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Femi Falana And Lady Justice – By Chidiebere Kalu

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Even weeks after, the haunting ghost of the completely senseless and subversive #EndSARS protests have refused to desert me. I kept wondering why a sane man or woman would take a knife and consciously inflict a cut on his body in the guise of anything or for whatever excuse. That’s the highest grade of self-masochism. But some Nigerians excitedly did it to themselves.

There is no mystery I have found completely very complex to interpret in recent times like the madness exhibited by #EndSARS protesters, particularly in Southern Nigeria. Understandably and for these reasons, the reverberations of the destructive #EndSARS protests have refused to dissipate in my psyche.

It is basically because the overt and covert protagonists of the dubious protests have refused to bow to reason, more especially as they now sit back to take census of the awful ruins, they caused to themselves, states and the country. What is more baffling to me again is the actors’ thoughtlessly ruinous move to the next level of threats and intimidation of the Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigeria Army, who rather saved the day.

What keeps recurring on my mind is the name of rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) and his clan of street activists on human rights. I have not read of the history of any country where the bargain for the enforcement of human rights of citizens or a drastic change in an unpopular government policy should lead to such public roguery and destruction of national assets. I stand corrected.

But the Falanas are more comfortable with suppressing the truth and elevating lies to officialdom. Meanwhile, these are supposedly senior citizens of the country. In spite of the upbraids and the disfigured idiosyncrasies flaunted by some people, I have no modicum of doubt that justice still exists in Nigeria. Our leader, President Buhari still allows all components and institutions of a democratic nation function maximally and without interference.

That’s why I believe designers of Nigeria’s symbol of Justice must have been wisemen or people imbued with the Solomonic wisdom. The stature displays a blind folded woman, with a sword in the right hand, and scales in the left hand. In the ancient world, the fragrance of truth and innocence of humanity was more expressed by women. Our forefathers of whatever clime were right.

Let me remind that Nigeria’s Lady Justice represents this philosophical thought. Lady Justice derives her originality from the Roman Goddess “Justitia” who shares the same prowess with “Dike” the Greek Goddess. In the ancient Greek world, both goddesses were famed for truth regardless of whoever was involved. They had diabolical or superstitious influence to fish out a liar, extract the truth and severely punish the culprit for lying to the gods.

The contents of 1 Kings 3:16-28 reminds me of that profound virtues of truth embedded in women as reflected in the Holy Bible. In the Holy Scriptures, most episodes we encounter about women signifies them as a creation more amenable to truth and honesty than their male folk. Even in today’s adulterated world, true women of virtue still stand for truth and abhors injustice or falsehood.

A rewind of the expired #EndSARS protests struck me strongly about the Biblical story of the two mothers who lived under the same roof and gave birth to babies on the same day. One of the mothers mistakenly smothered her baby to death. But satanic instincts influenced her and dubiously, in the course of the nigh, she cleverly exchanged her dead infant with that of the woman whose baby was alive. A controversy and quarrel ensued between the two mothers.

The matter came before King Solomon of ancient Israel for Judgement as each of the mothers claimed ownership of the baby alive. The King called for a sword and thus, declared his judgment; “the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half.” The impostor mother consented to the decision instantly; while the actual biological mother hotly contested it and preferred her child’s survival in whoever’s hand’s than the killing.

The biological mother passionately begged; “Give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!” King Solomon thus declared the second woman the true mother, as the real mother of the baby alive. King Solomon was nowhere near where the evil was contrived and executed. But he sensed the truth in words and actions of the real biological mother of the baby alive.

These are lessons we must cherish and learn from it and Nigeria’s emblem of justice derives its potency from the purity of a virtuous woman’s heart. At its core is the touchy lesson that truth can never be concealed and buried forever. When the hour of truth comes, it exhumes it unexpectedly like in the case of the two mothers in the Holy Scriptures.

Falana and his apostates seek desperately to bury the truth about the Lekki Toll Gate incident, where they conspiratorially alleged, soldiers of the Nigerian Army opened fire on unarmed protesters; killing scores in the process. But the casualty figure and proof of it have remained a burden to the masterminds of the fake news. Every avenue of combing for evidence has been exhausted by that witch-hunting the Nigerian Army, but to no avail.

My greatest worry has been that for weeks now, no evidence to align soldiers under the leadership of the COAS Lt. Gen. TY Buratai to any killing has been found. Let’s ignore the desperation of other malicious hunters of Nigerian soldiers.

