This is to appreciate our heroes, Nigerian soldiers who make up the Nigerian Army. They have sacrificed so much for this nation and they deserve our commendations. I have travelled wide, and I have seen how other countries celebrates their armed forces and reciprocate their sacrifices. I also write this to educate Nigerians on who a soldier is and what it takes to be called one. I also wish to inform few Nigerians who are still Thomases, to have confidence in our military. Everything am about to share is based on many years of experience and personal interaction with our heroes.
Our soldiers are constitutionally tasked and mandated to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria through land operations which is dangerous and physically demanding. Such operations are known to be complex, uncertain, full of discomfort, fatigue and inhuman conditions. Nevertheless, as a professional body whose members have sworn to face any abnormal situation in achieving their goals of making the nation remain a strong political, economic and social entity with its supreme powers intact, all the mentioned challenges of land battle must be experienced and overcome by our soldiers.
Hence, soldiers must engage in a close battle with the enemy. Irrespective of the threat, the aim is to achieve the objective while the watchword is victory. From the military movies I have seen, when a Commander is giving an operational order to his troops, the statement is always; ”you are to capture…..” This indicates there is no room for doubt that the mission will be accomplished. No room for failure!
One may be perturbed how a soldier would achieve his mission in the face of numerous field challenges. This has to do with his morale. Morale is generally described as general level of confidence or optimism felt by a person or a group of people, especially as it affects discipline and motivation. The military believes that, morale is rooted in factors as confidence in equipment, good training and sound administration. It has to do with soldiers being fully aware and convinced of the operational aim. His confidence in his colleagues, the higher commands and his country. Other factors that boost his morale either during a full blown conventional warfare, unconventional warfare, peace support or internal security operations is the love showered on him by fellow citizens, the appreciation for his commitment and sacrifices, the love for his family and the prayers of fellow countrymen.
A high morale during peace time will withstand all abnormalities designed by operational conditions. In view of this, a Nigerian soldier, therefore, upholds and sustains what is known as ethics of the Nigerian Army. In order to develop a longstanding morale and boost his fighting spirit, it is on these cherished and rich ethics of the Nigerian Army that the basic and necessary qualities of a soldier are grown and sustained. This is why our soldiers behave with decorum and carry out their duties without fair or favour. They respect constituted authorities and give honour to whom honour is due. They protect us with their lives and make our dear nation worth residing.
As a Nigerian, understanding the basic tradition of the military, the concern of the military for our security and the unconditional love of the officers and men for Nigerian citizens will make you love Nigerian Army and support its activities and operations; which is always tailored for our common good and in the interest of the nation. This will also make you speak well of our pride anywhere you find yourself. The Army belongs to all of us and our soldiers are ours. They are our blood brothers who have decided to murder sleep for us to sleep.
Therefore, a soldier’s thought and lifestyle, his conducts, character, attitude and the principle to which his behaviour is subjected is derived from the core values of our Army. These values naturally make a soldier to advocate his obligations to the Army, the nation, you and I. This is done with respect and honour. This ensure soldiers must be committed, give up personal wants and needs to benefit the nation. Soldiers must have mutual trust, put the team, the task, the unit, the nation and the citizens’ interest ahead of theirs. What a sacrifice! Our soldiers are great and some of their unique qualities are discussed below.
The soldiers I know are selfless.
On their commission as officers or enlistment as soldiers, they accept endless responsibilities to serve the nation whenever and wherever they are needed, no matter the difficulties ,dangers or challenges they might face. This reflects in the oath soldiers take on joining the Army in which they agree to subject their own interests to their units. They subject their whole life and conveniences in my and your own interest.
They exercise self-discipline which is the hall mark of commitment, loyalty and readiness to put the interest of the service ahead of self interest.
The soldiers I know are discipline.
Discipline has been described in many forms. It is said to be the ability to make one do something regularly, to make oneself act or work in a controlled or systematic way. It also means to teach somebody obedience; to obey rules or to behave in an acceptable way. It has also been described as the ability to behave in a controlled and calm way even in a difficult or stressful situation. All are centered on the military point of discipline which is the basis of military work and regimentation. It is a personal view or opinion centered on respect for the constituted authority.
