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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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TY Buratai: A Lesson In Resilience – By Samson Aboh

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By my estimation, patience is not merely one of life’s fusillade of virtues. It means much more than such simplistic conclusions to me. And maturing with each passing day, I devout considerable time to gauge the actions and postures of others before sketching conclusions or pinning down judgements from informed perspectives. Therefore, patience is an enabler of so many things to me as a person, like it does for some other deep philosophical thinkers.

I am one person who restrains comments on anything until the end is seen. I am never in a hurry because time illuminates more profoundly, the mysteries of life than the undependable euphoria or gains of ephemeral quick-actions, largely susceptible to errors in verdict.

Days have gradually rolled into weeks now. So, its good time to reflect on the erstwhile Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and foreman of Nigeria’s anti-insurgency operations, retired Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, whom I fondly relish his acronym of TYB. He gloriously bowed out of active service of the Nigerian Military and specifically, the Nigerian Army in 2021.

I can boldly assert that TYB ended his years of active service to his fatherland at Nigeria’s most tormenting time of consuming national insecurity threats. But I believe, together with his able lieutenants, TYB gave his heart and soul to this national assignment until the last day he bowed out gracefully.

Whilst he served us, there were differing perspectives from a wide spectrum of Nigerians or even foreigners on their perception of his contribution to the global anti-terrorism wars. Some outrightly dismissed and belittled his efforts; others extolled and commended him glowingly.

But also observed to date, a clan of others who were simply apathetic, aloof or neutral to whatever transpired in the warfront when TYB supervised the counter-terrorism operations. They never burdened themselves with the horrors, perfections or imperfections in the frontlines. I see it as normal.

But I belong to a different league of Nigerians on this score. That is, those who preferred to see the end of TYB’s actions to the last blast of the whistle to better be armed and positioned to deduce valuable interpretations or postulate informed public commentary.

Therefore, I deliberately refused to comment on the stewardship of TYB when the stakes were high and the field actions still very explosive against Nigeria’s enemy forces in the battlefield. My preferred time and hour have come. It is now safe to discuss him without any fear of contradictions.

In 2015, I was fascinated by the unusual chants of accolades and cheers, which welcomed TYB as Nigeria’s fresh warlord against the obstinate and resilient Boko Haram insurgents and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in the Northeast region. TYB, an infantry combatant was relatively unpopular among Nigerians at the time of his appointment as COAS.

He had spent the best part of his military career in the trenches, fighting wars within Nigeria or in the assignments of UN Peace Keeping Missions in Angola and elsewhere. In the later years, TYB buried himself in the creeks of Niger Delta fighting incendiary militants, vandals, and economic saboteurs bred by the region in order to exculpate Nigeria from their foothold.

He was the Field Commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), the multi-nation military outfit conceptualized by Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroun and later on, Benin republic to battle terrorism in the sub-region. In all these assignments, TYB bagged medals and awards for his exemplary and excellent performances. It also earned him accelerated promotions in recognition of his exceptional military exploits and results.

I am aware, it was from the MNJTF assignment that TYB earned another promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General and President Muhammadu Buhari deemed him fit to head the Nigerian Army as the numero uno soldier and chief armour bearer of the country’s war against terrorism. This was when I started to silently monitor his leadership of both the Nigerian Army and the counter-insurgency operations.

Boko Haram terrorism was a nagging national nightmare to us at the time TYB was mandated to take charge of the war. The irrational, bizarre and bloodthirsty jihadists absolutely enslaved and caged Nigeria by its confounding atrocities. We moaned and grieved endlessly. The might and hold of the terrorists group on Nigeria was choking, something, I decoded as a breathless hold on the country, a metaphor akin to the fabled tale of the Afro-American, George Floyd.

The dire situation of the country’s security at that time created excitement in the Boko Haram insurgents’ ranks and their foreign sponsors in the Middle East were also elated. Boko Haram’s internal agents and sympathizers in Nigeria also jubilantly and publicly scoffed at Nigerians. We were at the cusp of surrendering the sovereignty of Nigeria to terrorists.

