Shamaki Adamu aka Hassan OluwaShamakz is a soldier of the Nigerian Army, a university graduate before joining the army. This Kaduna-born lad has been on the battlefront for years now. Something very tragic happened while on the battlefront, he lost his elder brother. But he didn’t get to hear until months later. He stumbled on the internet and found to his chagrin that his brother had passed away. He called home and the story was same. Like that, he returned to the war front where has been home for him for years!
He is not alone in this excruciating venture, many others are sandwiched in this expedition to save the land. They deny themselves the comfort of life, the warmth of family life, and the peace of mind to ensure we have peace. Many have been killed, others maimed both physically and psychologically.
Nationalism on its own is not reflected in the names of citizens but runs in the blood of a people. Countries survive on the sacrifice of their people. Most of the great countries in the world today are those whose citizens made great sacrifices and whose leaders laid great paths and through painful decisions. Countries at one point or the other passed through trying times in the course of their nationhood yet they came out strong because of the worthiness of their citizens.
Our soldiers are the implementers of decisions and policies made by our leaders. They make the sacrifice of defending the land. No amount of tribute can equate their sacrifices. They are our heroes in times of terror. They are the buffer zones of our territorial existence, they are always there to clear our mess. Tragically, they are the least paid on the ladder of national emoluments.
Our soldiers are real citizens defined purely by patriotism. They are the symbol of true nationalism. They are indigenous to specific native land, different family lines, different religious and cultural orientations, these they put aside to ascribe to one creed which is Nigeria.
Nigeria has lost a good number of military personnel in the quest to oust the Boko Haram insurgents. Significant number of our soldiers have been killed not because they lack the gallantry. Those killed hailed from families, they have wives, children, parents and friends, even beautiful dreams for the future. Have we ever considered the plight of those they leave behind?
The major strength of the terrorists over the military is the gamut of psychological support they get from the citizens, particularly the right groups. Citizens and journalists are quick to give prominence to the activities of the insurgents more than they give to the military. Military actions are subjected to forensic diagnosis while the onslaught of the insurgents is given front-page prominence and timeliness. The actions of citizens go a long way to determine the outcome of the war against insurgency. We must not be seen to be oiling the furnace of the terrorists while we dampen the morale of our soldiers.
We as a people, in our individual and collective contracts as a nation, must give them the honour and reward for their sacrifice. They put their lives on the line as a divide between us and the terrorists. The comfort of their families should be our responsibility, Nigeria owns them the responsibility of honouring with commendable medals of service. We the people owe them the duty of moral support. Nigerians must stand with the military, for our soldiers are the heroes in this trying time of our nationhood.
This piece is dedicated to all the men and women of the Nigerian Military as the nation celebrates the annual Army Remembrance Day.
*Abdullahi O Haruna Haruspice is the Musing General of the Federation.