Nigeria’s under the mango tree generals

Posted: August 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

By Prince Charles Dickson

Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me can watch for the moon

Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me make boolooloop soon

Underneath the moonlit sky
Me honey and I can sit hand in hand
Underneath the moonlit sky
Me honey and I can make fairyland

Mango, banana and tangerine
Sugar and ackee and cocoa bean
When we get marry we make them grow
And nine little chilґ in a row

Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me can watch for the moon
Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me we plan marry soon

Mango, banana and tangerine
Sugar and ackee and cocoa bean
When we get marry we make them grow
And nine little chilґ in a row

Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me can watch for the moon
Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me we plan marry soon

Underneath the Mango Tree
Underneath the Mango Tree
Underneath the Mango Tree
Underneath the Mango Tree

In Nigeria, to say that we are clowns, comedians, angry people, happy people religious people—more than that a people that do not know what they want, would be stating the obvious. We are equally nice and intelligent people–Simple put: a conglomeration of the good, very good, and infant excellent. The bad, nauseatingly bad, and off course the ugly.

mad shekau

I know a soldier in some city, near the Boko zone whose job is to, guide a power station, he wears his military gear only once a week, based on how he feels, half the time, his only on his trousers, with a white shirt wooing young community girls for his “third” leg’s pleasure.

I equally know a community that has long been host to the now popular Joint Task Force JTF…most girls in that community debate on how many soldiers they have “laid”.

I also know several generals that are half drunk in the 30-day month on various liquor, on a how much they can afford basis. I know some of them that are broke before the month is half by. Just like I know those that have acquired stupendous wealth as middlemen at the Ministry of defense.

I know those rank and file officers that are in the records and pay offices with enormous and questionable wealth, kids schooling abroad, and wives and concubines enjoying vacations in Dubai, and Seychelles.

I know officers that are “officers because the passed some “doctored” classroom exams, so from rank to rank, they have not witnessed real combat, or at least have something worthy to commit to the Nigerian armed forces.

I know Nigerian officers that have excelled in foreign missions–just like there are those that have either shot civilians, or broken several laws because of the uniform they adorn.

I have seen many soldiers that do not have the complete gear, or officers engaged with hunting Dane guns, naval officers that cannot swim, and air force pilots that make witches laugh when the fly a plane.

The new army chief, Major Gen Tukur Buratai has ordered immediate the review of cases of mutiny against soldiers with possible recall and reinstatement of the affected men…speaks volumes of our “mango tree” army.

I have lately seen “crying” generals like Mr. Badeh, who’s hometown was briefly home to the dreaded Boko Haram group.

The man who let us know that activities by fifth columnists within the military that leaked sensitive information and operational plans to the terrorist sect hampered the fight against the insurgents.

Yet, he did not resign or find anyone guilty.

According to a Premium Times report, he said the activities of saboteurs within the military led to the unnecessary deaths of many soldiers and officers who unknowingly walked into ambushes laid by Boko Haram who had prior knowledge of troops’ movement.

Yet, soldiers were being court marshaled for offenses beyond them.

Speaking at his valedictory service Mr. Badeh also blamed successive governments for neglecting the military over the years thereby reducing its capability as a fighting force of note. He said unlike the situation the Nigeria military found itself in, an effective military is built during peace time and adequately trained to combat future threats. He also blamed previous governments for listening to foreign advice to cut the size of the Nigerian military.

“Permit me to also add here, that nation’s militaries are equipped and trained in peace time, for the conflicts they expect to confront in the future,” he said.

“Unfortunately that has not been our experience as a nation. Over the years, the military was neglected and under-equipped to ensure the survival of certain regimes, while other regimes, based on advice from some foreign nations, deliberately reduced the size of the military and underfunded it.

“Accordingly, when faced with the crisis in the North East and other parts of the country, the military was overstretched and had to embark on emergency recruitments and trainings, which were not adequate to prepare troops for the kind of situation we found ourselves in. It is important therefore for the government to decide on the kind of military force it needs, by carrying out a comprehensive review of the nation’s military force structure to determine the size, capability and equipment holding required to effectively defend the nation and provide needed security.”

“The achievements recorded are largely due to the commitment, patriotism and fighting spirit of our men and women in uniform who saw the fight against terror as a task that must be accomplished no matter the odds and in spite of the campaign of calumny against the military by a section of the media with their foreign collaborators.”

While I would call Badeh and his many colleagues “under the mango tree” generals. Many of them fought a good fight; many soldiers have given their lives in the fight against insurgents and to protect Nigerians.

However, the nation must and is paying the price of mediocrity, the nation will continue to pay for its “bias and political correctness” in shaping its military.

A nation where her generals are classified by religion, faith, creed and ethnic colors would have an under the mango tree force, that are experts in “mess” parties, crass corruption and be constantly defeated in the face of real warfare.

An armed force full of in fighting would produce very little, whether there is a change of name in operations, or tactics, little would be accomplished. Service generals would come and go, but until the core of the issues are addressed—The boko Haram conflict is not anywhere near the end, issues such as recruitment, intelligence, cooperation amongst sister forces—we will continue dancing under the mango tree, and for how long—Only time will tell!

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