Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Onyeabo Ihejirika addresses Mali-bound Nigerian soldiers

Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Onyeabo Ihejirika addresses Nigerian soldiers

23 May, 2013


The army chief, Lt General Azubike Ihejirika has said that the army has
agreed to set up an Army Virtual War
College, as part of its personnel
development programme.

He said, this implies that the students
will be electronically linked with other
war colleges abroad as they will have
periods for live interactions.

He added that it was discovered that a gap exists in the training system between when an officer passes out from the Armed Forces Command and Staff College and the attendance of National Defence University, which is a strategic level course.

So, we want to train officers who will
attain the national operational
knowledge to command troops in the
field and the course will be meant for
lieutenant colonels and young colonels.

Ihejirika announced this at a seminar
on Nigerian Army Transformation in
Abuja, adding that the army was
expanding in many ways to face the
current security challenges.

About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. wocon45 says:

    It’s interesting to see the army is looking towards online/virtual modes of instruction. Just like universities in the states and elsewhere have done with MOOC’s. It’s a welcome development, significantly cuts the weight on cost, human resource etc. alot of stuffs taught in various war colleges with a few exceptions though are now available online for free. Just a few days ago, the blue print from printing a functional plastic gun was put online for free. The list goes on and on @ Peccavi you are in a clime where this is common, what’s your take?

  2. freeegulf says:

    the army is fast becoming ‘americanized’ over the past decade. traditionally, NA has been able to blend a mix of ol’ british army style, US army, and local developed synergy. however, the american style is getting too trendy and business like.
    we should try and retain our own local content with all these mix, there’s just too much in the way of exams and qualifications at all officer ranks. some of these should not be mandatory for every ranking structure or promotion ladder

    • igbi says:

      I disagree, exams is the only way to make sure the people are competent enough.
      And back in the days when my dad was in the army, it was already so.

  3. beegeagle says:

    I SUSPECT, Generalissimo Freeegulf, that this is all about RECURRENCY TRAINING during the 7-9 year interlude between the time when these officers pass out from the Command and Staff College and their enrolment at the apex National Defence College(formerly ‘War College’).

    It does not appear as if it is an exam-oriented access route to either the National Defence College or the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (through which some Colonels still have to pass).

    Just another innovation to keep officers fresh and contemporary through hands-on impartation of knowledge and skills acquisition through shared experiences rather than any rigorous exam-oriented certification which is geared towards career progression.

    Something of this nature, I imagine.

  4. freeegulf says:

    Marshal Beegs, it will be a good thing if its just a recurrency training. however, these courses tend to begin as recurrency trainings then developing into a mandatory exam oriented course. remember how War College started in the late 80s. then it was a privilege thing, but definitely was not mandatory. today, Cols cant make Brig gens without going through NDC.

    the compulsory aspect of some of these courses has the tendency of turning the military into some corporate/academic entity where pen pushing generals get to walk with the swagger stick.
    hopefully this new program will be more like a refresher course with global outlook and not just another academic exercise that end up turning warriors into professors.

    we have always excelled in blending the best of traditions from different armed forces and make it suitable to out needs, we shouldn’t lean too much on just one.

    the military is an institution and it caters for all. yes, there will be the intellectuals, but we should know that this institution is large enough, both in size and depth, to accommodate and gratify all manners of talents.

    the military will continue in its transformation drive and professionalism, however, this drive should have a bit of both worlds. more like having the best of Von Ludendorff and Von Hindeburg.

    kudos to the COAS, his relentless drive and energy has molded the army into a genuine professional force and a lean fighting machine. the COIN program for freshly trained officers and men is simple outstanding! now the army doesn’t have to wish for 72 airborne battalion (elites back in the 90s) in every single battle. there’s now a broad competency among the various battalions and formations with the combat skills of the sojas tremendously increased. hopefully, so will TACOS

    • igbi says:

      I hope you know that being a professor doesn’t stop you from being a warrior.
      Winning a war has a lot to do with the intelectual capabilities of the generals.
      It is a verry good thing to make the officers pass as much tests as possible.
      Only the best should be allowed to reach the top.

