Sunday, 26 February 2017

Soldiers At NASME Makurdi Celebrate WASA

Penultimate weekend, officers and soldiers of the Nigeria Army School of Military Engineering, (NASME), Makurdi in Benue State trooped out with their families to catch fun and celebrate themselves in dance, drama and other side attractions.

After all, the saying that “variety is the spice of life” makes living more exciting and refreshing could never have come at a better time for the soldiers than the early part of the year when they are expected to take stock of the outgone year and re-strategise for optimal performance in the months ahead.

The occasion was the age-long West Africa Social Activities (WASA), handed over to the military by the British colonial masters who instituted the annual event to enable interaction among the families of the armed forces, regardless of their ranks.

And so, the officers, soldiers and their dependents maximised the opportunity to create fun in a unique, relaxed atmosphere within their barracks to the admiration of visitors who had come to have fun.

Dressed in their amiable cultural attires, the soldiers entertained the crowd with various dances.

Indeed, it was a moment to foster espirit-de-corps among troops, especially to foster unity among the soldiers and their families in accordance with the traditional rituals as upheld by the colonial masters way back in the 1960s.

Corroborating history of WASA, the NASME Commandant, Major-General Shodunke Adekunle, in his welcome address, noted that the forebears of the West African soldiers distinguished themselves on various fronts such that the colonial masters granted their request to celebrate the end of every year.

He said: “They (soldiers) would usually dress in their local attires to showcase their rich cultural heritage during occasions such as WASA. For us at NASME, we had an eventful 2016 and as we look back, we saw that we were able to complete our schedules despite contemporary challenges.”

Adekunle added that they had recorded significant progress and improvement last year even as he urged his troops to consolidate on the previous gains and successes while they strive to improve on notable lapses of the just concluded year.

After the commandant’s address, fun filled activities which made the day a memorable one began with the tug of war among different sections of the soldiers, amidst cheers from their supporting colleagues.

Thereafter, various cultural troupes entertained the audience with their sonorous voices and captivating dance steps. The cultural performances included Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa and Idoma among others, with the students of the Army Command Day Secondary School, also taking their turn to make the event colourful.

However, the tug of war embarked by the soldiers’ wives and female youth corpers serving at the barracks added more colour to the occasion, as spectators reeled in laughter while the young women do their bits to outshine themselves.

Interestingly, at the end of the exercise, the soldiers’ wives defeated the corpers. There were also several shows jesting and mimicking of current public affairs in the country and so on.

Then the special guest of honour who is the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, in his good will message, described the relationship between NASME and the state government as cordial.

Governor Ortom, however, went on to lament the pitiable condition of the Nigerian currency even as he opined that something is actually wrong with the nation’s economy.

Ortom who spoke through his Special Adviser on Security, Col. Edwin Jando (rtd), said it was a shame that the dollar which was exchanged for only 60 kobo over 40 years ago when he was commissioned as an Army officer now goes for more than N400.

The governor further commended the cultural troupe of the National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC), who depicted the continued fall of the naira over pounds and dollars in a dance drama which spurred his comment at the occasion.

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