The anger in me bubbles more against Falana for specific reasons. I have noticed overtime that Falana is a clandestine third force assiduously working for foreign forces against the destabilizations of Nigeria. This lawyer freely aligns with any agenda hatched towards the destruction of Nigeria.

He is always ready to give the back-up force and with his credentials as a lawyer, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). And because of him, his doomsday slayers and soulmates believe absolutely of their protection under the law.

Let’s forget his previous malfeasances in Nigeria coated in his darkened and defiled silk and gown. But a reminder to Falana again, that he had no reason to conspire with the lawfully detained leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) or the Shiites in Nigeria, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky to mislead the country by feigning his severe sickness and endorsing his evil plot to escape from trial in Nigeria to either Iran or Iraq. These are countries globally acknowledged as the fountain and exporters of terrorism world -wide.

We have not known Falana and coy as the first and only human rights campaigners in Nigeria. But rights and social crusaders of the older generation before Falana, such as Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Tai Solarin (both of blessed memory) and even today’s Prof. Wole Soyinka never compromised patriotism to Nigeria despite the anger against Government.

No one is above the law. All of us are subject to the laws of the land, with Falana is also inclusive. Let him show Nigerians concrete evidence of the claimed shooting of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki in Lagos or else, some of us would be compelled to institute a suit against him for instigating national subversion, killings and destructions.

But if Falana fails to find a cogent and certified evidence, he can only return his honour, escape our retaliation and be pardoned, if he bows to nothing less than humility by apologizing for his wrongdoings against his own country. Falana has been getting away with so many instigations of the populace towards violence. So, #EndSARS protests is one wrong too many. He has the right like every other Nigerian to either love or hate President Buhari or Gen. Buratai. But he mustn’t tell injurious and public instigative lies to justify the hatred.

Mr. Rights Lawyer, Falana, time has come for you to take full responsibility for your actions. Already, I have learnt that some people have dragged him to the Internal Criminal Court (ICC) over the #EndSARS scam of Nigeria. It is my conviction that the only path of plain truth left for Falana is to apologize to Nigerians and the rest of the world for this crime and previous ones he has committed against humanity and his country, Nigeria.

Kalu Esq is a legal practitioner and wrote from Lagos.

Even weeks after, the haunting ghost of the completely senseless and subversive #EndSARS protests have refused to desert me. I kept wondering why a sane man or woman would take a knife and consciously inflict a cut on his body in the guise of anything or for whatever excuse. That’s the highest grade of self-masochism. But some Nigerians excitedly did it to themselves.

There is no mystery I have found completely very complex to interpret in recent times like the madness exhibited by #EndSARS protesters, particularly in Southern Nigeria. Understandably and for these reasons, the reverberations of the destructive #EndSARS protests have refused to dissipate in my psyche.

It is basically because the overt and covert protagonists of the dubious protests have refused to bow to reason, more especially as they now sit back to take census of the awful ruins, they caused to themselves, states and the country. What is more baffling to me again is the actors’ thoughtlessly ruinous move to the next level of threats and intimidation of the Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigeria Army, who rather saved the day.

What keeps recurring on my mind is the name of rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) and his clan of street activists on human rights. I have not read of the history of any country where the bargain for the enforcement of human rights of citizens or a drastic change in an unpopular government policy should lead to such public roguery and destruction of national assets. I stand corrected.

But the Falanas are more comfortable with suppressing the truth and elevating lies to officialdom. Meanwhile, these are supposedly senior citizens of the country. In spite of the upbraids and the disfigured idiosyncrasies flaunted by some people, I have no modicum of doubt that justice still exists in Nigeria. Our leader, President Buhari still allows all components and institutions of a democratic nation function maximally and without interference.

That’s why I believe designers of Nigeria’s symbol of Justice must have been wisemen or people imbued with the Solomonic wisdom. The stature displays a blind folded woman, with a sword in the right hand, and scales in the left hand. In the ancient world, the fragrance of truth and innocence of humanity was more expressed by women. Our forefathers of whatever clime were right.

Let me remind that Nigeria’s Lady Justice represents this philosophical thought. Lady Justice derives her originality from the Roman Goddess “Justitia” who shares the same prowess with “Dike” the Greek Goddess. In the ancient Greek world, both goddesses were famed for truth regardless of whoever was involved. They had diabolical or superstitious influence to fish out a liar, extract the truth and severely punish the culprit for lying to the gods.

