Molly Kilete, Abuja
Members of the Regular Course 38 of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), alongside their spouses Saturday gathered in Abuja to celebrate 35 years in the service.
The celebrations which started Friday with a Jumat prayers, followed by activities of of the Unique ladies, election of new executives and anniversary dinner, ended with a thanksgiving church service.
The officers from the Nigerian army, Navy and Air Force, during the occasion recalled with nostalgia their experiences during their training days at the academy and thanked God for soaring their lives.
In his address at the occasion, the Chief of Army Staff(COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, who was the special guest of honour, commended them for their contribution to the progress of the armed forces and urged them to relent in contributing their ideas to find lasting solutions to the security challenges bedeviling the country.
The COAS, represented by the Chief ofLogistics (Army), Maj.-Gen. Omotomilola Akintade, while commending the senior officers for their dedication to the service of their fatherland, said the celebration was necessary considering what they have gone through to keep the peace of the country.
While noting that members of 38 Regular are currently occupying strategic positions across the three services with a good number of them appointed principal staff officers, corps commanders, and commandants among others said that the course members were crucial to the ongoing military operations across the country, urging them to continue to do their best in the service to the nation.
He commended the spouses of the senior officers for always being there to support and encourage their husbands to be able to discharge their responsibilities effectively.
“Among the Principal Staff Officers of the Army Headquarters, Chief of Operations, Chief of Transformations and Innovation, Chief of Standard and Evaluation, Chief of Account and Budget and Chief of Administration are all members of the 38th RC.
“We also have many two star generals in the Navy and Air Force and so the association has every reason to thank God for having spent 35 years growth in service.
“You all came into the academy in 1986, your wives were not there but today, you have beautiful wives and children.
“There are also some of you who have departed whose widows are here,” he said.
Earlier in his address, the newly elected Chairman, 38th RC, Major General Solomon Uduonwa, said that the event was organised to remember and reflect on how far they had come.
Uduonwa said that none of the officers had anything to boast about 35 years ago when they started at the academy, adding that all of them now have wives and children and so much to thank God for.
He commended his predecessor for the sacrifice he made to pioneer the association and made it a formidable one, pledging to build on the progress and do better.
“We are going to take over from where you stopped and will collectively build an association that we will be proud of.
“I have taken another look at our constitution and there are two major objectives there, to foster unity and to look after the welfare of our members, every other thing is additional. We are going to pursue this vigorously.
“Inclusion is going to be our mantra through consultation and dialogue and we are going to work together to build this association beyond our service lives.
“We wants it to be a legacy our children can inherit and say our parents proudly served this country and today we are enjoying the benefits of their sacrifice.
“The welfare of our members is paramount and I have already stated that I will send out people to reach out to those we already know need our help,” he said.
Also speaking, the immediate past Chairman of 38th RC, Major General Bolaji Salami, said the association had been able to raise about N50 million to support its members and families of those who had died.
He tasked the new leadership of the association to ensure that they take it to greater heights, adding that an association was only as strong as the people in it.
Salami said that the association deserved a better place in the community of investments with greater visibility on the global map, considering the great minds that formed the membership.