WASA: "No Nigerian Culture Accepts Banditry, Kidnapping or Terrorism" - Buratai, Lagbaja Harp on Unity in Diversity Across Barracks, Cantonments

... As Army Headquarter Team Beats NPF and NSCDC in Tug- of- War Competition 

2023 socio-cultural activity, West African Social Activity (WASA) organised annually in military barracks with about 10,000 personnel of the Nigerian Army with officers integrated across ranks as well as with civilians to usher in the New Year in a convivial atmosphere of fun and competition.

The Mogadishu Cantonment barrack community was filled with military families of the men and women of the Nigerian Army to mark this year's West African Social Activity WASA. A total of 46 departments commanded by the Nigerian Army Headquarters Garrison took part in the 2023 WASA.

And of course, the Nigerian Military authority has upheld the tradition in the Army. The 2023 WASA, hosted by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Taoreed Lagbaja was exceptional having all the Commands, Units, and Departments, like Army Headquarters Space Command, Army Headquarters Department of Military Secretary, Army Heritage and Future Centre, Army Headquarters DASE,  Army Headquarters Department of Army Training,  Office of the COAS (NASP), Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Nigerian Army Aviation, and  Directorate of Public Relations Army Headquarters Department and Command present at the epoch event. 

The Special Guest of Honour, the former Chief of Army Staff and Former Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, the BAAKORE of Akure Kingdom), His Excellency, Lt. General Tukur Buratai (Retd) in his remarks said the recognition and celebration of our cultural diversity and its richness by the Nigerian military allowed the institution to stand tall over the years and to succeed and promoting unity and corporate existence of the Country.

"As we celebrate the Nigerian Army's achievement over the past one year in 2023, we are also mindful of the socio-economic and security challenges in the country. As the Nigerian Army strive to tackle the insecurity in the country, both kinetic and non-kinetic, we must use culture and tradition to promote national security and national unity. 

General Buratai added that no Nigerian culture accepts banditry,  kidnapping or terrorism. He appealed to youth to imbibe the culture of hard work, respect for elders and adherence to peaceful communal living. He advised that the cultural heritage of farming, and fishing must be encouraged in the society to tackle unemployment. 

He acknowledged President Tinubu for being attentive to the welfare of the service men and women of the armed forces and their families. He urged personnel to continue to do their best to uphold the tenet and be alive to their constitutional responsibility. 

General Buratai also commended the Chief of Army Staff,  COAS, Lt General Taoreed Lagbaja for his professional leadership of the Nigerian army. He said, Lt General Lagbaja has maintained a very high standard of discipline, operational efficiency, and administrative consistency in handling the welfare of the troops and their personnel. 

"Nigerian Army today seems to have paid all roles in the civil-military authority at any time in the civil of our dear nation. I am glad that the Nigerian Army has recorded enormous achievements in it's efforts to keep the country safe. This is in its respect to the rule of law and subordination of the civil authority. 

He commended the gallant officers and soldiers of the Nigerian army, urging them to maintain a high standard of professionalism in line with the Chief of Army Staff's vision. 

Also in his remarks the Chief host of the Army Headquarters WASA, Chief of Army Staff,  Lt. General Taoreed Lagbaja said the West African Social Activity, WASA is a cultural event deeply rooted in the Nigerian Army's history, noting that the event provides Nigerian army personnel, their families and loved ones a conducive environment to celebrate the end of training and operation year and beginning of another. 

"Considering the fact that the year 2023 was a busy and tasking one for our personnel and that year 2024 as not been any easier in terms of operational commitments, it is only proper that our personnel be provided an opportunity to unwind." he said 

The COAS also clarify the benefit of organizing WASA because it has sustained unity in diversity across barracks and cantonments. It has foster education and acceptability of culture ordinary it would be in some parts of the country and this make the troops to be aware of cultural sensitivities and uniqueness as they plan and execute operations across the geopolitical zones of the country. 

"It is worth noting that the Nigerian Army in conjunction with the sister services and other security agencies as worked assiduously yo ensure that all threats to out national security are contained."he stressed

SpyeTV News reports that the performances were glittering, while cultural dances and displays were made to be competitive. At 6 pm traditional beating of retreats was observed with the lowering of the flags. There was contest to determine winners of different competitions.

Team Nigerian Army Headquarters Garrison and Army Headquarters defeated both the Nigeria Police Force and NSCDC as they became Champion of the 2023 WASA Thug of War Competition. In addition, with a total of 38, AHOD PROG points came 3rd position, while with a total of to 39 Nigerian Army Women Corp, NAWLG, came 2nd position and the winner of the 2023 ARMY HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENTS AND COMMANDS WASA MEGA SUYA COMPETITION WITH a total score of 40 goes to the headquarter Nigerian Army Women, HQ NAWC - NIS ARMY WOMEN CORE. 

The origin of the event is dated back to the days of the African Frontier Force, during the Second World War. It is recorded that it all started when enlisted persons with traditional or customary heritage cultivated the habit of offering sacrifices to their gods and ancestors at the end of harvest and at the beginning of every planting season. The records also hold that it was done for bounty harvest, peace and progress in the New Year.

As it were then, nearby village heads were usually sent to the military authorities for the release of soldiers for the yearly ritual. Over time, rather than releasing soldiers to perform such rituals, the then Colonial military authority incorporated the practice into the Army activities and tagged it West African Social Activity (WASA). 

The occasion came to an end with the lighting of the bonfire from a stake of woods that blaze its flames to the sky. 

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