•Says Buratai first army chief to lead battle, repel ambush
Defence Headquarters (DHQ) at the weekend declared that focused military leadership by the service chiefs anchored on provision of battlefield materials and regular payment of allowances were the motivating factors sustaining troops’ successes against insurgents.
It said the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, remained the first service chief to lead troops in the battlefield and repel an ambush.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, Coordinator, Directorate of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said focused leadership, provision of battlefield materials and regular payment of allowances provided by service chiefs since assumption of office in 2015 was the motivating factors driving the performance of troops in the ongoing war against insurgency.
“I want to state that the overriding motivation for what we have been achieving in the North-east is leadership. Leadership in peace time is not the same with leadership in conflict times or times of war; they are never the same thing at all.
“One thing that the military (soldier), be he an officer, a soldier, rating, the airman or airwoman will desire when they are in the frontline is the leader being there with them and for them,” he said.
Enenche noted that “in peace time I can just do a letter; I can just pass verbal instructions, which stand as an order but in times when we are solving these security challenges, even in conventional periods or in the times past, not contemporary times, the major motivator is leadership. Is the leader there with you? Is he there for you? I can tell you confidently that it is one of the major areas the Armed Forces of Nigeria had stood out in the North-east. Are there examples? Yes, there are”.
He said “in 2015 when this set of service chiefs came on board, the first thing was to ensure that regular visits were conducted to the North-east with the commanders on the ground at the inception of that operation.
“When it was changed to Lafiya Dole and to demonstrate that, if you go back into history the various components, the land component, the air component and maritime component, the service chiefs all visited” Enenche recalled that “the land component of our Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai was even ambushed. Go into world history; there is no record where a service chief has gone into the frontline and was ambushed.
“The ambush was repelled with heavy casualties on the part of the enemy. If it was 35 years ago, assuming there was something like a committee or council of service chiefs they would have queried him but that wouldn’t have arisen because he was only demonstrating leadership”.
Enenche affirmed that “the best kind of leadership is that you don’t command from the rear; you command from the front. The Chief of the Air Staff that was also there regularly and I can tell you that the moment that was done, it now dovetailed through to the theatre commanders and that way the men were greatly motivated and it continued that way, it has become a practice up till today”.
The Coordinator of the newly established Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO) said the military leadership headed by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin excelled in providing the needs of the soldiers.
“Whatever they wanted was provided; I can tell you that; forget about all the stories that make it look like there is no equipment. Equipment can never be enough. Whatever they wanted right to kits that get worn out frequently were always provided.
“The major one is financial remuneration, regular payment of allowances to the extent that I have had course to investigate then as the Director Defence Information,” he said.
He argued that he had contacts in the front and they gave “information and the records are there of funds transferred as their allowances for being in the frontline, so those three reasons, leadership, supply of materials and regular payment of allowances are the major motivating factors”.