History is a silent guardian of reality. It has neither a voice nor animated sense, but its verdict is strong and loud. It defiantly bows to the dictates of truth and it is not prone to the conscious conspiracies of a dubious world. Indeed, history is the soundest judge in the affairs of men.
Nigeria’s former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the anti-insurgency combats in the country, Ambassador Tukur Yusuf Buratai, a retired Lieutenant General stands in the corridors of the shinning ambience of history. When he commanded the anti-terrorism operations for nearly six years, he gave his best even at the risk of his personal life. He exhibited an uncommon patriotism and loyalty to his country. Apparently, history has today passed a kind and favorable verdict on him.
It was Mr. Harry Truman, a former President of the United States of America, who once said; “Do your duty and history will do you Justice.” Gen. Buratai (rtd) performed his duty creditably and, he is standing on the judgment podium of history, beaming with smiles and pride. History ricochets him as a soldier who defended his fatherland from the claws of terrorists, bandits and other armed criminal gangs in the country impactfully and defiantly.
Today, retired Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai has another mandate to serve Nigeria. It is at the diplomatic scene, as Nigeria’s ambassador designate posted to serve in neigboring Benin Republic. From the warfront’s earsplitting sounds of bombs and guns in the forests and caves of the Northeast region, His Excellency, Ambassador TY Buratai will now continue to fight terrorists with diplomatic weapons.
He prosecuted the counter-insurgency operations gallantly. He manifested courage, doggedness and determination. He spared no enemy or foe of Nigeria and their conspirators. He even placed his life in the path of danger countless times because he willingly took a decision to defend his country. Therefore, the odds neither discouraged nor deterred him. The frustrations strewn on his path by adversaries and villains rather bolstered him.
Whilst in military garbs in the service of Nigeria, Ambassador Buratai was inspired by the wisdom of Afro-American civil rights activist and anti-racism campaigner, Martin Luther King Jr who echoed that; “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” Gen. Buratai (rtd) exhibited exceptional military exploits because he vowed Nigeria must be exculpated from the tusks of terrorists and allied criminal gangs.
But while on this noble national assignment, Gen. Buratai (rtd) stepped on toes, bruised known and unknown forces, who many times plotted a cruel death on him or attempted his assassination. But Buratai fought back tenaciously and viciously. It earned him uncomplimentary remarks and sobriquets from these antiheroes.
But Gen. Buratai knew, and like the famous thinker Eugene Victor Debs’ “In every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the People.
”Therefore, history remembers Gen. Buratai as a soldier and military leader, who yesterday, faced multiple Boko Haram ambushes in the warfront; but he defeated them the many times they tried. Whether the attacks came at nights or day time, Gen. Buratai (rtd) outsmarted his assailants and killers.
So, barely few months into office as COAS, many disguised terror sects like the Shiek Ibraheem El-Zakzaky’s Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) with affinities with terror sects in Iran, executed an assassination plot on Gen. Buratai (rtd) in Zaria. It failed woefully. And the incident never deterred or discouraged the former COAS to give the best to his fatherland. Gen. Buratai believed like the US war veteran George S.Patton Jr; “The soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country”
Gen. Buratai (rtd) love Nigeria with a passion. He believed the country’s misplaced fortunes in security can be recovered. It was America’s first black President, Mr. Barack Obama who reasoned patriotically that; “In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country (America) can change it.” Gen. Buratai knew that it was possible to change the demonic face of Nigeria on insecurities and he achieved it prodigiously.
So, he frequently slept in the trenches with troops and personally led onslaughts against terrorists in the frontlines. Gen. Buratai (rtd), a reputable warmonger, world class combatant, famed military strategist and tactician never scowled in giving Boko Haram insurgents a bloody nose at all times and everywhere. Gen. Buratai (rtd) was insurgents and bandits’ mortal nightmare.
