Despite streams of criticism, the Nigerian Armed Forces have demonstrated strength, nobility, and capacity in the preservation of Nigeria’s nascent democracy.
As an important stakeholder and critical institution, the Armed Forces have played a key role in the sustenance of democracy in the country.
Since its return to civil rule in May 1999, several challenges have confronted Nigeria. Some of these issues bother national unity, inspiring a sense of belonging in some parts of the country, ensuring peace, stability as well as management of the economy.
Of course, achieving peace was particularly crucial to the progress and prosperity of the nation at that crucial stage of our democratic experience, and without the active support of the troops, the desired stability would have eluded us as a people.
To date, officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces have continued to pay huge prices for peace in the country, supporting the sustenance of our 22-year-old democracy.
Several lives were lost along the way especially in the fight to crush the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East region. Banditry, militancy, and kidnapping across the country have also come with painful consequences.
These officers and men are made to stay away from their families for a long period solely in the service of defending the territorial integrity of our dear country.
The Nigerian Armed Forces have demonstrated loyalty to all democratically elected authorities at all levels of our federation.
Although there were rumours of possible coups, no such thing materialised even in the wake of several national crises witnessed since the return to democratic governance. There was no such attempt because the Armed Forces knew that a new era has evolved.
In all fairness, the Armed Forces deserve all the kudos for resisting the urge to once again, get themselves enmeshed in politics which is not part of their orientation.
They have placed themselves in the same realm as their counterparts in other advanced democracies across the globe.
Our beloved troops have the trappings of national unity hence they remain a bastion of hope for the feasibility of a workable and united Nigeria.
In most of their recent activities, in the bid to protect the territorial integrity of our dear country, the Armed Forces have clearly shown that presently, they are the only institution with patriotic and nationalistic zeal in the discharge of their statutory responsibilities. No other known body exudes such nationalistic flavor as the armed forces.
Succinctly put, the Nigerian Armed Forces are “tireless and heroic”; therefore, the simple act of appreciating their efforts must be enacted to propel them to do more for the preservation of our national values and nationhood.
The success stories recorded so far in the war against insurgency and other security threats are quite encouraging.
The current efforts to take the battle to the camps of the bandits are unprecedented in the history of African warfare against insurgency.
On top of that, the Nigerian Armed Forces have been supportive of efforts to relocate internally displaced people in the North East to their ancestral homes, an action that has helped reclaim territories earlier held by insurgents in the region.
So, therefore, showing gratitude to these selfless Nigerians should form an integral part of our lives as a people.
Appreciation, as they say, has a spirit of compelling the recipient to go to astonishing levels to achieve more. It is an incentive with unimaginable level of stimulation.
For instance, when the Independent Electoral Commission warned that insecurity could pose a serious to the conduct of the 2023 general elections, the president was goaded to give a matching order to the Armed Forces to secure the nation by taking the fight to the enclaves of the bandits in the forest.
Consequently, the troops under the leadership of the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor swung into action by launching a sustained bombardment of terrorists’ hideouts across the country, particularly in the red zone areas where the activities of kidnappers and bandits had peaked.
It is against this background of the current onslaught that vice president-elect Senator Kashim Shettima made a huge case for the Armed Forces, insisting that they are overstretched and need a lot more from the government.
For braving all odds in the fight against insecurity, Shettima commended the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor during the 21st century Chronicle Roundtable held in Abuja.
While applauding the vision of the CDS, the VP-elect said that General Irabor’s efforts in bringing the needed synergy among security services which has eradicated inter-agency rivalry, is a milestone that has significantly reduced the myriads of security challenges facing the country.
According to Senator Shettima, the newfound bond among the security services initiated by the CDS has been evident in the battle against bandits, terrorists, and other violent groups in the country which has recorded huge success.
Undoubtedly, the Nigerian Armed Forces is truly the pride of the nation. Therefore, beyond scorning them for their shortcomings, we ought to celebrate and appreciate officers and men of the Armed Forces as obtained in other advanced democracies where every troop is recognised with a medal of honor as a mark of appreciation for the protection of its territorial integrity as well as preservation and sustenance their social values.
The Nigerian Armed Forces should be encouraged to do more in serving the country, performing better, protecting and sustaining our cherished democracy, and continuously defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Therefore, the men and officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the line of battle deserve appreciation.
They deserve kudos as a simple act from Nigerians who are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices to protect the nation’s territorial integrity and lives.
We must also appreciate and commend the invaluable contributions and sacrifices of the CDS, General Lucky Irabor who has led in the decimation and eventual defeat of the numerous terrorist groups and banditry across Nigeria.
This very significant effort has earned Nigeria international recognition as one of the few countries in the world to confront and subdue terrorism in record time. So, as the Nigerian Armed Forces make steady and consolidated progress in completely obliterating any trace of terrorism in the country, they deserve our support and appreciation. The unflinching commitment of these officers to defeat terror can only be bolstered if only we value them.
It is, therefore, safe to say that the Nigerian Armed Forces is the most engaged on the continent in the last few years because of the myriads of battles they have had to fight to protect the territory of the country.
And to give credence to what the Nigerian Armed Forces are doing to bring peace and stability to Nigeria, Oyo state Governor, Seyi Makinde at the official flag-off of the construction of the 671 air force Base in Ajia area of Ibadan noted that their efforts in the fight against insurgency, banditry, and other security threats in various parts of the country are unappreciated, a situation he described as sad and unacceptable if we must embolden the spirit of our troops towards total eradication of terror in our land.
We must keep praying and appreciating the officers and men of the Armed Forces for curbing the activities of terrorists, bandits, and kidnappers as peace has evidently returned to most parts of the country. Long Live the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ashimolowo wrote this article from Ajah, Lagos.