      • freeegulf says:

        it is exactly why i mentioned von ludendorff and von hindenburg as two good examples. brains and brawns to complement each. it is also the reason why NA has chiefs of staff in formations and units.
        you can have the warrior/professor, you can also have the simple warrior like gen V S Malu, and the intellectuals like maj gen isholla williams.
        the above are all capable of leading command units in battle, in fact, they all led fighting units in different conflicts

    • beegeagle says:

      Generalissimo, it really depends.

      Till tomorrow, there are Colonels and equivalent who still attend the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies(NIPSS) and they are attaining one-star Generalship.

      The only difference is that unlike the 1979-1992 era when the then National War College had not been established (it was established as Western sanctions took effect) and most Colonels had to pass through NIPSS – with a few lucky ones either going to the USWC or RCDS, today NIPSS has taken a distant second place in the perking order as the NDC averagely admit 120 Nigerian ‘redneck’ officers every year.

      But NIPSS still exists and a minority of Generals continue to come through that prestigious institution.

  5. jimmy says:

    One of the things that has worried me constantly is how computer literate our mid level to Senior level our ARMY officers will be in as recently as 5years. Personally getting promoted from COL to Brig should entail either an exam OR IT IS EARNED ON THE battlefield..I think JAJI fills that role also .
    Though one may think of this as Americanization. We have learnt through google/ satellites and BLOGGERS about town that straddle the border that none of us knew ( most of us) untill a few weeks ago.
    LT COLS and MAJS need to know about this since they are responsible for battalions in a symmetric ( well laid plans conventional thinking) and asymmetric ( 3-d war simulation , logistics, what will go wrong (poor leadership for example ) what will go right( exceptional leadership) in a sanitized environment. Don’t forget OGA FREGULF some of the areas that are being asked to cover are truly mind boggling in size .

  6. jimmy says:

    One of the things that the OBJ is said to mandate EXAMS at 90-100% of officer promotions. This was to ensure that from Captain to Major where you can be responsible/ second in command to a battalion you had to pas the exam. Speculation OGA FREEGULF was this rule was due to allegedly a former HEAD of STATE not passing one of these EXAMS but because of his service during the civil war he was promoted.
    For the army to be professional , one of the casualties of that must be the era of double promotions( with the exception of battle leadership and bravery must come to an end) .
    An example of people being held back is the current C.A.S..I personally know of one person who was held and it had nothing to do with competency. Hence i agree MERIT/ PEER REVIEW should be the sole judge going forward.

    • freeegulf says:

      that’s the whole rumour of general sani abacha failing staff college which is rubbish. there is a difference between not attending staff college and psc+.
      the OBJ initiative was brilliant. but giving these officers a second chance to retake their exams is also a good approach.

      some armies don’t even allow for responsibilities for 2nd LT in the field. rather, they, the 2nd LTs, go straight for their specialty training upon commission for example, artillery school and infantry school. by the time they graduate from these specialty centers and schools they re already Ist LT (or senior LTs) and can now saddle responsibility of command as platoon leaders in infantry units and troop leaders in armour units.
      all these re TOTALLY ESSENTIAL, and should be part of every ‘aspiring’ professional army.

  7. freeegulf says:

    of course, gen jimmy. staff college is a definite YES. in fact, the intricacies of war has made staff colleges indispensable. forget about muscle bound spec ops operatives and other flamboyant titles in the armed forces, without staff college trained officers, conventional warfare (and even some asymmetric warfare) will be more like skirmishes and village brawl. battlefield sophistication and dynamics come from good preparation from a well oil machine.

    my search beam is rather focus on some academic courses, which while important, shouldn’t impede linear growth or officer careers

    war college and staff college are interwoven into every sound military structure. others re ‘added- ons’ which re necessary but should not be compulsory. it all funnels to the suitability and accessibility of these ‘others’ to NA and its officer corp. same goes for other branches of the armed forces.

  8. igbi says:

    I don’t know why you people are complaining, in the french military all those tests are compulsery, in all the well performing militaries, it is so. If you want Nigerian army to perform well then the officers should be passing as much tests as possible. The army is not a Holiday camp, only the best make it to the top.

    • freeegulf says:

      gen igbi, no one is complaining. rather, we are only highlighting essential (read compulsory) and non essential (but helpful) courses and qualifications. they all help, but try not to run the army like an IBM machine.

