Buhari presides over last Armed Forces Remembrance Day as Commander-in-chief
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday led Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to lay wreaths at the National Arcade, Eagle Square, Abuja, to commemorate the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration.
The ceremony was the last of President Buhari’s major military assignment he will be performing as Commander-in-Chief as he sets to exit the exalted office and the government transits at the end of two terms to another administration on May 29.
Other dignitaries including the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola also joined the valedictory occasion to lay wreaths at the solemn but colourful ceremony.
General Irabor had a prelude to the occasion late Saturday, presented awards to the Nigerian Navy who drowned the Army to emerge victorious at the finals of the maiden Paintballing competition organized by Forest Hunters in collaboration with the Nigerian Armed Forces. The event was held at The Cardboard, Three Bridges Park, Idu Industrial Layout, Abuja.
The Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Airforce and Defence Headquarters participated in the festival to commemorate the fallen heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of humanity during the First and Second World Wars, the Nigerian Civil War, Internal security operations as well as Peace Support Operations around the world as part of the ceremonies ahead of the 2023-Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
Dignitaries at the event include the Service Chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police, the Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, and a representative of the Widows Association of fallen heroes.
Chief Executive Officer and Coordinator of the event, Mr Bayo Omoboriowo, disclosed that Forest Hunters facilitated the event in recognition of the dedication and sacrifices of the men and women of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in preserving the security of the country and promoting national integration and diversity.
“The Festival is to appreciate the valiant efforts of the living and fallen heroes of Nigeria, using paintball as a sport to encourage team building, strategic thinking and physical and mental fitness,” Mr Omoboriowo explained.
The Armed Forces Remembrance Day is used to honour veterans still alive as well as a medium for soliciting financial, moral and material support for the families of the fallen heroes. Many have had to pay for the nation’s peace and security had been enormous.
According to military authorities, “many have lost their lives, others went missing in action, yet others have suffered varying degrees of incapacitation and psychological stress.”
Other commonwealth nations observe the event on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, November 1918.
However, in Nigeria, it is celebrated on the 15th of January annually to commemorate the end of the Nigerian Civil War; a war fought to keep Nigeria united.
Fielding questions from Newsmen, the Chief of Defense Staff said the Armed Forces and remembrance day celebration is not a day of mourning.
“It is the day that we need to give thanks to God; that men and women of this great nation once served, are serving and will continue to serve this country. And that we have that level of love for the country that men and women have committed to and, if need be, sacrifice their lives so that the rest of us can live. I think it’s a worthwhile thing.
“So, today, it’s quite a very unique day, that the nation has set it aside to value, to place a premium on the services and honouring the services of men or women of our great country.”
On what Nigerians expect from the members of the Armed Forces as the country heads for another election, Gen Irabor reiterated that “democracy has come to stay. The government of the people, by the people and for the people in Nigeria has come to stay.
“That is an assurance and then of course for the elections…..
I think for Nigerians you rest assured that the armed forces remain solidly behind the police to be able to give them all the support as required.”