By David Onmeje
In every country, soldiers offer invaluable service to the growth and development of any nation. Aside their traditional role of securing the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity against external aggressors, the Army has a rich reservoir of personnel who service the country beyond the trenches and in multiple national responsibilities.
Just yesterday, the Nigerian Army again offered one of her best brains in soldiering, academics and administration, Brig. Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim to serve as the new Director- General (DG) of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He took over from Maj. Gen. Suleiman Kazaure as the 18th Director General of NYSC.
Ibrahim, a doctorate degree holder, until his recommendation by the Nigerian Army leadership and subsequent appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to head the NYSC, was the pioneer Registrar of the Nigerian Army University, Biu, Borno State. Versatile in warfare, academics and administration , Brig. Gen. Ibrahim is one refined Nigerian patriot groomed by the Nigerian Army, like his predecessors, who is now saddled with the responsibility of repositioning the NYSC in the #NextLevel.
The Nigerian Army, especially under the leadership of the COAS, Lt.Gen. TY Buratai has rendered itself as an institution for providing focused and result-oriented leadership. The Army’s administration of the NYSC in the past three years has marketed it as one of the best federal agencies in the country.
It has functioned smoothly and despite the increased numbers of young Nigerian graduates who pass through the mandatory service year, there is hardly any hitch in running the programme. Army officers who take up such responsibilities in the past have justified their training and learning in the military.
Gen. Ibrahim has taken over the gauntlet as head of the NYSC. His appointment has attracted much applause because he had previously served as Military Assistant to the Director General of NYSC from 1996-1999. Analysts say, he is honed for the job, as there is every assurance that his prior knowledge of the inner workings of the NYSC and coupled with his wealth of experience, the NYSC is bound to experience some uncommon innovations and reforms to even perform better. Ibrahim parades a rich profile.
A graduate of University of Jos, Gen. Ibrahim attended Nigerian Army Education Corps (NAEC) Young Officers’ Course 1994, Infantry (INF) Young Officers Course 1996, Training Development Advisers Course (TDA) 2004 and NAEC Officers’ Executive Management Course 5/2013. He obtained a Doctorate Degree (Ph.d) in History from the University of Abuja in 2007.
He has held several command and administrative positions in the Nigerian Army, among which includes, Research Officer, Institute of Army Education (IAE); National Defence College (NDC) 2004 – 2009; Senior Instructor, Nigerian Army School of Education 2009 – 2011; Staff Officer I Books Resources Procurement, Headquarters, Nigerian Army Education Corps 2011 – 2012; Commandant, Command Secondary School Suleja 2012-2014 and Head of Department, History and War Studies, Nigerian Defence Academy, 2014-2018.
He is a treasure, the Nigerian Army has again offered to the service of the nation as boss of the NYSC. Many of the over 500 federal agencies and parastaltals are dysfunctional or performing below standards. But the destiny of the NYSC is different.
All Nigerian Army personnel appointed to oversee the affairs of the scheme in this dispensation have proven to be uncommon soldiers and administrators. They have not only sustained the NYSC, but ensured the scheme fulfils its core mandate as defined by the spirit which prompted its evolution decades back. The excellence exhibited by the NYSC today stems from the Nigerian Army’s spirit of patriotism, loyalty and strict leadership discipline.
These are the core values Gen. Buratai exemplifies and has inculcated in every soldier, who exhibits it everywhere he is assigned national responsibility. General Buratai has trained his soldiers to be committed to hard work, professionalism and discipline in the discharge of their duties. The appointment of Gen. Ibrahim as NYSC DG is also bound to result in resounding success.
Gen. Ibrahim has a deep passion for academics, with a bias in military history and economy. He has authored countless publications and chapters in reputable academic journals. His worth as a professional soldier is evident with the number of Service medals, awards and recognitions he has earned. These includes; Forces Service Star (FSS), Meritorious Service Star (MSS) and Distinguished Service Star (DSS) among others. He has also bagged the Chief of Army Staff Award as the Overall Best Participant for 2013 NAEC Executive Management Course; a Special recognition Award from Nigerian Institute for Public Relation (NIPR) 2014 and an Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Public Services/Fellowship (FCAI) by Institute of Corporate Administration.
And only last year, Gen. Ibrahim received the COAS’s Commendation Letter 2018. He is also a member of several professional bodies such as Historical Society of Nigeria (HSN) and, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (MTRCN) etc
Ibrahim’s stepping on the podium as the new NYSC helmsman is one of the best things to have happened to the scheme in recent times. Critics are bound to make some unpleasant noise about his appointment; but what remains undoubtable is that he is the best man for the job. Enemies of Nigeria, who twist everything to lubricate primordial sentiments would hail him in the long run.
And those sufficiently acquainted with President Buhari’s leadership style would know that Mr. President has a penchant for always appointing the best. And Gen. Ibrahim’s choice as head of the NYSC also bows to the famed tradition of competence and excellence associated with the Buhari Presidency. Gen Ibrahim owns his primary constituency, the Nigerian Army, a big responsibility not to fail his country on this new assignment, but excel as his has always done in previous assignments.
He must focus on proving critics and skeptics wrong through disarming performance, bearing in mind that his failure would be symbolic of the failure of the Nigerian Army. This will be in dissonance with the new culture and leadership of the Army under Gen. Buratai. To this end, Gen. Ibrahim must necessarily, enthrone the spirit of comradeship, sportsmanship and loyalty to his country as exemplified in the creed of the Army at all times and ensure he impacts it into young generation of Nigerian leaders he has a responsibility to groom in the NYSC.