The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd), has dismissed criticism of his nomination as ambassador-designate, saying he performed creditably well during his tenure.
He cited the compilation by officers at the Army Headquarters on projects and infrastructural development he embarked upon all over the country as evidence of his good job.
He spoke on Sunday night in Abuja during a dinner organised in his honour by members of 29th Regular Course Association.
Commenting on his appointment as an envoy and that of his colleagues, Buratai said: “It’s an honourable retirement and also an honourable appointment. I’m not a politician, so, I have no word for the opposition. I have done well.”
On his tenure as chief of army staff, he said: “I am happy that in July last year, my officers at the Army headquarters compiled a compendium of my achievements.
“In fact, I can’t even remember all the projects that we have executed. Is it in terms of infrastructure? Is it in terms of capacity building? Is it in terms of training?
“Since I was appointed, there was never a dull moment in terms of training. Remember the various exercises. These are training exercises from ‘Python Dance,’ ‘Crocodile Smile,’ and even the latest one ‘Exercise Sahel Sanity,’ “Is it in the area of medical? In terms of education of our children and wards, the Nigerian Army University are all great achievements.”
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing him as chief of army staff and reiterated that he discharged his responsibilities to the best of his ability.
He also praised Nigerians that supported him with prayers, advice and words of encouragement that made him achieve so much as COAS.
“I must appreciate all Nigerians, my well-wishers, the youths, elders, men and women for their continuous prayers, goodwill and support to the Nigerian Army and me in the course of our duties to bring about peace and security in our country,” he added.
He also thanked the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, and his North-east counterparts, who have “all worked hard to ensure that the insurgency in the region has reached what we have today; a manageable state and the progress has been quite tremendous so far.”
Buratai said his appointment was a special price for his father, the late Alhaji Yusufu Buratai, a well-known staunch loyalist of Buhari.
Buratai’s father, a Second World War veteran, served as a non-commissioned officer in the Royal West African Frontier Force fighting in Burma.
He also thanked members of the 29th Regular Course Association for being such wonderful friends and course mates and organising such a befitting event in his honour, adding that he felt so happy to be celebrated.
He said the honour meant a lot to him and his family.
“It is also a mark of fulfilment and pride that you have been recognised for the service you have rendered to your nation and your people,” he stated.
He assured them that he would continue to do the nation proud and project Nigeria’s image in good light wherever he is posted.