that individuals that are conversant with what Nigerian needs in galvanizing that support from the international community are identified and subsequently tasked with the responsibility for the benefit of the country at large.
For Ambassador Tukur Buratai, this is indeed a new beginning, and a continuation of service to Nigeria and all eyes are indeed on him to bring to bear his wealth of experience in galvanizing the needed international collaboration in addressing the threats posed by Boko Haram and other criminal elements in Nigeria.
Judging from Buratai’s wealth experience and massive knowledge of the insecurity situation in Nigeria, he will do all within his powers and character to be a worthy Ambassador of Nigeria, and won’t do anything to undermine National Security in Nigeria, but instead things that would boost Nigeria’s efforts to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency.
I believe very strongly that Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai deliver in this new assignment to make Nigerians proud, I must therefore commend President Muhammadu Buhari for taking this brilliant and timely action by appointing this war veteran.
Consequently, I enjoin all well-meaning Nigerians to extend their support to the new peace Ambassador.
Onmeje wrote this piece from the United Kingdom.