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        NDA GRADUATES 373 OFFICER CADETS…as Liberian President, 2 others get honorary degrees


Lt Col AA Edun & Christiana Iliya


In a very colorful parade showcasing the very best of military traditions and practice, the Nigerian Defence Academy has graduated 373 officer cadets for commissioning into the Nigerian Armed Forces. The passing - out cadets who are all members of Regular Course 59 (Army, Navy and Air Force) and Short Service Course 40 (Army) have spent 5 years and 9 months respectively at the Academy.

Two Hundred and Twenty Nine cadets of 59 Regular Course reported for training at the NDA on 7 August 2007. However, between 2008 and 2012, four cadets from the course were selected to continue officer training at the Hellenic Military Academy, Greece, the Royal Military Academy (RMA), Sandhurst, UK and the Nepalese Military Academy, while some members of the course were either withdrawn or relegated during the course of their training. Two members of the course lost their lives while in training, leaving the present strength of 184 graduating cadets. The curriculum of the course includes fitness training, rigorous basic military subjects and outdoor training exercises. During the period of their training, the cadets were put through lessons in voice communication, map reading, first aid, basic field craft, weapon training, internal security, tactics and military history. Many of these rudimentary subjects were taught repeatedly. Furthermore, the cadets where exposed to a couple of outdoor tactical training exercises. These include, CAMP INITIAL, CAMP FARAUTA. CAMP KURA, PRE-CAMP HIGHLAND and CAMP HIGHLAND. These exercises were to allow the cadets of Regular Course 59 practical applications in the field of the tactical lessons taught in the classroom.

It is noteworthy to recall that in line with the present security challenges in the country all members of the 59 Regular Course underwent extensive counterterrorism training at the Counter Terrorist and Counter Insurgency Center (CTCOIN), Jaji. The cadets assembled in Jaji on 31 January 2012 and spent several week perfecting maneuvers in unarmed combat, tactical combat shooting, raid operation, counter revolutionary warfare, hostage evacuation and countering hijackers. Other highlights of their training at CTCOIN include abseiling and rappelling, free climbing, watermanship, close escort protection, covert surveillance and identification of improvised explosive device (IEDs). During their training at jaji the cadets also visited several institutions such as the Police Dog Handling Section, Bomb Disposal Squad, 11 Field Engineering Regiment and Chanchangi Airlines. The entire 184 cadets of 59 RC completed the counter terrorist training and graduated on 9 May, 2012. Upon their return to the Academy the 59 Regular Course cadets were engaged on tours to DICON, HQ Tactical Air Command Makurdi and several Nigerian Army training institutions in Jaji, Bauchi, Kachia and Makurdi. These were all aimed at broadening their knowledge of the services.

The midshipmen training for naval cadets of this course commenced with their arrival at the Nigerian Naval College, Onne on 29 January, 2012. Their relocation to the naval college, Onne availed them the opportunity to acquire vast experience and knowledge on the Nigerian naval basic traditions, tenets and doctrines. They performed duties within the college and were taught in classes which later culminated in their Phase 1 exams.

The navy cadets then proceeded on break from 21 - 30 April, 2012 and on resumption they were all appointed to NNS ARADU, the flagship of the Nigerian Navy. They were further swapped on-board other ship on 11 Jan and then reassembled at NNS QOURRA on 15 July for their midshipman stage final exams/ board. They all returned to NDA rejoin their course mates in NDA on 11 August, 2012.

In the same vein, thirty - eight Air Force cadets (flight cadets) of 59 RC reported reported to 301 Flight Training School (FTS), Nigerian Air Force Base, Kaduna on 29 January, 2012. Their relocation to the flight training school was aimed at exposing the cadets to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) work environment and also avail them the opportunity of acquiring specialized service-related knowledge.

During their stay at 301 FTS, they attended a ground academics school on the ABT 18 Training Aircraft which they wrote a ground school exam. Subjects taught to the cadets in ground school were aerodynamics, aircraft systems, avionics, navigation and air law. Others were Air Traffic Control (ATC), fight safety and meteorology. The flight cadets underwent a mandatory aviation medical examination and a screening board aimed at selecting the most-fit cadets for flying duties while others were assigned to other specialties within the service.

