Since the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant Tukur Yusuf Buratai was confirmed by the President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, MuhammaduBuhari in July 2015, there has arguably never been an occasion where an assemblage of traditional rulers would unanimously rise and applaud Buratai for a detribalized Nigerian he has since demonstrated.
Although the Borno-born COAS has not had a smooth ride, in terms of public perception of his tenure, especially among a section wherein he is often hit with critics, and occasionally, harsh commentaries over insecurity in the country, his efforts so far are inscribed in the good book of other Nigerians who have noted the sincerity of purpose with which he commands the troops of the Nigeria Army.
That class of Nigerian was found in Yoruba traditional rulers who converged on Owu-Kuta in Ayedire Local Government of Osun State last Monday and showered praises on General Buratai. The COAS was in Osun State to witness the commissioning of the historic bridge connecting Kuta to Ikoyi and Ede.
Among top government functionaries who received him included the Governor of Osun State, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola. The governor was accompanied to the two-in-one event by his deputy and some commissioners as well as head of service, Dr Olowogboyega.
Construction of the bridge was undertaken by the Nigeria Army Engineering Regiment Corps, Ede and delivered on record time to breathe a new life into the people of the three towns who had long endured pains and hour loss in accessing one another.
At the forefront of the realization of the project was the Olowu of Owu-Kuta, Oba Adekunle Oyelude Makama, a royal father, who has never shied away from identifying with various exploits and a couple of challenges faced by Nigerian Army.
Oba Makama was privy to the unrealized efforts of his predecessor, Oba Shitu Bamgbade to have the bridge constructed in his lifetime. He was aware of the promise made to Oba Bamgbade by the immediate past Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade to use his link to facilitate the construction of the bridge. He was also privy to how Oba Sijuwade could not fulfil the promise.
Challenged by the above instances, the Olowu-Kuta, who, at his installation, had made a vow to use all he had to impact positively on his town, deployed his contact to reach the military higher authorities with a view to actualising the dream. Luck smiled on him, within 24 hours, according to him, General Buratai gave him his words and subsequently mobilised his men to the site.
Oba Makama demonstrated his appreciation to the General by naming the bridge after him via a creative acronym of BAILEY (Buratai Army Indigenes Legacy Edutainment Yearly event.
In the euphoria of the landmark, the Olowu and other traditional rulers, who travelled down to Kuta in honour of his invite, spoke to The Tabloid.net on their impression about General Buratai.
The Olowu-Kuta, Oba Adekunle Oyelude Makama: “I sought help from General Buratai for the construction of the Osun bridge and he proved to be that angel dispatched from heaven to free our town from being a cul de sac, a route leading to nowhere, or what the Yoruba call oku’na.
I got the nod and the official approval of the COAS for the bridge project in less than one day. He surprised me. God will continue to give him and all around him pleasant surprises. We will forever see General Buratai as part of us because he changed the course of our history, and, for the better, the narrative of our rural existence. I am happy to shout that we are the greatest beneficiary of the government of President Muhammad Buhari through the Chief of Army Staff. I thank PresidentBuhari for having implicit confidence in General Buratai. It was his belief in the ability of General Buratai to act well that empowered him to do this for us.
I urge Nigerians irrespective of where we are or our political affiliations to continue to give support to our armed forces. They are the reasons we call ourselves Nigerians today. Our soldiers continue to pay the supreme sacrifice to make the country one. They need our prayers, they need our support and understanding to defeat the enemy.
The Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin:“What General TukurBuratai represents to me is a detribalized Nigerian who has shown us that the army can be used for physical development of the country aside their statutory role of protecting national integrity of the nation. What we have here in the bridge is quite unprecedented, impressive and memorable. This is the first time I would hear army undertaking such community initiative project.”
The Aare of Ago Are, Oba Abodunrin Kofoworola: “General Buratai is a fine and gentleman and focused. His disposition to duties shows his high level of professionalism. I have had contact with him in Abuja before Kuta. He is a very pleasant personality with a large heart which endears him to his guests. The bridge, constructed on his approval, has never happened in the past 100 years as well stated by the Olowu-Kuta. The General has written his name in gold in the South-west and Osun State I particular. Coupled with assistance he extended to the Olowu-Kuta, he has shown an army with civility and a good leadership.”
The Sabiganna of Iganna, Oba Saliu Oyemola Azeez: “General Buratai really surprised me; I did not expect him to have such a civil attitude to Nigerians. He is professional in his approach to issues and accommodating too. With this laudable project, he has laid the foundation for soldiers to take up community development projects to ameliorate sufferings of people of the grass root. In fact, words cannot adequately express my feelings about what General Buratai has just done for the three towns”
The Aragbiji of Iragbiji, Oba Abdulrasheed Olabomi:“I am impressed by the involvement of the army in solving the age-long problem which the people of the three towns had faced for over 100 years. It was a big trauma for the agrarian people whose live depend on agriculture but faced obstacle of taking their products to market due to the absence of bridge on the Osun River. General T.Y. Buratai has finally wiped out tears from the eyes of these people. I commend him for having identified with these people . To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time I would see soldier performing this function. Generally, we believed that all about soldiers is to fight. I give thanks to General Buratai for changing that mindset now. I also thank my colleague, the Olowu-Kuta for using his contact to facilitate the project. I congratulate the people of Kuta for having him as a change agent. Finally, I thank His Excellency, Governor GboyegaOyetola for supporting and encouraging traditional rulers to use their contacts to complement government effort.”
The Olu of Ile-Ogbo, Oba Habeeb Adetoyese:“Did you know that while the programme was going on, I kept observing the comportment of General Buratai? What I saw was a soldier who has not lost touch with humanism. He sees himself first as a civilian before he is a soldier. It is because of that reason he was able to feel the pains which the people of Kuta, Ikoyi and Ede had passed through due to the challenge of the river which had made the road impassable for more than 100 years. What he has done is different from what we used to know of soldiers. I join others to also give kudos to him for coming to our aid in Osun State.”
The Olukoyi of Ikoyi, Oba Hafiz Badeji Akinmoyero: “By what this God-fearing General has just done for us here in Kuta, Ikoyi and Ede, let me say if you ride an horse inside my belly, you would have smooth ride. I hope you understand that words. I am extremely happy for him. My father made first attempt to see if they could construct the bridge in 1967 but the attempt yielded no fruit. Could my fathers have imagined that a soldier would come in future to construct the bridge? This is a wonderful job, and we shall not forget General Buratai. I also thank the Olowu-Kuta, Oba Makama for using his connection to make this history happen during our reign.”
The Olororuwo of Ororuwo, Oba Qamarudeen Adeyemi: “I have seen some soldiers but the affection I just saw in General Buratai is something else. That is just, to put it mildly. He appears to be a different military officer, His comportment, despite his higher post in the army, is amazing. He epitomizes what an average soldier should be, as regard his blend with the civilian populace to the extent of constructing bridge for towns which are far away from his home state. He is unique among chiefs of staff who have passed through this country. It would be difficult for anybody including future generations of the three towns to forget General Buratai.”