The Nigerian Army yesterday announced the promotion of Major General Lamidi Adeosun to the rank of Lieutenant General, same as the current Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.
Also promoted were Brigadier General Abdulmalik Biu and Lieutenant AJ Danjibrin.
Adeosun's promotion in particular elicited rumours that he might have replaced Buratai as the Army chief, which the army dismissed as 'fake news'.
Sources said the rumour might not be unconnected with the fact that the second tenure in office of Buratai as Chief of Army Staff alongside other service chiefs will expire next week.
The other service chiefs include General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin (Chief of Defence Staff); Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Chief of Air Staff); and Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas (Chief of Naval Staff).
They were appointed by President Buhari on July 13, 2015 for a period of two years.
Their tenure was renewed for another two years in December 2017, over five months after the expiration of the first tenure.
Army spokesman Colonel Sagir Musa had in a statement said President Muhammadu Buhari approved accelerated promotions because of the officers' extra-ordinary feats, courage, exemplary leadership, loyalty, uncommon commitment and valour in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-Eastern part of the country.
Musa said, "the two senior officers are Major General Lamidi Adeosun, the Chief of Training and Operations at Army Headquarters who has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and Brigadier General Abdulmalik Biu, General Officer Commanding 7 Division and Commander Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole Maiduguri, promoted to the rank of Major General."
He also announced the promotion Lieutenant AJ Danjibrin of 211 Demonstration Battalion Bauchi to the new rank of Captain in the Nigerian Army.
Musa said President Buhari had conveyed his personal congratulations to the promoted officers and charged them to continue to be shining examples to their colleagues.
He added that General Buratai, on behalf of officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army, also felicitated with the newly promoted officers and extended his best wishes to them in their future endeavours.
Buratai remains Army chief
Colonel Musa also yesterday described the news of appointment of General Adeosun as the new army chief as fake, adding that Adeosun remains Chief of Training and Operations at the Army Headquarters.
"Lt. Gen. LO Adeosun is only granted special promotion by the President, Commander-in-Chief, of the Armed Forced of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for his extraordinary feats, exemplary leadership, loyalty and uncommon commitment in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.
"He still retains his appointment/position as Chief of Training and Operations of the Nigerian Army. Any contrary information is baseless, fake news and should be disregarded," he stated.
Who is General Adeosun?
Lieutenant- General Adeosun was born in Ola-Oluwa Local Government of Osun State on August 22, 1963.
He enrolled into the Nigeria Army on July 4, 1983 and rose through the ranks until he attained the position of major general on July 4, 2014.
He is an experienced infantry officer with cognate administrative and battle experience.
He had served as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) in charge of 7 Division of the Army in Maiduguri; and was later redeployed to head the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), headquartered in Chad.
He was replaced as MNJTF commander with General Lucky Irabor in May, 2017, and was recalled to the Defence Headquarters as Director of Administration.
In December 2017, he was appointed to head the Infantry Corps for seven months before he was redeployed in July 2018 to his present position as chief of training and operations.
He is responsible for the training, planning and directing of military operations by continuous assessment and evaluation of possible threat areas in the overall national defence.
Promotion not unique
Daily Trust reports that although it was rare for another officer to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General when there is still a substantive service chief, it had happened in the past.
It was learnt that Major General Akale was promoted to the rank Lieutenant General when he was Commandant, Nigeria Defence Academy while Lieutenant General Martins Agwai was the Chief of Army Staff.
In another instance, Lieutenant General Chika Obiakor was promoted and posted as Commander, United Nations Peacekeeping mission, without becoming Army Chief. Also, Lieutenant General Joshua Dogonyaro never became Army Chief.
Also, Aliyu Gusau, Balarabe Haladu, Garba Duba were also promoted Lieutenant Generals without becoming service chiefs.
Daily Trust reports that the newly promoted Lieutenant General Adeosun has been credited with the successes of the Nigerian Army in the counter-insurgency operations in the North East while serving as GOC.
Adeosun is celebrated within security circles as responsible for the recapture of swaths of territories from Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State and rescuing thousands of Internally Displaced Persons.
'Realignments in the military'
According to sources, Adeosun's promotion might be in preparation to appointing him the new Chief of Army Staff or Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
Besides General Buratai, he is now the most senior Army officer in Nigeria.
"What I can tell you is that this development (promotion of Adeosun) unveils a new realignment in the organogram of the Army in particular and the military in general," a credible source said.
"Of course, it is General Buratai who made the recommendation for the appointment of General Adeosun and the president accepted it.
"Adeosun is also supposed to retire from the Army any moment from now; but with this promotion, there is the likelihood he will remain in the service for some time.
"However, the decision President Buhari will take after the expiration of the tenure of the current service chiefs next week will determine what will become of Adeosun.
"If the president decides to replace the current service chiefs, Adeosun might become the COAS or CDS.
"There is also the likelihood of the president appointing him (Adeosun) the Chief of Army Staff and then upgrading any of Buratai or Sadique Abubakar to become the Chief of Defence Staff," he said.
However, another military source told the Daily Trust last night that a paragraph in the 'Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service of Officers revised in 2017' indicated that tenure of service chiefs could only be renewed once after they exhausted their first tenure.
According to him, "an officer appointed the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of the Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff shall be a four-star general and may hold the appointment for a continuous period of 2 years.
"The C-in-C may extend such an appointment for another period of two years from the date of expiration of the initial two-year period," he said.
He added that while Buratai is now in his 39th year in the Army, the other service chiefs are in their 40th year in the service.