By Paul Mumeh, Media Assistant to Senator David Mark.
Eminent Nigerians including former Head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal and the immediate past president of the Senate, Senator David Mark took stock of the emerging challenges of nation hood and submitted that the peace, unity and security of the nation must not be compromised.
The former Head of State, Tambuwal , Senator Mark, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) , General Tukur Bruratai and former COAS , General Alwali Kazir said at the weekend in Kaduna that every strategic step must be taken to protect and preserve the corporate entity of Nigeria.
The leaders spoke separately against the back drop of incessant agitations by some sections of the country at the 50th anniversary of Nigerian Defence Academy ( NDA ) 3rd Regular Course of 1967.
General Abubakar who was the special guest of honour at the golden jubilee dinner, told the Military officers that in or out of office, they must make the security , unity and peace of Nigeria the corner stone of all their endeavours.
He said Nigeria has made enough sacrifice in the past to keep the nation one saying ” Whatever needs to be done to ensure peace, good neighborliness, unity, equity and justice to all must be done”.
On his part, Senator Mark recalled their conviction on entering into the foremost Nigeria military institution in September 1967 to include but not limited to patriotism to defend and protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria .
That conviction, Senator Mark stated, still binds them even after their retirement, insisting “We promised to be patriotic and continue to put the love of country above self at all times”.
Governor Tambuwal of Sokoto state expressed appreciation to members of the Armed forces for their tireless war against insurgents especially in the North East “where they are daily giving their lives to secure freedom for our people “.
He urged them to remain steadfast and a shinning example of patriotism and unity in diversity.
Chief of Defence Staff , General Olonisakin thanked the retired officers for making their professional experiences available to the younger generation in its noble task of safeguarding the territorial integrity of our country and in responding to contemporary threats to national security
General Kazir maintained that leaders must be fair and firm to ensure that no group or individual would feel a sense of neglect in the scheme of things.
In the anniversary lecture titled: ” the role of the military in a democracy,” Col. Paul Ogbebor , a former commanding officer 3 , Signal Regiment of the Nigerian Army advocated for continuos training of the Armed forces in line with modern trend in order to be able to protect the nation.
Highlight of the anniversary was the unanimous reelection of Senator Mark as the Chairman of the NDA 3rd Regular Course Alumni Association for the next two years.