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COAS Yahaya and his Midas Touch

By David Onmeje

There is something peculiar about wars globally. Wars comprise an expansive web of actors and losers. There are initiators of wars; supporters of armed conflicts; financiers of wars; beneficiaries of wars; casualties of wars and terminators of wars. Clearly, state forces are sanctified terminators of wars!

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya has patriotically chosen the path of honour to end the reign of Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists, armed bandits and other twilled insurgencies across the country. Gen. Faruk’s three months shadows on the theatre of insurgency wars and insurrectional violence have demonstrated another strong avowal to the termination of all insecurities in Nigeria.

Gen. Yahaya’s soldier- persona, his career records, experiences and mastery of the art of war clearly betray his multiple unknown ingenuities, as an outstanding soldier of his generation. When he served as the commander of “Operation Lafiya Dole, the renamed headquarters of the theatre of operation, Maiduguri by March 2021, members of ISWAP terrorists ambushed his convoy.

The unfortunate incident occurred at Garin Kuturu village between Auno and Jakana towns along the Maiduguri—Damaturu highway. But Gen. Faruk Yahaya courageously fought back gallantly and assumed the terrorists merely bruised the lion’s tail. It emboldened him ferociously in the next few days, and the terrorists experienced serial exterminations by Nigerian troops.

The COAS is a soldier of a few words; but his real worth abundantly reflects in sustained actions on any assignment until he achieves rewarding results. He is a brilliant and calculative military combatant, who is never distracted by any force, once his mindset is fixated on anything. He is another rare breed soldier, who leads by example and infinitely humane, but brutal on the battle turf like his recent predecessors.

It is this mien in Gen. Faruk Yahaya that spurred spontaneous jubilations in the Nigerian Army, especially from troops in the theatre of war, when news of his appointment as the COAS and leader of the CTCI operations in the country by President Muhammadu Buhari broke out. For instance, in Maiduguri, the now main base of “Operation Hadin Kai,” soldiers immediately erupted in pulsating jubilations because of Gen. Faruk’s famed reputation of having welfare of troops at heart.

Soldiers generously confessed that Gen. Faruk’s ignores gossips or backbiting on matters of welfare of his troops, and remits all legitimate earnings of any soldier to the beneficiary and demands reciprocity of the gesture by actions in the frontlines.

And three months down the lane, Gen. Faruk Yahaya has delightfully and pleasurably proved his mettle as a soldier and leader worth his onions in the counter-terrorism combats. Nigeria can widely attest to the eternally inordinate ambitions of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists to extract and appropriate to their indiscernible caliphate, the territories of Nigeria.

But these terrorists and bandits have met a cul-de-sac in Gen. Faruk Yahaya, who is more determined, sweltering and fiercer on the battlefield. He is noted for his warfare intensity, which analysts say, dwarfs the prime efforts of his predecessors. He is a finer replica of his ex-bosses.

Upon assumption of office, Gen. Faruk Yahaya effected internal reorganization of the Nigerian Army. He repositioned the best hands in strategic positions to make the CTCI operations smoother and much more effective. Thus, another crack soldier, Major General C.G. Musa emerged the new Theatre Commander of “Operation Hadin Kai” to lead coordination of the numerous military units in the counter insurgency operation in the Northeast region.

Gen. Faruk Yahaya expediently conducted familiarization visits of Nigerian Army units and formations round the country. The visits raised platforms where he obtained firsthand information on the challenges and constraints of soldiers in the performance of assigned duties. Thereafter, the leader of CTCI operations proceeded on operational tours.

At every point of his operational tour, the Army Chief’s overriding concern and message to troops centered on ending the prolonged terrorism and banditry wars in the country. He is angered within that the war over prolonged. So, while on operational visit to troops in the frontline from Sector 2, Joint Taskforce under “Operation Hadin Kai,” Damaturu, Yobe State; Gen. Faruk Yahaya reiterated; “We want to conclude this operation in the Northeast; so that we can do other things; and that is the drive now.”

