Notwithstanding the perceived misplaced assessment from certain quarters regarding the performance of the military and, in particular, the army, their achievements in the last three years as they relate to combating security challenges in the country are, to most fair minded observers, remarkable. The response of the army hierarchy to criticisms so far has remained positive, refusing to be dragged into exchanges on their modus operandi and preferring instead to concentrate on efforts geared towards doing the job at hand devoid of any distractions from the main objective. That disposition has contributed to their celebrated exploits which are buoyed by the prevailing high morale of the officers and soldiers a product of the improvement in their welfare package.
Over and above these, in our opinion, are two factors that have in no small measure gingered the soldiers to face their assigned tasks with uncommon courage and tenacity of purpose. One is the political will provided by President Muhammadu Buhari, himself a retired General. He is bringing to bear on the command performance of the army his years of experience in the military which he is deploying to ensure that the Army is well positioned to confront Boko Haram terrorists that hitherto annexed and took control of some areas in the country as well as other security situations in parts of the country.
The second, in our considered opinion, is the leadership capacity as exhibited by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, in the past three years which has earned for him commendations not just in Nigeria but elsewhere around the world.
It is from this perspective that informed analysts of military operations see the criticisms against him as uncharitable given the successes recorded in the Boko Haram conflict in North East of Nigeria and other areas where the Army was deployed to maintain law and order.
It is, therefore, our considered opinion that the Nigerian Army under Buratai has been diligent in the discharge of its responsibilities, even as he has demonstrated the capacity to continue to lead the onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists. Also, his well-thought out strategies as reflected in operations such as Operation Lafiya Dole, Operation Crackdown, Operation Gama Aiki, Operation Safe Corridor, Operation Python Dance, and Operation Crocodile Smile have in one way or the other proved successful in tackling pockets of internal dissent.
In a direct contrast to the way and manner the military was administered in the previous political dispensation, one would readily agree that the Nigerian Army is back to the days of professionalism and transparency, abiding by the rules of engagement in warfare and putting stringent measures towards protecting unarmed civilian populations in the conduct of their operations in North East Nigeria and other areas where troops are deployed.
Therefore, it is our held view that ill-conceived attempts to bring the Army into disrepute is ill-motivated and unpatriotic because of the visible improvements in practically all aspects of its operations. This much can be seen in the numerous accolades that have come the way of the Nigerian Army high command led by Buratai. Performing sustained, active operations, leadership and doctrine, communications and control, military intelligence, effective workforce, quality skill, training, physical stamina and morale have added to the robust operations that are efficiently yielding results.
We share the assertion that under Buratai, there have been substantial reforms in the activities and operations of the Nigerian Army like domesticating the Single Treasury Account (TSA) policy and Government Integrated Financial Management Information Systems with the full implementation of the electronic payment system (e-payment) for its officers and personnel.
E-NAPPS is, undoubtedly, new approach to achieving transparent and accountable management of financial operations of the Nigeria Army for payroll administration, genuine periodic reviews, and updates of the database to guarantee financial security. It has also led to a secure integrity, reliability, enhanced planning for personnel and the management of contractual obligations as well as budgetary votes in consonance with the principles of public governance.
In the circumstance, we are constrained to state that a sustained campaign to cast aspersions on the personality of the Chief of Army Staff and the Nigerian Army as an institution will invariably be counter-productive. It is obvious that in the last three years much has been accomplished by the army that ought to command respect and dignity from the people for whom they literally wrote off their own lives.
This expectation becomes even more pertinent in the light of the effects attempts to malign or denigrate the character of the Chief of Army Staff and, by extension, the Nigerian Army as an institution can possibly have on the operations of the army as well as national security.