By Lawrence Audu
The Commander Guards Brigade Colonel Adebisi Onasanya has stressed need to promote cultural harmony and tolerance among military personnel in the barracks and its neighbouring communities.
Colonel Onasanya gave the remarks at the 176 Guards Battalion’s 2023 West African Social Activities WASA held at the Andrew Azazi Barracks Gwagwalada, Abuja.
The Commander noted that, WASA which comes once in a year to end all training activities of the year, is a unique opportunity for soldiers and their families as well as the barracks community to relax and socialize while rewarding diligence during the course of the year, has significantly metamorphosed into a medium for informal interaction between officers and soldiers as well as members of their families.
“This also avails the unit the opportunity to relate with professionals from all spheres of life, creating a platform for sharing of knowledge and experience.”
He stated further that the Guards Brigade being a highly regimented unit, has the responsibility of providing security for the President, members of his family and the Aso rocks community as well as the Federal Capital Territory and environs, through the conducts of several training exercises aimed at ensuring that the FCT remains safe and secured at all times.
“The interface between the Brigade and other security agencies in the security of the President and indeed the FCT has been well commended in many circles. It is my believe also that the 176 Guards Battalion as a Unit of the Guards Brigade has carried out its task diligently to achieve the mandate of the Guards Brigade. This mandate speaks to your unalloyed loyalty to the President Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR”
He commended the Battalion for its hard work and successes recorded during the course of the year. He equally appreciated the families of soldiers and officers for their understanding and cooperation as the military works daily to surmount the daunting security challenges facing the country.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commanding Officer 176 Guards Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Olumide Akingbesote, while highlighting the essence of the event, took guests down memory lane noted the Nigerian Army as part of the West African Frontier Force comprising various British West African units during the colonial era, had forebearers who distinguished themselves in many battles under the British flag.
“Owing to the diverse cultural inclination of the West African Soldiers, the colonial authorities introduced the West African Social Activities organized once every year, to enable soldiers participate and showcase their cultural traditions. Accordingly, the Nigerian military authorities upheld this tradition even after gaining independence.”
He stated further that the event is aimed at fostering esprit de corps among troops, while showcasing diverse cultural displays and heritage. He averred that Nigeria being a paradigm of cultural heritage remains a reference wherever culture is mentioned anywhere in the world.
The event featured a variety of cultural displays, acrobatics, thug of war competition between wives of Senior NCOs and Corporal and below, local Nigerian delicacies among others. Highpoints of the event were the presentation of awards to deserving soldiers who have distinguished themselves and the lighting of the Camp Fire.
WASA is a military regimental event aimed at creating conducive atmosphere for officers, soldiers and their families at the end of a rigorous training year. The event aims at promoting cultural integration among members of the barracks community.
WASA’s origin dates back to the Second World War period when the indigenous Nigerian Army Frontier celebrated their cultural heritage at the end of every year. Since its institutionalization by the colonial authorities, the Nigerian Army has sustained and made it a recurring feature annually.