Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, says retired Maj-Gen. Victor Ezugwu remained exceptional in his military career and left an indelible mark in his service to father’s land. Buratai said this during the Grand Homecoming, Thanksgiving Mass and Reception for Ezugwu, held on Wednesday at his Umurusi Ukehe community in Igbo-Etiti local government area of Enugu State.
He said that when he discovered Ezugwu’s genius and exceptional quality as well as humility, he drew him closer and saddled him with assignments and responsibilities.
According to him, Ezugwu dispatched his assignments and duties with some perfection. “Discovering his unique qualities, I placed him in critical and demanding positions and he delivered with some level of perfection. “I tested his humility and endurance by keeping him as an acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division for two years even when he was doing exceptionally well in fighting insurgency in that axis of the country. “As a theatre commander, he helped the country to roll back the expansion of Boko Haram and recovered a lot of communities and council areas that fell into the hands of the bandits,” he said.
The former COAS thanked Ezugwu for coming out with lots of initiatives as well as conceptualising and building anti-landmine vehicles and landmine detectors to protect Nigerian troops from landmines planted by the enemies.
Earlier, Gov. Peter Mbah of Enugu State, appreciated Ezugwu for doing the state proud in his exceptional military career. Mbah, represented by his deputy, Chief Oliver Ossai, noted that Ezugwu served with integrity and remained a top officer retiring with a clean and respected record in the Nigerian Army.
“As a state, we want our people to emulate your forthrightness and humility to bring out the best for the common good of humanity,” he said. In his homily at the Thanksgiving Service at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Ukehe; Monsignor Joseph Atado urged Nigerians to turn to God, noting “no gun can stop insecurity”.
“Nigeria’s insecurity can also be solved in one week or a month if the politicians who benefiting from the misfortune can stop interfering with the security operations across the country,” Atado said.
Lamenting the level of insecurity and massacre of defenceless residents of Plateau Communities on Christmas Eve, the cleric said that unless the Lord protects the city, the soldiers, the police will always labour in vain.
“So, our message is for our people to cry out to God. Nigeria belongs to God and God created Nigeria. He can take care of us as his creatures,” he said. Speaking about the celebrant, Ezugwu, the cleric who said he had known him since 2003 when he was a Lieutenant Colonel, described Ezugwu as a “perfect gentleman; a man who fears God; a humanitarian and a man who devoted his service to God and humanity”.
Responding, Ezugwu thanked his family, course mates, and well-wishers for coming from across the country to honour him despite challenges. He, however, described his military carrier spanning 1985 to 2023, as “a very sweet and bitter journey”.
He commended his wife for being there for him, both “physically and spiritually, and his children for their support too.” Ezugwu also thanked the priests and his people of Ukehe community for their support and prayers, and prayed that God should bless them. High points of the event were the unveiling of Ezugwu statue in his Ukehe community, presentation of gifts, testimonies about Ezugwu and the honour bestowed on Buratai, among others.
Dignitaries that graced the event included the GOC 82 Division, Maj.-Gen. Hassan Dada; retired Brig.-Gen. J.O.J. Okoloagu; and former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, among others.