Last year, when President Muhammadu Buhari extended the tenure of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin for another year, it stood as a mark of the esteem he is held in the military and outside that almost all commended the president for the brilliant idea.
It is also a projection of the integrity of the person of the CDS that under an institution that has highly qualified and well trained men and women, none objected but gave total support to the development.
If it were in political circles, it would be said that the Ekiti born General has earned the votes and confidence of the people.
But indeed he has going by the changes, transformation , high level training and re-orientation of the military he has been able to achieve within the period he has been in office.
Within the two years Olonisakin has been in office, a lot of positive things has happened to the Nigerian military that has raised the image of the country .
Countries that were scared of doing business with Nigeria have developed more confidence and are not only willing to sell weapons to Nigeria but offering other forms of training and assistance to our personnel.
Internally, hundreds of operations launched in certain parts of the country have been carried out with utmost sense of responsibility and minimal exposure to military – civil confrontation.
The image of the military as the ‘unknown soldier’ or the ‘mad dog’ of the past has drastically changed in recent times and people have begun to accord the military respect and recognition wherever its men are involved.
This is evident in operations launched in places like the South east, Southern Kaduna, the Niger- Delta and the North West. The confidence has grown to a level where the military is now being welcomed in places where they were hitherto being taunted and asked to be withdrawn due to some reasons that had to do with how it’s men went about their duties in the past.
In places like Plateau, Southern Kaduna and other places where women were eager to come out naked to reject the involvement of the military in operations in their communities, the military is now seen as the symbol of refuge where people run to for safety. To maintain discipline, the military has several times moved in to sanction some of its men found wanting.
Recently when some of its men manhandled a physically challenged person for wearing military camouflage, the military did not waste time in bringing those involved to justice. The success recorded in the fight against insurgency that at one time threatened the foundation of the country is also well known.
Without the effective coordination of the three arms, the success recorded in the battle against insurgency could not have have been made possible .
It is to the credit of the Nigerian military that the activities of the insurgents mainly in the north eastern part of Nigeria has been degraded, scuttled and frustrated.
The high level of success attained has enabled many residents of the major towns affected by the activities of the insurgents in the past to return to their homes.
The success of operation against sabotage of the Nigerian economy under the guise of militancy in the Niger Delta region is also due to the intelligent leadership at the defence headquarters which made all to work for the unity of the country.
In the past, the lack of coordination among the arms has seen to unhealthy rivalry culminating in the scuttling of the activities of each other which in turn hampered the necessary strategy and mobilisation needed to win the war.
Since July 2015 however when the current CDS came on board, the story has changed as all the arms, made up of the navy, air force and the army began to work in unison giving the nation the current state of security it has found itself.
It is to the credit of the CDS whose duty it is to see to the smooth working relationships of the military that this has been brought to bear.
Currently, the success recorded in the fight against insurgency and other threats to security are seen in the light of this collaborative efforts that it can be said that Nigeria as a nation has never had it so good.
No doubt the choice of Olonisakin who had held responsible positions within the military has been a good one for the institution as he uses his experience an officer with deep knowledge of administration to cause this to bear on the institution he heads.
For the first time also, a threat to the country ‘s democracy was detected, investigated and handled without causing unnecessary tension in the polity.
Such level of maturity, cadence and professionalism has not been employed in dealing with such matters in the country.
Definitely the CDS deserves all the accolades he is getting as an officer and a gentleman and President Buhari can be said to have got it right with his appointment and the other service chiefs making our military an institution to be respected and reverend amongst its contemporaries in the world.
Ebuka is a social crusader and contributed this piece from Old Awka Road, Abagana, Anambra State.