Who is Afraid of Ambassador Buratai?
Who is Afraid of Ambassador Buratai?
By Dr. Abubakar Mohammed
Last Thursday, December 16, 2021, I attended a media award ceremony hosted by The Nigerian News at the NAF Conference Hall in Abuja. Ambassador Tukur Yusufu Buratai was among those honored by the media house, getting the award for Icon of Patriotism in Africa. I am certain that the soldier-diplomat did not lobby for the medal; rather, it was bestowed upon him on the basis of his merit and track record as a patriotic Nigerian, outstanding soldier, heroic infantry general, and one of Africa’s best Army chiefs.This is not to say that the retiring General is a perfect man or that he achieved all of his goals as COAS; he did not achieve all of his goals, but he got close. Buratai left the Army in better shape than he found it, and Nigeria flourished under his leadership. He is an extraordinary Army officer, and no leader who appreciates the importance of a solid team will let someone of his caliber depart. As a result, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCON, appointed him as his special envoy to Benin. Previously, reports circulated that the Commander in Chief intended to keep all service chiefs, especially Ambassador Buratai, until the end of his term. It’s evident that certain people, both inside and outside the military, were concerned about the rumor.
I wrote an article about service chiefs in November 2020, and I’ve included a piece here: “The problem with Nigeria, therefore, is not the service chiefs whom we believe are doing their best, especially the COAS but our general attitude towards our national security. If we don’t change our attitude and approach towards security, a hundred service chiefs will come and go but our condition will only get worse. I submit to you that removal or sack of the service chiefs will only take us four years backward in the fight against insurgency and banditry because the present service chiefs know the terrain and its peculiarisms and challenges, and they are fully on top of the situation. This is why the terrorists are on the run today but because insecurity in Nigeria has an international dimension (according to the revered international diplomat Muhammad ibn Chambas) and a political dimension to it, it will be difficult to bring it to an end if we don’t employ the holistic approach.” I read the article today as I was surfing the internet, and realized that I was damned right.
Ambassador Buratai cooperated with the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, two days after receiving the Icon of Patriotism award, to conduct the groundbreaking and appeal fundraiser for the Tukur Burutai Research Centre. The center is a manifestation of Amb. Buratai’s desire to strategically give back to society. It is widely accepted that all developed nations attained their pinnacles as a result of research institutes and think tanks that typically aid and guide them through effective research and sound policymaking. The Tukur Buratai Research Centre will concentrate on strategic research, military and security concerns, leadership and development. Additionally, it will examine the root causes of insurgency and banditry and provide both short- and long-term solutions. Due to the widespread goodwill that this soldier-turned-diplomat enjoys among Nigerians, men and women of all timbres and calibres from every nook and cranny of the country gathered and generously contributed to the cause, despite the event’s short notice and lack of publicity. Nasarawa, Borno, and Yobe governors graced the celebration, while the BUA Group made a 100 million naira endowment. As the research center’s primary promoter and host, Ambassador Buratai delivered a brief address in which he welcomed his guests, explained the purpose of the gathering, discussed research, leadership, why OECD nations succeed, and why Nigeria must devote resources and support research centers and think tanks. It was a well-received speech by the entire audience, which included renowned academics, senior politicians, thought leaders, military personnel, and traditional leaders. Individuals interested in reading the speech may do so by clicking on this link. Although Amb. Buratai, like many of us, recognized that poor governance at the local government level, a lack of inclusiveness, and poverty are all contributing to the persistence of insecurity and violence in Nigeria and many other Sub-Saharan African countries such as Mali,Niger,Burkina Faso, and so on, he chose not to discuss them because there was no need. The gathering was not intended to discuss terrorism, insurrection, or any other security issue. As I previously stated, it was a ground-breaking event and fundraising campaign for the Tukur Buratai Research Centre.
