By Adamu Bello
Adesola Nunayon Amosu is not the only successful air force officer and strategist in Nigeria, but he is incontrovertibly one of the most outstanding.
Amosu does not belong to the flamboyant school and he is not to be counted among Nigerian retired military officers hungry for publicity. However, the man is in a distinct position in Nigeria. Associates and admirers know this fact and testify to it openly.
To them, Amosu is truthful, honest, loyal, hardworking, dependable and competent.
As a student, he left a record that has remained a reference point. His lecturers and colleagues knew him for his honesty and made spirited effort to identify with him. He was then one of the shining stars.
Born August 1, 1958 in Badagry, Amosu served as the 19th Chief of Air Staff. He was appointed by President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in recognition of his own achievements, integrity, expertise and experience.
With good appearance, commanding personality, sound education, technical skills, honesty, hard work, cool mindedness, steadfastness, power of endurance, discipline, fairness in dealing with others, ability to plan, readiness to develop and apply new rules for the advancement of the country and leadership qualities, Amosu not only redefined his responsibilities to the country but used these qualities to power the Air Force to a height that even his non admirers would not hesitate to give him accolades and praises. He witnessed the challenges presented by global terrorism and the unconventional way modern conflicts were being fought.
In fact, Amosu’s apt response after his appointment was a vivid indication that he was aware of the challenges ahead. To this end, he shifted the focus of the Nigerian Air Force to strategic Research and Development. He also made NAF a formidable force in the war against Boko Haram insurgents. Amosu and others restored stability in the North East before the 2015 general election. Indeed, he brought fresh ideas to the table and also kept the airspace safe and free of exuberance.
Recently, he urged the U.S government to assist Nigeria benefit from the privileges NATO countries enjoyed on modern military hardware acquisition in view of ending the surge of terrorism
Sadly, instead of obtaining from the Nigerian State the sort of solidarity dictated by his striving in defence of the Nigerian people and the Nigerian nation, it is simply tragic that Amosu may be going through the darkest chapter of his life. Firstly, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the probe of arms procurement. A Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement headed by Air Vice Marshal Jon Ode returned a damning verdict indicting top military and political actors. Secondly, top military officers named in the arms scam have had their property sealed as a first step towards confiscating them. Thirdly, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested and detained Amosu and others. Fourthly, the commission charged Amosu and others to a Federal High Court following accusations of N21bn fraud charges.
Critics of the current administration described the accusations against Amosu and other heroes of democracy, as politically motivated. They accused the government of being selective and refusing to indict key members of the current administration, believed to have played questionable roles in military procurement since 2007.
They also accused the presidency of doctoring the Arms Procurement Probe Report to shield minister of interior, Lieutenant-General Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd) and Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Tukur Buratai.
Critics also carpeted the government for allegedly lying about the terms of reference on the latest interim report on the ongoing probe into arms procurement by successive government since 2007.
But the federal government said that the report on the arms deal scandal was not doctored. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed dismissed the insinuation that the report of the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Armed Forces (2007-2015) was doctored for whatever reason.
“No one should attempt to distract from the seriousness of the issues involved in this audit of defence equipment procurement. It is important to note that even though the total amount spent for procurement and operations within the period were N185,843,052,564.30 and $685,349,692.49, the irregularities in the awards ensured that the military did not get value for money, with very serious consequences”, Mr. Mohammed said.
However, there are questions begging for answers. Who is in charge of contract? What is the role of the Ministry of Defence in awarding of contracts? Did Amosu buy aircraft? Do top government functionaries account for security vote? What is an operation fund? Why criminalize it? Why limit it to Amosu? What about governors? Why did the consultant resign? Why did the committee not invite the service chiefs? Could it be that the chairman of the committee has score to settle? Is someone fighting those against Boko Haram? Could they be plotting to take Amosu’s pension? Did EFCC see money in his account? What is the position of the Procurement Act on this issue? Is the government sincere in this corruption war? Is Amosu innocent of all charges? Is he being punished for something else? Is top retired army officers indicted scheming to suppress the content of the report?
One thing that goes for Amosu is that he is focused. Perhaps, his greatest strength lies with his integrity.
Described as the best of men, Amosu , a man who is less than 60, obviously still have more years to contribute his quota to the growth of the country. To his admirers, the government should be sincere and find good use for Amosu’s wealth of experience and family tradition of service.
Adamu Bello is a journalists based in Kaduna