The Legend of Buratai: A Review
Title of Book – The Legend of Buratai
Author. – Abubakar M.S
Reviewer. – Mbakwe Collins
Publisher. – Sprezzatura Pub. Comp.
Number of Chapters – Seven
Number of Pages – 104
ISBN – 978-978-973-606-5
The storied English playwright and poet, William Shakespeare graphically stated, “.. some achieve greatness..”
By implication, not everyone achieves greatness. The wind shall never lift anyone to the flag of greatness or success – only hard-work, dedication, honesty, courage, humility, and faith in God do.
The above assertion perhaps, would go a long way in making you appreciate the book under review.
The Legend of Buratai is a semi-biography of Bura born man of valor and exceptional brilliance, General Tukur Yusuf Buratai. It chronicles his journey through life so far. The book is a fine experimentation by the unsung writer, Abubakar M.S, given how faction and fiction are outstandingly woven. The writer’s mastery of folklore reminds one of writers such as Chinua Achebe, Kofi Awonor and Gabriel Okara.
The book tells a revealing story of General Buratai’s evolution from a little boy who gallantly killed a lion that was a torn in the flesh of his people, to the Chief of Army Staff, Federal Republic of Nigeria and of course a hero to many. Interestingly, the eponymous character in this work, Buratai, doubles as the narrator of the narrative. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai joined the Nigerian Army as a boy not because his father, Yusuf Buratai was a veteran soldier – not because he was forced to join, but because he was driven by his passion to serve his father land through soldiering. He didn’t want to become just a soldier, he wanted to become a good soldier – he wanted to distinguish himself among many others.
To fulfill his dreams and aspirations, the young Buratai got admission into the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) Kaduna. He later obtained degrees in History from the University of Maiduguri and Philosophy from Bangladesh respectively, among many other professional degrees and certificates.
Buratai knew that to actualize his fine ambition in life, acquiring several certificates and knowledge ain’t enough, little wonder, he armored himself with courage, honesty, dedication, humility and high sense of responsibility.
His burning desire, startling brain, humility, honesty and commitment led him into successfully serving his father land in various capacities. His quick rise to various coveted positions in the Nigerian Army, even to his current position as the Chief of Army Staff, is not a happenstance, but a deservedly reward for dedication, honesty, courage, humility and sagacity.
The writer, through the narrator, Buratai, presents a detribalized man who doesn’t believe in accident, but destiny. His first commission in 1983 by General Buhari and his consequent appointment to his current position as the Chief of Army Staff by the same Buhari after decades is not an accident but destiny.
Buratai’s ability to hearken to the advice of his father when he was advised against being swallowed by pride after killing a lion during his childhood days was a strong indication that he was destined for greatness. His ability to open himself to learning, his unmatched leadership skills and his known stance for fairness, justice and equity, makes him an archetypical figure where courage, pursuant of dreams and patriotism can be drawn from, by human race. His love for his country, Nigeria is exemplified by his preparedness to put his life on the line in the course of protecting the territorial integrity of his country and defense of the weak.
Granted that Buratai earned his Spurs and accolades locally and internationally by his several years of dedication, outstanding military intelligence, innovativeness, track record and readiness to learn both from his Juniors and superiors, his magnum opus has been the wonders – his heroics in making Northeast habitable again within a short time – a region that had hitherto been hard hit by insurgency before his historic appointment as the Chief of Army Staff, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Prior to his appointment, many communities were displaced, Borno State was almost desolate, and the good people of Nigeria lived in perpetual fear of the dreaded group. It was as though, all hope was lost despite the government’s effort and commitment in providing the then military leadership with all the needful to stamp out insurgency. Failure on the then Army leadership to stamp out insurgency led to the Federal government hiring the services of security from some other nations, yet the insurgency persisted. But, Buratai’s appointment saw the restoration of peace in the region and Nigeria at large much to the dismay of all well-meaning Nigerians. This unbelievable feat he was able to achieve under his able leadership by sanitizing the Military, carrying everyone along, instilling more discipline, professionalism into the soldiers and bringing his unmatched military intelligence to bear. His appointment was met with stiff opposition borne out of sheer ignorance, envy, misconception of President Muhammad Buhari’s good intention, or inordinate guest for power and cheap popularity by few unprogressive-minded Nigerians, regrettably, for their personal aggrandizement. However, several months after General Buratai’s appointment as Chief of Army Staff, president Buhari was vindicated, as he received encomiums from many Nigerians and international communities, for his foresightedness in appointing a man of valor and probity and above all, an Infantry General from the Boko Haram-plagued region, Buratai as the Chief of Army Staff. The Legend of Buratai is a book that enlightens the youths through narrating Buratai’s evolution, the ways to greatness. It is Buratai’s utmost wish that Nigerians of all ages eschew violence, ethnicity bias and embrace peace.
The writer of this book, Abubakar M.S, excels greatly for his unmistakable, fervent and successful effort through his narrator, at rediscovering the essence and the ethical virtues of the traditional Bura society, in which General Tukur Yusuf Buratai was brought up, and to render, as well as recommend its quintessential attributes to the larger society and the readers. It remained his painstaking and unhindered attempt at reconstructuring the traditional societal values and culture that shaped, protected and sustained the local society that bore and nurtured Buratai as depicted by his deep-rooted love for his people. His resilience in life, his vision, his unprecedented professionalism as well as his life of honesty both as the then infantry officer and now as a General, is exemplary and presents emulative lessons for the typical Nigerian cum African child and youth, especially soldiers and those wishing to join the military. The historical flight and nuances conspicuously embedded in this work, qualify it for both historical and sociological document, and the fictional society created in some parts of the book, is better read than described.
The book is a testament of hope for all. Through Buratai, we are reminded the miracle dedication, humility and honesty do. We are also admonished not to kill ourselves for positions as it is God that gives and at His time.
The book, through its narrator, Buratai, proffers solutions to several Nigerian problems. It offers sought-after advice to Nigerian youth on the need to join the military for the purpose of adventure, passion and valor, in the defense of the weak instead of focusing on monetary or material gains.
Due to the simplicity of language, the book’s unique style, vividness of imagination, the incisiveness of the artistic perception, this simple yet insightful story of the living legend, General Tukur Yusuf Buratai is no doubt the primus interpares. A critical journey through the pages of this book reveals the conviction of an optimist – and we all need such a dose of optimism in a world fraught with disillusionment.
Abubakar M.S has taken Nigeria by storm taking the originality and level of uniqueness shown in this unputdownable and enthralling book, The Legend of Buratai into account. I strongly recommend it for the general public and in fact, a