By Nkechi Odoma
Good deeds trail a leader to even forlorn corners of deserts in a natural response to the instincts of appreciation in mankind. Not all Nigerians are thankless people and in spite of the generalized degeneration in the land, good leaders are feted and honoured by foresighted and conscionable Nigerians.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai has passionately touched the hearts of Nigerians in an unforgettable manner. Without his effective leadership of the Nigerian Army and command of Nigerian troops in the trenches against terrorism, insurgencies and insurrections, by now, Nigeria would have lost a sizeable chunk of its territories to terrorists.
And without Gen. Buratai, most communities in Nigeria would have ceased to exist in peace and security because of the agonizing actions of armed gangs, armed militias, warlords and assailants. But the Army Chief has religiously stuck to his vow to Nigerians of terminating the reign of terror anywhere in Nigeria.
ALSO READ: Ebonyi State names university after Buratai
The Army boss promised Nigerians to enthrone peace and security even if it costs him his life. So far and in the past three years, Gen. Buratai has discharged this responsibility creditably. He has fulfilled his covenant with Nigerian people in an amazing and stylish manner.
And Nigerians are beginning to discern the efforts by appreciating Gen. Buratai, a silent achiever, rugged soldier, patriot, military scholar, reformer and the unsung hero of security in Nigeria. In far away Southeast and precisely, Ebonyi state, Governor David Umahi, and his State Executive Council unanimously approved and named an institute in the Ebonyi State University (EBSU) as “Lt.-Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies”.
Naming the newly established institute after Gen. Buratai in itself is not sensational. But what is more captivating is the reason adduced for such honour to the Army boss. As revealed by the Vice Chancellor of EBSU, Prof. Chigozie Egbu, the Army boss deserved the honour for his selfless service to the nation and humanity. They have noticed his splendor in the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Nigeria.
By implication, the entire people of Ebonyi state have scored Gen. Buratai and the Nigerian Army distinctively on securing Nigeria. The people have specially recognized the contributions and sacrifices of the Nigerian Army in ending the assailing myriad of security threats, which almost consumed the country before Gen. Buratai was burdened with the task of restoring security sanity in the country.
And the honours to Gen. Buratai are coming in torrents and competitively. Barely two weeks ago, the Igbinedion University, Okada, opened the floodgate by honoring the Nigerian Army. It also named its Centre for Contemporary Security Affairs after Gen. Buratai. Its strategic and encouraging, to say the least.
But the gesture by Ebonyi people is particularly exciting for unique reasons. The natives of Ebonyi state are Igbo people who are famed for their high mobility flair driven by investment motives and business pursuits. They are found everywhere in Nigeria and their investments have no geographical boundaries. Ndi’gbos appreciate a stable and secured Nigerian more than any other Nigerian. And it is this priceless gift of security and peace Gen. Buratai has delivered to them and the rest of Nigerians.
Gen. Buratai is therefore, worthy of this honour and much more. For a COAS who has changed the sad narrative of the war against Boko Haram terrorism into success story in favour of Nigeria ought to be celebrated. The decimation and defeat of Boko Haram or the suppression of violent secession agitations in the Southeast has impacted positively on the security and peace of all Nigerian citizens particularly Ndi’gbos.
Southeasterners are now transacting their legitimate businesses in the Southeast or elsewhere in Nigeria, unmolested or harassed and or, without any fear of being killed or their businesses destroyed by hoodlums or armed assailants.
The COAS has endeared himself to the Southeast in other numerous ways too. Gen. Buratai enforced local content in goods and services for the first time in the history of Nigerian Army, and launched the Made in Aba and Made in Nigeria campaigns. Through this policy of the Army in patronizing local goods and services, the Southeast has become the greatest beneficiary.
It has impacted positively on businesses and the economy of the Southeast. Innoson Motors and others can bear positive testimony to this partnership with the Nigerian Army under the leadership of Gen. Buratai.
And furthermore, during the “Egwu Eke” Exercise I & II launched by the Nigerian Army, it provided free water supply to “Abakpa” community in Enugu State and free medicare to different communities in the Southeast in exercise of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The Army’s gesture of water supply to the Abakpa was historic hence the community was benefitting from treated and hygienic water for the first time in its history of existence.
And assessing the leadership personality of Gen. Buratai, what strikes anyone instantly is the de-tribalized nature of the Army Chief. He ensures that every officer and soldier is treated fairly and equitably without recourse to his or her ethnicity, religion or region. These were impossible even when a privilege Igbo son held the position he is occupying today.
Rather, such privileged positions were used to exhume old rivalries in Igbo land and the his powers deployed to oppress weak communities. And there are a dozen other ways Ndi’gbo has felt the impact of Gen. Buratai’s leadership of the Nigerian Army.
Therefore, naming the EBSU institute after Gen. Burati is considered as a step in the right direction. The people of Ebony and Gov. David Umahi deserve a loud applause for this wisdom. It is a decision that would further explore more beneficial opportunities to people of the state, the Southeast and Nigerian security agencies in the nearest future.
And Gen. Buratai has already indicated intention to support the university to provide quality education and place the institute on a development pedestal that would serve as a centre for academic research on contemporary security challenges.
Finally, the good people of Ebony state must not forget that the honour to Gen. Buratai is an honour to the officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army. It is a unique salute to the Nigerian Army for their commitment and sacrifices to resolving Nigeria’s choking security threats. And indeed, all Nigerians have appreciated the wisdom of the great people of Ebonyi state and God himself will reward them richly and in ways they have never contemplated.
Odoma writes this article from Asokoro, Abuja.