The overwhelming insecurity challenges in Nigeria were complicated by a weak, docile and unwilling Army which flinched at the battlefront in the face of enemy forces. TYB’s predecessor, Gen. Ihejirika confessed this much on the day of his formal handover to Gen. Buratai (rtd).

Meanwhile, we became a bleeding country; a nation which demonstrated by the actions of its Army that it was incompetent to battle Boko Haram insurgents and the other variegated sects of terrorism feasting on Nigeria. In truth, we shamefully genuflected before terrorists unapologetically.

We endlessly screamed in blood, pains, and sorrows each time terrorists struck us. No part of Northern Nigeria was safe either for habitation or conduct of legitimate business. Nigerians dreaded traversing the North on journeys, as the phobia of terrorists engulfed the land.

Our most agonizing moments was when they turned Abuja, the nation’s capital into a chamber of serial deaths. Scared Nigerians who took refuge in Abuja eventually discovered, the notion of security in the Federal capital was merely an illusion. Frequent bombings of public buildings, security formations, the UN office, motor parks, shopping malls, and churches in the suburbs of Abuja clearly defined our most terrorizing and agonizing existential times as a nation.

We whined uncontrollably and overtly. We were helpless, ostensibly, waiting for another sound of bomb explosion, the resultant casualties and destructions to kick another round of wailing. The jihadi campaigners terribly compromised national security.

In the Northeast region where Boko Haram controlled the five states of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi and Gombe, it was hell for Nigerians. No fewer than 21 LGAs were coercively seized and occupied by the terrorists in their quest for territorial expansion. The jihadists established their main Caliphate administrative center in Gwoza and other areas served as its subsidiaries. Emirs and other community leaders were either deposed or killed by the insurgents, who anointed their own leaders as replacements in the places they captured.

And over 20, 000 Nigerian hostages, including the Chibok schoolgirls were scattered in different locations of Boko Haram secret camps. I boldly admit now that the Northeast region was substantially closed to public or social life for dread of the atrocities of Boko Haram insurgents. We experienced insurgents gruesomely murder hundreds of Nigerians virtually every week in different locations.

Elsewhere in the Northwest, armed bandits, cattle rustlers and other armed criminal gangs unleashed a reign of terror on Nigerians and reigned like untouchable demigods. Whole villages were sacked; farmers were forced out of farm plantations; public markets, federal highways, schools and all which defined a meaningful life to the natives were shut down by the activities of bandits.

In the Southeast, incensed and armed IPOB criminal gangs, who camouflaged in the guise of secession agitations also imposed a reign of terror on people of the region. Arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial killings of innocent Nigerians; mass looting of public businesses and other criminalities committed by IPOB members ignited excessive conflagrations and wailings.

The Niger Delta militants were also a pain in the neck. They violently howled agitations for an independent “Niger Delta republic.” They blew up oil pipelines and other facilities, massively engaged in crude oil theft among other heinous crimes like kidnapping of foreigners. In Kaduna, ethno-religious crisis resonated in loud drums of war; just like in some states in the Middle Belt, where herdsmen/farmers skirmishes as well as communal clashes snatched peace and security, as hired mercenaries and ethnic militias became overlords.

TYB was faced with these daunting security challenges, with an Army with its internal problems which dampened morale. It stimulated rampant mutinies in the frontlines, “tactical withdrawal” at the battlefront; poor weaponry base, indiscipline, unprofessional conduct, disloyalty and unpatriotic posture of soldiers towards the counter-insurgency war.

It amazed me that TYB resolved the problems of soldiers within a short time and repositioned the Nigerian Army into a responsive and responsible institution alive to its constitutional responsibilities. Soldiers begun to face squarely the counter-insurgency operations; reclaiming all territories previously under the control of Boko Haram and halted the regime of bomb explosions in Abuja and other Northern cities and towns. Almost all the five states under Boko Haram have been rescued; thousands of Boko Haram captives have regained freedom.