  9. freeegulf says:

    gen jimmy, the armed forces does not practice double promotion anymore. if i m right, general abdulsalam was the last officer to get that privilege, for obvious reasons. cant remember if admiral ogohi got same.

    double promotions back in the military era was all about ‘corrective politics’ and it wasn’t the norm. in fact, the Nigerian army has a history of being extra sensitive to promotions and ‘jumps’ in rank. use mustapha as an example, abacha’s CSO, how many years did he spend as a major? in spite of his contempt for higher authorities and his thuggish reign during those heydays, he never managed to influence personal rank.
    others even fared far less. immediately their junior becomes COAS, then it is automatic retirement, except for defence HQ posts or fed govt positions.

    as for promotion, my opinion is that if the said officer has gone through the required mill ( staff college, exams, war college) then he should be promoted to the next rank. the practice of waiting for a vacant seat before promotion to next rank, leaves rooms for malcontent. when promotion is due (and they have fulfilled the required field and staff criteria) they should move up. holding them, especially between major-Lt Col- Col is nothing but coagulation. however, there should also be a fine balance upstairs so that the army doesn’t end up top heavy.
    in the military, there’s always that fine line of balance, especially ours with fed character and other outlays. the truth is that, once an officer attain the rank of brig gen, he becomes adept to army politics and other wranglings that junior officers might regard as boot licking. the higher the climb, the tougher the challenges eh

  10. jimmy says:

    You are correct also one thing that should still be earned and adhered to is also Battle field promotion. THIS TO ME IS THE ULTIMATE TEST OF LEADERSHIP.
    You are correct on the speculation of Gen Sanni ABACHA . I called it speculation because this was swirling around constantly regardless those who knew them personally like babngida said on the battlefield regardless of one’s personal like/ dislike for IBB or Sanni most reports say they -very good soldiers and leaders- IBB still carries bullet fragments, likewise OBJ.
    Ironically of all them IBB was held back , and i have yet to uncover the reasons concrete wise..
    The point is THE N.A. is entering into a new phase where one country’s war today ( libya) may spill over into another country’s palavar and these guys in the LT.COL TO COL have to be well versed computer wise and dare i open a hornets nest and say every lt from 2015 should be able to speak passable french or is that too much?

  11. jimmy says:

    I meant every LIEUTENANT FROM 2015

  12. beegeagle says:

    The only military officers who skipped ranks were typically Heads of State – promoted to establish their seniority over all officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces. So in 1967, Gowon went from Lt Colonel to Major General and after the War, he was promoted to full General in 1971.

    Murtala moved from Brigadier to General in 1976, IBB from Major General to General 1987, Abdulsalaam from Major General to General in 1998.

    The other officers who ever skipped any ranks without becoming Cs-in-C are Olusegun Obasanjo and Theophilus Danjuma, nos 2 and 3 to Murtala Muhammed who moved from Brigadier to Lt General in 1976, Shehu Yar’adua from Lt Colonel to Brigadier in 1976 as he emerged no.2 citizen while in 1979, Ibrahim Babangida moved from Lt Colonel to Brigadier.Those are the extenuating circumstances and epochs – all under military rule.

    General Mohammed Sani Abacha stands out for having climbed all the rungs of the ladder to attain four-star Generalship. He was a General all of three years before he became C-in-C.

    Elsewhere in Ghana, Afrifa moved from Major to Lt. General in the late 1960s while Acheampong moved from Colonel to full General in the mid-1970s. Military rule still.

    Otherwise, with the lone exceptions that were IBB in 1987 and Abdulsalaam in 1998, both Cs-in-C and Major Generals who moved from two-star to four-star Generalship to enhance command and control, NO OTHER serving officer has skipped even one rank since 1980.

  13. jimmy says:

    POINT OF CORRECTION GEN BEEG most respectfully
    IBB did not skip COLONEL he was actually promoted to Colonel in 1973. This does put him correctly in the time frame with the five Colonels ( allegedly) who planned the 1975 coup ( Colonels Ibrahim Taiwo r.i.p .Col Ochefu r.i.p, ) and to a lesser extent then Buhari). I cannot remember the fifth Colonel please forgive me(.NO IT WAS NOT DANJUMA HE WAS ALREADY A BRIG).
    However the period from 1963 to 1966 where his other contemporaries were being rapidly promoted IBB only had one promotion from 2nd L.T. to LT.

