By Richard Adewusi
It is normal for political jobbers in Nigeria, interested in the country’s Presidency in 2019 to spend precious time debating what President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership has achieved with his first mandate to warrant his reelection.
But patriotic Nigerians home and abroad, who have keenly followed the Buhari Presidency knows exactly the bliss that Nigeria is presently enjoying on security under his watch.
So, in far way United Kingdom (UK), affectionate emotions ran riot in encomiums and eulogies of the Nigerian Army by Nigerians and foreigners. I saw a loud confirmation of the prowess of soldiers in taming Boko Haram terrorism and associated toxic insurrections which hitherto crippled the country.
The event was the twine celebrations of the 2nd anniversary of TheNigerian, a London-based online news platform and conferment of awards on deserving Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in public service. It was an assemblage of eminent personalities in diverse fields.
But one awardee stole the show, when the Master of Ceremony (MC) bellowed his name for the “Millennium Achiever,”award. Earsplitting applauses interrupted the event for a while, as the whole hall stood up in ovation and thunderous claps.
The applauses were for Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and ombudsman of the counter-insurgency operations in the country, Lt.Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai. He was conferred with TheNigerian’s distinguished “Millennium Achiever”award at a glamorous ceremony, held at The MontCalm, Marble Arch, Great Cumberland, London.
The event attracted hundreds of Nigerians at home and in abroad, especially those domiciled in the United Kingdom. I least knew that Nigerians abroad meticulously monitored every development back home on security issues and its positive changing narratives.
But I sat in the hall, almost transfixed on my seat, as I watched with utmost awe, the practical reactions and jubilations with the special recognition of Gen. Buratai with the “Millennium Achiever award” by a reputable online medium and pacesetter in developmental journalism.
As one of the honourees, Gen. Buratai was specially recognized for not only decimating and defeating terrorism in Nigeria. But most importantly, for his knack and wisdom in sustaining the victory of the Nigerian military over Boko Haram insurgents and allied insurgencies, which bedeviled the Nigeria.
Those versed in terrorism combat readily admitted that the greatest predicament in terrorism combats anywhere in the world is sustaining the victory against insurgents. Terrorists generally have the character of relapsing into sleeper cells when the heat is unbearable tough, as attestable by the pressure of Nigerian troops on Boko Haram terrorists.
But inevitably, terrorists would time and time again, convalesce and resurge in fresh attacks and atrocities. But Gen. Buratai has proved his competence by leading troops to maintain the winning streaks over Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria, this nearly an impossible task.
We are aware of the severity of insurgency in Nigeria before the Buhari Presidency and the emergence of Gen. Buratai as Army Chief on the turf and the extra burden of leading the anti-terrorism mission of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Gen. Buratai has discharged these responsibilities creditably, conscientiously and patriotically in the last three years, with impressive results. It is most noticeable in the restoration of peace and security in the once troubled Northeast region of Nigeria and elsewhere in the country.
I can proudly assert that Nigerian troops have reclaimed all Nigerian territories seized by Boko Haram terrorists and the insurgents have fruitlessly struggled to recapture them. Insurgents and their agents have attempted severally to reverse the gains, but have met a brick wall at all instances.
Similarly, the populations in IDPs camps in the Northeast have also diminished, as majority of displaced persons have returned back to their ruined and deserted village or communities.
The rebuilding process of the ravaged Northeast is also progressing steadily and uninterrupted. And over 16,000 Nigerians held hostage by Boko Haram insurgents have been freed and more are regaining their freedom by the day.
In the last three years, I have not heard the sounds of bomb explosions anywhere near, Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which were almost a daily feast for the terrorists when they reigned supreme and held the country hostage in conflagrations. Bomb explosions have never been heard in other parts of Northern Nigeria like Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi, and Gombe states among others, where insurgents had made steady and unstoppable ingress by early 2015.
Also heart-warming, Nigerians are no longer saddened with the tales of abductions and killings by Boko Haram insurgents.Gen. Buratai and the Nigerian troops have sustained the heat amazingly.
I was therefore not surprised at the vibrations of excitement and joy, which rented the air, as the world rose up in appreciation of this unique and rare Army General, when his name was echoed for the award. Many whispered that Gen. Buratai deserves it, as a leader who has devoted his entire life and everything in the selfless, faithful and loyal service to his fatherland.
However, the COAS could not personally grace the event, because of his tight schedules. But he was ably represented by a team led by Major General Nuhu Angbanzo, who received the award on his behalf. And a distinguished Nigerian university don, based in the UK, Dr. Hale Longpet presented the award to Gen. Buratai on behalf of TheNigerian News.
So, some idle Nigerians, who are more concerned in politicizing issues of security to score cheap points, can keep plying their trade. But conscientious Nigerians know of the milestones the Buhari Presidency has achieved on security of the nation and are appreciative.
Adewusi is a freelance journalist based in the UK