Conspicuously, the COAS is leading from the trenches. He is a roving warmonger like his troops. He knows his physical presence in the warfront is an elixir, tonic and morale booster on troops. Therefore, he has devoted all his time to terminate these multifaceted senseless and incendiary wars on Nigerians in every part of the country. Nigerian troops have been consistently reminded of this inviolable obligation to their fatherland and are supported in all feasible ways to accomplish this task.

Fighting insurgency is a collective agenda of all Nigerians. The Army Chief has defined a role for every Nigerian of godly conscience. So, interestingly, apart from courting the support of military units, formations, battalions, Forward Operational Bases, Gen. Faruk Yahaya has enlisted the cooperation and support of host communities, sister agencies, traditional rulers and various categories of professionals, including the individual on the street to terminate the reign of insurgencies and insurrections.

So, it is not surprising that Nigerians are experiencing the gains being recorded by the Nigerian Army and other sister agencies in CTCI operations lately. Nigerian troops have regained their lost high morale again with Gen. Faruk Yahaya as captain of the ship.

And the exciting results have started manifesting ceaselessly, with the renewed resilience of troops in the frontlines. “We have been recording some modest success in all areas and we intend to sustain that drive,” the Army boss declared to some troops in the Northeast while on operational tour. A factcheck on his leadership of the counter-terrorism operations displays confounding winning streaks against the armed gangs and enemies of Nigeria.

From terrorists, to bandits, armed secessionists, ethnic and religious militias, extremists and militants, Nigeria is cruising on the crucible of total and irrevocable victory under the leadership of Gen. Faruk Yahaya. The songs of victory resonate in the South, and louder in the North.

If its possible to recount episodic chants of victories against the conspiratorial armed gangs, terrorizing Nigeria, these past years, one only hears of neutralization of terrorists and bandits by the Nigerian Military; hundreds surrendering together with their families to the Nigerian Army or we hear of bandits and terrorists camps ransacked by Nigerian troops in different parts of the country.

News such as soldiers freeing Boko Haram hostages previously held captive; Army arrests of amazing number of Boko Haram terrorists; bandits abandoning kidnapped victims scurrying for safety only to meet their waterloo from either ground or air forces or Nigerian troops and troops repelling planned terrorists attacks on villages or towns. In these three months, both national and international media seldomly scream with news headlines of the killings, gores, pains, sorrows and agonies of victims of terrorism and banditry.

By today in August 2021, in confirmation of the pleasant realities in Borno state, the previously hotbed of terrorism in Nigeria, Gov. Babagana Zulum is excited at the drastic reduction in the magnitude of insecurity in the state. The Governor was particularly elated with troops ongoing clearing exercises at the shores of the Lake Chad Basin area and its overwhelming actions around the Sambisa forest general area.

Gov. Zulum noted that the current actions of Nigerian troops have precipitated the massive surrender of hundreds of the insurgents with their families in the last couple of weeks; a greater and increased hold on resettlement of displaced persons to deserted ancestral lands, intensification of farming activities in liberated enclaves in the state, and the restoration of civil authority are an indisputable signposts of palpable peace in more parts of the state.

And publicly, a critical Zulum graciously applauded the military, other security agencies, the Civilian Joint Task Force, (JTF), fighter- hunters and vigilante groups for their combined and sustain efforts in securing the state in the fight against insurgency.

Therefore, when in July 2021, after President Muhammadu Buhari decorated the new COAS with the rank of a Lieutenant General, Gen. Faruk Yahaya assured Nigerians of his unshakable determination as the final terminator of the reign of terror in Nigeria; “…we have started doing (it) already and many of them have been sent to God to go and answer for their crimes.”

Ostensibly, the new Army Chief is living up to his calling, by leading from the front in the trenches. He knows the path to success and he is following the standards set by his predecessors, by proving himself as a dependable officer. Nigeria is winning the war again, after clearing all the distractions created for the troops in the aftermath of the 2019 general elections.

And expectedly, the most sensitive favour Nigerians expect from Gen. Faruk Yahaya is to to sustain the winning tempo until the final whistle is blown. All Nigerians are bound by a patriotic obligation to their country to support the new COAS as he leads the troops to the final victory for Nigeria.

Onmeje wrote this piece from the United Kingdom.

About author

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A prolific writer of about two decades standing experience
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