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Discipline is a word that stares at the face of the unprepared. It invokes awe and upon occasions is the only weapon of success.

The Oxford Dictionary meaning of the word is 'bring under control, train to obedience and drill'. It further elaborates on it in the preceding definition of the word as 'mental and moral training; military training, drill 'order' maintained among school boys, soldiers, prisoners and; system of rules for conduct'.

The sum up of this word which has diversion definition is simple, the achievement of order among people, derived from training for physical and mental fitness.

Many kings have lost their crowns because of lack of this vital element in their kingdom. Many Generals have lost battles because of indiscipline among their soldiers. Many industries have collapsed for lack of this element.

So discipline as an organic condition for order, had dictated every move of the Nigeria Army throughout the 30 months of Civil War of 1967 â€' 1970. So also, discipline have distinct the Nigeria Army althrough outside country engagements.

It is 47 years now when I acknowledged the gallantry and high discipline of the Nigeria Army. After my sojourn with the Operation Wild Wield West of 1965 which culminated into First coup.

Coverage of the Israel â€' Arab conflict of July 1967, and subsequently Nigeria Civil War, late July 1967 â€' 12th January 1970 discipline seems declining in the Nigeria Army if what's obtaining from quarters of National/Foreign media is anything to go bye. Going by newspaper publications particularly last Word column of Sam Nda Isaiah dated 05/05/2014 back page and leadership of 26/05/2014 back page by same columnist, founder Leadership group, Sam Nda Isaiah, we should rethink if truly Mr. Jonathan's Lieutenants are relating with our President in truism.

We should not expect the gallantry and discipline with which Nigeria Army are known all over the world, but because of the ethnical, political and self actualization of the top Nortchers of the Nigeria Armed Forces from the time of our Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida indiscipline seems raving her ugly face.

Without going into volumes of the involvement of subsequent military Head of States, the ethnic politicization, religious consideration and worse the imbalance federal character recruitment into the Nigeria Defence Academy, general recruitment of other ranks. The training of other ranks at all levels of the Armed Forces calls for true scrutiny as to whether recruits should bear costs of their training materials on entrant into the training Depots.

I wonder if there is no more provision for training recruits/officers in the Annual Budget of the Federal Government. As you lay your bed, so you lye on it. When introvert corruption from the onset of a training depot is introduced, especially the Nigeria Police, what integrity do you expect after the training?

As for the officers, especially the Army, Navy and Airforce, the essence of training/retraining and keeping physically fit does not reflect on the robustful physical appearance of the average officers if compared to their counterparts from other countries.

I beg for pardon from those class of officers whose physical appearance does not conform with the true meaning of Discipline as comprehensively explained in earlier paragraphs.

Obey before complain Order of the Military
The present state of indiscipline in almost most of Nigeria establishments especially the Army has to do with the wholesome disciplinary language of 'obey the last order' by superior officers. The slogan, obey the last order before complained has in so many ways deprived the average soldier, policemen to raise eyebrow even when grossly cheated.

The dwindling act of indiscipline raring it's head, especially in crisis ridden areas has to do with elements of deprivation by superior command of the military formation.

A hungry man is an angry man. Soldiers are made of men and there is the extent to which an average hungry man will tolerate certain entitled deprivation.

From my experience during the Civil War in Port-Harcourt when rumous circulated that certain high command of the 3rd Marine commando have converted their hazard allowance, the said protest by returnee soldiers from Liberia whose entire one year allowance was denied them on their safe return to Nigeria and subsequent publication in the Nation Newspaper of 24/5/04 page 3 titled 'Soldiers' wives protest in Borno over welfare at Maimalari Barracks and though denied by Defence Headquarters, Abuja.

In the circumstances where your commander is robustfully comfortable and you as other ranks shrinks physically and suffering in the face of plentifulness, how do you obey orders in totality in crisis area.

The current monetization of soldiers on special duty ration and the inadequacies at prompt and correct payment of such monetized ration, how do we expect total discipline?

Finally, if in the face of hardship your commanders are displaying affluence by their robust cheeks/potbelly, air-conditioned office/cars and residence and you are compelled in the hazardous harsh weather of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa deprived of rightful working tools and irregular ration allowance, how then do you expect the best of gallantry and discipline?

My personal experience at the end of the Civil War 12th January 1970 with an interview with a Biafran Soldier with robustful look confirms that no matter your disciplinary up keeps, when deprived and hungry, you will have no option than disobey orders and fend for yourself.

Change of currency and starvation ended the Biafran dream of a self acclaimed Republic. Here in this picture attached to this brief, on Discipline, one of the returning Biafran Soldier officer confirms to me in the interview on 12/1/1970 that he was robust because he was the ration officer but when the ration was not forth-coming they revolted and late Ojukun escaped.

Written By Ahmed Adoke
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