TYB gallantly fought insurgents, bandits, terrorists, violent secessionists, armed militants, ethnic militias and other criminal gangs unflinchingly and to a standstill until the day, he bowed out of active military service.

More pleasurable to me were the TYB’s rare initiatives which transformed the Nigerian Army into an entirely new institution with his reforms and innovations. Nigerian Army today has new specialized Army schools; old and abandoned Army institutions have been revamped.

TYB returned Nigerian Army to its past glorious days of self-dependence where it manufactured some of its warfare equipment. The indigenous MRAP “Ezeugwu” war machine stands out distinctly as the conqueror of terrorists and protector of soldiers in the theatre of war in the Northeast. He visibly changed the narratives of the anti-insurgency combats in Nigeria progressively.

In fighting terrorism in Nigeria, TYB also established far reaching synergies with the Armies of other countries of the world both in the West African sub-region and foreign nations like India, Brazil, Bangladesh, Pakistan and so forth. Sensitive knowledge sharing and exchange of experiences on combating terrorism became a regular feature of his leadership. It accounted for his success in the anti-insurgency war.

I have no scintilla of doubt that TYB bowed out of military service, leaving Nigeria on a better anti-terrorism rating than he met it. His encounters and relationships with foreign countries, especially in the Francophone bloc would assist tremendously in his new assignment as Nigeria’s non-career ambassador.

It is my utmost conviction that Nigeria can better resolve its internal problems of insurgency, if the country strikes a strong diplomatic synergy with France and the francophone countries, most of which are our neighbours. Lt. Gen. TY Buratai (rtd) stands in good stead to anchor these diplomatic relations between Nigeria and these francophone countries.

I am convinced that in the fullness of time, we will all agree that TYB was a man of the people. He really and whole heartedly fought terrorism while in active military service and poised to do it even better in retirement while on the diplomatic scene as an Ambassador.

Aboh wrote this piece from Federal University Lafia.

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Buhari: The General On The Verge Of Defeat By Bandits, Terrorists – By Abel Augustine

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Since the inception of the present administration headed by the retired military general Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria and Nigerians have had different opinions about governance and the rule of law. The nation had never had it worst when it comes to economic meltdown, unproductivity and under development.

This is the first administration, be it military or civil that had festered poverty riddled with death due to the incessant actions of terrorists, bandits, armed robbery and the likes.

Buhari’s tirades before the elections that ushered him into power were that of a know it all demi god due to his past experience as military Head of State in the early 80s (1983-85) when he and the late Major General Tunde Idiagbon toppled the democratically elected second republic President, Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari, God rest his soul.

Buhari’s promise despite his three pronged approach to was like in Trumpish English is to make ” Nigeria Great Again”. This rhetoric was swallowed hook, line and sinker by naive Nigerians as they had grown delusional of the the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as the ruling elites.

Buhari”s Messianic chants were too good to be shelve aside because many believed he is a man of integrity hence, the man for the all important job.

Nigeria as a country has now witnessed an enormous leap back despite trillions spent by the Gen Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in fighting corruption, revamping the economy and terrorism.

All the gains made during the Goodluck Jonathan administration had been dashed on the alter of mediocrity and a new wave of terror, hunger and assumptions had been engraved in the minds of Nigerians.

