By Raymond Onoja
Most times, some Nigerians feel predications of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on the “Change” mantra should begin and end with Mr. President. However it is a junkyard thought. It explains why often, some Nigerians ask President Buhari to show them the “Change” he promised Nigerians, a psychological detachment from supposed roles.
Leadership anywhere is a collective responsibility and those who exercise it at the lower rung have even greater obligations. The President will fail if he is the lone executor of his policies and programs in governance. Every Nigerian is a leader or “President” in the big or small organization, he is privileged to lead and must amble to the path of the “Change Agenda .” But many Nigerians have failed to recognize this sacrosanct truth.
However, it gladdens the heart to know the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of counter-terrorism operations in Nigeria, Lt. Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai understands and demonstrates obligations of supportive leadership. His perception of the Nigerian Army as an institution and a country he leads, with the flavour of the “change agenda” has presented to Nigerians a polished army and an organization which is bequeathing enduring legacies to the nation.
He has taught the Nigerian Army virtues of professionalism, patriotism, loyalty, hard work, transparency, honesty and dedication to all assignments. The Army Chief has groomed soldiers who now know, every mission must be accomplished and all assignments must end in positive results or victories.
This is even as it is widely known that budgetary votes to any arm of government or sector have never been sufficient. Paucity of funds to solve the barrage of problems afflicts almost all public institutions. Some heads of MDAs use this as an excuse to celebrate poor performance.
Interestingly, Gen. Buratai has turned the reality of meagre funds to the Army into strength by prudent management of funds accruing to the Nigerian Army. Soldiers are winning the war on Boko Haram terrorism and other insurgencies in the country because troops are psychologically and physically encouraged by their leader.
Soldiers are motivated to give their best through various incentives. Gen. Buratai does not compromise their welfare. Salaries and allowances are never delayed, but paid promptly.
For the first time in the history of the Nigerian Army, the institution has not only transformed, but it is rapidly breaking new grounds under Gen. Buratai. Part of the “Change” agenda of President Buhari is the patronage of local products and services.
Gen. Buratai is religiously committed to this policy. He purchases Army operational vehicle from Innoson Motors, an indigenous company.
In education and training of Army personnel, Gen. Buratai has proved that it is possible to shun foreign institutions. He has stamped that Nigeria has the capacity to develop its own competitive and world class local institutions for the Army and Nigerians.
The COAS has established the first Nigerian Army Aviation School, which has trained the first batch of Army pilots in flying warplanes. There is also, the first ever Nigerian Army University, Biu (NAUB) which will offer professional and specialized training to soldiers, other security agents and civilians. It has commenced operations.
President Buhari has always preached that anywhere Nigerians find themselves in leadership; they must depart from the old order and impact positively on the people by doing things differently. It is under Gen. Buratai’s reign that the Nigerian Army executes its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to its host communities across Nigeria. There are signposts of such projects in water, roads construction, and electricity supply and free medical services to numerous communities in Nigeria.
The Army boss keeps his word. He promised Nigerian Army post-service housing scheme. He was specific on ensuring that every Nigerian soldier who has fought the counter-terrorism war will retire to a befitting home in appreciation of their sacrifices to the nation.
Today, the Nigerian Army in synergy with Betonic West Limited has already launched N7.5 billion Army post-service housing project in Otukpo and Ohimini local government areas of Benue State. There is nothing more comforting than to have a shelter over your head after meritorious service to your country.
Reformations and innovations’ are central to the dictum of the “Change” mantra of Mr. President. Gen. Buratai has established numerous fresh Army formations across the country. Nigerian Army barracks which wore the distinctive emblems of centres of filth and deterioration have been rehabilitated or renovated. Army barracks across the country have been given new facelifts.
It is natural that in every establishment, there are a few bad eggs. Gen. Buratai knows the Nigerian Army is not insulated from the social malaise.
For decades, Nigerians have complained of human rights violations perpetrated by soldiers, unfortunately no one harkened to their lamentations over this problem. Gen. Buratai has changed the narrative by establishing the first ever Human Rights Desk at the Army Headquarters (AHQs) to handle such complaints.
President Buhari believes in the concept of leadership by example. This which Gen. Buratai emulates. So, when the Army Chief laces his boots and hops into the trenches in the Northeast with his troops, it demonstrates leadership by example. It is practical expression of his competence in the art of war both as soldier and leader.
Gen. Buratai knows effective leadership is not achieved through propaganda. So, at all times, he strives to feed Nigerians with the truth and condition of the counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast. He neither lies nor exaggerates, but sticks to the truth.
Therefore, Gen. Buratai represents the rarest personality of leadership example at subordinate level.
He is a son and leader, in whom President Buhari is well pleased. Buratai is an indisputable symbol of the “Change” agenda of President Buhari’s administration.
Onoja is a development analyst based in the United States of America