Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
It’s not every day that you see soldiers drop their guns and start singing and dancing. But then, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so goes the saying.
This aptly captured the recent West African Social Activities (WASA) 2018 organised by the 192 Battalion (Rear) of the Nigerian Army at its base in Owode-Yewa, Ogun State.
The annual event is a special day set aside to bring life to the barracks and allow the soldiers and officers of the battalion engage in social activities. To the soldiers, who have always lived a regimented life, WASA is a period to wine, dine, dance and mingle in a friendly manner, even with civilians.
To establish the camaraderie among security agencies, particularly the paramilitary, top brass of the police, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Department of State Service (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and others were at the event, which took place on the playing field of the barracks.
Similarly, associations and social clubs regarded as friends of the battalion were invited to witness the programme.
For the officers and men of 192 Battalion, this year’s edition of the event was a colourful one. Cultural displays took the centre stage, while choreographed performances by the children of the officers and men held everybody spellbound.
The dance competition among Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba troupes was a scintillating performance. Also, the display by a masquerade was a scene to behold, as soldiers and civilians were treated to electrifying display of culture and tradition. Though the day was to relax and enjoy the season of love and togetherness, the spectators were enthralled by the test of strength by the soldiers who engaged in a tug of war.
The special guest of honour at WASA 2018 was the General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General M.S. Yusuf.
While addressing the officers and soldiers, he said the purpose of the event was to bring officers, soldiers, their families and friends together for the purpose of interacting and socialising in a cordial and relaxed atmosphere.
According to the GOC, WASA would always afford the families, friends and well wishers of the battalion an avenue to come together and celebrate on operational, training and administrative achievements for the period under review.
He added that the annual event had sustained one of the age-long traditions of the military, which had helped to enhance regimentation.
While lauding the Commanding Officer of the 192 Battalion (Rear), Major Isa Musa Magaji, for organising a wonderful event, Yusuf charged the men and officers of the battalion to be steadfast in their dedication, commitment, sacrifices and sustain the synergy with other security agencies to tackle insecurity in Nigeria.
Earlier, the CO of the 192 Battalion, Magaji, had expressed gratitude to the GOC for honouring the battalion with his presence. He noted that the 2019 general election was fast approaching and warned men and officers of the battalion not to get involved in election issues, unless where their assistance was requested by the relevant authorities.
He also charged the soldiers to continue to maintain the cordial civilian-military relationship in Owode and its environs, noting that either party would always need the other’s support and collaboration.
One of the major features of the event was the lighting of the camp fire by the GOC, which officially signified the close of the 2018 edition of WASA.