It is a state of mind which leads to the willingness to obey an order no matter how unpleasant or dangerous the task is. Discipline significantly differentiate soldiers from civilians. In the Army, the superiors are charged with the responsibilities to notice, correct and instantly report any negligence or inappropriate conduct on the part of subordinates. In the event of breach, appropriate disciplinary action is taken by commanders to forestall future occurrence. The Army operates on clearly laid down rules and regulations with effective, just and fair legal system. Discipline is always rigorously upheld by those in position of authority. The display of discipline and courage by Nigerian Army troops has been the aroma that attracts international attentions to our own troops, our soldiers, our Army and our pride.
The soldiers I know are courageous.
Courage is described as the ability to face danger, difficulties , uncertainty or pain without being overcome by fear or deflected from a chosen cause or action. All soldiers are prepared for tasks which involve the use of controlled lethal force to fight. This may require that they take the lives of our common enemies and risk theirs. They must not be jittery when such involves personal danger. In the line of duty, they will see their colleagues being fell by bullet or sustain injuries, and still they have to continue with the task ahead. This is what makes a soldier and it requires physical courage. Another important courage exhibited by the Nigerian Army combatants is moral courage; the ability to do the right thing even when it is unpopular, when it involves risk, when it is embarrassing or extremely dangerous. To foster trust among them and respect from one another and from the citizens, soldiers maintain the highest standards of decency in conduct and behaviour at all times and under all circumstances. An excellent fighting spirit depends on unmovable physical and moral courage which our heroes, our soldiers, our Army are known for.
The soldiers I know have respect for others.
Nigerian soldiers, because of the nature of their work; have the responsibilities of carrying arms and using lethal force. This is why our soldiers act properly under the law. They maintain the highest standards of discipline and a sense of justice at all times, to all people; locally and internationally, even in the face of danger and difficulties. It is worthy of note to state that respect for others is increased by the conditions in which soldiers may have to live and operate. The company they keep is determined by their location and tasks; this is to say, they have no choice of whom they relate with and they may have no relief from it for extended periods. They may co-exist in an inconvenient, cramped, uncomfortable, small, confined or stressful conditions and environments. In such situation, a soldier is compelled and trained to exercise full respect for others.
Therefore, Nigerian soldier consciously respects, protects and builds the confidence of the civil populace in himself, the Nigerian Army and more importantly the nation. They are trained to respect the fundamental human rights of citizens and aliens in the theatre of operations and during peace time. These they do without hesitation, because it has become part of them to respect human dignity.
The soldiers I know have integrity.
Integrity is generally described as the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards. It is an essential ingredient of trust and a core requirement for leadership and comradeship. All forms of deceit and dishonesty or breaches of trust or confidence call to questions whether an individual can be relied upon or not. Soldiers are not known for selfish and dishonesty behavior. Their integrity is unquestionable, this is why they are called soldiers. It is only a man with such steadfastness that could be trusted with a weapon. Those who have no integrity are always disgraced out of the military, Nigerian Army is not meant for such kind of people. The system is well positioned to filter out the bad eggs right from the Nigerian Defence Academy or Depot Nigerian Army. Nevertheless, in as much as some bad eggs may escape the filter, the Army always have the machinery to discover them and bring them to justice. Therefore, the integrity and competence of our soldiers should not be judged by the actions of the few bad ones. Our soldiers are great and we should always appreciate their sacrifices.
Support Our Soldiers, Support Nigerian Army.
We should all celebrate and support our soldiers and heroes. All Nigerian citizens who come across combatants during the discharge of their duties of protecting lives and properties, should endeavour to take it as their sole responsibility to boost the heroes’ morale. Welcome them with admiration and reciprocate the respect they accord you as a Nigerian citizen. All Nigerians should support them and see themselves as part of the task a soldier is carrying out, with the understanding that you are only being represented by such soldier.
Our soldiers have been trained to treat everyone with respect, courtesy and consideration to be sensitive to the local culture, traditions and observe gender sensitive behaviour. They have also been trained to avoid activities and duties that are outside their legal duties and responsibilities; to treat inhabitants of area of operations with respect and courtesy, to respect and regard citizens’ fundamental human rights. Our soldiers support the sick, the infirm and the weak while carrying out their duties or at their own private times. Our soldiers are great, this is because they are recruited from the good people of this great nation.
God bless Nigerian Army and God bless our soldiers.