  14. beegeagle says:

    Check that again, Oga Jimmy.

    IBB’s service record shows that he attained the rank of Lt Colonel in 1974 and Brigadier in 1975. All his immedaite seniors such as Aduloju, Lekwot,Yar’Adua, Mukhtar Mohammed, Tarfa and Buhari(NMTC Course 4), were Lt Colonels on the day that Gowon’s government fell on July 29th, 1975 while their seniors Jemibewon, Abdullahi Mohammed, Innih, Ibrahim Taiwo, Ochefu and Garba(NMTC 3) were fresh Colonels.

    So IBB CANNOT have been a Colonel in 1973. Check the archives. Murtala’s SMC had two of IBB’s immediate seniors as members – Lt Colonels Alfred Aduloju and Mukhtar Mohammed(NAF). IBB was there as a Lt Colonel, Chijioke Kaja was there as a Commander while Ndubuisi Kanu was also there as a Lt Commander. They were sworn in wearing those ranks in July 1975.

    IBB’s mate, Lt Colonel Paul Omu was Military Governor of the Southeastern State while his senior, Lt Colonel Muhammadu Buhari was appointed Military Governor of the Northeastern State while Buhari’s own immediate seniors, Colonels Abdullahi Mohammed and Anthony Aboki Ochefu were appointed Military Governors of Benue-Plateau and East Central states respectively.

    By the same token, IBB’s immediate senior, Lt Colonel Shehu Yar’Adua was appointed Federal Commissioner of Transport.

    To drive home the point, on the day that Lt Gen Obasanjo became Head of State, Yar’Adua was chosen as his deputy(Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters). It is not in doubt that on that February 1976 day, Yar’Adua was concommitantly doubly promoted from Lt Colonel to reflect his new role as Nigeria’s no. 2 man.

    It stands to reason that if Yar’Adua was a Lt Colonel as of 13th February 1976, there is no way that IBB, his junior who never superceded him in either rank or seniority, could have been a full Colonel in 1973.

    Yes, the prime movers in Gowon’s ouster were his Director of Military Intelligence, Colonel Abdullahi Mohammed; Provost Marshall, Colonel Anthony Ochefu; Commander Guards Brigade, Colonel Joseph Garba; Colonel-General Staff 3 Division, Colonel Ibrahim Taiwo and Lt Colonel Shehu Yar’Adua, a GSO at Army HQ

  15. jimmy says:

    i throw down for ground joo make you know vex. ONCE AGAIN THOSE UNRELIABLES AT WIKI BETRAYED ME. I went to the archives of DAWDOU ‘S CHRONICLES.There it was LT .COL YARADUA. who @34 would become one of Nigeria’s youngest Generals. Incidentally I read that LT. ISHOLA WILLIAMS AND SHEU YARADUa were part of GEN Muritala’s 2nd division somehow both these men survived 3 failed crossing of the river at onitsha before the fourth one succeded and lived to see another day.Do they still make people like this in NIGERIA TODAY YEAH!!!.
    P.S by the way the fifth colonel was Colonel Abdullahi.
    Joe Garba (r.i.p) speculation even as the commander brigade of guards was allegedly brought in at the late stages.

    • beegeagle says:

      That is Baba Atoto, OBJ’s right-hand man and pioneer Director General of the defunct NSO. He later served as GOC and retired during the Shagari years, as did Jemibewon – his mate.

      Abdullahi Mohammed, the Ilorin-born retired Major General, reportedly pulled out a pistol on the night as their nominated C-in-C, Murtala, tried to maneouvre out of the triumvirate system which they had contrived – where Murtala, OBJ and TYD would have run a quasi-collegiate dictatorship – in favour of maximum powers. As the indefatigable Ramat made to opt out of the ‘constraining’ arrangement, Baba Atoto reportedly pulled out a pistol and made it clear that it was going to be their way or the highway.

      In 1998-99, Major General(rtd) Abdullahi Mohammed emerged as Abdulsalaam’s National Security Adviser and after OBJ took over in 1999, he became the all-powerful Chief of Staff to the President.

