I was greatly distressed to read the words of the chief of army staff, Lieutenant General Turkur Buratai, who blamed the downturn in the war against terror on Boko Haram.
Speaking on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, Buratai said: “It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the Nigeria army has had in our operations in recent times can be traced to insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks.”
Boko Haram attacked 4 Nigerian Army bases last week and killed multiple soldiers and commanders. In response, the COAS, Buratai, accuses our gallant soldiers of cowardice. These men are fighting in bushes and trenches, and Buratai is sitting fat in his Abuja air-conditioned offices and he has the guts to call them cowards!
When over 100 soldiers of the 157 Task Force Battalion, Metele, were killed last November, neither General Buhari nor pastor Yemi Osinbajo could even attend their funeral. No heroes burial. No public inquiry into the incident. After treating them like that, how would Buratai expect them to be motivated to fight Boko Haram? But, if it were to kill defenceless Shiites, this Buratai will be at the forefront.
Soldiers, whether they are fighting a war or not, always need to be kept motivated. Morale is essential in the military and no other person should know this better than Buratai. Words, such as those spoken by Buratai, are very demotivating and will crush the spirit of our forces. Those type of words can never motivate our forces.
Very, very few people are called upon to lose their lives in pursuance of their jobs like soldiers are. Our legislators are some of the most highly paid in the world, yet their lives are not at risk. Our soldiers are poorly paid and poorly fed. These issues have not been addressed. Rather than address them, you have Buratai adding salt to injury.
Take the life of Jesus for example. Jesus never performed even one miracle, until God spoke these Words from heaven in Matthew 3:17 “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Immediately after those Words, Jesus started His Ministry of miracles and wonders. You see, when you motivate people, you activate them. This is a lesson that Buratai needs to learn.
The famed American football coach, Lou Holtz, once said “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”
Our military forces have the ability. They have displayed that ability right from the 50s in the Congo, to the 60s, during the civil war, to the 70s and 80s in Lebanon, and in the 90s in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The reason their ability has not been unleashed is that their motivation has not been supplied. Their attitudes are down.
We have a supposedly Nigerian Army. Now how do you expect Southerners in the army to be motivated when the head of the ENTIRE 10 law enforcement and intelligence services, including the NPF, NSA, DSS, NIA, DMI, DIA, NPS, NCS, NIS, and EFCC, are all headed by Northerners? This is even as the heads of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary are Northerners!
Our soldiers are first of all Nigerians before they are soldiers.
Just a few weeks ago, Buratai and his incompetent boss, General Buhari, both claimed that Boko Haram had been defeated. Now Buratai is blaming soldiers’ cowardice for the ‘unending war’ with Boko Haram. Buhari and Buratai have forgotten his fallacy that they have been defeated. Truly, EVERY LIE has an EXPIRY date.
Now, how do they expect the soldiers doing the fighting to feel when they hear lies like the ones told by Buratai and his boss?
The truth is that it is not our soldiers that have “insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks”, it is precise Buratai and his boss that are guilty of that charge.
During the 2015 election campaign cycle, General Buhari promised to “lead from the front”. Has he done so? How many times has he gone to the front to lead our boys? He and Buratai ‘lead’ from air-conditioned offices in Abuja. And they have the guts to call soldiers facing Boko Haram ‘cowards’. Only in Buhari’s Nigeria. Only in Buhari’s Nigeria!