The office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is the highest office in
the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN). The CDS superintends over the 3 services of
the AFN, viz. Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air force. In this
capacity, the CDS, as the foremost military commander in Nigeria, requires
personal dynamism and charisma capable of moulding the AFN into an efficient
professional fighting force.
The current CDS, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin NAM GSS CMH psc(+) fwc, was appointed as the 16th CDS on 13 July 2015. He was born on the 2 December 1961 in Kaduna, but hails from Gboyin Local Government Area of Ekiti State. He began his military career in 1973 as a Boy Soldier at Nigerian Military School (NMS), Zaria. He was later admitted to the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and commenced cadet training on 3 January 1979, as a member of 25 Regular Course.
He was granted regular combatant commission on 18 December 1981 as a Second Lieutenant and posted to the Nigerian Army Signal Corps.
In the course of his career, General Olonisakin attended various military courses during which he bagged several awards. The courses amongst others include; Young Officers Course (Signals), Young Officers Course (Infantry), Squadron Commander's Course, Communication Management Course and Commanding Officer's Course (Infantry). Others are the Regimental Commander's Course, Junior Staff Course, Senior Staff Course, as well as the National War College (now National Defence College).
In the field of academics, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Diploma in Electronics and Telecoms Engineering also from the same institution with specialties in Telecommunication Engineering, Power Engineering, Satellites Communications and Control.
The General has held various appointments in Command, Staff and Instruction, among which are; Director Nigerian Army System Development Centre Lagos, Director Department of Army Data Processing, Commander 51 Division Signals, Kaduna and Commander 59 Division Signals, Lagos. He was also Commandant Nigerian Army School of Signals, Commander Corps of Signals and until his current appointment, Commander Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Nigerian Army. General Olonisakin also held Staff appointments some of which include: Grade II Staff Officers' Operations / Training (G2 Ops/Trg) Nigerian Army School of Signals, Military Assistant to Commandant Armed Forces Command and Staff College. He was one time an instructor at the Nigerian Armed School of Signal, Directing Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College as well as Aide-de-camp to Governors of Lagos and Ogun states. He has also participated in various operations both at home and aboard. Notable among them is the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III)