By Linus Okoye
I am thrilled with the inroads of the Nigerian Army in the southeastern part of the country. The recent commissioning of the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Abakaliki explains my delight in the activities of the Nigerian Army under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.
The various Nigeria Army operations in South East has also been a success and has to a large extent reduced incidences of kidnappings and other forms of criminalities that have long tormented the people so much so that our Igbo brothers and sisters live in perpetual fear whenever they visit home during the festive seasons. All of these are now history and thanks to the officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army through the various military operations such as Egwu Eke.
I am not sure that there would be sufficient words to describe the impact of the various operations of the Nigerian Army in South-East, Nigeria. If not for anything, the South East region has enjoyed relative peace and tranquillity through the invaluable efforts of the Nigerian Army in the region that has also aided development.
I won’t be wrong if I call the Chief of Army Staff a strategist. I won’t also be wrong if I describe him as a highly detribalized Nigerian that understands how to build bridges across our divide and bring all together for the common good of the people. Take it or leave Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai remains one of the best Chief of Army Staff in the history of the Nigerian Army. The numerous innovations he has introduced in operations of the Nigerian Army since he assumed leadership in 2015 are worthy.
There is not a doubt that the Chief of Army Staff indeed understands the pivotal role security plays in the developmental process of any country and little wonder he has been restless in innovations across regions in the country. It is also on record that there has never been a time such as now that the Nigerian Army is actively involved in internal security operations, as well as counter-insurgency operations. That all of these operations are ongoing simultaneously is an indication of the leadership strides of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai.
Today, the Nigerian Army can be described as an agent of development through its various interventions in the country. Suffice to mention that aside carrying out its core function of the preservation of the territorial integrity of the country; the Nigerian Army has introduced a 3rd mandate into its operations, which is the introduction of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives as a way of winning the heart and minds of host communities to the Army and to support the civilian population during its operations equally.
This new offering by the Nigerian Army is indeed brilliant. It has once again highlighted that commitment to ensuring a beneficial relationship between the Nigerian Army and the civilian population, which, in a way, adds to the success of the various army operations across the country.
In my opinion, the Nigerian Army has somewhat transformed into an agent of development. I recalled sometime in 2017, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai commissioned a landmark project in Enugu state, where it commissioned one million litres per day water treatment plant at 82 Division Abakpa cantonment. In the words of the Chief of Army Staff, he stated that the problem of lack of potable water supply in 82 Division of the Nigerian Army dated several years back when he was a young soldier serving in the division. He said it was unfortunate that the situation persisted for such a long time, but that with the water treatment plant, the problem was over.
I also recall that in times past, the South-East Governors had acknowledged the intervention of the Nigerian Army in land border disputes and bloody crises in several parts of Ebonyi, Enugu, Benue, Cross River, and Benue States. They also thanked the Nigerian Army for maintaining neutrality and impartiality before, and during the last general elections in Ebonyi, and across the South East.
The governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umanyi was also full of praises for the Chief of Army Staff for the various interventions of the Nigerian Army in the south-east region of the country during the commissioning of the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
It is, therefore, my considered opinion that the exploits of the Chief of Army Staff have somewhat won accolades and more converts for the Muhammadu Buhari administration than the core politicians. I say this because of the numerous efforts of the Nigerian Army in adding the developmental efforts of the government.
I can’t but agree with the Governor of Ebonyi State and other Governors in South-East Nigeria for their position on the invaluable role the Nigerian Army has played in the sustenance of peace and development in the region. It is thus expected those that have been critical of the operations of the Nigerian Army would have a rethink and instead lend their support for the collective growth and development of Nigeria. If not for anything, we must all be partners in progress in the Nigerian cause.
I conclude by saying that those in the south-east must admit that the Service Chiefs, particularly the Chief of Army Staff are all doing well. And the wisdom of President Muhammadu Buhari to still keep them in office can now be seen by everyone.
Okoye wrote this piece from Independent Layout, Enugu.