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Buratai speaks on his “honourable appointment” as Ambassador, explains why he won’t reply PDP

The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai (Rtd) says he owes no one explanation over his recent appointment as one of the non-career Ambassadors.

On January 26, President Muhammadu Buhari allowed General Buratai, along with the former Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi G. Olonisakin (Rtd ); Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (Rtd); Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Rtd) and Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (Rtd) to retire from their different appointments and Services.

On February 4, the four were nominated by the President as Ambassadors-designate, a move which has generated controversy with prominent individuals and groups including the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opposing the nominations.

The PDP, in a statement by the Spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the appointments as a plot to shield the ex-CDS and Service Chiefs from investigation over the “killing of innocent Nigerians and crimes against humanity” under their inglorious watch.

PDP also charged the Senate to eschew all partisan considerations and stand on the side of the people.

Buratai, the former Chief of Defence Staff and two other Service Chiefs “voluntarily resigned” after months of calls for their sack following a spate of insecurity in different parts of the country, especially in the Northeast, and the seeming failure of the security agencies to contain it.

But Buratai told journalists on Saturday night after a special gala night organised for him by members of the 29th Regular Course Association of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, in Abuja that he would not respond to the PDP’s statement, insisting that he is not a politician.

According to the former Army Chief, “it’s an honourable retirement and also an honourable appointment. I’m not a politician, so I have no word for the opposition.

“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 country’s 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.

First published in Daily Trust,

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