The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd.), has said he performed well while in office.
Buratai spoke with journalists over the weekend at a special gala night organised by members of the 29th Regular Course Association of the Nigerian Defence Academy in Abuja.
He also said he owed no one explanations over his appointment as a non-career ambassador.
Buratai and other service chiefs resigned from office on January 26, after months of calls for their sacking following the rising insecurity in different parts of the country.
The former Army chief and his colleagues were subsequently appointed non-career ambassadors on February 4, just nine days after their resignation as Service Chiefs.
Asked to react to the People’s Democratic Party’s criticism of their appointment, Buratai said he would not respond to the PDP’s statement, insisting that he is not a politician.
“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,” he said.
He said he stood out while in charge as the COAS, saying: “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,” Buratai said.
He attributed his appointment to his father’s love for the President Buhari.
According to him, his appointment in July 2015 was a prize for the loyalty of his father, Yusuf Buratai to Buhari.
Buratai’s father was said to be a non-commissioned officer in the Royal West African Frontier Force and a World War II veteran who fought in Burma.
He expressed gratitude to the President for finding him worthy to serve as COAS, adding that he discharged his responsibilities to the best of his ability.
He also said that although it was a tough time serving as COAS, the service chiefs weathered the storm.
“My father was an ardent lover of the President and my appointment as COAS, therefore, was a price or reward for that gesture by the President.
“Of course, and as you have been told severally, we (the President and I) met in Ndjamena and he saw me and felt I was the right person to be COAS at that very crucial and critical moment of our history.
“And I am happy that we have discharged our responsibilities diligently, professionally and loyally, and I will continue to discharge my responsibilities to him and of course to our country and our people,” he said.
Speaking on the gala night staged in his honour, he said the event showed that he did well as the country’s Chief of Army Staff.
“It feels great (to be celebrated by my colleagues) at this point in time. It means a lot to me in terms of respect, in terms of the show of love.
“It’s something of pride that you have been recognised for the service you have rendered to your nation and people,” the former Army chief said.
Buratai expressed gratitude to Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State and all the governors in the North East, especially the governors of Yobe and Adamawa States for their support.
“They have all worked hard to ensure that the insurgency in the North East have reached what we have today; a manageable state and the progress have been quite tremendous so far,” he said.
He also thanked Buhari on his new appointment as an Ambassador-designate, adding that he would continue to do the country proud and project its image in good light wherever he is deployed to.
“On a final note, I must appreciate all Nigerians, my well-wishers, the youths, elders, men and women for their continuous prayers, goodwill and support to me and the Nigerian Army in the course of our duties to bring about peace and security in our country.
“It was a tough time but we’ve weathered the storm. I am retired but definitely not tired Insha Allah.
“We have left great legacies in the Nigerian Army that I hope will last the test of time by God’s grace,” Buratai concluded.