Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (Rtd), the immediate past Chief of Army Staff (COAS), says he did incredibly well while on the job.
Asides giving himself a pass mark in handling the Army for over five years, Buratai also said he owes no one an explanation over his recent appointment as one of Nigeria’s non-career ambassadors.
Buratai and other Service Chiefs “voluntarily resigned” their positions on 26 January 2021 after months of calls for their sack following a spate of insecurity in different parts of the country, especially in the northeast.
Following their resignation the President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), immediately appointed Major-General Leo Irabor Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff as replacements.
Buhari announced the outgone service chiefs as non-career ambassadors nominees on 4 February 2021, just nine days after their resignation.
Opposition party – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – kicked against the move and called on the President to withdraw the list. The PDP, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the appointment as a plot to shield the ex-Service Chiefs from investigations over the “killing of innocent Nigerians and crimes against humanity” under their watch.
But responding to a question after a special gala night organised by members of the 29th Regular Course Association of the Nigerian Defense Academy in Abuja at the weekend, Buratai said he would not respond to the PDP’s statement, insisting that he is not a politician.
“It’s an honourable retirement and also an honourable appointment.
“I’m not a politician, so I have no word for the opposition. I have done well.
He said he stood out while in charge as the Chief of Army Staff, saying:
“I am happy that in July last year, my officers at the Army headquarters compiled a compendium of my achievements.
“In fact, I can’t even remember all the projects that we have executed. Is it in term of infrastructure? Is it in term of capacity building? Is it in terms of training?
“Since I was appointed, there was never a dull moment in terms of training.
“Remember the various exercises. These are training exercises from ‘Python dance’, ‘Crocodile smile’, and even the latest one ‘Exercise Sahel Sanity’.
“Is it in the area of medical? In terms of education of our children and wards, the Nigerian Army University are all great achievements.
“I think you can write volumes and volumes of books in terms of the achievements depending on the perspectives you want to take.”
Buratai said the impacts of his efforts as the Chief of Army Staff may not be felt immediately.
He, however, insisted that the country would be having highly qualified officers in the next five to 10 years, “who can carry this military profession to higher heights.”
Speaking of the gala night staged in his honour, Buratai said it showed that he did well as the Chief of Army Staff.
“It feels great [to be celebrated by my colleagues] at this point in time.
“It means a lot to me in terms of respect, in term of the show of love.
“It’s something of pride that you have been recognised for the service you have rendered to your nation and people,” he said.
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