By Best Agbese
“Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” Orison Swett Marden
Nigeria is an interesting country. I love the country because today, you are a hero. The next day, you are hanged in the court of public opinion by some mischief makers whose stock in trade is to propagate and spread half-truths and figments of their imaginations.
Sahara reporters are notorious for such. I laughed when I read its recent diatribe against the former chief of Army Staff and Ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Benin, Lt.Gen. TY Buratai.
The story is such that the unsuspecting general public would be tempted to believe it. But some of us privileged to have understudied the TY Buratai era in the Nigerian Army would not agree with the Sahara Reporters mischief. We would linger around thoughts such as “Could this be the same TY Buratai? Or another?
Half-truths, outright insinuations, and illogical conclusions are the hallmarks of the story by Sahara Reporters linking the former army chief to the trial of a Major General facing court martial for the sale of Nigerian Army properties while he was the managing director of the Nigerian Army Properties Limited.
Wonders shall never seize. I almost puked after reading the story; it was more of a brutal attempt to give a dog a bad name to hang it. Interestingly, in Sahara Reporters, blind pursuit to nail Lt.Gen. TY Buratai at all costs ensured that things that could happen only in dreamland were ascribed to his personality.
According to the gospel of Sahara Reporters, the former army chief used his office to siphon public funds and bought houses for government appointees. Hear this “The officer who controls army properties all over Nigeria said in his court-marshal hearing, being secretly held since September 2022, that Buratai asked him to pay $730,000 to obtain Saudi Arabia citizenship to avoid being sent to the International Criminal Court upon expiration of his ambassadorial posting to the Benin Republic,”
If this isn’t a daft statement, what else to call it? Sahara Reporters reminds one of the famous Molue buses in Oshodi Lagos in those days when it was usually a bumpy ride till you got to your destination. There you find all sorts. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It is usually a congregational setting where various interest struggle for passengers’ attention.
Please permit me to say this free of charge. What Sahara Reporters attempted in their story remains a figment of imagination. I know what Lt. Gen. TY Buratai can do, and one such is not to use his office to enrich himself or appease friends and cronies. He is an enigma. This much was recognized during his stint as Chief of Army Staff. He calls a spade a spade, so he was christened a legend. In the annals of the Nigerian Army, the Buratai era was adjudged as one of the most productive in several spheres. It was a combination of strategy and robust intellectualism.
He prosecuted wars. He has been in the theatre of operations for God knows how long before his appointment as chief of Army staff. His antecedent are there for perusal. And what Sahara Reporters concocted is not one of them. Again, success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage you have maintained in the struggle against overwhelming odds. That is the quintessential TY Buratai.
Sahara Reporters missed an important point about the man they and their paymasters have labored in vain to vilify. He cannot compromise national security; he won’t dip his hands in public coffers or divert public property. That would have conflicted with his personality and philosophy about life.
TY Buratai is an introspective individual. That part of him may not have been identified. He self-examines his actions and in-actions. And the chances that he would engage in uncharitable acts are very slim. From his interactions and mien, a discerning mind could tell easily.
In all of these, you won’t rule out the dynamics of politics. Maybe some persons are out to destroy his legacies. Perhaps some persons are out to force an outburst from him. But the Buratai that I know would always give a loud laugh. Most times, he is unperturbed. I wonder how he does it. If we recall that the Sahara Reporters’ tirade against the former army chief didn’t start today. As a fact, Sahara Reporters have been on his constant trail since he was appointed as Chief of Army Staff.
I would not have been surprised if TY Buratai was accused of charitable ventures; he would go out to solve people’s problems, even in great discomfort. There are many examples of such benevolent acts. He is never tired of such. These are some of the things we could believe he could do and not what Sahara Reporters and their paymasters want unsuspecting members of the public to believe.
Siphoned government funds and gave out government properties to cronies and associates are alien to the TY Buratai personality and philosophy. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly. So associating him with the trial of Major General UM Mohammed is, at best uncharitable and a smear campaign taken too far.
Sahara Reporters has been leading the smear campaign against TY Buratai. But how long it intends to sustain the diatribe is left to be imagined. The beauty is that even the blind can see through the Sahara Reporters’ mischief. Sahara Reporters should change its focus as this strategy is not working. TY Buratai can be accused and found guilty of selfless service to the country. He remains a patriot and a dedicated one whose selfless service to man and humanity is noteworthy. That is the TY Buratai we know and not what Sahara Reporters want us to believe.
“To give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” This is the story of Lt. Gen. TY Buratai (rtd).
Agbese wrote this piece from University of Dundee, Scotland.
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