The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd) has said he performed well as the COAS, noting that he owed nobody explanation over his ambassadorial appointment.
Buratai spoke with journalists at a special gala night organised by members of the 29th Regular Course Association of the Nigerian Defence Academy in Abuja weekend.
The former COAS and other service chiefs reportedly resigned from office on January 26 after months of calls for their sacking following the rising insecurity in different parts of the country, and were replaced by President Muhammadu Buhari but were subsequently appointed as non-career ambassadors by the President on February.
Those who replaced them include Major Gen. Lucky Irabor as Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, as Chief of the Air Staff.
Asked to react to the Peoples Democratic Party’s criticism of their appointment, Buratai said he would not respond to the PDP’s statement, insisting that he was not a politician.
He said: “It’s an honourable retirement and also an honourable appointment. I’m not a politician, so I have no word for the opposition. I have done well.”
He said he stood out while in charge as the COAS, saying; “I am happy that in July last year, my officers at the Army headquarters compiled a compendium of my achievements.
“In fact, I can’t even remember all the projects that we have executed. Is it in terms of infrastructure? Is it in terms of capacity building? Is it in terms of training?
“Since I was appointed, there was never a dull moment in terms of training. Remember the various exercises. These are training exercises from ‘Python dance’, ‘Crocodile smile’, and even the latest one ‘Exercise Sahel Sanity’.
“Is it in the area of medical? In terms of education of our children and wards, the Nigerian Army University are all great achievements.”
Buratai expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing him as Chief of Army Staff, reiterating that he discharged his responsibilities to the best of his ability.
He also showered encomiums on Nigerians from all walks of life who supported him with prayers, advice, and words of encouragement that made him achieve so much as COAS.
“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 said.
He also thanked Borno State governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, and his northeast counterparts for supporting him throughout his stay in office.
Going down memory lane earlier, the former COAS said his appointment was a special price for his father, the late Alhaji Yusufu Buratai, a well-known staunch loyalist of President Buhari. It will be recalled that General Buratai’s father, a Second World War veteran, served as a Non-Commissioned Officer in the Royal West African Frontier Force fighting in Burma.