By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen O. Ihejirika, has implored soldiers across the country to make book writing their hobby, insisting that some unscrupulous persons had continued to exploit their nonchalant attitude to literary works by fabricating outright falsehood and bare-faced lies against the Nigerian Army.
The Army boss, who made this call during the formal launching of a book, entitled The Making of a Soldier, authored by Sergeant Taofeek G. Tijan, said it was high time the Army learnt to tell its own story by itself.
“Many civilians today have a very negative impression about soldiers; they are often seen as heartless and hard-hearted human beings and this is a very wrong assumption.
“Only we, soldiers, can tell the good stories about the military from the insider’s point of view. This effort of Sergeant Tijan is not only commendable but equally worthy of emulation. I encourage soldiers to cultivate writing as a habit.
“Let us learn to preserve our best ideas and experiences for the sake of posterity,” the Army boss stated.
The 21-page book, which encapsulated the author’s firsthand experiences in several foreign missions, with special reference to the ECOMOG operations in Sierra Leone, was dedicated to soldiers that lost their lives defending the national integrity of the country abroad, as well as those who sustained injuries that rendered them permanently disabled.
According to the author, “Contrary to the dominant view in Nigeria these days that it was only stubborn boys, bad kids, hemp smokers and the likes that join the Army, I discovered in the course of my foreign operations that most of the soldiers I met abroad were technicians, professionals and even scientists.
“There is need for us to start disabusing our minds of all those negative impressions,. Army should be a place for the determined, resilient and intelligent persons.
“It should not be a dumping ground for those that were frustrated in the labour markets. Soldiers should learn to pursue knowledge and embark on constant researches, in view of modern day challenges.
“Look at me for instance, I read Accounting as first degree but I still went back to read Economics. Currently, I am reading Law. We need doctors, lawyers and professionals to come and join the Army as well as encourage those already in the Army to aspire higher for higher education because knowledge is power.”