The contents of 1 Kings 3:16-28 reminds me of that profound virtues of truth embedded in women as reflected in the Holy Bible. In the Holy Scriptures, most episodes we encounter about women signifies them as a creation more amenable to truth and honesty than their male folk. Even in today’s adulterated world, true women of virtue still stand for truth and abhors injustice or falsehood.

A rewind of the expired #EndSARS protests struck me strongly about the Biblical story of the two mothers who lived under the same roof and gave birth to babies on the same day. One of the mothers mistakenly smothered her baby to death. But satanic instincts influenced her and dubiously, in the course of the nigh, she cleverly exchanged her dead infant with that of the woman whose baby was alive. A controversy and quarrel ensued between the two mothers.

The matter came before King Solomon of ancient Israel for Judgement as each of the mothers claimed ownership of the baby alive. The King called for a sword and thus, declared his judgment; “the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half.” The impostor mother consented to the decision instantly; while the actual biological mother hotly contested it and preferred her child’s survival in whoever’s hand’s than the killing.

The biological mother passionately begged; “Give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!” King Solomon thus declared the second woman the true mother, as the real mother of the baby alive. King Solomon was nowhere near where the evil was contrived and executed. But he sensed the truth in words and actions of the real biological mother of the baby alive.

These are lessons we must cherish and learn from it and Nigeria’s emblem of justice derives its potency from the purity of a virtuous woman’s heart. At its core is the touchy lesson that truth can never be concealed and buried forever. When the hour of truth comes, it exhumes it unexpectedly like in the case of the two mothers in the Holy Scriptures.

Falana and his apostates seek desperately to bury the truth about the Lekki Toll Gate incident, where they conspiratorially alleged, soldiers of the Nigerian Army opened fire on unarmed protesters; killing scores in the process. But the casualty figure and proof of it have remained a burden to the masterminds of the fake news. Every avenue of combing for evidence has been exhausted by that witch-hunting the Nigerian Army, but to no avail.

My greatest worry has been that for weeks now, no evidence to align soldiers under the leadership of the COAS Lt. Gen. TY Buratai to any killing has been found. Let’s ignore the desperation of other malicious hunters of Nigerian soldiers.

The anger in me bubbles more against Falana for specific reasons. I have noticed overtime that Falana is a clandestine third force assiduously working for foreign forces against the destabilizations of Nigeria. This lawyer freely aligns with any agenda hatched towards the destruction of Nigeria.

He is always ready to give the back-up force and with his credentials as a lawyer, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). And because of him, his doomsday slayers and soulmates believe absolutely of their protection under the law.

Let’s forget his previous malfeasances in Nigeria coated in his darkened and defiled silk and gown. But a reminder to Falana again, that he had no reason to conspire with the lawfully detained leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) or the Shiites in Nigeria, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky to mislead the country by feigning his severe sickness and endorsing his evil plot to escape from trial in Nigeria to either Iran or Iraq. These are countries globally acknowledged as the fountain and exporters of terrorism world -wide.

We have not known Falana and coy as the first and only human rights campaigners in Nigeria. But rights and social crusaders of the older generation before Falana, such as Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Tai Solarin (both of blessed memory) and even today’s Prof. Wole Soyinka never compromised patriotism to Nigeria despite the anger against Government.

No one is above the law. All of us are subject to the laws of the land, with Falana is also inclusive. Let him show Nigerians concrete evidence of the claimed shooting of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki in Lagos or else, some of us would be compelled to institute a suit against him for instigating national subversion, killings and destructions.

But if Falana fails to find a cogent and certified evidence, he can only return his honour, escape our retaliation and be pardoned, if he bows to nothing less than humility by apologizing for his wrongdoings against his own country. Falana has been getting away with so many instigations of the populace towards violence. So, #EndSARS protests is one wrong too many. He has the right like every other Nigerian to either love or hate President Buhari or Gen. Buratai. But he mustn’t tell injurious and public instigative lies to justify the hatred.

Mr. Rights Lawyer, Falana, time has come for you to take full responsibility for your actions. Already, I have learnt that some people have dragged him to the Internal Criminal Court (ICC) over the #EndSARS scam of Nigeria. It is my conviction that the only path of plain truth left for Falana is to apologize to Nigerians and the rest of the world for this crime and previous ones he has committed against humanity and his country, Nigeria.

Kalu Esq is a legal practitioner and wrote from Lagos.

