New Army Chief Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, who told you that changing the name of something automatically leads to better results?
He has just renamed the army’s Operation Lafiya Dole to Operation Hadin Kai. In the six years since former Army Chief Lt Gen Tukur Buratai renamed Operation Zaman Lafiya [live in peace] to Operation Zaman Lafiya Dole [living in peace is a must], and its subsequent corruption to Operation Lafiya Dole [peace is a must], the name was built into the vocabulary, psyche, fears and hopes of Nigerians. Our hope was for it to conclude, not to assume another name.
Soldiers always give exotic names to their operations, beginning with Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu’s notorious Operation Damisa that wiped out First Republic political and military leaders. During the Civil War, General Gowon launched a major offensive in 1968 called Operation Tall Man. During the IBB era, Nigerian Army did a major exercise at Jaji called Exercise Ruwan Zafi [hot water].
In Nigeria, changing names of things hardly ever led to improved performance. When ECN’s name changed to NEPA, then to PHCN and later to Gencos, TCN and Discos, where is the light? When P&T changed to NITEL and NIPOST, where are the phone landlines and letters? Special Branch changed its name to NSO, then SSS, then DSS; has it caught all the traitors? When Green Eagles changed their name to Super Eagles and Enugu Rangers changed to Rangers International, did they win more trophies? NNOC that changed its name to NNPC, we are still arguing over fuel prices. TUC that changed name to NLC, has it stopped going on strike? When AUT changed its name to ASUU, it goes on strike more often. Even Cabinet Office that changed its name to Presidency, did it become more efficient?
Native Authorities changed their names to Local Governments, DOs became LG Chairmen, Residents changed their name to Governors, which improvement have they brought? Oga Attahiru, in 1975 General Murtala Mohammed changed the name of your office from Chief of Staff, Army to Chief of Army Staff. The former concluded the Civil War in 30 months. The latter is yet to conclude the Boko Haram war in 12 years, so which change of name again?
Second part of VIEW FROM THE GALLERY in 21st Century Chronicle. May 3, 2021.