NDA KADUNA: PRESIDENT JONATHAN'S ADDRESS AT THE PASSING OUT PARADE OF OFFICER CADETS OF THE 58TH REGULAR COMBATANT COURSE (ARMY, NAVY AND AIRFORCE).
ADDRESS BY THE REVIEWING OFFICER, DR. GOODLUCK EBELE AZIKIWE JONATHAN GCFR, PRESIDENT COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE OCCASION OF THE PASSING OUT PARADE OF OFFICER CADETS OF THE 58TH REGULAR COMBATANT COURSE (ARMY, NAVY AND AIRFORCE) AT THE NIGERIAN DEFENCE ACADEMY, KADUNA ON SATURDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER, 2011.
I am delighted to be here today at this occasion of the passing out of Combatant Cadets of the 58th Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy.
It is indeed most heart-warming to note that over the years, the Academy has continued to live up to the vision of the founding fathers of this prestigious institution through quality training of cadets.
The impressive parade which we have all witnessed this morning is indicative of the high standard of training and discipline that has been imbibed by these young and promising officer cadets about to be commissioned into the Nigerian Armed Forces today. A few minutes ago, I was in fact telling the Defence Minister, that judging from the way the cadets conduct themselves, this place is not for “sandy rocks” but “igneous rocks”. Let me therefore, extend very well-deserved commendation and congratulations to the Commandant and his team of highly dedicated staff for a job well done. Similarly, I congratulate the graduating officer cadets for being receptive to training and for undergoing both the academic and the very rigorous military training in the past 5 years in the Academy.
Let me remind you the cadets, that as you file past the saluting dais within the next few minutes, you will going through a ceremony that you’d not do again, you will be doing so for the last time as officer cadets from this parade ground. Indeed, this parade marks the end of your five - year sojourn in the academy and your transition into the Officer Cadre. I expect all of you to look back and give glory to the Almighty for this memorable event in your lives. Some of your colleagues with whom you started this course, for one reason or the other, may not have completed this programme with you. While you have every reason to feel proud and fulfilled for making it to this glorious day, you should bear in mind that the officer corps into which you are moving has many responsibilities. I am however, confident that armed with the quality of training which you have been given at the academy, you will be able to cope with the demands of the various services to which you will be commissioned.
Let me reiterate that my administration places much premium on security. The development of any nation is hinged on security and peace.
It is for this reason that this administration is taking all necessary measures to create a harmonious and peaceful atmosphere in every part of this country so that we can achieve the goals of our all-important transformation agenda.
Apart from defending the territorial integrity of this country, members of the armed forces have often been called upon to contribute to the maintenance of internal security. The Nigerian Armed Forces which are known for their professionalism, valour, discipline and dedication to duty, have always lived up to the expectations of our people. As you will be granted the Presidential Commission, and thereafter posted to the various services to strengthen the lower segment of the leadership of our Armed Forces, you are expected to emulate your senior colleagues by avoiding any behaviour that is capable of tarnishing the image and reputation of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I urge you to comply strictly with the rules of engagement based on universal best practices in any security operation you may be involved in either within or outside our dear nation. You should also avail yourselves of training opportunities in the course of your career to enhance your contribution to the armed forces and the nation at large.
Within the past month, I have directed a review of the national security architecture to place a greater emphasis on human security. This is in response to the new emerging threat environment, and the urgent need to ensure that government provides necessary leadership in checking the reign of impunity in our land. Those who seek to violate national security must be told in very clear terms that government will spare no effort in making it impossible for them to achieve their dastardly goals, or to escape justice and punishment.
The Armed Forces have a crucial role to play to defend the integrity of Nigeria. As young officers, you will be required to uphold the same charge, now and throughout your career. Soldiering is a noble profession; your main charge is to go into the field as true officers and gentlemen. I want to assure you that my administration will do everything possible to provide the enabling environment to encourage every officer and everyone that is committed to serving the fatherland.
I am aware that a new Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service for the Armed Forces has been proposed. Let me assure you that my administration will take a careful look at the recommendations and act in the best interest of the Armed Forces.
Last year, as part of our transformation agenda, my administration approved the admission of female officer cadets into the Nigerian Defence Academy for regular combatant training.
This is in keeping with my belief that women can make and have been making valuable contributions to nation building in this country. I am pleased to note that the first set of female officer cadets have been selected to start training with their male counterparts in October 2011 as members of the 63 Regular Combatant Course. I am indeed happy about this, and as a coincidence, this institution is for the first time today honouring a lady, a deserving lady, with a honorary degree.
It is also pertinent to state that these female cadets who were selected purely on merit will be well represented in the existing three Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Science and Engineering. I have no doubt in my mind that they will cope with the challenges of training in the academy and that standards will not in any way be compromised on account of their gender. I was in fact made to understand that about 5, 000 females applied and only 20 of them were selected; 20 out of 5, 000 must be good.
The Nigerian Defence Academy provides the opportunity for our youths from all over the thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory to train and interact irrespective of their cultural and religious backgrounds.
The friendship forged among the officer cadets is a life-long one which transcends all sorts of divides. I wish therefore, to appeal to all our brothers and sisters who hide under the guise of religion or ethnicity to cause unrest, to cultivate the values of togetherness and love which exist here at the Nigerian Defence Academy. This way, we will build a better Nigeria which every one of us would be proud of.
Let me at this point rejoice with the families and friends of the graduating cadets who have travelled from all over the country to witness this occasion. Your love, prayers and support have all made this day a reality for these young men. I appeal to you to continue to assist them with your prayers to enable them make a success of their chosen career.
Finally, I congratulate the Commandant and the staff of the Academy once more on the successful training of yet another set of future leaders of our armed forces.
The nation will continue to depend on you for the production of highly disciplined young officers for our armed forces. On our part, my administration will continue to provide the NDA with all that is required to offer quality training to its Cadets.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you most sincerely for your attention and wish the passing-out cadets a very successful career as gentlemen officers in the noble profession of the arms.
I thank you all.