… Celebrates 2021 WASA
By Chioma Obinna
Major General Joseph Orokpo, retired, has stressed the need for the preservation of Africa’s cultural heritage so as to pass it on to future generations.
Major General Orokpo spoke during the 2021 edition of the Nigerian Army Social Week (NASA), the local content West African Social Activities (WASA) organised by the Military Hospital Benin in its hospital premises.
According to him, growing globalisation is gradually eroding African cultural values, adding that all hands must be on deck to restore the continent’s cultural heritage.
Orokpo, who was the special guest at the annual event described NASA as a social event designed to promote national integration, unity and culture as well as marks the end of 2021. The event was held last Monday, at the Military Hospital Benin premises amidst fanfare attracting musical and dance troupes who represented different ethnic nationalities who thrilled a large gathering.
Major General Orokpo said, “WASA is a beautiful thing. With the current security challenges in the country, this is a very good programme to bring the soldiers together and set a tone for the unity and understanding needed for national cohesion.”
Addressing journalists, Major General Erema Akerejola, Commandant Nigerian Army School of Supply and Transport who was a special guest of honour at the occasion is a platform used to unite the soldiers together and announce the beginning of the year.
Major General Akerejola, stated, “It is a time to bring the soldiers together, set a tone for the activities of the next year. It’s a period of interaction for the soldiers. You can see the various cultural troupes of various tribes of the federation taking part. It’s a joyous time for the soldiers.”
Similarly, Brigadier General Sani Abdullahi, Brigade Commander, 4 Brigade Nigerian Army, Benin City, Edo State, described the West African Social Activities (WASA) as an important social forum targeted to promote and preserve Nigeria and African culture as a whole.
Brigadier General Abdullahi, who was a special guest at the occasion, stressed that this is essential in view of growing globalisation which erodes cultural values in the minds of many children and young people.
The Brigade Commander, 4 Brigade Nigerian Army explained, “The WASA is the acronym for West African Social Activities. It is an annual activity dating back to the 1940s to remember our troops in the Second World War.
“The Nigerian Army Social Activity (NASA), is a long-aged tradition. It has a very rich history ranging from the West African Frontier Force to Second World War. It is a tradition that the Nigerian Army has maintained, likewise the army within the West African region and actually marks the end of the preceding year. Also, we use it to bring in families of soldiers and officers, including our host communities to wine and dine and promote cultural values”.
“That is what WASA is all about. It is an event that many look forward to. It does not just come with the traditional dances alone; it tends to promote cultural values. Participants prepare various dishes from different cultural backgrounds.”
Elaborating, Brigadier General Abdullahi, said, “With globalisation, our young children tend to forget what their cultural values are. These are some of the activities that remind them of their cultural values, and Nigeria as a whole.”
Giving her opening speech, the host, who is also the Commander of the Hospital, Col (Dr) Blessing Isoken George said the occasion is held to mark the end of the year 2021.
She also provided a brief on the history of the events, “WASA is an age-long heritage which is aimed at preserving Nigerian ethics and tradition through social interaction of personnel, their families and well-wishers”.