1. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to Army Headquarters Command Officers’ Mess 1 Abuja for the Chief of Army Staff Combined Second and Third Quarter Conference 2021. As my maiden conference since assuming command as the Chief of Army Staff on 27 May 2021, this event offers an ample opportunity for us to brainstorm and interact on the state of affairs of the Nigerian Army and review our activities for Second and Third Quarters 2021 that are crucial to the stability of our dear country. This is with a view to coming up with new strategies for winning the war against terror and other violent crimes being perpetrated across the Country.
2. As you are aware, I took over command of the Nigerian Army at a very critical period when the nation is facing daunting security challenges characteristic of a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. This was rightly highlighted by the Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, during my first meeting with him. During the meeting, the President reiterated his orders for the Armed Forces to decisively deal with all security challenges facing the Country. Thus, as an Army we must strive to ensure we conduct ourselves professionally and respond adequately to threats against our nation in accordance with the Constitution.
3. In line with the President’s directive and my intent to rebuild the Nigerian Army into a formidable force, I conceived the vision of having “A Professional Nigerian Army Ready to Accomplish Assigned Missions within a Joint Environment in Defence of Nigeria”. Accordingly, it is my belief that my vision would drive my command philosophy which include Professionalism, Readiness, Administration and Cooperation as the cardinal pillars.
4. Professionalism is all encompassing, and it entails returning to the tenets of basic soldiering, adhering strictly to the customs, traditions and ethics of our Army as well as upholding regimentation and emplacing transparent sanctions and rewards system. It also involves the need for discipline and good leadership in all our operations. Discipline entails doing the right thing at the right time and place with or without supervision or prompting in tandem with our ethics, customs and traditions including our dress, salutation and haircut among others. Readiness on its own entails improved training, optimal resourcing, innovation and being proactive. I shall ensure that adequate platforms and equipment are procured both locally and from overseas to engender effective performance of our roles as we improve our maintenance systems to ensure operational successes and longevity of our equipment systems. Administration entails engendering the right attitude and frame of mind that are essential for operational effectiveness. I shall therefore ensure good administration of troops is emplaced to improve morale. We will prioritize welfare of personnel, promote merit, celebrate gallantry, honour our heroes, and support our families. Cooperation entails ensuring synergy at all levels and cordial working relationship with our sister Services, Ministries, Departments and Agencies to achieve our common tasks in defence of Nigeria.
5. We have commenced building bridges across the Services and agencies through robust joint, interagency, and inter-governmental framework to confront our current security challenges. As formation commanders and Principal Staff Officers, your role is critical to the attainment of my vision. As officers and commanders under whose charge are placed men, materiel, and other resources, you are the key drivers of these pillars. You must therefore note that even if we have all we require, we might not achieve much without you providing effective leadership, good attitude and acting professionally in all our conduct, of operations and other activities. I therefore charge you all to immediately key in to my vision so that together, we can take the Nigerian Army to greater heights.
6. I want to state that, the Nigerian Army under my watch will remain resolute and continue to chart progressive paths towards tackling the security challenges confronting the Country. Hence, I have directed that serious attention be given to sustaining and improving the tempo in all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the Country. I have also directed for the conduct of special operations especially in the North Central and Northwest Regions to address the deteriorating security infractions in the Regions. Commanders must therefore glean from my Command Philosophy to ensure that operational and administrative proficiencies of Nigerian Army units and formations are sustained and improved upon. Commanders must seize initiative and commanders must take initiative, they must take decisive actions to defeat the threats in their respective AORs. I will not again take or accept no excuses. Gentlemen, failure is failure irrespective of the circumstances!!
7. I am aware of logistics constraints affecting operations across the Country and I am glad to inform you that efforts are in progress to provide us with combat enablers that would enhance and boost our operations. Concerted efforts are also being made to eliminate the threat of improvised explosive devices which has been a major impediment to troops and our operations in Operation HADIN KAI. I want to assure you that I am determined to rebuild the fighting skills, capacity, confidence, and morale of our troops across the various theatres of operations. Training must also be given due attention that it deserves. In order to achieve this, priorities for the fourth quarter of the year would include training and more training.
8. I will ensure that through functional training, officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army are equipped with the right attitude, competences and skills to effectively undertake daring missions in addition to developing special operations forces. This would be closely followed by procurement that ensures appropriate kitting and provision of protective gear, weapons, equipment and platforms. Let me however remind you all that while no effort will be spared in achieving these goals, it is command responsibility to ensure the sustenance and maintenance of all equipment. We must therefore strive to improve our maintenance culture to prolong the life span of our platforms and equipment.
9. I have serious concerns and very committed to restoring, developing, and improving the confidence, skills and competences of individual soldier progressively in his career up to Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and Warrant Officers levels. I hereby charge Training and Doctrine Command along with the Department of Army Training, Corps and NA Schools to develop additional Leadership Training Modules, Courses and Curriculum to enhance the career of individual soldier. The aim is to develop the individual soldier’s competences to enable conduct his activities more effectively, assert his command and leadership role as Non-Commissioned Officer, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer and Warrant Officer. We need similar additional leadership development Modules and Courses for our young officers to enable them grow as competent, effective leaders and commanders. We can explore officers and soldiers’ leadership training modules from other countries even though we should be alert and to domesticate them to best suit our needs, and our environment.
10. Sound administration of our troops is essential to operational effectiveness and high morale, hence troops’ welfare and that of their families will also be given paramount attention. Welfare is not only limited to monetary incentives or promotion, but it also includes effective and realistic training which would save the troops’ lives and avert injuries. Welfare includes genuine concerns for the troops well being, care and maintenance of their facilities and amenities, easing their challenges and hardship, sharing in their pains and joys, interacting with them humanely and with respect in accordance with the Service provisions. Welfare as part of effective training would include guiding and mentoring of subordinates, appreciating their strength and weaknesses, and being firm and fare to them in all circumstances.
11. At this juncture, let me appreciate all the officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army for their unrelenting sacrifice and efforts in ensuring that the Nigerian Army fulfills its constitutional responsibilities. I will continue to demand that you redouble your efforts so that we can decisively deal with our adversaries or any group or person that threaten the peace and stability of our great nation. In so doing, we will achieve our end state of ensuring a peaceful and stable Nigeria. I will also be using this Conference to give very clear directives of what I expect from all of you.
12. At this point, it is with high sense of responsibility and respect that I wish to express the Nigerian Army’s gratitude once again to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, for his strategic guidance and unrelenting support to the Nigerian Army. On behalf of officers and soldiers of the NA, I once more pledge our total commitment to the defence of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
13. It is on this note that I, once again, welcome all the participants, especially our esteem guests and retired senior colleagues whom we have specially invited to glean from their wealth of experience. On this note, it is my honour and privilege to declare the Chief of Army Staff Combined Second and Third Quarter Conference 2021 open.
11. Thank you and God bless.