By Abubakar Tsav
The world is replete with very many tinges of experiences. A man’s bad deeds lives long after his demise, but his good deeds are interred with his bones. President Muhammadu Buhari accepted the burden of leading Nigeria at a time in its history every aspect of existence in the country was in extreme shambles.
It is repeating the obvious to say, the Military is the strength of every nation. The Army is its first treasured gold and hub of preserving and securing the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a nation from external aggressors. The Army is the foremost in many ways and ought to pass fitness test all the times to respond to security emergencies.
Unfortunately, President Buhari met a Nigerian Army that was completely in disarray and neglected in infrastructural development; signposted by defaced and dilapidated barracks, ill-equipped armouries and populated by unprofessional and undisciplined soldiers. Worse of it all, the Nigerian Army was politicized, enmeshed in partisanship and polarized along Nigeria’s faultlines of ethnicity, religion and regionalism.
Equally saddening was the reality that Nigerian soldiers who were formally famed nationally and globally for their gallant exploits in wars and Peace-Keeping Missions could no longer boast of such accomplishments. Even combating the menace of Boko Haram terrorism and other insurrections in the country was a big challenge to soldiers. Troops disgracefully faltered many times on the battlefield in the face of enemy forces.
The dignity of the Nigerian Army was rubbished by a basketful complaints of favoritism in postings, stalled promotions, unpaid salaries, denial of basic allowances, poor or non-existent welfare packages; lack of motivational incentives to soldiers deployed on special assignments on Internal Security (IS), absence of a reward system for excellence, brazen abuse of Rules of Engagement (ROE), widespread professional misconduct and constant mutinies.
In effect, Nigeria operated and paraded a demoralized and depressed Army, where promotions were earned based on a soldier’s link or affinity with the President or other top notchers in Government. A soldier’s hard work was not recognized and appreciated with a promotion as reward for excellence unless he either knows ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo or former President Goodluck Jonathan, the serving Presidents of Nigeria at that time.