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Obioma And His Midas Touch in NECO – By Philip Agbese

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Femi Adesina, the presidential aide is a fantastic and affable fellow. Nothing else has glued me to him like bees on honey more than his present role as a presidential spokesman to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adesina is one person it will take me a long time to forget in the history of strategic presidential communication and publicity. I have seen and read his predecessors in the same office over the years; but certain things make him a unique human being on the job; one of which is his prose style. It’s doubtful whether Adesina has any known enemies or foes when he pens down anything.

He has a peculiarly friendly way of disarming his traducers without striking a war. To me, Adesina is an equivalent of an armless Military General who goes to war. He is not combative in his writings, but coasts home with victory without firing a shot. He is calculative and philosophical.

He sometimes decides to be comical or whimsical even on the hottest of issues. He could also be difficult and in many cases, but very factual. Whichever way one sees Femi Adesina, he is just that man even his enemies love to read and hate to despise for whatever reason. I have echoed it several times and I hate to miss his columns any day!

It was on Mr. Femi Adesina’s page recently that I saw an old-time friend, Professor Godswill Obioma. It stirred fresh memories in me. I met him during his tenure as the Executive Secretary, National Education Research Development Council (NERDC) sometime in 2008. The Abia state-born, thorough bred educationist, academic don, innovator and Professor of Mathematics and evaluation has redefined educational policies, monitoring and evaluation in Nigeria.

He has raised the bar to unimaginable heights! Prof. Obioma’s uncommon imprints in the development of Nigeria’s education sector whilst he served the nation as NERDC boss attracts standing ovations anywhere his identity is disclosed. He is a perfect model of a team player and those who have worked closely with him in the numerous places he has served the nation are usually euphoric each time his is sighted.

His impacts in NERDC were mostly felt in redefining curriculum development, upgrading the quality of teaching and learning materials, policy formulation and re- structuring for the overall development of the Nigerian child from basic to tertiary education. They are reference points to date amongst education specialists.

I have a penchant of getting glued to people I perceive as knowledgeable, intelligent and hardworking to also learn something from their wealth of endowed wisdom. So, having heard so much about Prof. Obioma’s spectacular performance in NERDC, his deeds naturally courted my attraction. On a good day, I decided together with a few colleagues to pay a visit to meet this rescuer of Nigeria’s education sector and also salute his lauded efforts in this agency.

Prof. Obioma’s impact and footprints in the agency astounded and marveled to infinitum. Because of limited space, I cannot touch on all that beseeched our eyes in the course of the visit. But the varsity don was the major architect and backbone of the current National Policy on Education (NPE) officially adopted to remodel our educational system in consonance with the dynamism of our socio-economic and political realities.

It’s a wide gamut of amazing innovations and reforms, which have reshaped, articulated and repositioned guidelines, objectives, standards, structures, strategies, and management patterns for attaining the national goals of education in a developing country like Nigeria. I think, he who deserves an applause should be given and Prof. Obioma is one such person.

He did a lot more by venturing into virgin or obscure areas like giving a formidable boost for the quest for education of Nigerians. He pioneered and raised a platform for indigenous educationists to consummate their full potentials through what NERDC tagged the National Book Policy (NBP) where books of indigenous authors are brought on stream in a special manner to embolden local creativity.

The NBP as crafted and implemented endorsed investigation and research into book development, the production of books in specialized areas; for example Braille for the visually impaired; support for the establishment and growth of libraries at all tiers of the educational system and promoting and rewarding local authorship of educational books in the country. And it is working even after his exit from NERDC.

Outstanding both in academics and administration, Prof. Obioma worked in several other establishments and later joined INEC. His talents and perfections were sighted and he was elevated to the position of Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Ebonyi state. While serving in this capacity, Prof. Obioma sustained his evangelism on merit, hard work, honesty and commitment to duty. He is a public servant who abhors corrupt acts. He also brought his peculiar stamp of incorruptibility to bear on all INEC staff in the state office of Ebonyi state .

Therefore, when a few deviant staff under his supervision were fingered in collecting bribes to alter the results of the 2019 presidential elections, Prof. Obioma did not play the usual Nigerian game of godfatherism and cover-up of alleged offenders.

He believes, if Nigeria must become a great country, all bad eggs must be flushed out. He won my heart when he testified against indicted INEC staff for collecting N300 million bribe to manipulate results of the presidential elections in certain areas when he appeared at the Special Investigative Panel (SPIP).