I chose the title Who is Afraid of Buratai? for this essay because I’ve discovered that certain individuals are hell-bent on sullying the image of this patriotic Nigerian. This is because a determined effort is made to constantly twist and misinterpret anything he says in public, despite the fact that the majority of what he says is in official speeches that have been painstakingly drafted and verified by his aides. This fifth columnists and cowards who prefer to conceal themselves behind some dubious web media with no traceable addresses will twist anything he says. As they did with the widely acclaimed scholarly lecture delivered by Amb. Buratai at the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola convocation in October, they used an unknown media platform to report on the NSUK/TRBC groundbreaking and fundraiser event. What baffled me was that they ascribed words to the Ambassador that he never read.They mischievously captioned the story: “Poor Leadership, Weak Justice System Major Causes of Insecurity in Nigeria—Buratai.” I have listened and watched the video of his speech over and over again and no such statement was heard. Their purpose, in a nutshell, is to create friction between the President and the Ambassador. This group of individuals did everything possible to convince the President to request the resignation of Buratai and the other service chiefs, but the same President, aware of the degree of heat endured by the former service chiefs, decided to convert them into diplomats to serve as his envoys in the MNJTF countries. As Nigerians anticipated, Amb. Buratai relocated to Benin Republic and is presently performing admirably. He was all over the news during the Sunday Igboho incident, and for the first time in a long time, the entire world recognized the presence of a no-nonsense envoy in Benin. I would want to state that President Buhari and Ambassador Buhari have a long history together, dating all the way back to when the President was a military governor and the Ambassador was a sixteen-year-old student at Borno Teacher’s College Maiduguri. That occurred in 1975. They split up and God brought them back together in 2015, when the President paid a visit to N’Djamena and met Buratai, who was then the MNJTF Force Commander. As you can see, they met 40 years later, which carries spiritual significance. In Sacred Scripture, the number “40” signifies new life, new growth, transformation, a change from one great task to another great task, etc. Prophet Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai where he received the 10 commandments. Likewise with Prophet Isa (Jesus the Christ). Also, Prophet Muhammad was forty years old when he first received the revelation delivered by the archangel Gabriel, and Masih ad-Dajjal will roam around the Earth in forty days, the first day length is like one year, the second day is like one month, the third day is like one week and the next day (until 40th day) is like one day. They were brought together by God, and Amb. Buratai served his Fatherland and demonstrated his unwavering commitment to President Buhari. Nigerians recall how, in August 1985, a former Army chief who is also a close buddy of the President deposed the President and took control. However, in Buratai, we witnessed a professional soldier who was completely loyal to constituted authority, a soldier who believes in democracy and the will of the people, even when the forces of darkness sought to suffocate our democracy and when the President left the country for an extended period of time to seek medical attention.
Allow me to state unequivocally that individuals like Amb. Buratai are extremely rare. Through introspection, I’ve concluded that God elevates men like them in every generation to provide leadership, direction, and guidance, and to carry out his will. It’s straightforward study that anyone can conduct; simply look at those who fought for our independence. They were primarily born in the 1920s or shortly thereafter. On the other hand, people who battled to maintain this nation’s unity in 1967 were predominantly born in the 1940s. Nigerians are increasingly looking up to this group of famous Nigerians; they are our beacons and guides. We can mock and castigate them during the day, but at night, we all flock to them. Have you seen how Nigerians who attacked and condemned IBB lavished praise on him on the occasion of his 80th birthday? That, my friends, is Nigeria. What am I attempting to convey? I want to draw our attention to the fact that after the 1940 generation passes away, it will be the 1960 generation’s turn to govern this country. I co-edited a compilation titled Nigeria at 60 last year. It is a compilation of sixty famous Nigerians born in 1960. Mallam Nasir el Rufai, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, Prof. Charles Soludo, Dr. Salamatu Hussaini, and, of course, Amb. Buratai are just a few of these Nigerians. Mark my words: whether we like it or not, these 1960 individuals will serve as our future generation of leaders. It’s worth noting that among the military generation born in the 1960s, Amb. Buratai is in a class by himself. He earned it only by his diligence and excellence. Excellence, professionalism, and commitment were the only things that endeared him to the President.
My counsel to those who make a living by acting as willing tools in the hands of mischievous but cowardly Nigerians is to abstain from such heinous crimes since they would inevitably end in futility. It will not produce any results, but will instead cause the name of the person they intended to malign to trend and glow. Amb. Buratai is a figure who is here to stay, and his detractors can’t stop him. Nothing. As I previously stated, the London-based The Nigerian News recently gave him the title of Icon of Patriotism in Africa in recognition of his patriotism for Nigeria and Africa. Those who wish to crush and destroy him will fail because they do not understand him, and I am confident that if they take the time to understand him, they would see that there is no reason to crush and destroy him. “Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, yet it is the polar opposite of it.” Because cynics are incapable of learning anything. “Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it may hurt or disappoint us,” Stephen Colbert explained.