Looking into some of Buhari’s uncanny tact for non understanding of administrative procedures as well as reasoning are how he thought. In a chroncled pattern, Buhari had been known to have been single handedly nominated by Boko Haram to moderate in there discussion with the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Nation Online newspaper one of the leading news outlet specifically reported “Boko Haram picks Buhari to moderate talks with government,

The Nation,November 2, 2012 https://thenationonlineng.net/boko-haram-picks-buhari-to-moderate-talks-with-govt/

In another report, Buhari had been on recording telling the Federal Government not to kill Boko Haram terrorists ” Stop killing Boko Haram members, Buhari tells FG

PointBlank News, June 2, 2013

http://pointblanknews.com/pbn/exclusive/stop-killing-boko-haram-members-buhari-tells-fg/

Mr Buhari also faulted the FG’s clampdown on terrorists which begs for understanding what he had or is having in common with them “Buhari faults clampdown on Boko Haram members

The Nation, June 2, 2013

https://thenationonlineng.net/buhari-faults-clampdown-on-boko-haram-members/.”

A major stroke a defeatist is urging his comrades at arm to thrown down there weapons and let their guards down. This was clearly shown by Buhari’ s action as he, in June 3, 2013 said that “Military Offensive Against Boko Haram, Anti-North – Buhari

All Africa News, June 3, 2013

https://allafrica.com/stories/201306030384.html.

While taking over power from Goodluck, the first major action he performed in his administration is to chase out the South Africa mercenaries who had already degraded Boko Haram, hence allowing elections to hold peacefully in Borneo State and all of the North Eastern parts of the country.

“How Buhari stopped us from fighting Boko Haram – South African mercenary

The Guardian, November 26, 2018

https://allafrica.com/stories/201811270024.html.

With some of the actions manifested by the Federal Government, dissention set in, in the nation’s armed forces as soldiers started crying “foul” to some policies taken by the Buhari administration.

Chief amongst this are the setting free of confirmed captured Boko Haram fighters as revealed by the cable online medium. “FG is setting our killers free – soldiers kick as 1,400 Boko Haram suspects are released

The Cable, February 11, 2020

https://www.thecable.ng/fg-is-setting-our-killers-free-soldiers-kick-as-1400-boko-haram-suspects-are-released.

Despite the hue and cries from Nigerians especially those in the security circle, Buhari started releasing those tagged ” Repentant Boko Ha ram terrorists” back into the society.

Now who does that with even a thief talk less of some one captured as a terrorist and expect to have peace in his dormain? But Buhari and his gang did just right that.

“Nigerian government to release 603 repentant Boko Haram terrorists back to society in July

Sahara Reporters, June 11, 2020

http://saharareporters.com/2020/06/11/nigerian-government-release-603-repentant-boko-haram-terrorists-back-society-july.

There are consequences to every action and the first sign of trouble started when over 300 soldiers in an Army that is not large and mobile retired at a go.

This already experienced battle hardened individuals are also have gone into circulation in most parts of the country as some had been arrested in one form of criminality or the other.

This actions had shown that the Nigerian military despite it successes abroad is yet to lean the basic rule of soldiering which is keeping the troops contented.

“356 soldiers tender resignation to Buratai, cite loss of interest

Punch, July 12, 2020

https://punchng.com/356-soldiers-tender-resignation-to-buratai-cite-loss-of-interest/.”

Other actions which had shown that the present administration of Muhammadu Buhari does not give a hoot about the well have also being chronicled as the economy of the nation as well as it social wellbeing had been taken over by bandits and other soldiers of fortune who have been visiting untold hardships to the people.

“601 ex-Boko Haram combatants graduate in Gombe

The Nation, July 26, 2020

https://thenationonlineng.net/601-ex-boko-haram-combatants-graduate-in-gombe/.”

601 repentant terrorists graduate, paid N20,000 each

Punch, July 26, 2020.

Despite the massive poverty in the land, Buhari’s administration had continues to play the Ostrich with the lives of Nigerians.

From a little more than 90 naira per liter of fuel, six years later the pump price has gone close to 200 naira and cocounting.

He, Buhari was once seen weeping in the media claiming that the rate at which the economy and especially the price of fuel calls for extreme concern.

He told all who cared to hear and know that he was once heading the petroleum industry which birthed the Kaduna Refinary and help in improving the refining of fuel in the country.

