REFLECTION ON REGIMENTAL SERGEANT MAJORS’ CONVENTION 2018

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For any organization to be professionally effective in the discharge of its statutory responsibilities, training and retraining of personnel is necessary. Consequently, in line with the vision of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, which is, – “To have a Professionally Responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its Constitutional roles”, the 82 Division Nigerian Army (NA) through the 34 Brigade Owerri hosted one of the most successful Regimental Sergeant Major’s (RSMs) Convention in the history of the NA from Monday 3rd to Friday 7th September 2018.The Convention is a scheduled yearly training period for NA RSMs.

The 2018 Convention attracted a summit of senior military officers both serving and retired, para military officers and 275 RSMs drawn from NA formations, units, corp headquarters and training institutions across the nation. The occasion was so encouraging and rewarding in view of the massive attendance, quality of lectures, resource persons and other personalities that graced the event.

The well thought out theme for the convention – “Enhancing Discipline as the Bedrock of Professionalism in the NA” and the lectures lined up for the event entitled “RSM as a Bridge between Officers and Soldiers: The NA in Perspective”, “Enhancing a Professionally Responsive NA in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles”, “Regimentation as a Core Value for Discipline in the NA: The Role of RSMs” were/ are in line with the COAS vision. These topics were tendentiously selected, interrelated and sequentially delivered to attentive audience – mostly – RSMs of the NA. The lectures were orchestrated to equip participants with requisite knowledge and exposure to competently perform their roles, promote and intensify the needed professionalism down the ladder across the NA.

Presenting the COAS keynote address during the opening ceremony, Maj Gen Emmanuel Boman Kabuk reiterates the importance of the summit. According to him, “The 2018 Convention was quite auspicious in view of the importance of discipline which remains the bedrock of military professionalism in the NA. The continuous involvement of NA in the conduct of operations ranging from foreign peace keeping, internal security duties and the need to properly key into the overall vision of the COAS, especially on the 3 concepts of professionalism, responsiveness and working within the ambit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria demand explicit loyalty and discipline from personnel of the NA”. It is in this context the Convention was apt and impactful to the participants and entire personnel of the NA.
The first lecture titled “RSM as a Bridge between Officers and Soldiers: The NA in Perspective” was succinctly delivered by Maj Gen Faruk Yahaiya. With sensible examples, he elucidated and educated the audience further on the pivotal roles of RSMs either at the Unit or Formation levels, Corp Headquarters or NA Training Institutions especially in the face of current and emerging security challenges facing Nigeria.
Maj Gen Felix Agugo’s lecture entitled –“Enhancing a Professionally Responsive NA in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles” was also resourcefully presented. With practical empirics, he powerfully re-echoed the vision of the COAS to the participants and what is expected of them as the RSMs of the NA in line with the current global best practice.

Hence, it was interesting but not surprising, the lectures among others, elicited serious professional attention, contributions and comments from the massive audience including but not limited to some RSMs, the representative of the COAS – GOC 82 Division Maj Gen EB Kabuk, Chief of Army Administration Maj Gen KAY Ishaq, representative of the Governor Imo State, Sir Eche George Ezenna, former Chief of Training and Operations NA Maj Gen SN Chikwe (rtd), Commissioner of Police Imo State Mr D Galadunchi and the Director State Security Services, Imo State Mr AD Abdullahi.
Some captivatingly distinctive aspects of the Convention were – the setting, reception and entire conduct of the event. The Imo State Trade and Investment Centre Owerri, where the Convention was conducted was/ is somehow isolated, quiet and cleaned. The hall was hygienically chilled; industrial fans and soundless generator were on standby. Above all, the NA and the Corps’ flags were beautifully but regimentally displayed at the Quarter Guard. The inner side of the hall was decoratively speckled with NA color with several seats/tables super pasted with white silk material, making the hall impeccable. Occasionally, the Commander 34 Brigade Brig Gen Hamza Bature abruptly and majestically moved round the hall – probably to be sure all was well. It was simply fantastic; – the management of the event was exceptional.

On the other hand, the participants (RSMs) appeared euphoric with the quality of the lectures, feeding and hotel accommodation. Majority had openly voiced their gratitude to the COAS. Similarly, former Provost Marshal, Chief of Training and Operations, Chief of Administration and later GOC 81 Division NA Major Gen SN Chikwe (Rtd), among other senior officers, commended the COAS for graciously providing the requirements to host the Convention. “Some of us from outside are highly impressed with what the COAS is doing for the NA and the nation, what I am seeing here in terms of preparation and turnout, some of us sometimes wonder where the COAS is getting resources from to fund the numerous NA commitments in the areas of training and operations. I believe, General Buratai is doing extraordinarily well as the COAS, He is moving the army to greater level and we should all complement his efforts especially in the fight against terrorism”, he said.

Therefore, improving or sustaining this level of committment/seriousness in the conduct of NA’s engagements is one way to achieving COAS vision particularly in the areas of professionalism and responsiveness to professional issues.

Among the personalities and senior officers that attended the training session were the Chief of Staff to the Government of Imo State Mr Uche Nwoso, Commander Command Army Records Maj Gen Elvis Nwabueze Njoku, Commandant Warrant Officers’ Academy Brig Gen Mohammed Mshelia, Commanders 13 and 14 Brigades Brig Gens COC Ekulide and AK Ibrahim, Garrison Commander 82 Division Brig Gen LA Adegboye. Others were Commanders 44 Engineer and 54 Signal Brigades Brig Gens MNB Mamman and JA Lawoyin, Commanding Officers in 82 Division Area of Responsibility, Commandant Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Mr Raji Ibrahim, former Commander Training and Doctrine Command Maj Gen Ogunedu (Rtd) as well as retired Brig Gens ML Raji and DB Shaljaba.

BY SAGIR MUSA

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