Friday Olokor, Abuja
The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd), has attributed his appointment to his father’s love for the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
According to him, his appointment in July 2015 was a prize for the loyalty of his father, Yusuf Buratai to Buhari.
THE PUNCH reported that Buratai’s father was a non-commissioned officer in the Royal West African Frontier Force and a World War II veteran who fought in Burma.
The former COAS expressed the views on Sunday night during a gala night organised by the 29th Regular Course Association in Abuja in his honour to celebrate him as the longest-serving COAS and his successful retirement.
He expressed gratitude to the President for finding him worthy to serve as COAS, adding that he discharged his responsibilities to the best of his ability.
He also said that although it was a tough time serving as COAS, the service chiefs weathered the storm, adding “I am retired but definitely not tired Insha Allah.”
Buratai said, “My father was an ardent lover of the President and my appointment as COAS, therefore, was a prize or reward for that gesture by the President.
“Of course, and as you have been told several times, we (the President and I) met in N’djamena and he saw me and felt I was the right person to be COAS at that very crucial and critical moment of our history.
“And I am happy that we have discharged our responsibilities diligently, professionally and loyally, and I will continue to discharge my responsibilities to him and of course to our country and our people.”
Speaking on the gala night staged in his honour, he said the event organised for him showed that he did well as the country’s Chief of Army Staff.
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“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 terms 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.
“They have all worked hard to ensure that the insurgency in the North East have reached what we have today; a manageable state and the progress have been quite tremendous so far,” he said.
He also thanked Buhari on his new appointment as an Ambassador-designate, adding that he would continue to do the country proud and project its image in good light wherever he is deployed to.
Buratai said, “On a final note, I must appreciate all Nigerians, my well-wishers, the youths, elders, men and women for their continuous prayers, goodwill and support to me and the Nigerian Army in the course of our duties to bring about peace and security in our country.
“It was a tough time but we’ve weathered the storm. I am retired but definitely not tired Insha Allah.
“We have left great legacies in the Nigerian Army that I hope will last the test of time by God’s grace,” Buratai concluded.
Buratai and other Service Chiefs were sacked from their positions on January 26, 2021.
Thereafter, the President appointed Major-General Leo Irabor (Chief of Defence Staff); Major-General I. Attahiru (Chief of Army Staff); Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo (Chief of Naval Staff); and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao (Chief of Air Staff) as replacements.