It was commendation for General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff during the launch of a book in his honour recently. AUWAL AHMAD was there and captured the proceedings.
It was excitement galore as the Nigeria Army 6 Division Port Harcourt in collaboration with Sprezzatura Publishing Company commenced the presentation of the ‘Legend of Buratai’ written by Dr Abubakar Muhammad Sani to students of public schools under the division.
The presentation was held in the auditorium of the prestigious Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt with jubilation and appreciation as the event was graced by dignitaries ranging from teachers, students and soldiers.
The event provided a good platform for students and individuals to show their appreciation to the author of the book for capturing the heroic deeds of the Chief of Army Staff, (COAS) General Tukur Yusuf Buratai.
In his opening remark, the chairman of the occasion, Major General ID Pennap, (rtd) thanked all guests especially the students for their presence, adding that a book of such magnitude was a step in the right direction given General Buratai’s uncommon bravery, commitment and extraordinary qualities exhibited throughout all these years of service and especially in dismantling insurgents that hitherto ravaged the North-East part of the country.
The COAS, General Buratai was represented by Brigadier General Victor Okoro who expressed COAS profound apologies for his inability to be physically present at the event as he went on to appreciate the presence of several students, guest and dignitaries. His speech was essentially centred on inspiring the school children on the virtues that brought him to his present position and he also highlighted some of the on-going military exercises aimed at creating a secure and peaceful nation for all law-abiding citizens.
General Buratai expressed joy over a book of such nature capturing his life for students and the younger generation to read and emulate the right principles and ideals to uphold in their quest for greatness.
He further appreciated the students while charging them to imbibe the principles highlighted in the book to better their future as they grow in their respective professions.
Buratai also used the occasion to enjoin students to imbibe self-discipline, hard work, diligence, honesty, bravery and patriotism in all they do in life.
The COAS expressed optimism that the future of Nigeria would be better with the younger generation especially when they apply the right principles in their various endeavour.
In his remarks, the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Major General Jamil Sarham, who was represented by Brigadier General Charles Nengite, urged the children and youths to imbibe the virtues of hard work, dedication, loyalty and diligence in all aspects of their life. He specially commended the teachers for their efforts and service in building and moulding the character of the children.
While speaking, the author of the book, Dr Abubakar Muhammad Sani, said he was inspired by Buratai’s legendary and therefore wanted the younger generation to read Buratai’s legendary life and draw inspiration from it.
He stated further that the heroics of the army chief is unrivalled and something that would be a guide for the younger generation, if recorded for them for posterity.
Continuing, the author explained the age-long prophecy that predicted the birth of General Buratai and its consequent fulfilment in 1960, adding that it is on the basis of that and his unprecedented achievements that he considers him a legend.
He, therefore, enjoined the students to read the book and imbibe the principles of hard work, diligence, excellence, honesty and bravery in all they do as exemplified in the life of Buratai, in order to succeed in their various fields. Dr Abubakar expressed his profound gratitude to the 6 Division for their commitment and large heart in ensuring the success of the event and described them as great men of goodwill.
Guests commend the author
Reviewing the book, Collins Mbakwe, explained that the book chronicles the life and heroics of the army chief from childhood till date.
He noted that hard work, excellence, bravery and diligence were the qualities that brought him to an enviable height. Still speaking, Mbakwe noted that at the early years of the army chief, he already exhibited uncommon or extraordinary bravery and qualities, taking into account how he gallantly killed a lion when he was just 18, his encounter with ghosts, snakes and how he even fought death.
Continuing further, Mbakwe stated that Buratai’s heroism as presented in the book in crushing the insurgency and his overall qualities present an emulative lesson for the younger generation.
He showered encomium on the author, Dr Abubakar for his simplicity of diction, the incisiveness of his perception and narrative mode, as he created a character in the image and likeness of General Buratai to tell the story of the General, describing such experimentation as breathtaking.
In an oral review of the book presented by a 10-year-old Master Chukwudozie Daniel Nwafor, he advised his fellow students and children to strive to read the book and emulate the diligence, hard work, bravery and honesty which have brought him to limelight and a household name.
In an address, the guest speaker, Mrs Onari Duke, advised the students to stand on the shoulders of giants such as General Buratai, to see farther. She told the students that for them to attain the height of being considered a legend like Buratai, they must inculcate the habit of reading, paying attention to details, being honest at all time and being brave. Furthering, Mrs Onari thanked the author for writing a book of that magnitude, noting that it would be a potent source of inspiration for the younger generation.
Mr Abdulraheed Ajanah while delivering a speech on chronic kidney disease awareness extensively explained the importance of taking adequate water and several other preventive measures of the dreaded disease.
While presenting the book to the students and general public, Auwal Ahmad of Blueprint Newspaper described the book as a must-read for all children.
He added that at a time when the virtues of integrity, honesty and diligence are in short supply, the book would be a regurgitating reminder that such virtues still have rewarding values in contemporary day Nigeria.
Traditional rulers also attended
In an address, the special guest of honor, the Amayanabo of Twon-Brass in Brass Kingdom, the chairman Council of Traditional Rulers, Bayelsa state and first military governor of old Rivers state, King Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, expressed delight for being at the event, noting that he had to cancel every engagement to attend the presentation, describing the book as timely and deserving. King Alfred expressed joy that people are now beginning to understand the importance of recording the heroics of some distinguished personalities. He advised the children to always take their studies seriously and toe the part of honour, selflessness and bravery as exemplified in the life of General Buratai
King Spiff said he was part of the team that established the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He therefore used the occasion to propose a one-year compulsory military training for all Nigerians who have clocked 18.
The highlights of the event were poetry rendition from some students and pupils, the oral review from a ten-year-old Master Chukwudozie, launch of the book by Mr Jack Rich Tein Jr, presentation of plaques to COAS, King Alfred, a student poet, among many others.