WASA: 12 Brigade Nigerian Army Celebrates Cultural Heritage To Promote Peaceful Coexistence

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The 12 Brigade (BDE) Nigerian Army (NA) has celebrated the country’s rich cultural heritage to promote peaceful coexistence and unity among its personnel and the society at large.

The nation’s unique cultural heritage was celebrated during the brigade’s West Africa Social Activities (WASA) for year 2023 at the Parade Ground, Chari Maigumeri Barracks, Lokoja.

Speaking at the event, the 12 Brigade Commander, Brig. -Gen. Haruna Dasuki, described WASA as a prominent regimental event in the NA because of its socio-cultural value to the personnel and the society at large.

“The identity, values, beliefs and rich, unique cultural heritage of the people of Nigeria, which is reflected by the diverse costumes of personnel of the NA are usually demonstrated through our traditions and culture.

“Hence, to preserve our cultural heritage, WASA gives us an opportunity to display the various traditional dances, cuisines, languages and dresses amongst other cultural diversities in a relaxed atmosphere,” he said

According to him, the origin of WASA could be traced to as far back as the Second World War, when the Nigerian Army fought as part of the larger West African Frontier Force.

He explained that during this period, the indigenous Nigerian Army personnel celebrated their cultural heritage at the end of every year.

“These were marked with sacrificial offerings at the end of the harvest or the beginning of the planting season to usher peace, bumper harvest and progress for this Year.

“During this period, delegates were usually sent to the military by the village heads to seek the release of soldiers for this yearly ritual.

“Instead of releasing the soldiers yearly to perform the ritual, the British military authorities then, incorporated this tradition to the Army’s yearly activities and named it West African Social Activity.

“The traditional rituals included burning of sacrifices, traditional dancing and displays by masquerades among others,”he narrated.

He added that the British colonial regime upheld the tradition in the Army to command the confidence of soldiers, foster esprit-de-corps and share in the spirit of the existing cultural diversity of personnel and their families.

Brig. Gen. Dasuki emphasised that the tradition was sustained by the Nigerian Army after the nation’s independence in 1960, and had always been an annual recurring feature in the present NA.

The commander commended the Special Guest of Honour and other dignitaries for gracing the occasion, and urged them to relax and enjoy the wonderful displays lined up for their viewing and pleasure.

In his remarks, Kogi Governor, Alh. Ahmed Ododo, said he was thrilled and fascinated by the rich and diverse cultural heritage displayed by the personnel and their families.

Represented by the State Security Adviser, Cdr Jerry Omdara rtd, the governor said the event would allow people to appreciate their cultures better and help preserve and promote the nation’s cultural heritage.

“Our cultures and traditions are the foundation upon which our societies are built and the role of our heritage in our national existence cannot be overstated.

“It is therefore important that we as a people don’t lose track of our historical roots because our customs and traditions are our distinct identity,” Ododo said.

The governor commended the commander and his men for their exceptional commitment and efforts at securing Kogi and its environs.

“Your unwavering loyalty, sacrifices, extra hours of hardwork in planning and managing the emerging security threats in Kogi, have ensured its safety and that of the neighbouring States as well as the passing visitors,” Ododo said

He, therefore urged the personnel of 12 Brigade to be exemplary, compassionate and empathetic in the conduct of their operations and to always strive for excellence at all times.

NAN reports that the 12 Bde Year 2023 WASA was very exciting, featuring colourful displays and entertaining dances as well as the inspection of local dishes from different parts of the country as presented by various Brigade stands.

There was presentation of souvenirs, gifts to guests as well as Awards to six Deserving Soldiers for being effective and distinguishing themselves in their various units.

Other activities includes the Tug of war, combat display as well as cultural dance by various tribes such as Ebira, Igala, Igbo, Yoruba, Housa-fulani, and Langtang.

Dignitaries at the occasion include: the Obaro of Kabba, Oba Solomon Owoniyi; the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland HRM Alh. Mohammed Tijani Anaje; the Maigari of Lokoja, Alh. Ibrahim Gambo Kabiru, and representatives of Police, Commander NNS Lugard, Commander Naval Drafting, NSCDC, DSS, among others.

The climax of the event was the beating of the retreat and lightening of the bonfire.


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