In the years ahead, when the tale of how the world rolled back terrorism is told, the contribution of Nigeria to redeeming the world from a ravaging horde of fanatics will stand out like the contributions of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin will stand out. He might not have been in people’s faces as troops crushed the Boko Haram insurgency, Nigeria’s franchise of a global terrorism plague, but the CDS has proven to be the master strategists that moved the pieces in the right direction to deliver the much needed victories that re-assured the world that terrorism could be kept from festering.
General Olonisakin has proven beyond rhetorics that coordinating the Armed Forces requires experience and versatility. Since coming into the saddle of leading the affairs of Nigeria’s Armed Forces, he has subtly reformed the services to be more dynamic in responding to evolving operational demands. He effectively created troops that now undertake operations in water like naval officers as seen in the operations in the Niger Delta same way they deployed their own air support in the war on terror.
This is the knowledge that Olonishakin has craftily assembled to make the Nigerian Armed Forces the cynosure of all eyes in the last two years. His drive, passion and exposure are just a perfect blend of all that is needed to make any military in the world succeed.
He brought on board genuine spirit of patriotism which has in turn propelled the other service chiefs to cooperate with him, creating the perfect military cult that was sorely needed to address the mortal threats to the nation’s survival. From the deep morass into which the institution was plunged in the years that preceded his appointment, the General was able to inspire those under his command to again see and experience joy in giving their all under the green-white-green flag and to again place the country above all.
Furthermore, the CDS proved himself as one who thinks outside of the box and not restricted by the known and the unknown. A ready example of his innovative thinking could be found in the way military hardwares that were once discarded as unserviceable were rehabilitated and deployed for operational use. This foresight allowed Nigeria to power through a period that lack of equipment would have crippled the ability to contain Boko Haram.
This spirit of enterprise was not limited to reviving mothballed military pieces as the services under General Onlinshakin’s able leadership went into partnership with local institutions and organizations for the fabrication of spares, including for aircrafts. It became even more interesting when the military teams went the additional steps of modifying existing hardware to address peculiar challenges.
He is a general with potentials to break his military record with his diplomatic and the capacity to respond to stakeholder matters in ways that totally disable even the most belligerent of intentions. In the over twenty months he has been in office, he has tactically contained the foot soldiers of the vested interests that set out to paint the Nigerian Military in bad light. The response has been to counter falsehood against the military with facts, a development that has left such hostile undertakings without any lies left to tell against Nigeria.
Before concluding that he is the best and a round peg that fits into a true perfect round hole, he has helped to ensure that inter-agency rivalry has practically stopped amongst the Armed Forces for the first time in Nigeria. We today hear more about the Nigerian Military as a homogenous entity as opposed to itemized services as the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigerian Navy or the Nigerian Army as was the case in the past.
The professional military services that resulted from such efforts apparently contributed in no small measure to the confidence Nigerians have that politicians cannot talk military officers into staging a coup when the issue became topical in recent weeks. The proactiveness of the repositioned military is evident in the dispatch with which the military was reported to have set up an investigation to unravel the officers having unholy interactions with politicians.
As this perfect gentleman military leader approaches two years in the saddle, the occasion presents a unique opportunity to recognize his sterling qualities and contributions to Nigeria’s stability. His achievements are impactful to a point they cannot be wished away. One must thus recommend him to upcoming military leaders as the beacon on which they should set their focus. General Olonisakin is a soldier’s soldier and the best way to acknowledge his excellent performance is to ask him to do more of the great things he is doing with the Nigerian military.
By Kenneth K Adamu
Adamu sent in this piece from Lugard Centre, Lokoja.