General Owoye Andrew Azazi
The late former National Security Adviser, General Owoye Andrew Azazi, who was retired by late President Umaru Yar’Adua as Chief of Defence Staff on August 20, 2008, emerged from retirement to assume the post of National Security Adviser (NSA) as a civilian on October 4, 2010 under President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He inherited a range of challenges from extremists, including the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), and the rise of a new violent Islamist group- Boko Haram, whose insurgency started in 2009.
Azazi was said to be aggressive behind the scenes. For instance, the State Security Service (SSS), which was under the purview of Azazi, took what observers considered an unusual step in November 2011 by arresting a federal senator, Mohammed Ndume and charging him with aiding Boko Haram.
In June 2012, he was sacked by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Azazi was born at Peretorugbene in present Bayelsa State on February 1, 1952. He had his early education in old Bendel State where he attended Government College Bomadi and graduated in the class of 1968, after which he joined the Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Combatant Cadet- Course 12 on July 3, 1972.
Azazi was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant on 14 December 1974. He served as a Brigade Intelligence Officer, Divisional Intelligence Officer and Colonel Coordination, Headquarters Directorate of Military Intelligence. He was assistant Defence Attaché at the Embassy of Nigeria, Washington DC, United States for three years. He served as a member of the Directing Staff of the Command and Staff College from where he was posted to Lagos Garrison Command as the Intelligence Officer and subsequently to the Directorate of Military Intelligence as Colonel Coordination.
He was later posted to the Training and Doctrine Command as Colonel Research and Development and then Director of Training. On graduation from War College, he was appointed Colonel General Staff, 81 Division of the Nigerian Army and later Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence, Defence Intelligence Agency. General Azazi also served as a member of Directing Staff of the National War College Abuja, rising later to become its Principal Staff Officer Coordination. He was appointed Director of Military Intelligence in 2003.
He was appointed the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division, Nigerian Army in January 2005, and subsequently appointed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in June 2006.
He obtained a MSc in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan, and he completed the Staff Intelligence and Security Course, School of Service Intelligence, Ashford, Kent, UK and Combined Strategic Intelligence Training Programme, Defence Intelligence College, Washington DC, United States. He was a graduate of the Command and Staff College Nigeria, and the National War College, Nigeria where he won the President and Commander-in-Chief’s merit award for best all round performance. He was decorated with harvests of honours among which are Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), Grand Service Star (GSS) and Distinguished Service Star (DSS), among others.
On August 20, 2008, Umaru Yar’Adua replaced Azazi with Paul Dike as CDS and announced Azazi’s retirement from military service. He was survived by a wife, five children, and grandchildren.