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Since he became the Chief of Army Staff through the quota system, a pattern of narcissism has followed the pronouncements and actions of Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai. He carries himself with an air of someone who actually knows what he is doing while in true retrospect, the Nigerian Army has completely depreciated into a shadow of its old self.
The Nigerian Army under Buratai has continued to add discordant tunes and confusing sub-plots to the narrative of its war on the many conflicts insulting the country. There is a huge lack of organisation and synchrony in the organisational ranks of the Nigerian Army with most of their decisions and appointments being laced with ethnic sentiments, nepotism and completely biased.
To worsen matters, Lieutenant General Buratai continues to show his incompetence and cowardice as he repeatedly blames the soldiers under him for his inability and failure to combat the insurgency menace that has plagued the country for over a decade now. His blames have followed the loss of at least thirty-five military bases in insurgency-laden states which had led to the death of numerous officers under him. Recent reports on the attacks at the military bases of Mobbar, Damasak, Monguno and Gajiram by the Boko Haram sect which led to the death of over three colonels, eighty soldiers have been shown to be linked to his inability to respond to distress signals for reinforcement.
It was alleged that these military bases had been under attack for a couple of days and efforts to get Buratai to send for extra ammunition and reinforcements all fell on deaf ears and the lives of these innocent soldiers were sacrificed due to his disgraceful cowardice and indifference to the welfare of officers under him.
Many lessons in management and leadership popped up in the statement of the Army Chief made ironically at the opening of a ‘Transformational Leadership Workshop’ organised by the Department of Transformation and Innovation of the Army Headquarters and held at the Army Resource Centre in Asokoro, Abuja last year. Buratai had openly accused his frontmen of insufficient commitment and unwillingness of taking the battle to Boko Haram.
He stated, ‘It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the Nigerian Army has had in our operations in recent times can be traced to insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks or simply insufficient commitment to a common national/military course by those at the frontlines.’
‘Many of those on whom the responsibility for physical actions against the adversary squarely falls are yet to fully take ownership of our common national or service cause.’
First off, Buratai’s statement is a self-indictment and admission of failure of the team that he leads which in other words speaks of his own failures. And secondly, it is strange to hear a leader shift blame to his men rather than accept responsibility for their successes and failures. This was the same man who commissioned and launched a book, ‘The Legend of Buratai’, extolling his leadership of the Army and supposed conquest of this same Boko Haram that continued to beat him blue-black thereby exposing his ineptitude and false sense of bravado.
The security situation in Nigeria is at an alarming level with the cases of mass killings by bandits, insurgents and herdsmen in places like Borno, Zamfara, Kaduna, and Benue states. Then, the sporadic rate at which kidnappings have risen in states like Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, and Abuja, should be sobering. The fact that Buratai has deemed it fit to glorify himself to an undeserved level of apotheosisation despite these glaring issues bedevilling the country is something worth condemning. No serious-minded Army General pauses in the middle of a war to award himself a medal, or even accepts a meaningless celebration that confers a dubious honour such as as a ‘legend’ on himself. Perhaps he culls his legendary status on his infamous use of military might to intimidate and murder innocent, armless Nigerian citizens.
In another world where human lives are taken seriously, Lieutenant General Buratai should be answering hard questions on the fate that befell the Shiites when they stood on his way and ended up being massacred. Official accounts have shown that up to 350 of them were mass-buried, but up till this moment, Cowardly Buratai and his soldiers have not been made to account for that cruelty. Then, there are the pro-Biafran agitators who have been murdered and disposed of over and over again by soldiers under express orders from Lieutenant General Buratai. He has also taken to raiding media houses to cover up his crimes against humanity which reek of pure cowardice. To sum up his cowardly nature, he has taken to pumping the Southern region of Nigeria full with soldiers for some unknown, imaginary battle which he only knows of.
If Buratai should put in this level of seriousness into tackling the insurgency menace plaguing the country, the Boko Haram sect and their callous operations would have been a thing of the past. Buratai’s incompetence took to another dimension when in April, the Malian army under the direct supervision of President Idriss Deby massacred over 1,000 Boko Haram insurgents in the popular Operation Bohoma Anger which was launched in the border regions of Lake Chad. The attack saw the remaining insurgents fleeing back into Nigeria with their leader Abubakar Shekau putting out a video where he pleaded with the President to stop massacring his troops. This was what Lieutenant General Buratai and his huge defense fundings from the Federal Government were not be able to achieve since he assumed his role as Chief of Army Staff.
The army under Buratai has been operating under an illusory high of power, and that is why their activities have been more about brawn than brain. When the army was taken up on their decision to fire live ammunition at the Shiite protesters in Abuja and the EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos, they had no moral compass with which to think through their actions. Buratai officially justified the Nigerian Army’s acts of inordinate brutality and he had zero remorse for it. In which universe is the kind of cowardice that makes soldiers turn deadly weapons on unarmed folk legendary?
The soldiers that Buratai leads have been so brutalised and dehumanised they have no empathy left to stick to the rules of engagement. These soldiers have dispensed with courtesies to narrate how much they suffer at the war front where they perish due to lack of provision of amenities for basic sustenance. Yet, the top brass grows fat. The Boko Haram maniacs have killed hundreds of these soldiers, but Lieutenant General Buratai will not even permit a decent burial for them. He does not want to puncture his official narrative of victory that have been completely padded with lies. To make the ultimate sacrifice for your country should be a thing of honour but under Buratai, those soldiers are secretly buried as if it is a shame to give your life for your country. Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai is no legend in any ramifications, he is a complete coward who only managed to head the Nigerian Army through the quota system.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK