By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi
Recently, a coalition of groups urged a former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and current Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic, retired Lt. Gen. Yusuf Tukur Buratai to join the race for the 2023 presidency.
The Fusion774, a political support and economic advocacy group, made the call through its National Coordinator, Mr Sediq Jikta, at a news conference in Abuja.
The group leader noted that their call was borne out of concern for the unprecedented and lingering security challenges bedeviling the country with accompanying consequences.
Jikta added that Nigeria is in critical times and the time is ripe for all concerned citizens and stakeholders to sit, rub minds and decide on the right leadership, one with the capacity and ability to deliver and make the country work.
According to him, the track record of achievements by Buratai in the fight against terrorism in the Northeast and other form of criminalities was a pointer to his qualification to vie for the highest office in the land.
“Gen. Buratai exhibited an open door policy of good governance, where private citizens with something to offer in terms of security are given listening ear and action taken.
“With these achievements we can see that Buratai is one courageous leader who can step in to bring the much needed solution to the security challenges and the desired development for the country.” Jikta said.
But is there any sign that Buratai would throw his hat into the ring, and contest for the country’s highest public office? He categorically made it clear that he nurses no any political ambition.
“I am not a politician”, the envoy responsed when asked by journalists to comment on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) criticism after his nomination as non-career ambassador by President Muhammad Buhari.
Buratai spent his entire service career with the military where he rose to the rank of Army Chief. In spite of challenges encountered during his tenure as COAS, it is an indisputable fact that the Nigeria military witnessed some level of reformations and massive infrastructural developments.
The Zaria Shiite massacre and the alleged acquisition of exotic properties in Dubai were some of the bad news that almost dented his tenure.
Wile there were no clear evidence that Buratai gave order for the Zaria incidence, the federal government had exonerated him of any wrongdoing over the Dubai as reported by PRNigeria in 2016.
During his tenure as Army Chief, Buratai initiated a range of activities in support of developing the force, via intensive training, mentoring, partnering, monitoring and empowering.
These include the establishment of the Nigerian Army Institute of Technology and Environmental Studies in Biu, Borno State; Command Secondary School (Boys & Girls) in Kebbi State; Nigerian Army Aviation hangar at Jaji Airstrip, Kaduna State; Mine Resistance Amour Protected (MRAP); Activation of Divisions Training Schools.
Others are Tinapa Post Housing Development Limited Estate, Calabar; Army Warrant Officers Board; Nigerian Army Special Forces School; First Nigerian Army indigenous infantry patrol vehicle; Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command and Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company.
In addition, he set up the Nigerian Army Farms and Ranches, built and commissioned block of flats at Jaji, Khobe Cantonment in Jos, Plateau State and the Danjuma Chalets at 2 Division Headquarters. Buratai also renovated a lot of projects he met on ground and initiated water projects including the Supply and Transport Foods and new Command Guest Houses.
It is disheartening that lately, there is an increase in attacks by insurgents in some Northeastern states, including multiple explosions that killed many citizens and injured others.
The Department of State Service (DSS), through its image maker Dr Peter Afunanya, attributed the recent tragic developments to elements who wish to disturb public peace.
According him, the rising attacks is not unconnected to the approaching 2023 elections and that some devilish actors scheme to use insecurity as a basis to achieve their selfish interests.
Citizens were enjoined to be vigilant and watchful of their surroundings for unusual signs, unfamiliar faces, and supply credible information and intelligence to the respective security agencies.
Meanwhile, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) should sustain its coordination of activities of intelligence services for successful military operations in order to surmount the challenges.
Mukhtar is a Staff Writer with the Emergency Digest