Attahiru: A COAS ‘Vision’ for the Nigerian Army By Abdulsalam Mahmud
Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), envisions a Nigerian Army that is well repositioned to professionally defeat all adversaries in a joint environment.
This, he said, is his vision for the Nigerian Army, which he leads. And at the opening ceremony of the ‘Combined Chief of Army Staff First Quarter Conference and Nigerian Army Operations Retreat 2021′, recently held in Abuja, the nation’s capital, Lt. Gen. Attahiru unveiled it.
Principal staff officers (PSOs), General Officers Commanding (GOCs), and other senior officers of the Nigerian Army all congregated at the Army Headquarters Command Officers’ Mess in Asokoro, venue of the two-day COAS Conference and Operations Retreat.
It is the first time the Army Operations Retreat will be held after several years. But it equally provided a platform to reassess the threat environment and review Army operations with a view to identifying gaps that could be addressed in the planning and conduct of future operations.
The Nigerian Army, for over a decade now, has been in the fore front of leading other arms of the military and security agencies in the counter-insurgency operation, and fight against other violent crimes, in the country.
Though, remarkable successes have been recorded, it will be mischievous for anybody to assert that the Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP)-orchestrated terrorism is now history.
In fact, the COAS himself appreciated the enormity of the task that lay ahead him and his colleague Service Chiefs, who were recently foisted with the mandate of tackling the insecurity conundrum.
He said, in his opening address at the COAS conference and retreat: “As you are all aware, I and my colleagues, the other Service Chiefs took over command to our respective Services at a very critical period when the nation is facing daunting security challenges, characteristic of a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment.”
Yet, Lt. Gen. Attahiru, at the conference, expressed confidence that his ‘Philosophy of Command’, which are the four cardinal pillars of *Readiness, Capacity, Continuous Leadership* and *Duty to Country* , will breathe life into the vision he has for the Army.
“Readiness entails mission-oriented training, functional manning and equipping, while Capacity will be built on the dependability of the Nigerian Army to accomplish any mission in line with the norms enshrined in our core values and ethics.
“Continuous leadership development on its own will ensure that the Nigerian Army continues to roll out innovative 21st century commanders, and of course Duty to Country entails loyalty and sacrifice to our fatherland,” he observed.
The Army formation commanders and principal staff officers’ roles, the COAS believes, are critical to the attainment of his vision.
“Therefore, I implore all of you to immediately key in to the vision so that together, we can take the Nigerian Army to greater heights,” he told the commanders and PSOs, present at the event.
Again, under his watch as COAS, Gen. Attahiru, said the Nigerian Army will remain resolute in decisively dealing with any threat confronting the nation.
“Hence, I have directed that serious attention must be given to sustaining and improving the tempo in all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the country,” he disclosed.
The Commanders, he also maintained, must glean from his Command Philosophy to ensure that operational and administrative proficiencies of Nigerian Army formations and units are sustained and improved upon.
According to the Kaduna State-born Lieutenant General, troops’ welfare will also be given a paramount attention.
Despite logistics constraints affecting operations across the country, the President and Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari, has pledged to continue to support the Nigerian Army, says the Army Chief.
To boost its operations, Attahiru, hinted that the Nigerian Army will soon be receiving combat enablers. Is that all? No! He said concerted effort is also being made to eliminate the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), which have been a major impediment to troops and Army operations, especially in the North East.
Again, in order to increase Army operational capabilities, an approval has been given by the COAS for the purchase of spare parts. The Army Chief, interestingly, has also directed that damaged and unserviceable equipment in the Theatre be immediately withdrawn and mobilized for comprehensive repair.
Lt. Gen. Attahiru, further said he is determined to rebuild the fighting skills, capacity, confidence and morale of Army troops across the various theatres of operations.
His words: “In order to achieve this, my top priorities for the second and third quarters of the year would be training. I will ensure that through functional training, officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army are equipped with the right competences and skills to effectively undertake daring missions, in addition to developing special operations forces. This would be closely followed by procurement that ensures appropriate kitting and provision of protective gear, weapons, equipment and platforms.”
Now, to energize Attahiru’s peerless vision for the Nigerian Army, formation commanders, PSOs together with other officers and men of the Nigerian Army, must redouble their efforts to decisively deal with adversaries or any group or person that threatens the peace and stability of the nation.
The COAS is expecting to see directives emanating from the two-day conference/retreat, and subsequently too, from the Army headquarters, being translated immediately into proactive courses of action that will find solutions to the country’s security challenges. It will be heartwarming seeing those who will be saddled with Lt. Gen. Attahiru’s marching orders implement them to the later. Swiftly, meticulously, and brilliantly!