  16. freeegulf says:

    haba oga jimmy. forget wiki when it comes to our secretive NA. IBB was still a LT Col as at 76. in fact, it was one of the gripes of the dimka group (that a LT Col was part of the SMC) of the feb coup.
    IBB made brigadier either in 78 or 79. shehu yar adua was still a LT Col by 76 also, and got double promoted to the rank of brigadier. his promotion and position as chief of staff supreme HQ was all about compensating the hausa-fulani after the death of ramat.
    this is quite unfortunate given that there where other more senior officers that where qualified for this position. in fact, if they needed a northerner from the extreme muslim north, the likes of maj gens shuwa and ibrahim where still serving officers. it should be noted that only two officers where considered for this position (fulani officers) buhari and shehu yar adua.

    • beegeagle says:

      Exactly, Freeegulf. The IBB who was mixed up in the 13th February, 1976 Radio House incident at Ikoyi, Lagos where Lt Colonel BS Dimka had taken up position was undoubtedly a Lieutenant Colonel, as he was on the day in July 1975 when he was sworn in as a member of the Supreme Military Council by Brigadier Murtala Muhammed, the new C-in-C.

  17. freeegulf says:

    if IBB was held back as a LT i m not sure. even if he was, he soon caught up with his mates during and after the war. the top pacer was joe garba. he outrank his mates after emerging as CO of federal guards during the 66 crisis. however, there was a strange twist. after the war, gowon made sure that he joe garba was ‘slowed’ a bit in order to fall back in line with his mates that he outranked in 66-67.

    the guys i felt where unfairly sidelined re brig godwin ally and Col etuk. godwin ally was retired in the mid 70s while etuk retired in the late 70s. the case of etuk is particularly strange given that he was already a LT Col by mid 69. for such a brilliant tactician to to be held only to retire as a Col is quite bizarre

    gen sani abacha made four stars in 1990 and held that rank for eight solid year!! never skipped a single rank.

  18. freeegulf says:

    well said marshal beegs.

    • jimmy says:

      i don beg both of una i don throw myself for ground i don prostrate for ground like yoruba wey they flog for minor traffic offence say for the last time i know go look them yeye wiki people. ME OF PEOPLE CAN REMEBER THOSE SOLDIERS IN A CONVOY OF APCS PASSING right infront of my grandfathers house joo , biko ibeg sorry for my silly mistake l.o.l.
      ogas clarify one thing JOE GARBA IS ALLEGED BE THE YOUNGEST TO GRADUATE FROM NMC @ 19 YEARS was this true.

  19. beegeagle says:

    We just dey gist, Egbon Jimmy. Notin spoil. 🙂

    • jimmy says:

      No problem it is just fun. And boy were these guys facinating.
      Akinrinade and Shuwa were both opposed to the SEA borne landings where Shuwa WAS methodical and mild mannered Akinrinade was not it was said .a physical altercation between Akinrinade and Muritala was narrowly avoided.
      Read on. IRONICALLY Akinrinade was to try the same approach at Bonny ( FULL FRONTAL ) Seaborne APPROACH . He barely escaped to become one of Muritala’s most loyal officers as G.OC 1ST DIVISION then OBJ’S C.A.S. One of the most fascinating things about Muritala was he was not averse to appointing some of his most intense rivals to very sensitive positions just like Abraham Lincoln.

  20. beegeagle says:

    TY Danjuma was a real bridge-builder in those days as well and Murtala, unknown to many, deeply respected his deputy, Obasanjo, perhaps as a result of the fact that until they emerged at the top, OBJ had been his senior in the Army. Both were senior to TY Danjuma.

    Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma was a member of the NMTC Course 1, alongside Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia, Julius Alani Akinrinnade, Simon Uwakwe, Emmanuel Abisoye and Martin Adamu. That possibly explained why most of the maiden crop of GOCs who served under the COAS Danjuma, all members of the Murtala-led Supreme Military Council, were his coursemates – Martin Adamu, Emmanuel Abisoye and Julius Akinrinnade.

    Shuwa and Murtala Muhammed were also coursemates. To drive home the point, Shuwa was N/188 while Murtala was N/189. Further down the perking order and by the same token, IBB and Abacha were also coursemates, with Abacha being N/418 and IBB being N/438.

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