By Kingsley Omonobi, Abuja
President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™adua has enjoined the armed forces to vigorously pursue the transformation process which involves among others, re-orientation, restructuring, re-equipping and attitudinal change, noting that the transformation is manifesting in increased capability and professionalism of the military in tackling various security threats to the nationâ€™s wellbeing.
â€œOur armed forces remain a constant source of pride to all Nigerians. They have consistently acquitted themselves creditably both in international and internal security operations. Their demonstrable professional excellence in meeting recent internal security challenges deserve special commendationâ€, he said.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of 105 Course 17 Participants at the National Defence College in Abuja, the President stated that as a result of the transformation process, he personally witnessed joint exercises carried out by the military within one year which greatly impressed him adding, â€œThis is not to downplay the obvious challenges that manifested, which I am sure are being addressedâ€.
â€œThe knowledge you have garnered here will definitely prove useful in the planning and execution of future exercises and operations the armed forces will find itself engaged inâ€.
Describing the NDC course 17 participants as strategic leaders, Yarâ€™adua said, â€œI am aware you have passed through a rigorous 11 months training regime, internalizing various aspects of peace and security. The course also equipped you with knowledge of policy making in joint and multinational environments and most importantly, the higher management of Defence, critically relevant in management of national securityâ€.
Emphasizing on the transformation that has taken place in the college within the last year, the President said, â€œIt is also gratifying to note that the College has been projecting the image of Nigeria through its international outreach programmes such as the International association of Peacekeeping training Centres (IAPTC) of which the Commandant NDC is the Presidentâ€.
Commandant of the College, rear admiral John Jonah disclosed that the 105 graduands drawn from the Army, Navy, Airforce, Police, foreign African countries and federal civil service were in the past 44 weeks, trained to evaluate, review, and analyze complex national security issues of today and tomorrow.
â€œWe have tried to direct them on how to think, not what to think; to give them the tools to deal creatively with tough, unexpected problems. We have done this by underscoring the importance of personal integrity, leadership and ethics that stand at the very core of our professionâ€.
â€œAnd while we have added to their skills and understanding of the complex national security issues of today, they have enriched our faculty by bringing their wealth of experience to bear in some of these exercises. It is expected that virtually all of them will have the opportunity to immediately put to use what they learned as they take up the challenges of their next assignmentsâ€, Jonah said.