The new Chief of Defence Staff, Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, on Friday, took over the mantle of leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria from his predecessor, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday appointed Irabor alongside the three service chiefs.
In line with the tradition of the armed forces, the outgone CDS decorated his successor and handed the insignia and the flag of the office to him.
The former CDS, in his valedictory remarks, said he was bowing out of service with a great feeling of fulfillment, having led the Armed Forces of Nigeria for five years, six months and 13 days.
Olonisakin, who is the 16th CDS, said it was a rare privilege for him to have served the country as a military officer for about 40 years.
He highlighted achievements of the military in the fight against security threats across the country during his tenure.
The former CDS said that confronting security threats had been the major pre-occupation of the military throughout his tenure.
“Gratefully with the support of the political leadership, the Armed Forces of Nigeria under my leadership, was able to reclaim all territories that were then under the control of the Boko Haram.
“While the terrorism/insurgency remains a security issue the country is grappling with, the armed forces is equally engaged in assisting the government in addressing other security issues, in line with our constitutional roles.
“While the armed forces under my leadership, grappled with some operational and logistics challenges, the DHQ made some modest achievements aimed at improving operational capacity, logistics and welfare needs of officers and men,’’ he said.
While hailing the appointment of Irabor as his successor, Olonisakin said the new CDS was familiar with the security challenges, having previously served as Theatre Commander, Operation LAFIYA DOLE and Multinational Joint Task Force.
According to him, there could not have been a better choice of a seasoned senior officer, who will hit the ground running as the new CDS.
“As the incoming CDS is already aware, we have continued to review our strategy to address the changing nature of the adversaries and security threats, making intelligence gathering a premium input to our operations plan,’’ he said.
Responding, the new CDS said that he was familiar with the security landscape of the country.
He added that all new service chiefs had been part of the efforts to address the security challenges facing the country.
Irabor commended the former CDS for the purposeful leadership he provided during his leadership.
He, however, called on all Nigerians to join hands and support the military in the quest to ensure that peace and security returned to the country.
He also pledged to provide the right leadership and ambience for the members of the armed forces to perform their duties effectively.
Irabor thanked President Buhari for considering him fit for the appointment as CDS and pledged to hit the ground running.
“Let me thank the former CDS and the former service chiefs for their various contributions throughout their tenure in office.
“It is by virtue of their leadership that the strides that were being made were achieved,’’ Irabor said.
He appealed to Nigerians to support the military and other security agencies in ensuring that peace and tranquillity return to the country.