*VP adds: Our Armed Forces is a unifying institution
With a far more complicated current security environment, the new crop of military officers is the generation of warrior-scholars that will confront enemies of the state with an arsenal of unconventional skills, unorthodox strategies and critical thinking, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this Tuesday in Kaduna at the 32nd Convocation Ceremony and the Graduation of 69 Regular Course Cadets and Postgraduate students of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).
“It has fallen on you to be thought-leaders that will advance development both on and off the battlefield,” the Vice President told the new graduates in a speech on the contemporary security environment and emerging challenges for security and defence services. He noted that “the threat environment that you are tasked with engaging is not the same threat environment that existed just a decade ago.”
He said the new generation of officers will need to define their cause and fight their battles as they are operating in this new environment with peculiar challenges.
“In strategic national security terms, you will be operating in a new age. While your challenges are new, it is also true that every generation must define its cause and fight its own battles.”
Speaking on the contexts of the new security environment, Prof. Osinbajo said “you must contend with the mix of asymmetric conflicts, hybrid warfare, insurgencies and armed criminal activities perpetrated by criminal non-state actors. These are conflicts that are novel in their viciousness but dated in their origins.
“How do you engage a vicious lawless enemy along the lines of the Geneva Convention? What are the new rules of engagement with well-equipped criminal non-state actors?”
The VP also spoke on the digital age dimensions. According to him, “we must take note of the realities of living in the digital age. Digitization has created a whole new world, cyberspace, where all transactions and activity commercial, social, financial, and even crucial military intelligence take place.
“There is no doubt that the digital domain is one of the frontiers that your generation of our armed forces will be increasingly tasked to defend. More broadly, It is clear that we cannot secure or defend a country of this size with human assets alone. We must leverage technology,” the VP added.
Prof. Osinbajo then noted that “at a time when national resources are stretched thin, we have to come up with technology-driven solutions to addressing our security needs.
“We must become savvier in the deployment of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tools to complement our human resources. When applied creatively, technology can be a force multiplier, amplifying our potential and our capacity to effectively secure our territory.”
On the implications of Climate Change for national security and military planning, the VP said “aside from the serious revenue loss from declining earnings from oil and gas, there are the disruptions that may be caused because of our military’s dependence on fossil fuels for transport, logistics, mobility and weapons deployment.”
He explained that “we must rigorously consider the implications of these shifts on our national defence apparatus because as our country pursues energy transition, it is worth setting as a goal for our defence and security sector, an equivalent energy transition strategy for our military.”
Besides, Prof. Osinbajo also noted that “in a country the size and population of Nigeria, with threats to our citizenry and sovereignty, in different locations, it is absolutely imperative that we build our indigenous national defence capabilities.”
“This means revitalizing our local military industrial complex and investing in the local capacity to manufacture armaments,” he added.
The VP then commended the leadership of the academy for the innovation in the curriculum of the institution, urging the “warrior-scholars (graduating cadets) to devote themselves as their forebears have done to preserving the unity of our country.”
According to him, “the Armed Forces of Nigeria have long been considered one of the most unified and unifying of our institutions. We must not allow the rhetoric and actions of those determined to use ethnicity and religion to advance their often narrow and selfish interests to affect our belief in the righteousness, strength, and prosperity for all that a large diverse and united nation offers to all its peoples.”
Prof. Osinbajo was Special Guest of Honour at the Convocation Ceremony held at the Permanent Site of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna. He was accompanied by the Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who received him at the airport, alongside Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd) and some top military officers.