Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on all Nigerians and sectional leaders to subsume their personal and sectional interests into the overall national aspirations of unity, economic prosperity and good governance.
Despite obvious differences, Buhari observed that there was need “to ensure that everyone’s actions and utterances are aimed at strengthening the country’s democratic framework.”
He made these remarks at the passing out parade of the Cadets of 67 Regular Course and Short Service Course 46 (Army) at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna.
In a statement the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu issued after the parade, Buhari said the loyalty and patriotism of service personnel should be sustained and strengthened.
He appealed to all Nigerians to uphold and project the unity of the country.
The president said: “Despite our obvious differences, we must strive to ensure that our actions, and utterances are aimed towards strengthening our democratic framework.
“We must subsume our personal and sectional interests into the overall national aspirations of unity, economic prosperity and good governance.”
The president also reiterated his full confidence in the ability of the Nigerian Army to protect the territorial integrity of the nation, particularly in the ongoing war against terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.
He gave an assurance that the federal government would increase manpower and improve training to meet the changing dynamics of security in the country.
Buhari said the nation was passing through “a time of great need for cohesion, peace and unity. The resilience and steadfastness of our personnel in the Armed Forces for their professionalism and bravery in tackling the menace of terrorism, insurgency and armed banditry in the Northeast and Northwest as well as herders/farmers conflict, kidnapping, piracy and communal clashes in other parts of our country.
“Let me at this juncture, restate our administration’s will to support the operations of the armed forces in the defence of the nation. Just recently, I approved the increment of manpower intake into the three services in order to cater for the deficit of personnel being experienced.
“Additionally, the federal government will sustain the provision of adequate modern equipment, logistics and infrastructure needed to support the operations of the armed forces.
“These, no doubt, will enhance the preparedness of the Armed Forces to meet contemporary security challenges especially with innovations in the field of warfare, information and communication technology,” he said.
The president said the government remained focused in the fight against insurgency, armed banditry and other forms of criminality across the nation.
He said: “We remain committed to ending the security challenges bedeviling the country. I am confident that the training received by the passing out cadets has adequately equipped them to face any challenges in their line of duty.
“The broad contexts to which these prospective officers will be deployed is complex, fluid and dynamic. Thus, you will have to keep pace with these ever changing challenges.”
He told the cadets officers that a successful completion of a rigorous and demanding task of this nature undoubtedly infuses in them a sense of self-esteem, efficacy and accomplishment.
The president said: “It lifts your spirit and leaves you with conviction that with commitment and dedication you would successfully accomplish future tasks that will come your way as officers of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Let me now remind the passing out cadets of the need to be committed to the nation by taking your rightful place among your peers in the Armed Forces of our country.”
He said all the accomplishments in national security were made possible by the untiring efforts of the military and other security agencies, urging the graduates to join their senior colleagues in the field and contribute to the defence of the country.
“With the quality of training you have received, I am convinced that you will discharge your duties professionally and responsibly. I can say without ambiguity that the future holds promise for our national defence and security”, the president added.
He commended the commandant, officers, men and academic staff of NDA for their dedication to duty and determination to run the course despite the peculiarities of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I note that despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the academy has remained focused and committed to its core mandate of training officer cadets. I therefore commend the Nigerian Defence Academy Council for its steadfast performance.
Buhari noted that the Nigerian Defence Academy established in 1964 continued to train young Nigerians for the Armed Forces to discharge their role of protecting the territorial sovereignty of the nation.
He said: “I have been made to understand that the academy in furtherance to enriching its training curriculum recently took cadets on a tour of frontline communities in the North East Theatre of operations. The tour was to keep the cadets informed of the challenges of the real battle scenario and to boost their combat readiness.
He said: “As a retired General, I can say with all sense of responsibility that I am encouraged by the excellent work invested in the training of these officer cadets for service to this great nation and humanity in general.”
The president said it had been a challenging year for all nations in the world and Nigeria, which recorded her index case of COVID-19 in February.
He added that his administration “has proactively responded to the challenges associated with the COVID-19 by helping to prevent further spread and taking necessary appropriate measures.”