 On-the-job (OJT) training was organized for the cadets during their sojourn at 301 FTS whereby all the Flight Cadets were redeployed to other units within the base. This was aimed at acquainting them with the opportunity of working in non-flying units within the NAF. The cadets were highly opportuned to witness the NAF Air Expo 2012 held at the 301 FTS. The air Expo further afforded the cadets the needed exposure to the all aircraft in the NAF inventory and also the opportunity to interact with experienced officers and men of the NAF. The cadets reunited with their course mates on 11 August, 2012.

Interestingly, two members of this Regular Course, Cadet JT Eastman and Cadet BG Pewee, are from the Republic of Liberia and will be commissioned as officers into the Liberian Armed Forces after graduation.

Cadets of Short Service Course 40, on the other hand, commenced training at the Nigerian Defence Academy on 16 January 2012. A total number of 193 reported for training. Of those who reported for training, 3 cadets were relegated for different offences, while one cadet died during training, thus leaving 189 cadets to complete the training. The curriculum of the SSC 40 cadets is not much different from that of the 59RC cadets. The General - to – Service courses as well as the Unique – to – Service subjects are similar. Furthermore, the cadets were exposed to all the outdoor tactical training exercises for cadets in NDA.

Addressing all 373 cadets at the Combined Passing Out Parade for members of 59 Regular Course and Short Service Course 40, President and Commander – in – Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, while congratulating the graduating cadets for their years of toil and perseverance and great success marking the end of their training in the academy, reminded the cadets of their constitutional responsibilities as members of the Armed Forces to defend the nation’s territorial integrity and uphold true democratic values, as well as support internal security and peace support operations when the need arises. He urged them to adhere strictly to his administration’s dogged commitment to entrenching the Rule of Law in Nigeria.

President Jonathan, who was represented at the event by the Vice President, Arch Namadi Sambo, added that in whatever role they may find themselves within and outside the country’s borders, they should always be guided by the military’s rules of engagement and universal best practice. He called on them to take advantage of opportunities that abound in their training and deployment to expand their horizons and knowledge in their various areas of specialization.

Vice President, Arch Namadi Sambo, reviews the Passing Out Parade of Regular Course 59 and Short Service Course 40.

“As young officers full of hope and dreams, your contributions will be invaluable to the efforts of the Federal Government to reinvent the lower segment of the leadership of the Armed Forces”, he said.

While noting that the Nigerian Armed Forces is renowned worldwide for valour, loyalty and service, the president charged the graduating cadets to emulate their senior colleagues in the service because the greatest challenge they will face in the field will be how to live up to the enviable reputation their predecessors have built.

Furthermore, he commended the Commandant and staff of the NDA for maintaining a high standard of training in the institution, indicating that the very colourful parade the cadets put up was evidence of this.

Vice President, Arch Namadi Sambo delivers the President’s address at the occasion. To his right is Commandant NDA, Maj Gen CO Onwuamaegbu.

For the first time in the history of parades in NDA, the mass band was entirely comprised of cadets. Prior to now the mass band usually comprised of 1 Div Band of the Nigerian Army, Depot Nigerian Army Band, The Nigerian Navy Band and the Nigerian Air Force Band.

However, on 12 March 2012, Commandant of NDA, Major General Chukwuemeka Onwuamaegbu, inaugurated the Nigerian Defence Academy Cadets Mass Band. The task of the NDA Cadets Mass Band is to provide music, military customs and tradition, thereby enhancing cadets’ cohesion and morale. The band intends to provide this task by showcasing leadership, discipline and knowledge through music, military protocol, drill and ceremonial performance at public and Academy functions. The NDA Cadets Mass Band which caused quite a stir with their resplendent uniforms and brand new musical instruments was conducted by Band Major Cadet S Nathaniel and it comprised 175 cadets, 12 of which are pioneer female regular cadets. The Cadet Director of Music is Cadet AB Dolo, while the band is coordinated by NDA’s Assistant Director of Music (ADOM), Major PC Okoh.


