It was excitement galore and an atmosphere of conviviality as officers, soldiers of 90 Amphibious Battalion, their families as well as the Koko community in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State celebrated the maiden 90 Amphibious Battalion Nigerian Army Social Activity for the year 2021.
Warri North Local Government Council Secretariat in Koko was the venue for the maiden event by the 90 Amphibious Battalion held on Saturday, January 22, 2022.
From the presentation of Quarter Guard, inspection of Company Stands to fascinating and brilliant displays by the Itsekiri, Yoruba, Ijaw, Urhobo, Igbo, Okpe and Hausa/Fulani cultural groups, the civil-military relation effort was further given bite.
A keenly contested tug of war competition involving female soldiers and corps members of the 90 Amphibious Battalion was won by the female soldiers.
Deserving soldiers in the categories of Most Committed Soldier, Most Dedicated Soldier, Most Disciplined Soldier and Best Civilian Staff were presented awards to spur them to continue to do their best.
There was also the caking of cake, beating of the retreat and lighting of Burnfire.
In his speech, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Nigerian Navy Logistics Command, Oghara, Delta State, Rear Admiral Sumalia Lassa who was the Special Guest of Honour and represented by Commodore J. O. Ajodo, said it was gratifying that the 90 Amphibious Battalion of the Nigerian Army has commendably upheld the age-long military tradition of organising the Nigerian Army Social Activity held annually after a successful training year.
“As you are all aware, this Social Activity is a forum for informal and social interaction as well as an avenue to showcase the rich and diverse culture of our nation. It is met to refresh our bodies and minds in a relaxed atmosphere while preparing for the year ahead.
“The brilliant display by the various cultural troupes that performed this afternoon is encouraging as it shows that you all are still well connected to your cultural background.
“This also underscores why the Nigerian Army gives credence to cultural tradition and custom. I am therefore convinced and want to sincerely state that this colourful ceremony has actually achieved its purpose of creating a relaxed atmosphere for officers, soldiers and friends to interact after a demanding year in a bid to promote cultural harmony, team spirit and tolerance.
“While congratulating you for the successful conduct of the year 2021 training and operational activities which has culminated in today’s event, I wish to also commend you all for your level of discipline and dedication to duty during the year.
“Let me, therefore, seize this opportunity to urge all officers and soldiers to remain proactive in the discharge of their responsibilities in tandem with the direction of the Army Hierarchy.”
Continuing, the FOC reminded officers and soldiers of the 90 Amphibious Battalion of the need to maintain the core values of your service which include loyalty, selfless service, courage, discipline, integrity and respect for others.
He called on them to remain focused and highly disciplined as they commence another training year as well as commended the Commanding Officer, 90 Amphibious Battalion, Major Joshua Ajongbo, officers, soldiers and families on the relentless effort, hard work and dedication to the continuous excellence maintained in 90 Amphibious Battalion.
In his remarks at the occasion, Major Ajongbo expressed delight that he is the first Commanding Officer of the 90 Amphibious Battalion to organise the Nigerian Army Social Activities, formerly known as West African Social Activities.
“This is the first of its kind, it is a maiden event. I hope that what we have done today will set a standard for successive Commanders that will come to this place. So, we thank God for the success of the event.”
For this year, Major Ajongbo said they plan to increase their training activities in order to enhance their operational efficiency in line with the vision of the Chief of Army Staff and intensify their operational activities which include patrol and drilling operation so that they continue to sustain the relative peace that is enjoyed in Koko.
He said, “Since I took over the Command last year, one of my core areas is to ensure that I have a good relationship with the community because if you are not friendly with your community you hardly get information that would bring about successes in your operation.
“The community they know this place better than you do and they give us information that can help us to plan for our operations.”
The origin of the Nigerian Army Social Activities dates back to the period of the West African Frontier Force when persons in the society whose ancestral background have some traditional heritage joined the Army.
Back then, delegates were sent by Village Heads to military authority to seek the release of soldiers for annual sacrifices offered to mark the end of harvest and the beginning of a new planting season for a peaceful and progressive period in the New Year.
Rather than releasing soldiers every year for the ritual, the military authority incorporated it in Army activities and tagged it WASA (now known as the Nigerian Army Social Activities). The colonial masters upheld this tradition in the Army to command the confidence of soldiers and to foster esprit-de-corps.
The Nigerian Army Social Activities has come to stay as an annual event all over the Nigerian Army to celebrate the end of the year and to usher in the activities for the New Year.