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CDS Musa’s God-fearing counter-insurgency disposition

By Matthew Iwodi
31 August 2023   |   2:54 am
“I may not have been the best combat commander, but I always strove to be. My men depended on me to carefully analyze every tactical situation, maximise the resources I had at my disposal, think under pressure, and lead them by personal example.”— Major Dick Winters.

Maj-Gen. Christopher Musa

“I may not have been the best combat commander, but I always strove to be. My men depended on me to carefully analyze every tactical situation, maximise the resources I had at my disposal, think under pressure, and lead them by personal example.”— Major Dick Winters.

The above quote reminds me of the exploits of General Christopher Musa while he was the theatre commander of Operation Hadin Kai, Nigeria’s counter-insurgency operations in North East.

It was a magical moment in the war against insurgency. He was at the epicentre leading operations that brought about tangibles that have been documented as one of the best in the annals of our counter-insurgency operations in the North East.

I recall that on some visits to the region for research purposes, I had cause to interact with the military hierarchy under his command, and what I gathered was mind-boggling. I was confronted by a dexterous commander in planning and strategy—a thinking man with few words. The troops were energetic and always on top of the situation.

I was curious and asked questions about the mood in the theatre of operations. All fingers pointed to the operational style of the theatre commander, who succeeded in matching his words with action and leading by example. Some said he remains the best thing that happened in our efforts at addressing the Boko Haram menace in North East.

I was regaled with exploits, not in the public space, on how he entrenched a regime of discipline, loyalty, and passion to confront the challenges the Boko Haram group posed. At that point, he was the commander that every command needed and was on top of his game.

General Christopher Musa may be a man of few words; you could also mistake him for a shy person, but beyond his calm looks, he is a warrior who does not have failure in his genes. He led troops in prayers before and after every operation. He communicates seamlessly with officers and soldiers. He was abreast of happenings on a minute basis. He ensured the availability of logistics and resources throughout his tenure until he was redeployed as the corps commander of infantry of the Nigerian Army.

General Musa is a lesson in military strategy. I wasn’t surprised when he was eventually appointed Chief of Defence Staff. Those conversant with his professionalism and sound records saw it coming and prayed fervently for it to happen. And our joy knew no bounds when he was announced as the Chief of Defence Staff.

This mood was also felt in Nigeria’s military, with officers and soldiers bursting into ecstasy in celebration of the coming of the people’s general to lead the Armed Forces. His appointment was one of the best decisions of the present administration.

The events in the past weeks and months in the efforts to address the security situation in the country are indeed a testament to the parlance where preparation meets opportunity, and success becomes inevitable. There is a renewed vigour from the Armed Forces. Nigerians should expect the best in no distant time.

There is also a realignment with the new order; strategic postings are ongoing, and operational manuals are constantly reviewed because the Chief of Defence Staff is an infantry general with hands-on experience due to the several command positions he has held during his illustrious career.

Nigerians, therefore, need to extend their support to the Armed Forces in this new drive to address and surmount the security challenges in the country. I have argued in several forums that sometimes, what a society needs to overcome its challenges is the disposition of its leaders.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has demonstrated his commitment to addressing the security challenges in the country in the quality of appointments in the critical security sector. And the results would trickle in no distant time. I am excited, and I know that those against the interest of Nigeria are in for a tough time.

The Chief of Defence Staff is respected and celebrated because of his leadership style. I recently stumbled upon a quote attributed to him that states thus: “It is important for soldiers to feel cared for. It is important always to motivate soldiers to fight for the nation.”

The above statement implies that the welfare of officers and soldiers must take the front burner. A soldier can’t fight for the country when his home front is not settled. He has pledged to keep soldiers’ morale high and ready to undertake tasks that would achieve the desired results.

I am glad there is hope for the country because a new sheriff is in town. The era of procrastination in the Armed Forces is gone, and welcome to the era where professionalism, passion, commitment, and dedication to defending the country’s territorial integrity would take the front seat.

The memories of the encounter with General Christopher Musa at the theatre of operations in North East are still fresh in my mind. I am glad that the same vigour is at play in his capacity as the Chief of Defence Staff. There’s a need to encourage, support, and pray for the Armed forces of Nigeria.

They sacrifice day and night for the country to be at peace. These are not ordinary feats in the era of insurgency, terrorism, and other acts of criminality. The leadership of the Armed Forces hit the ground running. It is very impressive and expected as we march towards a country free from the shackles of terrorism and other acts of criminality.

It is not Uhuru yet. More still needs to be done, and of importance is the support the Armed Forces can get from Nigerians. Together, we can make it happen.

Iwodi wrote this piece from Abuja.