The Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, on Tuesday lamented that a lack of commitment by officers and soldiers on the frontlines was affecting the success of counterinsurgency operations and other security engagements in the country.
General Buratai says that there are proven cases of a lack of willingness on the part of soldiers to carry out their assignments as directed.
Buratai, who said that professional capacity alone was not a sufficient condition to succeed in a task, maintained that the willingness to perform the task was of the utmost importance.
The general warned those not willing to perform their duties to get out of the way as the army would no longer tolerate them.
The army chief made this known at the opening of a five day transformational leadership workshop for mid level officers and soldiers holding at the Nigeria Army Resource Centre in Abuja.
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He said “It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the NA has had in our operations in recent times can be traced to insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks: or simply insufficient commitment to a common national/military course by those at the frontline.”
He added that “Many of those on whom the responsibility for physical actions against the adversary squarely falls are yet to fully take ownership of our common national or Service cause”.
“I, therefore, believe that the transformational leadership workshops will again remind and clarify to participants what our President and Commander in Chief meant by: “This generation and indeed, future generations of Nigerians have no other country but Nigeria, we must remain here and salvage it together.”
“The president’s exhortation, though about 35 years old, is still relevant today given as we see in some cases that apathy has even increased amongst the younger generations.”
Buratai said that it was to address the problem that the army was organising the programme, aptly themed: “Lead, follow or get out of the way”.
According to him, “Some persons may wonder what makes this leadership workshop different from other leadership trainings or programmes that the NA has conducted in the past. We all know that leadership is core to military professionalism; hence all military professional courses include aspects of military leadership skills acquisition.
“The AHQ DATI Transformational Leadership Workshop is clearly and explicitly designed to teach/preach transformational leadership values to the next generation of NA leaders (officers and soldiers). It would also establish a platform for subsequent mentoring of participants after the workshop, hence the theme has been aptly chosen as ‘lead, follow or get out of the way’.
“But you will all agree with me that a professional NA also needs to build up and sustain its moral component: the ‘why’ we fight. This is because one general effect of modernization, globalization and ICT in the last few decades have seen a decline in nationalistic enthusiasm.
“Transformational leadership programmes are solely designed to imbue in leaders, the consciousness and respect for the unique value of their nation and institutions through which they render service to their nation (the NA in our own case).
“This is done without undermining the imperatives of international cooperation or general inter-dependency of humans.
“The AHQ DATI Transformational Leadership Workshop is clearly and explicitly designed to teach/preach transformational leadership values to the next generation of NA leaders (officers and soldiers). It would also establish a platform for subsequent mentoring of participants after the workshop, hence the theme has been aptly chosen as “lead, follow or get out of the way.”
The army chief, while noting that the Nigerian army had good successes over the years in the grooming of military leaders, said “This is evident in the many successes that the NA has achieved in our operations and the high performance of our personnel (both officers/soldiers) in international/multinational operations or other military duties. And this is the reason why I have always ensured that the promotion of NA personnel is essentially based on professional considerations only.
“But we all know that professional capacity is not a sufficient condition to succeed in a task; willingness to perform the task is equally necessary.
“With the calibre, capacities and proven commitment (to the NA and/or the Nigerian nation) of the resource persons selected to drive this workshop is an attestation to its high importance. I urge every participant to put the highest level of seriousness to achieve the full objectives of this workshop and ensure that the precious time and efforts of this calibre of resource persons are not wasted.”
Also speaking, the Chief Of Transformation and Innovation (COTI), Major-General Felix Abugo, said the workshop was aimed highlighting the values of communal dependency, communal surveillance and communal enforcement, as against the dangers of individualism and sycophancy among military professionals.
According to him, “This workshop will expose participants to a number of things in Nigeria that they can take pride in, thus clarifying the imperatives of patriotic citizenship and national loyalty even in the face of globalization and emerging technologies (fourth industrial revolution).
“It will interrogate the understanding of service, sacrifice and honour among the participants and provide them with worthy examples to emulate. Furthermore, it will work out ways to institutionalize mentorship as a framework for raising leaders as well as the environment/tools necessary for mentorship in the NA.”