At first it was a momentous day for the Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, who was scheduled to deliver a speech during the 61st Anniversary of the Armed Forces of Liberia in Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia.
As a sublime General who had used his bountiful military experience to navigate the Armed Forces of Nigeria successfully in degrading the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) in the North –East and tackling the myriad security challenges in the country, General Olonisakin was in his best elements in Liberia when suddenly, the event culminated into an elaborate conferment of Distinguished Service Order (DSO) on the CDS.
This, the Liberians say was in recognition of his contributions to the development of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
The most defining moment was the appearance of the mercurial 24th President of the Republic of Liberia, President George Manneh Weah who conferred the DSO award on the CDS.
He expressed appreciation to the government and people of Nigeria, particularly General Olonisakin for his continued support for the Armed Forces of Liberia.
The President was very particular about the areas of training and promotiom of peace through the recently concluded United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
President Weah noted the CDS’ modest achievements by repositioning the Nigeria military from a relative role to a proactive and virile force in accordance with international best practices.
He also acknowledged General Olonisakin’s influential role in deepening the commitment of the regional Chiefs of Defence Staff and other stakeholders toward the realization of the goals of Africa Security Architecture.
Driven by uncommon courage, General Olonisakin’s assumption of command as the CDS changed the battle narratives against the forces of evil in the country.
Nigeria would not forget in a hurry how some local government councils were controlled by the Boko Haram Terrorists in the North-East, but with the appointment of General Olonisakin and the current service Chiefs the battle song certainly changed for the good.
Since his appointment as CDS in 2015, General Olonisakin has proved himself as a worthy General and has been leading the Nigerian Armed Forces from strength to strength.
Under his stewardship as CDS, the capacity of the Nigerian Defence Headquarters has taken a lead at ensuring that the West African Sub region was stable democratically through Military diplomacy.
The Gambian experience during Yayeh Jammeh is still not lost in our memories where democracy was enforced by ECOWAS military coalition led by the Armed Forces of Nigeria under the purposeful leadership of General Olonisakin.
Undoubtedly, General Olonisakin’s commitment to regional, global security and peace, maintaining and improving the military standards of excellence, transformational initiatives and ability to galvanize the Defence Headquarters to an enviable height inspires respect, awe and commands a willing and natural followership.
President Weah extolled the courage and character of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and their roles in ensuring stability in the African Political, economic and social domain.
He expressed grave concern over the rapid intrusion of terrorists into the African continent and appealed for collective effort to combat the ugly phenomenon.
In his characteristic mien, General Olonisakin appreciated the Liberian government’s recognition of the cordial relationship between the government of Liberia and Nigeria.
In his words, the CDS charged the Liberian forces saying, “if the military has to be a part of the nation’s building efforts of the people, it must have a clear understanding and workings of the principles of supremacy of the Liberian political class, military professionalism and the need for improved civil – military relations’’.
Earlier, the CDS appealed to the new Liberian government to evolve policies that would deliberately improve the welfare needs of the Armed Forces of Liberia in terms of accommodation, uniforms, mobility and reasonable equipment to perform their roles and function effectively.
He encouraged the Liberian military to make do with the resources provided by the state as there are always competing demands.
General Olonisakin charged the Liberian military that “discipline, loyalty and obedience are three virtues of military professionalism that cannot and must not be sacrificed on the altar of convenience, complaint or lame excuse’’.
General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin who hails from Gboyin Local Government Area of Ekiti state was born on the 2nd December, 1961 in Kaduna.
He began his military career as far back as 1973 as a boy soldier in Nigerian military school Zaria. He was later admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy and Commenced cadet training on 3rd January 1979, as a member of 25 Regular Combatant Course.
General Olonisakin was later commissioned on 18th December 1981 as a second Lieutenant and was posted to the Nigerian Army Signals Corps.
In the course of his career, the General attended various military courses, attaining highly decent grades with several awards.
Some of the courses include; Young Officers Course (signals), Young Officers Course (infantry), Squadron Commanders Course, Communication Management Course and Commanding Officers Course (Infantry).
Others include: Regimental Commanders Course; Junior Staff Course, Senior Staff Course as well as National War College (NDC).
In the field of Academics, he holds a BSc degree in Electronics Engineering from the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife, Diploma in Electronics and Telecoms Engineering also from the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife with specialties in Telecommunication Engineering, Power Engineering, Satellite communication and control.
The General also held various appointments in Command, Staff and Instruction appointments among which are; Director Nigerian Army System Development Centre Lagos, Director Department of Army Data Processing, Commander 51 Division Signals Kaduna and Commander 59 Division Signals Lagos.
He was Commandant Nigerian Army School of Signals, Commander Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).
The General has equally participated in various operations home and abroad. Notable among the operation he has participated is United Nations Angola verification Mission (UNAVEM III).
During this period the force Commander recognized him as a gentleman officer with sterling leadership qualities.
General Olonisakin is happily married and blessed with children. He loves reading and playing Badminton.