ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AS SPECIAL GUEST OF HONOUR AT THE GRADUATION CEREMONY OF THE NATIONAL DEFENCE COLLEGE COURSE 27, FRIDAY 2 AUGUST 2019
It is a pleasure to be at the National Defence College, on the occasion of the graduation of Course 27. It reminds me of my graduation from the United States Army War College, Carlisle Pennsylvania, as a Colonel in the class of 1980. Then, and even now, War College and Defence College courses held great promise for senior military officers, for the Armed Forces and for other responsibilities in our Nations.
2. They prepare participants for military strategic leadership focusing on national security, military strategy, theatre strategy, joint planning processes, inter-agency, inter-governmental and multi-national capabilities as well as integration. Significantly, they groom participants to function at the highest levels of security to optimise national power in furtherance of national strategic interests and objectives.
3. I am pleased that 27 years after the establishment of the National Defence College, you have steadfastly kept faith with these universal values. You have stayed true to your mandate of strategic training of senior officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as military officers from friendly nations.
4. I am duly informed that in recent times, you have done a great deal of work to expand the infrastructural capacity and facilities of the College, particularly in the Permanent Site at Piwoyi, to provide a conducive and amenable environment for teaching, learning and research.
5. This has been accompanied by efforts to evolve a broad-based, but a curriculum that is fit-for-purpose. A curriculum, that speaks to the requirements of essential Knowledge, Skills and Aptitudes of millennium officers and the critical need for higher capacities to face dynamic contemporary national and international security challenges.
6. These efforts are helping to sustain the status of the College as the foremost strategic military training institution and the flagship of military research in Nigeria. I therefore, commend the College Board, the Commandant and the Staff for the remarkable achievements. Government will continue to support the College in its development strides, particularly the speedy completion of the Permanent Site.
7. I know that the Centre for Strategic Research and Studies of the College, is an ECOWAS designated Centre of Excellence for strategic level Peace Support Operations training. I am also aware of efforts to re-organise and rebrand the Centre to enable it to conduct research on contemporary issues of security and development.
8. My immediate thoughts are that the Centre can truly become a regional hub and resource base for research and learning on conflict management, military studies, peace building, security and development. Government will provide the necessary support to the College to reach these national aspirations.
9. Furthermore, I am informed that the Centre has initiated a series of research activities that will culminate in a National Youth Conference. Considering the important link between the youth and security, I eagerly look forward to your findings and recommendations.
10. The cumulative advancements in the institutional and human capacities of the College have expectedly been applied on the graduands today. It is therefore fitting to first and foremost, congratulate the Commandant, the Faculty and Staff of the College for your patriotism and commitments. Secondly, I congratulate the National Defence College Course 27 graduands and their spouses for your hardwork, endurance and deserved success.
11. You have gone through the crucible, you have endured short nights and long arduous days, you have passed the test of fire and today is surely your day of glory. Let me specially congratulate graduands from friendly nations for consolidating the bilateral relationships between our nations. Your participation on the course is a further testimony of our national security policy aspirations to promote international peace, friendship and cooperation.
12. This occasion affords me another opportunity to briefly reflect on the state of the Nigerian nation, particularly regarding national security. At the inception of our first tenure in 2015, Nigeria was at a critical crossroads. The Boko Haram Group was at the height of its infamy and virtually held Nigeria hostage. It constituted a clear and present danger to our corporate existence as a nation.
13. After 4 years of gruelling work, I can report the progress that we have made in tackling the security challenges, with the combined efforts of our regional coalition partners, the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies, diverse government agencies, national and international development partners as well as local traditional leaders.
14. We have spared no effort to rid the nation of terrorism and insurgency and resolve associated national security and humanitarian challenges. I particularly thank the Armed Forces and other security agencies for their patriotic efforts. I also thank all our development partners and foreign governments for their invaluable contributions.
15. In spite of the commendable progress, the Nigerian state is still beset with some existential and fundamental challenges. The Boko Haram for instance, having lost their insurgency campaign, now factionalised and mutated into a new form of terrorist threat.
16. Armed banditry and vandalism, kidnapping, pastoralist/farmers conflicts, cultism and political violence have become the new threats. Other crimes such as proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, drug trafficking, drug and substance abuse and communal conflict, all add up to the security mix. Furthermore, the state of education, the youth bulge, unemployment, socio-political and ethno-religious divisions, fake news and hate speeches all help to quicken and compound the security challenges.
17. Our government is poised to promote national security and development. We remain committed to promoting a vision of a secure, safe, just, peaceful, prosperous and strong nation. Indeed, we shall be employing all elements of our national and human resources to ensure security, a just society, peaceful co-existence, national unity, prosperity and sustainable development, while promoting our good standing abroad.
18. I believe that the graduands of National Defence College Course 27 are sufficiently groomed in both character and learning, to take up this challenge. All you have learnt on the Course will soon become very handy. For the Nigerians amongst you, the graduation today is a clarion call to duty in service to your country.
19. The nation needs you. Your Services, Ministries, Departments and Agencies need your fresh ideas. For the allied graduands, I believe that the information revolution has globalized the essential challenges of human security. This presumes the wisdom of common and collective approaches to national and international security.
20. In the coming years, all of you Nigerians and allied graduands will be called to account for the period of strategic training in the College and you must not fail your nations.
21. I congratulate you once again as I wish you success in your future careers in the service to your respective countries. God bless you all and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.