By Adedoyin Abayomi
Right from the era of antiquity up until the present age, records have shown that the leadership pattern of a leader is a function of the general wellbeing of the subject he leads and even the territorial integrity of the land. A prominent military juggernaut, General Norman Schwarzkopf, a man who exhibited stellar leadership qualities in the United States Army, once said, and I quote, “It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.” Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States and former Army Colonel, once quoted that, “If there is not a war, you don’t get the great generals; if there is not a great occasion, you don’t get a great statesman; if Lincoln had lived in a time of peace, no one would have known his name.”
Lt. General Farouk Yahaya is a fantastic example of the above quotes. He has a humble, meek, and unassuming personality and has absolute respect for the Nigerian state and humanity in general. A passionate leader who adheres strictly to the philosophies of collectivism and idealism. Throughout his military career, he has demonstrated that he is a leader who strictly adheres to legitimacy, credibility, and moral authority and possesses a can-do attitude.
He believes that the security of lives and property is a vital ingredient in any innovative and aspiring society. Lt.-General Farouk is a perfect gentleman, a game changer, who has an eagle eye for the Nigerian state. A complete compatriot who has been working diligently to defend the territorial integrity of the country. A statesman to the core. A cursory look at his antecedent in the Nigerian Army affirms that he is a man of many colors. He is a man who believes in the supremacy of God and coordinates himself in accordance with His will. Officers and men in the Nigerian Army can attest that he has no room for religious fanaticism, which is why he is loved by all. His big heart for giving and donating to those in need is obviously unrivaled.
Before being appointed as the 22nd Chief of Army Staff by President Buhari, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya was the Theatre Commander of Operation HANDI KAI, whose primary mission was to combat insurgency and terrorism in the highbrow areas of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He enrolled in the prestigious Nigerian Defense Academy’s 37 Regular Course. He began his cadet training on September 27, 1985, and was commissioned into the Nigerian Infantry Corps on September 22, 1990. His visionary leadership made him eligible to be appointed to the following prestigious offices: Headquarters Joint Task Force, Garrison Commander, Headquarter Guards Brigade, Deputy Director Army Research and Development, and Directing Staff at the Army Forces Command, Brigade and College (AFCSC).
In other capacities, he served as Military Secretary, Principal General Staff Officer to the Honourable Minister of Defense, the commander, Headquarters 4 Brigade, and 29 Task Force (Operation Zaman Lafiya), and General Officer Commanding (GOC). 1 Division of the Nigerian Army. Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya holds a master’s degree in international affairs and diplomacy.
In 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari placed a search light on the Nigerian Army to see who was absolutely qualified to oversee the activities of the Nigerian Army, especially to crackdown on the insurgency that had bedeviled the nation. The light beamed on him, and he was appointed. His antecedents spoke for him. President Buhari, having a military background, knew that Lieutenant General Farouk had the experience, charisma, and wherewithal to deliver.
A lot of things were put in place immediately after he took office as Chief of Army Staff, and the record shows that the country’s security posture has taken a commendable shape today. In office, he has been known for his leadership strategy, foresight, re-invigoration, and, of course, the internal working strategy of the Nigerian Army.
In spite of the daunting challenges of the present day, like kidnapping, terrorism, pipeline vandalism, farmer-herder clashes, and a host of others, the Chief of Army Staff has shown professionalism at its peak, inspiring men and officers alike to be patriotic and resolute in the defense of the nation. More often than not, he has buttressed the importance of teamwork, discipline, and focus in the field of war, and all of these have helped gallant soldiers in the fight against insurgency in the North East and other parts of the country. If you randomly sample the opinion of the general public, I am confident that the majority will attest to the fact that security of life and property has significantly improved.
The lieutenant has proven to Nigerians and indeed the world that the country can be very safe and, of course, a haven for citizens and even foreigners to do their businesses. I recently traveled along the Abuja-Kaduna route and found a heavy presence of military personnel, and I asked myself this question: “Has this road not been a dead zone and no-go area in the recent past?” The journey was quite smooth. I saw commuters ply the same road and businessmen and women going about their legal business. This is happening in the administration of Lieutenant-General Farouk Yahya.
Another thing the gallant officer is known for is the healthy and symbiotic relationship he established between the Nigerian Army and other security operatives, namely, the Police, Department of State Security, Navy, Air Force, and even the community-based security outfits. The synergy that has existed among these security outfits has since brought about significant results in battling insecurity. Definitely, this officer, who wouldn’t want the labor of our heroes past to be in vain, is apparently writing his name on the sand of time, which will definitely be indelible.
Military formations are equipped with modern weapons that meet international standards; officers are given better field training; and there is a visible infrastructure development drive that will invariably improve the living conditions of the gallant soldiers in the field and their families. It can be succinctly said that this officer has reorganized the military with his wealth of experience as a soldier and uncommon wisdom.
The president, in his wisdom, chose this officer to pilot the affairs of the Army, and for me, this is one of the nicest decisions that has been taken in the current administration. Without mincing words, he is one of the finest in recent history.
This man of valor garnered meritorious awards like the Meritorious Service Star, Forces Service Star, Distinguished Service Star, Pass Staff Course (Dagger), National Defense College Golden Jubilee Medal, Silver Jubilee Medal, Field Command of Honor, Economic Community of West African State Monitoring Group Medal, and a host of others.
Now, let us analyze these prestigious awards critically, without any sentiment of any kind: it takes a man of repute and impact to get them; it takes an officer with great knowledge and who has explored to deserve them. This alone has inspired other officers and soldiers in the Nigerian Army to stay focused and make a significant impact.
Leiutenant General Farouk is a hero whose image has undoubtedly launched him onto the world stage when it comes to military capacity, and generations to come will read about him and his stellar qualities of humility, doggedness, intelligence, compassion, and patriotism. On a final note, whichever way one decides to look at it, Farouk Yahaya is an accomplished man, Nigerian, and military officer. His good works will continue to speak for his children, the Nigerian Army, Nigeria, and this generation.
Shannon Adler once said, ”Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya has carved his name on the hearts of many Nigerians, and they will surely share fantastic stories about him. Happy Birthday to a true General.
Abayomi is a public affairs analyst based in Lagos.