A two-star general from Akwa Ibom State, Major General Solomon Effiong Udounwa, has been appointed a branch chief in the Nigerian Army.
He is the Chief of Special Ser- vices, heading the Department of Special Services and Programmes at the Army Headquarters (AHQ), Abuja.
Udounwa’s appointment, along- side other two-star and one-star gen- erals, was contained in a press state- ment released on Tuesday by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu.
The Army spokesman said the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieu- tenant General Faruk Yahaya, ap- proved the posting and appointment of senior officers “in an effort to rejig and reinvigorate the Nigerian Army.”
Those affected include Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) and General Officers Commanding (GOCs).
The redeployment came one week after the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) reshuffled its generals, an indication that the military is start- ing 2022 with reorganization.
Until his new appointment, Udounwa was the Commandant of Army War College Nigeria, Abuja, the highest training institution of the Nigerian Army. In the Army hierarchy, branch chiefs, who are PSOs at AHQ, are next in line to the COAS, followed seef by the GOCs. A branch chief is a staff appointment at the AHQ while a GOC is a command appointment in the field.
The last Akwa Ibom indigene to be a branch chief was Major Gen- eral Enobong Okon Udoh, from Ikot Udobia in Etinan local government area, who served as the Chief of Army Training and Operations from July 2019 till his retirement in Sep- tember 2020 upon attaining the age of 60. Udounwa, the new branch chief from Akwa Ibom, is an indigene of Nung Udoe, the headquarters of Ibesikpo Asutan local government area. He was born in July 1969 which makes him 52.
The general had his childhood education at Lutheran Primary School, Nung Udoe, from 1973 to 1979, and Lutheran High School, Obot Idim, still in the same Ibesikpo Asutan, from 1980 to 1985. He was commissioned into the NigerianArmy in 1991 as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Regular Course 38.
Udounwa, an Artillery officer, is a 1990 graduate of Biological Sci- ences from the NDA and also holds a Master of Law (LLM) degree from the University of Westminster, Lon- don, United Kingdom (UK), where he graduated in 2007 with distinc- tion and won the maiden edition of the Oxford University Prize for In- ternational Law as best student.
He equally holds a Masters’ degree in De- fence Studies (MDS) from the National Univer- sity of Bangladesh and Master in Strategic Stud- ies (MSS) degree from the prestigious United States Army War College (USAWC), Pennsylva- nia.
The branch chief is a qualified visiting profes- sor to the USAWC and has been an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) since 2005.
Among strategic ap- pointments Udounwa has held are Aide-De-Camp (ADC) to then Minister of Defence, Lieutenant General T h e o p h i l u s Ya k u b u D a n j u m a ( r e t d . ) , from 2001 to 2003, Military Assis- tant (MA) and later Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to then Chief ofArmy Staff, Lieutenant GeneralAzubuike Ihejirika, between 2012 and 2014.
He has also served as Chief of Staff, Directorate of Army Public Relations, Abuja, Deputy Director of Campaign Planning at Defence Headquarters, Abuja, and Defence Adviser at Nigeria’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York, USA.
Udounwa is one of the two serv- ing two-star generals in the Army from Akwa Ibom.
The other is Major General Uwem Udo Bassey, who was not affected by the reshuffle, retaining his position as the GOC 8 Division, Sokoto, and Commander of Op- eration Hadarin Daji, the Joint Task Force battling banditry in the North West zone.
In all, there are six two-star gener- als from the state presently serving in the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).
They are in order of seniority based on year of promotion to cur- rent rank, Udounwa (2018), Rear Admiral Okon Edet Eyo (2018), RearAdmiral JosephAkpan (2019), Bassey (2020), Rear Admiral Uduak Asuquo Ibanga (2020), andAir Vice Marshal Iboro Harry Etukudo (2021).