Former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai (retd), has told of how his late father Yusufu Buratai’s loyalty to President Muhamamadu Buhari earned him the appointment of the number one officer in the Nigerian Army.
Buratai spoke at a dinner organised for him by members of 29th Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy.
He said: “My father was an ardent lover of the President and my appointment as COAS, therefore, was a price or reward for that gesture by the President.”
The former army chief also spoke about his recent appointment as Ambassador-designate and promised to continue to do the country proud and project its image in good light wherever he is deployed to.
Buratai, whose father served as a Non-Commissioned Officer in the Royal West African Frontier Force and a World War II veteran who fought in Burma, died when he was over 100 years old.
He said though it is the dream of every regular combatant officer to lead his service someday, he never believed he would achieve that dream until he came in contact with President Buhari in Njemena, where he was serving at the time, who felt he was the right person to be appointed COAS at the time when insurgency was ravaging some parts of the country.
Buratai, who thanked President Buhari for finding him worthy to serve as COAS, said he has no regrets leading the Nigerian Army.
He said he discharged his responsibilities to the best of his ability.
He said: “My father was an ardent lover of the President and my appointment as COAS, therefore, was a price or reward for that gesture by the President.
“Of course, and as you have been told severally, we (the President and I) met in Njemena and he saw me and felt I was the right person to be COAS at that very crucial and critical moment of our history.
“And I am happy that we have discharged our responsibilities diligently, professionally and loyally, and I will continue to discharge my responsibilities to him and of course to our country and our people.”
On the dinner held in his honor, he said: “It feels great to be celebrated by my colleagues at this point in time.
“It means a lot to me in terms of respect, in terms of the show of love.
“It’s something of pride that you have been recognised for the service you have rendered to your nation and people.”
The former army chief while expressing gratitude to Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State and the entire governors of the North East for their support while in office, said: “They have all worked hard to ensure that the insurgency in the North East have reached what we have today; a manageable state and the progress have been quite tremendous so far.”
On his recent appointment as Ambassador-designate, Buratai, who, thanked President Buhari, said he would continue to do the country proud and project its image in good light wherever he is deployed to.
He also thanked Nigerians from various walks of life who he said supported him with prayers, advises and words of encouragement that made him achieve so much as COAS.
He said: “I must appreciate all Nigerians, my well-wishers, the youths, elders, men and women for their continuous prayers, goodwill and support to the Nigerian Army and me in the course of our duties to bring about peace and security in our country.”
He commended members of the 29th Regular Course Association for being such wonderful friends and course mates and organising such a befitting event in his honour, saying he feel so happy to be celebrated.
He said: “On a final note, I must appreciate all Nigerians, my well-wishers, the youths, elders, men and women for their continuous prayers, goodwill and support to me and the Nigerian Army in the course of our duties to bring about peace and security in our country.”