LOVE FOR COUNTRY
It is deeply saddening that I have to give these remarks on this occasion. Why are we here? Love for Country! How did we get here? Love for Country! What is the purpose of the Oath of Allegiance? Love for Country! Yesterday, 21 May 21 was a sad day for the Armed Forces. It was a sad day for the nation as I received with shock and utter dismay, the gloomy news of the sudden demise of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 others. The loss of our gallant, ebullient, energetic but calm Chief of Army Staff and other heroes of patriotic zeal and love for Country is painful but not in vain.
Today, Recruits of Depot Nigerian Army were to be on Passing-Out-Parade to herald their joining the workforce of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. The COAS was to be the Special Guest of Honour at the event. One of our finest and best pilots was conveying him and the entourage. After landing, the cold hands of death which manifested in the stormy weather ended that journey. The sting of death, you have not stopped the fight against all forms of insecurity.
As we mourn, I remember with a deep sense of pride the life and times of an accomplished General, a reliable professional and a dependable colleague. It is human for me to recall, with a sense of loss, my personal experience with him at the NA Training and Doctrine Command, where I fondly called him my “Second in Command” Together we shared thoughts on moving the Armed Forces, and the Nigerian Army in particular, forward. These were moments I would forever cherish. He had a distinguished career and the unique privilege of commanding with distinction along the tactical, operational and strategic levels of military engagement in the Nigerian Army. These positions afforded him the unique opportunities to express his determination, energy, resourcefulness, professional endowments and strength of character. Quite significantly, he showed his patriotism and loyalty to the unity, security, stability and well-being of the nation. He was truly a fine officer and a gentleman. He has left us at a time when he was needed the most, a time that is now gone forever, irretrievable and painfully sad. I assure you Ibrahim, that your dreams and passion for a better and more professional Nigerian Army and indeed the Armed Forces would not die with you. I salute you and all the other compatriots aboard with you.
Therefore, we mourn with all the families of our dearly departed compatriots, the families of Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, Brig Gen OL Olayinka, Brig Gen AU Kuliya, Brig Gen IM Abdulkadir, Maj LA Hayat, Maj Hamza, Flt Lt TO Asaniyi, Flt Lt AA Olufade, Sgt Umar, Sgt Adesina and ACM Oyedepo. We pray that God would give you the strength and fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss to your families. We say weep not as we encourage you that the sacrifices of these our comrades-at-arms to our fatherland would not be in vain. The Spirits of our colleagues live on. The Armed Forces of Nigeria will not leave you alone.
The C-in-C will not leave you alone. To our fellow Nigerians, the challenges are but for a moment. The Armed Forces of Nigeria remain undaunted. We are unmovable. The war against insecurity must be won. Keep praying for us. Remember the families of our fallen heroes. Remember, it is Love for Country.
To the able gallant and courageous officers and men of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, as we mourn our colleagues, let us march on in our determination to defend our country against every form of threat. Your spirit is unconquerable! Rise up in strength! Rise up in faith! The death of our colleagues is not in vain.