Boko Haram’s factional leader, Abubakar Shekau whined several times in the warfront over the excessive subduing pressures Gen. Buratai unleashed on his top Commanders and foot soldiers. He loudly bemoaned Gen. Buratai’s cruelness.
Some of these terrorists who could not withstand the heat of war grimaced and voluntarily surrendered to the Nigerian Army. It was the foundation of Gen. Buratai’s “stick and carrot” policy in prosecuting the war, which eventually birthed “Operation Safe Corridor.”
Also, under Gen. Buratai’s watch, tens of thousands of Boko Haram foot soldiers willingly surrendered to the Nigerian Army. Gen. Buratai accomplished this feat because he sermonized to the terrorists the wisdom of Chris Hedges; “If we really saw war, what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be impossible to embrace the myth of war. If we had to stand over the mangled corpses of schoolchildren killed in Afghanistan and listen to the wails of their parents, we would not be able to repeat clichés we use to justify war.”
Therefore, Gen. Buratai (rtd) discharged his responsibilities as a soldier very perfectly. Under his reign, Gen. Buratai (rtd) led military operations, which rescued over 20,000 thousand persons including women and children, held hostage by Boko Haram and housed in different camps within the Northeast. When Gen. Buratai (rtd) served as the honcho man of the anti-insurgency, over 1,000 top commanders of Boko Haram were neutralized in fierce battles with Nigerian soldiers within five years.
As leader of the counter-insurgency, Gen. Buratai completely blighted and rendered extinct, splinter terror sects like Ansara and DESH among others. He personally led troops in some of the operations which reclaimed all Nigerian territories once held and controlled by the terrorists, who displaced natives, sacked or deposed emirs and other community leaders. He substantially normalized existence in the Northeast.
The dreaded Sambisa forest was not only demystified, but became a favorite game reserve for soldiers when Gen. Buratai (rtd) prosecuted the war. Nigerian Army even hosted series of Army competitions in Sambisa forest.
In Sambisa forest, Gen. Buratai roaringly gunned for the terrorists and they knew it. Every terrorist knew, the fear of Buratai was the beginning of wisdom. It was the Buratai phobia which compelled the hurried migration of remnants of terrorists to the fringes of Lake Chad Basin axis in their search for safer havens.
Pleasurably today, Gen. Buratai (rtd) has been posted to Benin Republic as Ambassador designate. Benin Republic shares boundaries with Nigeria and it is a major commercial route into the country, where also, illegal weapons are smuggled. As Nigeria’s ambassador to this country, Gen. Buratai will collaborate with the Government of Benin to halt the massive smuggling of illegal weapons into Nigeria, which partly services the weaponry needs of Boko Haram terrorists and bandits.
Furthermore, through persuasion, His Excellency, Ambassador Buratai will assist in strengthening the participation of Benin republic in the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), the regional security outfit formed to collectively tackle terrorists in these five nations, including Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroun. This would be in addition to availing the Benin Republic with his wealth of experience in anti-terrorism warfare in advisory capacity.
It is for these reasons and many others that Nigerians have described Ambassador Buratai’s new posting as the icing on the cake for Nigeria to boost her economy and security through a good understanding with Benin Republic on some of the illegal activities that take place around the borders of these two countries. He is expected to bring his strategy on board to help these two nations foster a better and stronger economic/security ties that will be beneficial to the two countries.
Interestingly, Gen. Buratai does not perceive his ambassadorial assignment as the reward for all his services to Nigeria in the strict sense of it or really what excites him. Gen. Buratai (rtd) cherishes his feting in every nook and cranny of the country as the hero of counter-insurgency more than anything else.
From Agila to Mafa, Kaura Namoda to Otuoke. Lt. Gen TY Buratai (rtd) is being celebrated for his efforts in combating terrorism in Nigeria and the professional and patriotic Army he bequeathed to Nigeria. His name unites Nigerians across all walks of life. He is that quintessential patriot that even his enemies fall in love with his good works. Truly, history has done him Justice.