By Samuel Aruwan
There is a popular misconception that the young ones are mostly unethical, undisciplined and materialistic. I have come to disagree with that generalization, because from the newsroom in the media where I belong and the public service space I currently occupy, as well as other spheres I have been in and still operate in, I have come across hard working young men and women who are reformists and are making things happen.
These young men and women with dreams and aspirations are seriously minded people pursuing their careers with hard work, dedication, excellence and their eyes constantly on the ball.
It is in this sojourn of life, that I crossed paths with my brother Lt. Col. Aerman Abraham Gbileve, who answered the glorious call last week and left us in pain, anguish and shock.
Gbileve was a disciplined officer, cool headed and easy going with his soft spoken mien and the grace of God that we all carry as mortals. His devotion to his calling was limitless. In a nutshell, Gbileve was an outstanding military officer with great potential and on a sure trajectory to the peak of his military career, which death cut short in his prime.
Our paths crossed when he resumed at the One Division Kaduna as the Commanding Officer covering the Birnin Gwari general area. His predecessor linked us up, and we began interacting and working against banditry in the four frontline local government areas of Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Igabi and Chikun.
In the months that followed, we worked together in various engagements in those frontline areas to great effect, thanks in large part to his unique dedication.
My last outing with Gbileve was at the usual security-community engagement at Sabon Birni, Igabi LGA where we met with traditional rulers, community and religious leaders from Bunu, Ifira, Pauta, Riyawa, Rima, Afaka and Sabon Birni.
We had a good outing; the Garrison Commander, Brig-General Olusegun Abai was the lead speaker, and he appealed for support and information to consolidate the gains against bandits. I served as the interpreter and reiterated the need to deepen the support Brig-General Abai had appealed for. I went further to say security agencies, governments and communities must work together against the looming food insecurity.
I also commended them for divorcing banditry from religion and ethnicity, and viewing it as the sheer criminality that it is, with narrow sentiments taken off the table. We posited firmly that those weaving narratives around religion, ethnicity and politics would only undermine the battle against bandits, and unwittingly provide a survival corridor for the criminals.
It was a productive outing. Gbileve pulled all the stops on his own end to ensure that our engagement was smooth and seamless. We were all happy, and on our way to Kaduna, we both agreed that our next spots would be Dogon Dawa in Birnin Gwari local government and also Kidandan general area of Giwa local government.
Unfortunately, we rescheduled the events due to the the joint military operations in the locations and opted for Kajuru local government area where we are still battling, albeit with great optimism.
A few days after our Sabon Birni engagement, I got a call from Gbileve. We talked and made plans as usual, but unknown to us it was our last conversation before the sad news would arrive to devastate us and throw us into deep mourning.
Gbileve was a gentleman, an officer to the core, a soldier full of humility and dedication to duty and motherland. He was disciplined, professional and a man full of ideas but also respectful to his superiors and all he encountered in the course of his duty. He was liked and sought for by all and sundry and praised for his doggedness and courage in the frontlines.
Gbileve’s demise is really heartbreaking, but ultimately it is accepted as an act of God. A soldier who worked around the the hotbeds of the Northeast unscathed, full of life is now called home by death, and has answered the glorious call.
While we mourn and reminisce on Gbileve, we may not know why it happened this way. However, we cannot question God. It is clearly a sad story but God knows best.
The Kaduna State Government appreciates all he did for security and peace of the State. His sacrifices will be long remembered as he has left an indelible mark.
Our deep condolences go to his immediate family, parents, and the entire Nigerian Army family. May God in his infinite mercy grant Gbileve eternal rest.
Aruwan, is the Commissioner, Internal Security and Home Affairs, Kaduna State.