He blabbed about repairing all the refineries in the country as well as making Nigeria an exporter of refined fuel product.

But the poor continue to believe in the rhetorics of Mr Buhari and members of his cabinet who had openly continue to accused and point fingers in all the wrong areas.

Let the present administration leverage on its goodwill which is dwindling as the only hope its depending on is itself.

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Appreciating Ibrahim’s Compassionate Leadership At NYSC – By Philip Agbese

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One of Africa’s globally celebrated novelist and erudite scholar, Chinua Achebe spewed this timeless maxim in one of his novels; “The man of the people is not about Harvard or Cambridge degrees; but the man that speaks and understands the language of the people.” Achebe’s wisdom sparkles with a timeless relevance in leadership on the African continent and Nigeria today, just like yesterday when the words were uttered.

The Director-General (DG) National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim has indubitably discerned and applied the wisdom of Chinua Achebe wherever he has rendered service to his country. His admirable philosophy resonates in the extra premium he attaches to the people he serves. The NYSC boss is synonymous with selfless service and the development of others, a leadership trait, which hardly shadows in most Nigerian leaders.

Ibrahim, a pioneer Registrar of the Nigerian Army University, Biu is a famed Military historian, scholar, administrator, pragmatist, teacher, pacesetter, innovator and workaholic. He knows his leadership destination and how to excellently navigate his path to success. Ibrahim is a perfect example of one of Nigeria’s genuine and committed leaders.

When the ideal marksman for a job is located, it is easy to notice. Since Shuaibu Ibrahim, the Nasarawa state-born Army General sauntered on stage at NYSC headquarters Abuja, the shining ambience of performance has been inescapable and a cynosure of all eyes.

For the NYSC boss, his current assignment is merely the return to a familiar turf, having served as a Military Assistant (MA) to a former Director-General of the scheme years back. It implies, he has a vast knowledge and experience of the internal operations of the scheme, which has been converted to a rewarding leadership asset for the discharge of formidable service to young Nigerian graduates.

From North to South and from Sokoto to Bayelsa, NYSC members ululate in unanimous tongues their endearing delights and joys with Ibrahim’s persona in his barely two years leadership of the scheme. For the Nigerian youth corps members, Ibrahim is one unforgettable and outstanding administrator of the NYSC.

And like in the catchy aphorism of Achebe; the NYSC boss understands and speaks the language of the people. He does not dispense it from the prisms of bossiness; but the people are excited because he shadows in a unique servant-leader style for the present and future prosperity of the Nigerian youths.

The NYSC DG’s personage embodies a humane, kind-hearted, compassionate, loving and generous personality to a fault. He has a palpable and enduring affection for progress and development of the Nigerian youths. Barely weeks after his appointment in 2019, Brigadier Gen. Ibrahim’s instincts and passion for work manifested. He paid a surprise working visit to the NYSC’s Sagamu Permanent Orientation Camp, in Ogun state in the wee hours of the morning.

The NYSC boss inspected facilities at the camp to ensure they were up to a standard that can guarantee at least minimal comfort for corpers. He gave fatherly counsel on discipline and obedience to constituted authorities to the 2019 Batch B Stream One. But what amazed corp members most in the early morning visit by the NYSC boss was that he gifted various groups of the corps members with memorably fanciful gifts.

Ibrahim, a doctoral degree holder in history and a resourceful military researcher of repute is not a friend to failure. So, he launched a vigorous campaign to terminate the reign of temporary orientation camps for NYSC members as soon as he assumed office. He frowned at the subsisting practice of some states which have converted schools into camps.

Therefore, as part of his focus on welfare of corpers, he engaged State Governors still operating in temporary sites to build permanent, and standard NYSC Orientation Camps. Excitingly, the tide has started changing very rapidly, with NYSC permanent camps in almost 32 states of the federation now. In tandem with these campaigns, several states in the country with dilapidated structures in their Permanent Orientation Camps have had them renovated with upgraded facilities for the comfort of NYSC members.