Obioma’s strictness on discipline of subordinates and with eyes fixed on the dais as the Ebonyi state REC, the state and Nigeria ended up better for it when general elections were conducted. His good job was evident in the smaller number of post-elections petitions which emanated from Ebonyi in the last elections. The state had the least cases of post-election disputations in the election’s tribunal, a rarity in Nigeria. This is Obioma’s peculiar midas touch.

Those yet to decode President Buhari’s leadership idiosyncrasy, may not understand. But Mr. President endears himself to any Nigerian who demonstrates uprightness, selfless service and honesty in public office. I know, Mr. President has keenly monitored the impeccable antecedents of Prof. Obioma and knows, he is a suitable candidate to come on board of the train to the #Nextlevel.

Therefore, it never surprised me, when the President sought the golden fish, Prof. Obioma and appointed him the Registrar of National Examinations Council (NECO) in May last year. I discerned the NECO boss assignment as cleansing the cesspool of filth and maladministration which have become a defining character of that examination’s body. The NECO boss is on a familiar path. And in less than a year, Prof. Obioma is proving his mettle, by launching several innovations and reforms to standardize the operations of NECO.

The Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) hardly hail appointments of people into public offices; but that of Prof. Godswill Obioma as the National Examination Council boss was applauded because of his wealth of experience in educational sector. And the signs have started manifesting. Nigerians are aware of how he has shaped NECO in the last few months since taking over office.

Certainly, Godswill Obioma is a man destined for greatness as symbolized by his name and NECO is damn lucky to have him as its boss. It’s the beginning of its regeneration. Even a blind man needs no soothsayer to know that President Buhari is blessed to have some of the best hands in the various sectors, as today epitomized by Prof. Obioma.

With the likes of Adesina, Obioma and several others, it will indeed be a mission fulfilled and a legacy secured for President Muhammadu Buhari. Those seeking to frustrate his laudable policies and programmes might soon become frustrated themselves because there are competent gatekeepers and sentinels mounting the city gate to wade-off saboteurs and subverts. #

Agbese is a UK based human rights activist.

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Ambassador TY Buratai: A Testament to Patriotism – By Oche Oche

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A story is told of Oedipus the King, a play written by Sophocles, a great Greek writer. Oracle of Apollos prophesied that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother, and so it came to be that Oedipus actually killed a man he met in the wilderness, but the same man happened to be his father, the king, and went on to marry the King’s wife (his mother, Jocasta).

The summary of the story is that, Oedipus became king by solving a riddle, which helped to save the land of Thebes from all kinds of plagues affecting the land. The new king gave the order that whoever that killed the king shall go on exile. At the end however, Oedipus was exiled from Thebes, because the man he once killed in the wilderness was the king. As he went on exile, the commoners watched in disbelief, and the commentary went that, “Behold the sons and daughters of Thebes. This was Oedipus, greatest of men; he held the key to the deepest mysteries; was envied by all his fellow men for his great prosperity. Behold, what a full tide of misfortune swept over his head.”

This lay credence to the words of Professor Patrick Lumumba that, “none can be called successful until the day that he or she dies and carries his or her success to the grave in peace.”
Who would have believed that such a doom would befall King Oedipus? Nevertheless, he ended up becoming a stranger among those whom he presided as a King, and whom he loved, cherished and adored.

Today, the searchlight is on the life and times of Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, who having served as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) for over five (5) years under President Buhari, may have recorded remarkable successes and made startling innovations in military tactics for national security. But like in the case of Oedipus, to say that he is successful is to be arrogant and misguided, because the rule is that one must die and carry his success together with him into the grave, to be considered a successful man.

While one may avoid any discussion on the success of Lt Gen TY Buratai, the fact remains that his life as COAS became a beacon of hope and practical demonstration of patriotism, loyalty and defender of the supreme document, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Many a times, patriotism is understood in a narrow sense to mean one’s loyalty and service to the fatherland, especially involving those serving in the army, risking their lives and defending their fatherland. More than that, patriotism also includes civilians who serve with honesty and commitment to the ideals of the land.

This is not borne out of some frenzied outbursts of emotions, but as Adlai Stevenson puts it, “patriotism involves the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. It consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that the country shall be righteous as well as strong.”

