By: Kingsley Omonobi – Abuja
**Appointment of Regular Course 37 Intake to Wipe Out 20 Generals of Course 35 and 36 Intakes
Seven days after the demise of a fatal plane crash of former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Major General Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff.
Prior to his appointment, Major General Yahaya was the incumbent Theatre Commander of the Counter-Terrorism/Counter-Insurgency military outfit in the North East, code-named Operation Hadin Kai.
He took over from Major General Olusegun Adeniyi as Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole on March 31 2020, before it was renamed Operation Hadin Kai by late Ibrahim Attahiru last Month, April 2021.
He was General Officer Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna before his deployment to Operation Hadin Kai.
At several times, he was the Military Secretary, (MS) Army at Army headquarters and Brigade Commander, 4 Brigade, Benin as a Brigadier General.
Major General Farouk Yahaya of Regular Course 37 is from Zamfara State.
Instructively, Major General Yahaya’s appointment from the position of Brigade Commander up to the position of Theatre Commander, Operation Hadin Kai were all done by former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai (rtd).
With the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor being a Regular Course 34 Intake, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao both being Regular Course 35 intakes, Major General Yahaya becomes the most junior service chief as Course 37.
The implication is that about 20 Major Generals and Brigadier Generals made up of 5 remaining Regular Course 35 intakes and 15 Regular Course 36 intakes would have to proceed to give way (proceed on retirement) as they cannot be saluting their junior going by military tradition.
The appointment of Yahaya as Attahiru’s successor according to sources had been delayed due to the search for a competent officer with tribe and religion playing a critical factor.
A lot of the Generals in Regular Courses 35 and 36 were found to be from the same tribe or same state with other security chiefs of the Ministry of Defence, National Security Adviser’s office, the Navy and the Air Force.
For instance, one of the Major General Jamil Sarham, of Regular Course 36, former Commandant Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), is from Kano, where the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, hail from.
The Chief of Policy and Plan (COPP), Major General Benjamin Ahanotu of Regular Course 35 is from Anambra state which shares a border with Delta state and it is considered that appointment of General Lucky Irabor as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) has taken care of the South East and South-South.
Army Chief of Operation, Major General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf is from Yobe, the state of the Acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba.
According to his profile, the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Faruk Yahaya was born on 5 January 1966 in Sifawa, Bodinga Local Government Area of Sokoto state.
He started his cadet training at NDA on 27 September 1985 and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps on 22 September 1990.
Major General Yahaya has held several appointments including Staff, Instructional and Command.
Notable among the appointments held by the new COAS is Garrison Commander Headquarters Guards Brigade, Directing Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Deputy Director Army Headquarters Department of Military Secretary, Deputy Director Army Research and Development and the Chief of Staff, Headquarters Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield.
He also served as the Principal General Staff Officer (PGSO) to the Minister of Defence, the Commander, Headquarters 4 Brigade and 29 Task Force Brigade (Operation Zaman Lafiya).
He was also Director Manpower at the Army Headquarters, Military Secretary, Army Headquarters and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army.
The new COAS is a proud holder of several honours and awards, some of which include, Forces Service Star, Meritorious Service Star, Distinguished Service Star, Grand Service Star, Passed staff course (Dagger), National Defence Course (Chile), Economic Community of West Africa State Monitoring Group Medal, Command Medal, Field Command Medal, General Operations Medal, Silver Jubilee Medal and Golden Jubilee Medal. He is happily married and blessed with children.