Ibrahim has his mind fixated in attracting extra stipends for Corp members from all the states of the federation to complement what is uniformly paid all corpers by the Federal Government. He has worked assiduously to ensure; every State Government generally pays a token to corpers posted on national assignments in their respective states as incentive for the national service to fatherland.

And to smoothen the path, domesticate and deepen the campaigns, Gen. Ibrahim has persuaded and lured some Governors to crusade for better welfare for youth Corp members. The strategy is working rewardingly, as excited corpers in states that have complied endlessly glorify the NYSC boss.

Gen. Ibrahim is seen by by corpers and Nigerians as one NYSC DG, who immediately implemented a new Federal Government approved allowance for corps members, which stood at N30,000. But he also, magnanimously added an additional N3,000 on the FGN’s approved N30,000 per corper.

These welfare initiatives by Ibrahim are to provide an elaborate window for prudent serving corpers to save part of their allowances, which they could invest into productive ventures after the one-year mandatory service. It’s a very commendable philosophy and the best way of expressing fondness to secure the growth and development of young Nigerian graduates.

Also intricately linked to the welfare of serving NYSC members, Ibrahim has prioritized the security of corpers wherever they are posted in Nigeria for primary assignment. The NYSC boss is mindful of the pervading insecurities in some parts of the country and has adopted water-tight security strategies and administrative protection measures for corpers.

In Borno, like in other states, where insecurity as induced by Boko Haram insurgency is prevalent, the DG has given a standing order that no corper should be posted to volatile or potentially risky areas. He has sustained an evergreen collaboration with security agencies to ensure the safety, security of lives and property of corps members are neither threatened nor comprised in any circumstance.

To this end, the NYSC DG is very strict against night journeys by corpers and has consistently persuaded the sick to always report to the authorities for prompt medical attention by the handy Corps Medical Personnel of the scheme. He is also passionate about protection of female corpers from exploitation while serving the nation under the scheme. He has never failed to warn female corp members not to compromise their dignity and womanhood for gratifications and has contrived secret ways to monitor such blackmails which leads to abuses of the womenfolk either by NYSC staff or employers of corpers.

When the Coronavirus pandemic broke out in Nigeria and caused nationwide panic, Brigedier Gen. Ibrahim immediately swung into action to protect the beloved graduate children of Nigerians entrusted in his care. After a prolonged closure of NYSC camps; but the necessity to reopen them in order not to stagnate the future of Nigerian graduate youths, Gen. Ibrahim did the needful to secure the lives of the youths entrusted in his hands.

He immediately secured all NYSC orientation camps throughout the country by putting in place essential measures endorsed by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to prevent Covid-19 from invading the camps. He traversed the country on surprise visits to ensure its implementation.

Instantly, NCDC officials were deployed to NYSC camps for testing of prospective corp members and the officials before admission into the orientation camps. Hand sanitizers and reduction in the number of admitted corpers for each stream of the orientation exercise; spacing of hostel beds in consonance with the prescribed physical distancing regulation, compulsory use of facemasks and all other ancillary protocols of Covid-19 were strictly enforced.

Undeniably, Gen. Ibrahim is demonstrating to youths of Nigeria a kind of special fatherly love, which those who passed through the scheme before now never had the luxury of the experience. Nigerian youth corp members are convinced and indeed, sing eulogies of the DG for a rare exhibition of leadership, which they have admitted as close to their hearts.

The NYSC DG speaks to corpers in a language they have clearly decoded. Only a few leaders in the ilk of Ibrahim are prodded to speak the language of the people in Nigeria. What has remained unique in Gen. Ibrahim’s leadership style is his mastery and implementation of the techniques capable of changing the life fortunes of Nigerian young graduates within a year of his encounter with them under the scheme.

Agbese is a human rights activist based in the United Kingdom.

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