Since patriotism entails a lifetime struggle for a righteous, formidable, strong and prosperous nation, needless to doubt the patriotism and constitutional loyalty of Gen TY Buratai (rtd) as COAS for over five years. Ever since he was commissioned into the infantry Corps of the Nigerian Army in 1983, he served in different administrative and operational units, moving through the ranks as Lieutenant (January 1985); Captain (January 1989); Major (January 1994); Brigadier General (January 2009); Major General (January 2012); and Lieutenant General (August 2015). He won several awards, including Forces Service Star (FSS), Meritorious Service Star (MSS), Field Command Medal, and others.

Lieutenant-General TY Buratai’s patriotism and loyalty was recognized when on July 13, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him as Chief of Army Staff, which made him the highest military officer of the Nigerian Army, with the statutory responsibility to formulate and execute policies towards the highest attainment of national security and operational competence of the force.

As a patriotic Nigerian and COAS, TY Buratai demonstrated loyalty and kept faith with the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Section 217 (2) states that the federation shall, subject to an Act of the National Assembly made in that behalf, equip and maintain the armed forces as may be considered adequate and effective for the purpose of defending Nigeria from external aggression, maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on land, sea or air.

In the past beginning with first military intervention in Nigeria on January 15, 1966, it was fashionable to hear and witness coups and counter coups, with reasons such as corruption, abuse of power, nepotism and insecurity. Military interventions became so frequent that Afro-pessimists would say that, “coups were as frequent as breakfast.” Even the recent events of military interventions in Zimbabwe, Mali and the Sudan, were enough to sway the COAS to grab power because of man’s insatiable quest for power after power. For TY Buratai however, the constitution as a grand norm that embodies the laws of the land is sacrosanct.

There is no gain saying that Nigeria was bleeding on all fronts, providing a fertile ground for conspiracy leading ultimately to military intervention to save the ugly trend. The economy was and still structured in favour of few privileged individuals who live in affluence to the detriment of the majority of the people who live in misery and excruciating poverty, laying credence to Roberto Michel’s “Iron Law of Oligarchy,” that played out to ensure a gulf gap between the rich and the poor in Nigeria. It is amazing that the institutions of higher learning in Nigeria, with their research centres in a state of moribund, and hardly provides findings that would address the myriad challenges affecting life across the spectrum. These institutions produce medical doctors, but whenever we are sick, especially those from the political class, embark on medical tourism in foreign countries because in Nigeria, people die of even avoidable disease. Life has lost its value in the country.

Poverty is worn like breastplate in Nigeria, and this inhibits the people from exercising their volition on issues affecting their lives as daily as they live. Nigeria became the official world headquarters of poverty in 2019 based on a report from the World Poverty Clock. The same report predicts that, by the year 2030, more Nigerians would join the league of extremely poor people, making the country a home to the world poorest people.

Nigeria, the most populace nation amongst the black race has been embroiled in brutal campaigns occasioned by Boko-Haram insurgents, and accentuated by the religious extremism of the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP). Banditry, kidnapping, and armed-robbery attacks have taken the centre stage. Climate change too, has threatened Nigeria’s food security with the consequence of increased forced migration, and rising tensions that trigger conflict, including presently herdsmen attacks nationwide.

For TY Buratai, an enduring solution to the above socioeconomic and political debacles could not be found in the desecration of Nigeria’s democracy, but through dialogue, collaboration and synergy of arms of government, tiers of government and other critical stakeholders. His stock in trade was not taking to ‘blame-game,’ casting aspersions on other institutions for poor budgetary allocation, corruption, complicity, conspiracies of some stakeholders and the likes. The task before TY Buratai as a patriot was the decimation of Boko-Haram terrorists and other elements of insecurity in Nigeria. On December 22, he led his men to the war front where they successfully took over Sambisa Forest, a ground zero for the terrorist group in Nigeria.

As a demonstration of practical patriotism, the COAS recognized the constitutional provision in 217 (2)(c) which empowers the military to act in aid of civil power. This is why he collaborated with the Civilian Joint Task Force, civil society organizations, traditional rulers and religious bodies in the fight against insecurity and terrorism in Nigeria. This disposition earned him the award of Millennium Hero conferred on him by a coalition of over 80 civil society organizations.

For TY Buratai, it must be recognized that the constitution is a supreme document that embodies the laws of the land—laws which must be respected—to midwife the enjoyment of the rights of the people and to deliver for the public good. As demonstrated in the scriptures ((Number 16:21) in the case of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, who rebelled against the laws of Moses, were consumed along with others, prompting Moses’ declaration that, “there is no freedom outside of the law, and those who do not live by the law, shall die by the law.”
For democracy-loving and public-spirited individuals, this is the story of a patriot, Lieutenant General TY Buratai (rtd) who once served as Chief of Army Staff for over five years under the President Buhari-led administration in Nigeria. Let it be known that TY Buratai was once here, and this is the legacy for which he would be remembered.

