Two related major events took place at the nation’s premier military academy – the Nigerian Defence Academy – in Kaduna, last week.
The first was the matriculation of Cadets of 72nd Regular Course while the second was the Oath-Taking Ceremony by Cadets of the same 72nd Regular Course.
From a purely military institution in the 60s, 70s and early 80s, the NDA has added an academic toga which makes it compete with other top military establishments in the world and this of course should influence the quality of officer that are turned out from the institution.
Many young Nigerians who were interested in entering the NDA those days sometimes preferred to have their degrees first before entering through the Direct Short Service Commission which meant they were at least, already prepared as graduates for life, within or outside the military, and provide them with a focus on what they aim to achieve.
541 cadets matriculated for the 72nd Regular Course of the institution last week, at an event which marked the formal induction of the cadets into various degree programmes in the Academy.
The matriculation ceremony took place at the NDA Auditorium, with cadets in the following faculties:
- 64 cadets from the Faculty of Engineering
- 113 cadets from the Faculty of Science
- 197 cadets from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
- 122 cadets from the Faculty of Military Science and Interdisciplinary Studies
- 45 cadets from the Faculty of Management Sciences
They were all administered with the Matriculation Oath and admitted and inducted into the various degree programmes in their various faculties.
The Commandant of the Academy, Major General Sagir Yaro, charged the cadets to display a high level of seriousness in both academic and military training during their stay in the Academy, while also assuring them that NDA will provide all they needed to succeed in their training.
Addressing the cadets during the convocation ceremony, the Academy Provost, Professor Isa Garba, congratulated the newly-admitted cadets for successfully scaling through the very rigorous selection process required to gain admission into the institution, which is regarded as Africa’s leading military university. He further encouraged the cadets to be steadfast and work hard to achieve success in both military and academic courses.
Air Vice-Marshal Muhammed Ndatsu Umaru (Rtd) was the guest of honour at the event and he spoke on the topic, “Role of Military Personnel in Tackling Contemporary Security Challenges”.
He challenged the cadets to put in their best and equip themselves with the adequate skills necessary to becoming professional and efficient officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces. AVM Umaru disclosed that fighting insecurity effectively requires adequate resources and the right manpower to be put together and steered in the right direction.
He said everyone must play their part effectively and with a high level of professionalism for the current security challenges in the country to be surmounted.
During the Oath-Taking ceremony, the same 541 cadets of the 72nd Regular Course, including one Allied Cadet from the Democratic Republic of Congo, swore to the Oath of Allegiance, formally committing themselves to military and academic training at the NDA, and to all laws and regulations binding cadets and members of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The Oath Taking Ceremony was held at NDA Parade Ground, Afaka, and it officially marked the commencement of training for the cadets to a four years of training for Navy and Air Force cadets, and a 5-year training period, for Army cadets.
Speaking after the Oath Taking Ceremony, the Guest of Honour, Cadets Brigade Commander, Brigadier-General Yakubu Yahaya, reminded the cadets that the exercise made them liable to both military and civil laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and those of the Democratic Republic of Congo, for the Allied Cadet.
Brig-General Yahaya encouraged the cadets to imbibe self discipline, smart turnout, honesty, loyalty and other positive virtues throughout the course of their military and academic training, and while carrying out other duties.
Highlights of the event were parade by the cadets and signing of the Cadets Dossier by representatives of the four cadets’ Battalions.
The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) was established on 5th February 1964 in response to the defence needs of independent Nigeria to train officers for the Armed Forces of Nigeria. Before then, the institution was known as the Royal Military Forces Training College (RMFTC). After independence in 1960, it became known as the Nigerian Military Training College, before it metamorphosed in to NDA in 1964.
The role of the Academy is to provide each officer cadet with knowledge, skills and values necessary to meet the requirements of a military officer through military, academic and character development. It is considered an institution where selected young able-bodied men and women are groomed into well educated, courageous, virile and erudite subalterns.
NDA’s Vision and Mission are to produce officers with broad-based training in both military and academic subjects designed to serve as a foundation for the future progressive development of officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces, with the knowledge, skills and values necessary to meet the requirements of a military officer through military, academic and character development.
Its military programme is the Regular Combatant Course which is a 5 year course, comprising 4 years of academic programme and one year of military training culminating in the award of a Bachelor Degree and a presidential commission to the rank of Second Lieutenant, or equivalent in the Navy and Air Force. Until 2011, this course used to be exclusively for males. The first set of females commenced training in September 2011.
A total of 17,598 officers have so far graduated from the NDA. The figure comprises 7,392 Regular Combatant officers, 8,506 Direct Short Service, Short Service and Executive Commission officers and 455 foreign officers from Benin, Liberia, Chad, Guinea, The Gambia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The Academy is presently training cadets from the Republic of Liberia and Togo.
Since inception of the degree programme in 1985, the Academy has produced 3,435 graduate officers in various disciplines. NDA also has a Postgraduate School that consists of 3 Faculties with 14 degree-awarding Departments.
IMAGE CREDIT: nda.edu.ng