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President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the armed forces to resist and reject ethno-centricism and religious intolerance, warning that one of the most profound dangers to Nigeria’s democracy and freedom is the divisive application of ethnic and religious diversities. 

“These evils threaten our very existence as a sovereign and indivisible nation,” he said in an address to service chiefs and graduates of the Senior Course 38 at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State, at the weekend.

Buhari, who spoke through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his address to service, stressed that being in the military today required more than just carrying weapons, but that an officer must be a public intellectual and thinker who is “versatile, dynamic and capable of introspection.”

His words, “Our society is more complex and our world is more difficult than ever before. The nature of warfare is also vastly different, consequently, the officer of today cannot just be soldier, in any event, being in the military today requires more than just carrying weapons.”

The president stated that Nigeria needs men and women in the armed forces who are prepared to make the sacrifices and self-constraints that are crucial to a strong society.

He said the armed forces had the responsibility of fighting against all forms of ethnic and religious prejudices because they were probably the most visible symbols of national unity and cohesion.

Buhari stated that building a new Nigeria required a new tribe of men and women of all faiths who are of diverse tribes and ethnicities, but firmly committed to a country run on high values of integrity hard work, justice and love.

He said contemporary military warfare, especially the influence of technology like drones, had posed a huge challenge, hence the need for the military to develop the right strategies to deal with “this future before us.”

“Our nation at this time needs an elite consisting of professionals from the military, businessmen, politicians, religious leaders and all others who believe that a new Nigeria is possible. This nation needs an elite prepared to stick together, fight corruption and other national ills side by side; an elite who insists on justice even where our friends are at the receiving end,” he said.

 

Last modified on Monday, 04 July 2016
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