That the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai is a monumental failure is not in doubt. Neither is the President Buhari’s seeming impotence in changing unarguably the worst COAS Nigeria has ever had. The question however is why?
Under the command of Buratai, we have witnessed how helpless the Nigerian soldiers are when faced by relatively untrained ragtag Boko Haram and other fighters. We have seen how Soldiers remove their uniforms and take to their heels. We have witnessed an increasing number of deserters from the army like never before, not even during the Nigerian civil war. On the other hand, we have seen how Buratai’s soldiers turn against unarmed citizens with fury.
Yet, President Muhammadu Buhari has maintained the COAS even beyond his tenure. He has extended his tenure a couple times now even as it is becoming embarrassingly glaring that Buratai is not only a complete failure, but is a disaster. Buratai’s failure is only second to Buhari’s docility and incompetence.
Only last week, Boko Haram fighters attacked at least four Nigerian Army bases between last Wednesday and Tuesday. The Army is helpless. There may be more unchallenged daring attacks. Nigerian troops are fretting.
The army has reportedly lost an undisclosed number of soldiers, including Commanding Officer of 158 Battalion. Media reports is talking of close to a hundred in the attacks at military bases in the Mobbar, Damasak, Monguno and Gajiram areas of Borno State. Additionally, it has lost to the fighters ammunition worth at least N20m.
So what has Buhari seen in Buratai that he is rewarding his incompetence with tenure elongation? What is Buhari afraid of should Buratai leave that office today, that makes him dread that day Buratai will no longer be COAS?
Recently, both Buhari and Buratai were in Saudi Arabia, allegedly to perform the lesser Hajj (Umrah) together. Confirmed sources however reveal that both were given further instructions on how to deal decisively with members of the Islamic Movement. It is the very reason why Buratai is a sacred cow for now.