*…As Dalet Battalion Emerges 2020/21 Champion Battalion*
A former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Onyeabo Azubike Ihejirika, has told cadets of the 68 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy that they must ensure they reciprocate government’s huge investment in their training by offering selfless service to the nation upon their graduation and commissioning into the Nigerian Armed Forces.
General Ihejirika who was the Special Guest of Honour at the Academy Awards and Beating of the Retreat ceremony which held at the NDA Parade Ground, Afaka, reminded the graduating cadets that a lot of resources have gone into shaping their character development and providing them with quality military training and a sound academic foundation. He therefore called on the cadets to always put the country first before personal considerations.
“In discharging your duties after [your] commission, always place the country first above all other interests. Always uphold your constitutional roles and subordination to civil authority”.
Lt Gen Ihejirika however admonished the cadets not to lose focus but to be on their guard before their Passing out Parade on 9th October 2021. “The road to your commissioning is still narrow and the journey is far. With discipline, however, you will get there; just remain level-headed and focused”, he added.
Also speaking during the event, Commandant NDA, Major General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf, thanked Lt Gen Ihejirika for finding time to attend the 2020/2021 Academy Awards and Beating of the Retreat. He noted that General Ihejirika was a quintessential Officer and a former COAS who recorded several remarkable achievements, including the expansion of the Nigerian Army through massive recruitment and training, the establishment of 7 Division, as well as the procurement of military equipment, among many others. He further noted that Lt Gen Ihejirika is a selfless individual of outstanding commitment and character who has left behind visible footprints throughout the Nigerian Army.
While addressing cadets during the event, the Commandant reminded the cadets that the Academy Awards and Beating of the Retreat ceremony, apart from marking the end of training activities for the year, provides a platform for rewarding hard work and outstanding performance in military training and sporting activities, both by individual cadets and cadets’ battalions. For cadets of 68 Regular Course, whom he disclosed commenced their training at the Nigerian Defence Academy on 3 September 2016, the Beating of the Retreat event brings to culmination 5 years of rigorous military and academic training, and character development, at the Academy. The commandant further disclosed that upon the completion of all training at the Academy, and training institutions of both the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force, 260 cadets have qualified for Passing Out and commissioning into the Nigerian Armed Forces on 9th October 2021.
Meanwhile, Dalet Battalion has emerged the Champion Battalion for the 2020/2021 NDA Training Year. The battalion achieved the feat after winning 6 trophies out of the 11 trophies up for grabs during the training year. Dalet had emerged winners by clinching gold medals in the Sports and Combat Sports competition, Final Drill, Skill at Arms, Shooting competition, Camp Highland and Camp Initial to win this year’s Champions Trophy.
Abyssinia Battalion, on the other hand, emerged 2nd this year, having collected a total of 2 gold medals in Cross Country and Interior Economy. The battalion also won 4 silver medals and 3 bronze medals to inch ahead of Mogadishu Battalion, which also won 2 gold medals in Athletics and Obstacle Crossing, while also scoring 4 silver medals and 1 bronze medal. Finally, Burma Battalion clinched this year’s Wooden Spoon, having placed 4th after winning only one gold at the end this year’s training calendar.
Similarly, in the Individual Categories, NDA/11183 CDT O Ayo – Bello (68RC) of Dalet Battalion merged the overall best in the Full Blues category, having won gold in Judo, Wrestling and 100m race. Similarly, in the Half Blues category, NDA/11953 CDT AD Jatau (70RC) of Mogadishu Battalion emerged overall best in the male category after winning gold in 10,000m, 5,000m and 1,500m races, while NDA/11923 CDT M Hassan (70RC) also of Mogadishu Battalion emerged overall best in the female category by winning gold in the 5,000m, 1,500m and 800m races.
Other individual winners include NDA 12507 CDT A Musa (70RC) of Dalet Battalion won gold in Long Jump and Triple Jump, male category, while NDA/11697 CDT SB Okoye (69RC) also of Dalet Battalion won gold in 110m Hurdle race and Boxing, female category. Also in the same female category, NDA/11540 CDT EO Uba (69RC) of Mogadishu Battalion won gold in 100m and 400m races, while NDA/12665 CDT MT Dawuk (71RC) of Abyssinia Battalion won gold in 10,000m race and Obstacle Crossing.
High points of the event include Beating of the Retreat, lighting of the bonfire, presentation of souvenirs to the SGOH and awards to Battalions and individual cadets who distinguished themselves during the 2020/2021 Academy training year.
*Bashir Mohammed Jajira*
Academy Public Relations Officer
28 September 2021