By Tolulope Adebayo
Readers are leaders because they understand that knowledge is the key to success, and reading books is an excellent source of that knowledge. Leaders read books because they know this is one of the best ways to learn things they don’t know and reinforce the things they know.
Some of us knew him only when he was appointed Chief of Army Staff. But not many knew his background as a historian. And a historian is never far from a book. Historians are deep thinkers. They get lost in their thoughts and overly anxious, but they’ll see future problems before anyone else.
They constantly reflect and only speak when they have something meaningful to say. While their deep thoughts can sometimes distract them from reality, deep thinkers always listen to what you have to say because it’s another opportunity to learn. Deep thinkers are almost always introverted because they require that quiet time to focus on their thoughts and give their ideas space and freedom to blossom.
They like to be nostalgic but also want to prepare for the future by learning from the past. They like to draw a big picture in their heads to see how things connect, using a lot of problem-solving skills.
Enter the world of Ambassador TY Buratai and former Chief of Army Staff (2015-2021). A very distinguished Nigerian whose contributions to the Nigerian cause know no bounds. Little wonder his stint as Chief of Army Staff in Nigeria goes down in history as one of the best in improving the resourcefulness of officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army.
Ambassador TY Buratai is a combination of strength and character, whose deep thoughts gave birth to numerous interventions that repositioned the Nigerian Army. Aside from the combat efficiency of the Nigerian Army, which was at its peak during his tenure, he was able to make tangible introductions that many thought could not be achieved.
A good example is the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, established in 2015 to offer creative decision-making ideas and systematic frameworks while helping to bridge important strategic and operational capacity gaps in providing workable, practical solutions to pertinent national defence and security issues.
Who would have thought of such an initiative but an individual in the quest for an improvement in national security? The fundamental core values of NARC revolve around a determination to help the Nigerian Army make a positive difference in optimizing Nigeria’s national security and state-building and Nigeria’s role as a positive regional peace and security contributor.
One can only imagine the thoughts that led to the establishment of such a Centre by Ambassador TY Buratai as the chief of army staff.
Another worthy example is the establishment of the Nigerian Army University, designed for developing middle and high-level manpower in the areas of technological empowerment for civilians and the appreciation for military policy, logistics and strategy. It’s also a centre of innovation and technological development to meet the ever-changing and rapid development in the dynamics of modern warfare. This is another brilliant one.
Indeed Ambassador TY Buratai is an exceptional leader who cherishes every opportunity to engage in intellectual endeavours. I gathered that his penchant for reading and research knows no bounds. And one could only imagine what his library would look like.
There is something about Ambassador TY Buratai that has not fully evolved. Beyond the brilliant career in the Nigerian Army that culminated in his appointment as Chief of Army Staff, he has consistently demonstrated uncommon attributes that are not usually associated with the military profession. How else could one explain the establishment of the Tukur Buratai Leadership Centre?
It is pertinent to x-ray the Tukur Buratai Leadership Centre. It was established to carry out and assist research on peace, security, and defence-related matters in Nigeria and beyond. According to information gathered from the Centre’s webpage, its mission is “to be a topmost research Centre in Nigeria working on issues of peace, and National Security in line with world best practices in areas of diverse research, networking, and collaborations.” Another brilliant one from the TY Buratai stable.
Consequently, I wasn’t surprised by his exploits as Chief of Army Staff, where excellence was at its peak. He revolutionized the Nigerian Army’s operational efficiency in numerous ways. He thought outside of the box and brought in outstanding innovations.
I agree that a book can be written in volumes on the achievements of Ambassador Tukur Buratai as Chief of Army Staff. I recall that at a forum where issues on leadership were discussed, it was jokingly said that the tenure of Ambassador TY Buratai as Chief of Army Staff gave considerable attention to educational reforms in the Nigerian Army. While it might have been banter, in a way, it was a statement of fact and buttressed the point being made about how much of an intellectual he is. And maybe he was the first Chief of Army Staff in the annals of the Nigerian Army that successfully blended intellectualism and military professionalism.
Ambassador TY Buratai has remained evergreen and exceptional even in his new national assignment as Ambassador of Nigeria to the Benin Republic. Undoubtedly, he is a reader and primarily responsible for his exploits that have proven tangible in service to our fatherland. The aphorism that knowledge is power is succinct in the case of Ambassador TY Buratai.
Adebayo is a research student at Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.