By Best Agbese
“The most important thing I learned is that soldiers watch their leaders’ actions. You can give them classes and lecture them forever, but it is your personal example they will follow.”– General Colin Powell.
The above quote describes an essential attribute of a war commander that leads by example in his conduct. And coming to Nigeria, the recent successes recorded by the Nigerian Army in the war against terrorism and other acts of criminalities indicate the leadership example the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Faruk Yahaya, provided.
He might not be the loud type that dots the newspaper pages at every given opportunity. He is also not your regular soldier that brandishes his weapon in a display of force. But instead, he is a seasoned tactician who matches his words with actions in every task.
Since the appointment of Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya as the Chief of Army Staff, a lot has happened in the operations of the Nigerian Army. We are witness to numerous successes in North-East Nigeria and other parts of the country.
A well-rounded officer who has held sensitive positions within the Nigerian Army came to the job with loads of experience. Little wonder the excitement that greeted his appointment within the army community. He is regarded by the military circle as that general that talks less but does more than can be imagined.
This attribute is evident in how he handled the Nigerian Army’s operations. As a war commander in North-East Nigeria, the Nigerian Army recorded tangible gains. So much so that when he left the theatre of operations, officers and soldiers sang to the high heavens in his praises.
They knew what to expect regarding operational efficiency, especially in addressing the security challenges posed by the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists. And so far, he has not disappointed. His knack for excellence witnessed the restructuring of military operations across the country.
It is indeed a case of a round peg in a round a-hole hence the cheering news coming from North-East Nigeria and other parts of the country where military operations are ongoing. The beauty of the Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya’s strategy is the palpable inter-agency cooperation in addressing the security challenges across the country.
This feat has been largely attributed to his emphasis on teamwork, an attribute he has inculcated in the minds of officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army since he assumed office. This is brilliant and further emphasizes his disposition to work.
Little wonder that in a year at the helm of affairs of the Nigerian Army, he has caused a drastic turnaround in operational efficiency. Officers and soldiers regularly display acts of gallantry in various operations because they learn from the leadership example set by the Chief of Army Staff. I am, therefore, of the opinion that sound leadership is critical to addressing the challenges facing us as a country. And the Nigerian Army example is worthy of mention and emulation if we are desirous of making progress.
I am not surprised by the exploits of Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya because he is such a brilliant infantry officer that has held command positions in the Nigerian Army before his appointment as Chief of Army Staff. Notably, he was at a time Military Secretary, Army Headquarters and General Officer Commanding, One Division of the Nigerian Army. Amongst a host of other command appointments.
As a well-grounded infantry officer, he has several awards in his kitty. They include Forces Service Star, Meritorious Service Star, Distinguished Service Star, Grand Service Star, National Defence Course (Chile), Economic Community of West Africa State Monitoring Group Medal, Command Medal, Field Command Medal, General Operations Medal, Silver Jubilee Medal and Golden Jubilee Medal.
It is indeed a story of where passion meets commitment. And the result is what is experienced in North-East Nigeria and other parts of the country by the display of acts of gallantry by officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army.
Nigerians must come to terms with the fact that Lt. Gen Faruk Yahaya is indeed a gallant general whose leadership strides have brought to the fore the operational effectiveness of the Nigerian Army in recent times. This is commendable and buttresses the quote by General Collin Powell on how the personal examples of their commander influence troops.
Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya has set worthy examples in leadership. He has also demonstrated the capacity to lead when it matters most in this critical point of our existence. This piece is in celebration of a gallant officer that has matched words with actions. He deserves all the support he can get as he soldiers on.
“We all have dreams. But to make dreams become a reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” This is the case of Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya.
Agbese is a researcher and author writing from Abuja.