Oche wrote this piece from Enugu, Enugu State.

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TY Buratai: Why The Phones Are Still Ringing – By Philip Agbese

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Something interesting struck my mind having closely monitored events around the immediate past Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. TY Buratai (rtd). One is perplexed at the stream of human traffic to his residence or complimentary phone calls everyday.

It’s a seldom experience with past public office holders in Nigeria. Unlike Gen. Buratai, most former prominent high profile public holders are deserted by their friends, loyalists and acquaintances in less than a week after office. Forlornness is imposed on them even from the least expected quarters.

Gen. Buratai officially quitted office in retirement from active service as confirmed by the Presidency on January 26th 2021. But whether in his house or anywhere else, Gen. Buratai was surrendered by tons of guests or visitors seeking his attention. And virtually all the guests sought his attention to just simply say, “thank you,” sir or General. “Have a blissful retirement; you have tried for Nigerians.”

It was like a carnival very soothing compliments from known and unknown faces. Simultaneously, his phones also never stopped buzzing! Calls invaded his phone lines very engagingly. I placed myself in his shoes, and muttered inaudibly, truly, Gen. Buratai has an amazing energy.

The retired, but not tired Army General answered all calls or deferred others, he could not pick immediately, if in a serious discussion with someone else; but certainly, call back at a later time. I know, the life of a soldier is not an easy one. You are susceptible to death any day in the course of service to the nation or even retire as a physically challenged person, who got the physical deformity in the battlefront.

Pleasantly, Gen. Buratai has none of such misfortunes while serving in the Nigerian Army for over 35 years of meritorious service. Yet, by my rating, he was a warmonger to the core and the frontlines were his favorite abode. I look at him as the breed of soldiers, I prefer to call, “the Powellian breed,” after America’s Collin Powell. Gladly, Gen. Buratai retired hale and hearty; in good shape and form as athletes would always exalt themselves. All thanks to God Almighty for his life.

I recalled that sometime in July 2015, a few weeks after his exit from office, Dr. Reuben Abati, a seasoned journalist and former presidential spokesman to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan wrote a short opinion article titled, “My phones no longer ring.” He crafted the short piece narrating his experience, while he served the President in Aso Villa.

The piece says, Abati’s phones never stopped ringing every minute. All his social media platforms also suffered the same fate with tens of thousands of messages every day and from everywhere, official or unofficial. It was very tasking and distracting to a point, even his spouse complained.

But he could not afford to ignore anyone of it because something urgent concerning his office might come up, seeking his attention. Ironically though, he got used to the phone distractions. But the same blitzkrieg of phones calls and social media messages miraculously dissipated the first week of his departure from office.

The experience of Abati is a very normal in Nigeria for anyone who occupies a prestigious office such as a Media Chief to a serving President. This is more predominant in Nigeria especially for those who confines their duties whilst in office to sharing of the national cake to their friends and kinsmen. That’s when patriotic and selfless service is least on the cards.

But it does not surprise me that such office holders are forgotten faster than whirlwind by the same people the very minute they quit office. It is because the fortune seekers only attached artificial relevance to their person, the offices they occupied and the perks extracted from it.

But Gen. Buratai’s post-retirement experience with guests and visitors is a metaphor of Dr. Rueben Abati’s experience of phone calls desertion. The former Army Chief’s phones have never ceased ringing. Gen. Buratai’s phones are still ringing with visits from kinsmen, traditional rulers, colleagues, friends, associates and all Nigerians. I am sure, he switches them off, sometimes to have a short sleep.

I can decipher and clearly understands why Gen. Buratai is deluged with phone calls and visits even after his active service. Gen. Buratai offered selfless and patriotic service to all sections of Nigeria, without discrimination, while he served the nation. Every nook and cranny of the country felt a consolatory and comforting pinch of his leadership.

From Enugu, Nigerians are thanking Buratai for his selfless service and the water project which the Nigerian Army under his leadership made possible for people in Abakpa Nike and its environs to enjoy free of charge through the Army’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). I understand it’s the first time in centuries in the history that community, hygienic and portable water has flown to their doorsteps in homes.