A cross section of NDA Cadets’ Mass Band during the Passing Out Parade of Regular Course 59 and Short Service Course 40.

Prior to the Passing Out Parade, the Academy hosted a series of activities in honour of the passing out cadets. Among these was the Commandant’s Luncheon. The occassion held at the Commandant’s residence played host to cadets, staff and guests.

Speaking at the luncheon, the Guest of Honour, Major General Mohammed B Monguno called on the cadets to take full advantage of the golden opportunity of sitting and dining round the same table with the distinguished invited guests and to draw from their fountain of vast wisdom as some of the practical examples gained through such interaction will certainly impact positively in their attitude to duty, in particular, and approach to life in general. He enjoined them to remain focused, disciplined and level headed within the next few days before their commissioning as every race is never over until the athlete touches the finishing line. Hence, the cadets cannot truly celebrate until after their commissioning.

General Monguno also reminded them of the need to limit their activities even after their commissioning to the constitutional roles assigned to the military and not to allow any interest group to lure them into any engagement of illegality, especially now that they are about to start their careers at a very critical stage in the history of Nigeria, a period where terrorism and criminalism posed a great treat to internal security.     

He further enjoined the cadets to strive hard to build solidly and progressively on the initial training to which they have been exposed to in the Nigeria Defence Academy to enable them rise to the peak of their careers, urging them to endeavour to attend mandatory courses and utilize any available opportunity to develop themselves. Above all, he encouraged them to save and invest for their retirement from their first salary in order to be excellent and good officers.

In a related event, the Academy held the Beating of the Retreat and Prize Giving Ceremonies for the cadets. The event which is held to commemorate the official conclusion of a training course in the Academy as well as reward cadets who have conducted themselves in an exemplary manner in the course of any particular training year stems from an age-old military tradition.  

Speaking at the occasion, the Guest of Honour and Chairman, House Committee on Defence (Army) Honourable Bashir Adamu urged the cadets to put in their utmost best in the few days leading to their commissioning, as these are the most critical and tempting days of their training at the NDA. He cautioned them not to throw caution to the wind by conducting themselves as officers even before their commissioning.  According to him the road is still narrow and the journey is far but with proper discipline and caution they will make it to the day of commissioning. 

He also implored them to always remain true to the leadership skills and qualities they have acquired in the academy when they eventually get commissioned and submit themselves to their constitutional roles of protecting the territorial integrity of the Nation. Bashir further urged them to be firm and fair in dealing with their subordinates and challenged them to be prudent in managing both human and material resources entrusted to them during the course of their careers in the armed forces.

The event featured presentation of awards and trophies to individual cadets and battalions who have distinguished themselves in competitive activities during their five years and nine months of training in the academy, respectively.

Shortly after the Passing Out Parade, the Convocation Ceremonies for cadets of Regular Course 59 was conducted. Highpoint of this event was the formal presentation of Honorary Doctorate Degree to Her Excellency, President Republic of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nigeria’s Senate President, Right Honourable David Mark and Former Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku.

It will be recalled that the Nigerian Defence Academy Post Graduate School has been offering training to officers and civilians alike at the master’s and doctorate level for several years now. Along with the honorary degrees awarded to these eminent personalities, several other Nigerians received awards for Doctorate and Master’s in various fields. The 184 graduating cadets of Regular Course 59 also each receive awards of Bachelor’s degrees in various disciplines at the Convoation Ceremony.

His Excellency, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Arch Namadi Sambo, presents an Honorary Doctorate Degree to Nigeria’s Senate President, Senator Davis Mark at the Convocation Ceremony for Cadets of 59 Regular Course.

Vice President Namadi Sambo presents an Honorary Doctorate Degree to former Sec Gen of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyauku receives. To their right is Commandant NDA, Maj Gen CO Onwuamaegbu.

Liberian President, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, delivers a speech at the Convocation Ceremony where she and others were conferred with Honorary Doctorate Degrees.

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