Buhari and his Generals – by Gaw Gawain Ak91 views
It was Winston Churchill who said, “It is difficult to remove a bad General at the height of a campaign: it is atrocious to remove a good General.” However, the War PM actually removed his general during Operation Desert Fox in North Africa over 50 years ago.
In any field of endeavour, there is what you call momentum! When you have momentum, you can almost smell and absorb victory but momentum whether it is in sports, combat, career or warfare will resonate with energy and the will to grab the opportunity and crush the enemy with overwhelming tenacity. Toy with momentum and embrace arrogance, you will lose it as quickly as it comes. From the jaws of victory, you will be crushed.
Sun Tzu a Chinese philosopher once said: “Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain. ….. If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”
I will use the story of Churchill and General “The Auk” Auchinleck as an analogy to advice Buhari on why he should have removed his security chiefs like General Burutai etal long ago.
I advise you sir, to change your top security chiefs, not because they are under-performing but because you need fresh blood to see things differently and take the enemy by surprise in the ultimate aim to keep the Nigerian people safe.
For starters, let no one fool you! Nigeria is at war with Boko Haram and her affiliates. While the rules of engagement have changed since the time of the second world war, the context and the characteristics remains the same in every nation facing war. A nation that is unprepared to protect her people will fail. My old boys scout motto: Be Prepared every second, every minute, every hour, every day because the enemy will evade and look for vulnerabilities. The enemy will strike hard and fast.
General Auchinleck had proved himself as a top commander in the South East and Middle East before Churchill appointed him to Command in North Africa. General Auchinleck was a first-class soldier who had merit on his shoulder. He was a true combatant and warrior. On taking command after the appointment, General Auchinleck launched operation crusader which had gained early success and pushed Rommel back to Tobruk.
However, in a region comprised mostly of desert, territory was less of a strategic importance than it may have been in Europe. He had a major disagreement with Churchill. General Auchinleck having gained momentum and successes in the first half underrated the German Army in North Africa and lost a lot of men. He lost momentum, he lost initiative…. Churchill sacked him.
Let me also mention Obama’s dismissal of General McChrystal and Truman’s removal of a war hero General Douglas MacArthur. In fact, General Mac Arthur, the Korean war commander relieved in 1951 was a war hero in the second world war.
I can mention more but my advice to President Buhari is that, he must consider the intuition of momentum. It is no accident that Lincoln, Churchill and even Napoleon were at logger heads with their top generals during war fare campaign. In fact, Truman made some of his service chiefs to swear every day that a territory in Vietnam must not be lost.
Mr. President, your security chiefs had momentum when they got to their post, wanting to prove to you and the Nigerian people that Boko Haram can be defeated. The momentum was on their side. As time went on, they became lackadaisical and were not on top of their game. Boko Haram is a very mobile and deceptive enemy. Terrorists are chameleons who take the colour of the environment and the people around. They strike at soft targets and run.
Mr. President, you need top security chiefs who should always have that enthusiasm to prove themselves and think in the sphere of deception to kill the enemy. Once again, I advise you sir, to change your top security chiefs, not because they are under-performing but because you need fresh blood to see things differently and take the enemy by surprise in the ultimate aim to keep the Nigerian people safe.