Opinion: Why our service chiefs deserve national honour by David Onmeje

Opinion: Why our service chiefs deserve national honour by David Onmeje

Editor's note: David Onmeje a London-based analyst writes on Nigerian service chiefs who were appointed since 2015 when President Buhari resumed office in his first tenure.

Onmeje suggests that rather condemn the efforts put together by the chiefs, especially the Chief of Army Staff ( COAS) deserve national recognition with national honours.

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When recently, I heard a member of the Nigerian Senate asking what the Service Chiefs have done these years on ending Boko Haram,  I knew immediately that there is another set of people that have been ignored in our hall of fame. It became clear to me, our politicians will stop at nothing to glorify themselves over nothing,  but excitedly spite others. 

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The Senator who asked the rhetorical question amazed me infinitely. If today, and under President Muhammadu Buhari, any Nigerian can claim even in satiric excitement or in mocking ambience not to understand or feel the impact of the Service Chiefs on insurgencies, it only exposes our hypocritical selves.

And when I hear such obscenities from politicians, it baffles me on why these same persons have found themselves in leadership positions. A friend of mine once told me that when our politicians tell you to stand, make sure you sit down immediately. They are hostile to the truth but worship falsehood with reverence.  This is the extent Nigerians perceive the dishonesty in our politicians.

Therefore, spreading mischief and malicious interpretations of our problems by these politicians would not obliterate reality. We all know the truth is constant and sacrosanct. Only lies mutate in character severally within a day.

The same Senator, I have no reason to doubt his dementia has forgotten that in the Three Arms Zone in Abuja where he attends parliamentary sessions, insurgents bombs exploded at Eagle Square when former President Goodluck Jonathan was the chief landlord of Aso Rock.

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And even the Louis Edet House, which houses the Nigerian Police Headquarters also felt the heat of Boko Haram bombs. The bomb explosions at Nyanya bus station; Emab Shopping Mall, the UN Building and hordes of other places within the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) undeniably expressed our national tragedy.

That a serving senator today does not know that no bomb has exploded anywhere in Abuja under the Buhari Presidency and deridingly questions what the service chiefs have done would not plunge me into a nightmare. He is merely voicing out his foolery, in a demeaning fashion.

If we are held back by sentiment not to commend the service chiefs for taming insurgencies and insurrections in Nigeria, we should rather be mute. But polluting the air with such malicious condemnations of the sacrifices they are making to give us peace and security is the height of idiocy. 

I feel the current service chiefs, especially the Chief of Army Staff ( COAS) and helmsman of the anti-insurgency operations in Nigeria, Lieutenant General TY Buratai deserve national recognition with national honours.

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The Brazilian Government was not foolish to have conferred the highest military honour on General Buratai for his contributions in decimating/defeating Boko Haram terrorism and therefore, scaling up world peace!

 I know some Nigerians as people who are never proud of hard-working, selfless and patriotic leaders like General Buratai and the others are just victims of a disfigured national psyche.

So, for the records, and to those who are likely to be misled by the dishonest views of my Senator- friend, I wish to reply briefly by replaying the impact of Service Chiefs appointed in 2015 which he deliberately feigns ignorance.

I want to be specific and would x-ray just the war against terrorism. Before the Buhari Presidency,  18 local governments in the Northeast were under the full control of Boko Haram. The terror gang also had partial control of seven others.

Terrorists deposed traditional and religious leaders, foisted their Jihadi flags and governed conquered territories on the dictates of Boko Haram's weird doctrines, with headquarters in Gwoza.

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But Gen. Buratai ingeniously and courageously led Nigerian troops to reclaim all seized territories of the Nigerian state within one year! Nigerians only knew of Boko Haram's abduction of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls.

However, over 20, 000 Nigerians were held hostage in Boko Haram's secret camps in the Northeast. The Army Chief led the assault which has freed over 17, 000 Boko Haram hostages in the last four years.

Today, we are not under the phobia of a dreaded Sambisa forest.

We are pleasantly talking about a demystified and dismantled Sambisa forest, an enclave now sprawling with games and hunting. I am still thinking of who some debased politicians in the country think has accomplished these feats, if not the Service Chiefs, with Gen. Buratai as the Chief Armour Bearer.

Nigerians are no longer under the nightmare of the spell of Boko Haram, constantly visiting atrocities and horrendous attacks, so recklessly on any part of the country as obtainable in the past.

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Of course, I won't say, Boko Haram insurgency has completely ended, but it has been severely degraded and decapitated, to the extent that now insurgents only strike at obscure locations.  But our gallant soldiers are still on their trail in Clearance Operations.

We cannot be this blind to reality! 

We can only appreciate Gen. Buratai if we know that he has been able to stop the massive recruitment of our sons and daughters into Boko Haram as footsoldiers.  It's a difficult task, but he has done it. It means Gen. Buratai has confronted insurgency on all fronts- battlefield, cyberspace, psychological and ideological warfares.

I am not wise, but I know when someone attempts to fool me. If at this point, some Nigerians still doubt what the incumbent service chiefs have done in combating terrorism, they could even query the day of their birth.

Had other service chiefs did half of what current batch are doing now in finally routing out Boko Haram terrorism, Nigeria would have been a free nation by today.

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I feel these Service Chiefs deserve national honours. It's the only way we can convince an inquisitive world about appreciating their service and sacrifices to our fatherland in quelling terrorism.

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