The manual on the Nigerian Army Customs, Ethics and Traditions outlines loyalty, selfless service, courage, discipline, integrity and respect for others; these are the core values of the Nigerian Army. They require from officers and soldiers commitment, self-sacrifice, mutual trust and the will to place the interest of the team, the task, the unit and the nation above self.
Together, these values constitute the moral fabric, ethos and professional compass for personnel of the Nigerian Army. These values also constitute the ingredients required to forge the never-surrender attitude and nationalistic fervor that the public have come to identify the Nigerian Army with.
As a consummate Infantry officer and seasoned administrator, the new General Officer Commanding 2 Division, Major General Kasimu Abdulkarim, is conversant with these core values and knows how they can positively impact on command. He is aware of the role they play in fostering cohesion, combat efficiency and mission-orientation among troops. It is, therefore, not surprising that his maiden addresses to commanders, officers and soldiers in the course of his familiarisation visits to formations and units have sought to remind everyone of these core values.
Major General Kasimu Abdulkarim took over command of the 2 Division on July 8, 2016, from Brigadier General Jude Egbudom, who acted as General Officer Commanding (GOC) following the retirement of the former GOC of the division, Major General Laz Ilo.
Abdulkarim, a distinguished member of the United Nations, who until his appointment as GOC, was the Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Infantry, enjoined officers and soldiers of the Division to remain loyal to constituted authority and rededicate themselves to military professionalism, in order to contribute meaningfully to the realisation of the vision of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.
The recurrent themes in the GOC’s messages have been discipline, duty and service. These, he has stressed, would logically lead to the achievement of the mission of the Nigerian Army.
Major General Abdulkarim, a veteran of several United Nations Peace Support Operations, and member of 32 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), also warned officers and soldiers of the division that the era of impunity had ended.
Therefore, their actions, he said, would be subjected to serious scrutiny, and where they fall short of expectations, appropriate sanctions would be imposed. “As military professionals, we must be aware that today our actions are subject to questioning and we are expected to provide answers; particularly, in the aspects of, transparency, rule of law and human rights. Therefore, very high standards of conduct will be demanded of troops, even in the face of obvious provocation.”
Further stressing the imperative of professionalism, the GOC emphasised that the military profession should not only be about tactics and strategy. Therefore, he admonished commanders and officers to expose themselves to the media and other relevant fields, saying “we are all witnesses to the growing reach and influence of the mass media. We are also conscious of the potentials of the media as force multipliers in military operations. So, we must learn media management skills that would enable us to maximally exploit the vast opportunities that abound both in the traditional and social media in line with international best practices.”
Similarly, the GOC has reiterated the necessity of knowledge and research-based leadership instead of a tardy and make shift option.
Therefore, as the nation continues to face constant threats to national security by sub-national entities and organised criminal gangs, the efforts of the GOC to reawaken a sense duty, service and respect for others among troops, will emerge as a well thought out and timely intervention.
This is particularly so because aid to civil authority by the military has become a permanent feature of our national life. This is obvious from the presence of troops on major roads in virtually all states of the federation. Consequently, a solid framework for closer and healthier interaction between soldiers and other members of the society must be put in place and allowed to evolve. The messages by Major General Abdulkarim to his personnel in 2 Division have clearly anticipated this imperative. Similarly, officers and soldiers of 2 Division which covers Edo, Ekiti, Delta, Kwara, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and part of Niger State are poised for prompt and professional military responsiveness as articulated in the vision of the Chief of Army Staff.
- Colonel Antigha is the Deputy Director, Public Relations and Information, 2 Divison, Ibadan.