By Philip Agbese
Something is on the radar—the renewed onslaught on acts of crime and criminality nationwide. We have been regaled with tales of exploits, and I am not surprised.
The moment the new service chiefs were named, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel in the effort to address the Boko Insurgency in North East Nigeria and other enterprises that had threatened lives and properties across the country. It is instructive to note that the service chiefs are familiar with these challenges, but the difference now is that they lead the charge and do not take orders.
I will emphasize the dexterity of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa. A thorough-breed infantry general who had held sway as theatre commander in North East and corp commander of the infantry corps of the Nigerian Army before he was appointed Chief of Defence Staff to coordinate the operations of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Those who know of his brilliance and experience would attest that behind the calm look lies an intelligent commander who does not engage in grandstanding. His professionalism is infectious, and officers and soldiers under his command have likened him as the master of the art of war.
The President and Commander-in-Chief got wind of his exploits hence the appointment to lead the Armed Forces. I recall that at a time in the operations of the Nigerian Army, General Christopher Musa was regarded as the go-to person for complex military operations. And his ability to make such operations easy earned him accolades from superiors, colleagues, and subordinates.
Little wonder that in a short while, the Armed Forces under his command have recorded tangible gains in addressing the security concerns in parts of the country. The beauty of it is that the Chief of Defence Staff has held several command positions in the Nigerian Army, placing him in good stead to lead the Armed Forces.
I am glad about the president’s choice, reinforcing the parlance that the reward for hard work is more work. And indeed, more work has to be done because it is not yet Uhuru. The security challenges in the country won’t disappear all of a sudden. There have to be concerted efforts by the Armed Forces leadership to be on top of their game.
I am also glad and worried. Glad that the leadership of the Armed Forces possesses the requisite experience and dedication to sustain the tempo. I am concerned that the song of success does not cause a distraction that would reverse the gains made.
This is where the Chief of Defence Staff has to tread carefully. Yes, the Armed Forces under his command indeed hit the ground running. Gains have been made. But they is a need for sustenance. Issues must be placed in proper perspectives in prosecuting the war against crime and criminality in Nigeria.
It is not a hidden secret that the security challenges in the country have led to the loss of lives and the destruction of sources of livelihood in several parts of the country. At some point, the country was on a precipice. But we thank God for his mercies and the dedication of officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces that risked all so we can have a country.
The time to consolidate is now. I believe that is the strategic focus of the Chief of Defence Staff. His pledge upon assumption of office to involve Nigerians in the fight against insecurity in Nigeria is reassuring. He stated that the thematic focus of his Armed Forces leadership would be people-centric, troops welfare, and inter-agency collaboration.
These are brilliant initiatives, and it is hoped that he matches his words with action, as we cannot afford the luxury of winning the battle and losing the war. There is so much at stake, and the Chief of Defence Staff is aware of the enormous responsibility on his shoulders. And the burden increases as the days, weeks, and months pass.
Yes, there is no doubt about the renewed vigor of the security agencies in North East Nigeria and other parts of the country, but we must emphasize leadership and sustenance. The various exploits across the country are reassuring. And we are glad with the early signs. The Chief of Defence Staff must not rest on his oars; he must ensure that the tempo is sustained and leave no room for distractions.
The other service chiefs have proven dependable so far. One could quickly feel passion, commitment, and dedication. They are also familiar with the terrain and challenges; we have seen results in less than two months. This is brilliant and gives Nigerians a cause to have faith in the ability of the Armed Forces to rise to the occasion when it matters most.
The exploits of the Nigerian Army in parts of the country in recent times have been commendable. Same for the Navy and the Airforce. And lest I forget, inter-agency collaboration is at its peak, unlike in times past. What is needed is the sustenance of these laudable feats.
The days and months ahead would be exhilarating in the war against insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country. And the Armed Forces need all the support they can get from the populace—my two cents.
Agbese is Deputy Spokesman, 10th National Assembly’s House of Representatives writing from Abuja .