Army Chief Mobilises Officers, Others to Defend Nigeria
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Chief of Army Staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya, yesterday charged army personnel to join hands with him to defend the territorial integrity of the nation.
Yahaya spoke at a meeting in Abuja with Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), core commanders and General Officers Commanding (GOCs), during which he also unveiled his four-point agenda to reinvigorate the army.
However, attendance at the meeting lent credence to reports of an imminent shake-up in the army as members of Course 35 and 36 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), who are senior to Yahaya, including the Chief Policy and Plans (COPP), Major General Benjamin Ahanotu, Major General Abubakar Maikobi and Major General C.C. Okoye, among others, were absent, an indication that they may have begun the journey to retirement.
The army chief said: “For the Nigerian Army to be competitive in the 21st century, it must remain professional and seek to develop competencies that would make it ever ready to undertake its constitutional duties.
“It is therefore, against this background that my mission is a professional Nigerian Army ready to accomplish assigned missions within a joint environment in defence of Nigeria”.
He said his command philosophy would be anchored on professionalism, readiness, administration and cooperation.
“To achieve this goal, my command philosophy will rest on four pillars, namely: professionalism, readiness, administration and cooperation.
“We must return to the tenets of adhering strictly to customs and tradition and ethics of our army and put in place basic tenets of soldiering and proactiveness”, he stated.
He pledged to lead the army fairly and justly by providing equal opportunities to all based on individual competences and character.
He added: “The task ahead of us is enormous but so also is the strength of our common resolve to accomplish them. As your chief of army staff, I hereby restate my commitment to lead you with sincerity, with transparency and accountability at all times.
“I want to assure you all that I would run the army fairly and justly, giving equal opportunity to all based on individual competences and character.
“I count on you to rise with me and defend our country. Gentlemen, together we shall succeed.”
Yahaya pledged unalloyed loyalty of the army to the president.
“I want to assure the president, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of my and our unalloyed loyalty of the Nigerian Army and also to assure all Nigerians of the army’s determination to ensure the territorial integrity of Nigeria,” he said.
The army chief had earlier said the period of his assumption of office was a trying time for the nation and called for a one-minute silence in honour of his predecessor, Lt Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru,
and other departed army officers, who died in an air crash in Kaduna.
“I must crave your indulgence to observe that I assumed command at unexpected circumstances of the passing of our amiable and well respected Chief of Army Staff, the late Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, who was a big brother, a brilliant officer and a mentor, who gave me tremendous guidance and support,” he said.
While praying for the repose of their souls, he pledged to support their families.
He said the army as a cherished defender of national security and the biggest service of the armed forces, would seek to evolve new strategies to overwhelm the enemy through kinetic and non-kinetic strategies.
Yahaya pledged to provide exemplary leadership for army personnel, consulting widely by galvanising them to become a formidable army.
According to him, his administration will priortise welfare, provide infrastructure and ensure combat efficiency of troops.
He said the country faced security challenges that required the collaboration of other security agencies and stakeholders to stabilise the nation