The visitors and callers from Abakaliki, Ebonyi state are eternally grateful for the Nigerian Army Reference hospital located in the area. The services of this world class tertiary medical facility are also unrestrictedly open to members of public and quite affordable. Gen. Buratai’s stewardship ensured it.

And in tandem with the non-kinetic aspect of operations of the Nigerian Army, Nigerians in Oyo state have reached out to Gen. Buratai in appreciation for a hospital and the bailey bridge in communities of the state. Also, leaders of Kisi, Arepo LGA in the same state are celebrating Gen. Buratai for donating a student’s hostel facility at the School of Basic Midwifery, Kisi.

Those calling from Lagos are saying, without the intervention of soldiers, armed rogues, miscreants and hoodlums under the guise of #EndSARs protesters would have completely reduced Lagos state to debris. Lagos would have lost its famed status as the commercial nerve center in Nigeria.

Beneficiaries’ of the built and equipped 30-bed hospital at Tigi community in Plateau state, Riyom LGA have also joined the list of endless callers to thank Gen. Buratai. The classy hospital is servicing both the community and travelers on the federal road.

The leaders of thought and stakeholders from Borno state also enriched the list of multiple callers and visitors. Borno is one of the biggest beneficiaries of Gen. Buratai’s leadership of the Nigerian Army. The Nigerian Army is a major factor in re-opening, rehabilitation and construction of new roads in Sambisa forest and its environs alongside provision of other social amenities.

Still in Borno, the new Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Maiduguri, which is also open to the public is what has excited the people infinitely. The sinking of boreholes in Mafa and Dikwa areas of the state, and distribution of tractors to farmers in Gudumbali are the numerous ways Gen. Buratai endeared himself to the people while in service.

The dais of excellent Military/Civil relations have also attracted buzzing phone calls from Imo state. The callers known and unknown to Gen. Buratai are grateful that the Nigerian Army under his guidance, built and donated five blocks of classrooms to Amakohia-Ubi Community Primary school and Local Government Education Authority (LEA) Primary school in same Amakohia-Ubi, in Owerre West LGA of the state as well as the renovation of a Central Primary School at Akpochiro and the renovation of medical centres in Mbaito in Imo State.

Some communities jubilated because the Nigerian Army under Gen. Buratai’ provided social amenities denied them by their respective state governments. So, personalities from Garkida, in Adamawa State who are beneficiaries of non-military projects in boreholes, initiated and completed by Gen. Buratai have been calling to extend appreciation. It is the same for the people of Fika in Yobe state, where modern boreholes have been dug by the Army to alleviate the age-long water problem of the people.

The people of Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State are similarly excited at the constructed road, linking the community with others; while the construction of a maternity ward at Ika in Delta State and construction of water project in Gelengu in Gombe State have intensified the busyness of Gen. Buratai guests and phones while in retirement.

And people from Benue state have also registered presence. The renovation of primary schools in Markudi, the Benue State and the renovation of health centres in Opoji in Edo State are the means through which Gen. Buratai’s won the hearts of the people throughout Nigeria. Its reason his phones have not stopped ringing and no one knows when the buzzing would halt.

Why the phones are still ringing may also not be far from the transformation of the Nigerian Army into a world class institution. What else can we say? With multiple new Army schools; revival of old moribund Army schools, innovations such as Nigerian Army Women Corps, Army Human Rights Desk and so forth are ineffaceable legacies which have etched the memory of Gen. Buratai’s service to the nation on the psyche of Nigerians.

I have relatively gathered that already, two universities in the US and another in Russia are calling on the immediate COAS to make himself available as a teacher in their Defence/War colleges. I know Gen. Buratai as an intellectual, philosopher, poet, brainy military strategist and tactician. It’s a thing of pride to me. I am excited that something good is coming to Africa and particularly from Nigeria.

This is why the phones are still ringing and will keep ringing. For anyone who discharges his duties with the best of intentions or perceives public office as an opportunity to serve his country, the phones will continue to keep ringing even after service. I do not intend to berate Dr. Rueben Abati, but I only used his case which is in public domain as an example. I beg his pardon if my expositions offended his sensibilities.

And I believe, for the amiable and enigmatic Gen. TY Buratai (rtd), his busy phones have entered another phase. He is poised to assume the position of an ambassador to one of the world powers to help Nigeria blight out the dark international connections of the Boko Haram terrorists sects.

Agbese wrote this piece from Abuja.

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