PRINCE HARRY AT WAR FRONT: LESSONS FOR NIGERIAN ARMY
On the front page of The Sun, a popular London Newspapers among the middle class reads:"WARRIOR Prince Harry will be rewarded for his heroics in Afghanistan with promotion — and a pay rise worth £11 a day. Harry, 23, will be made a full Lieutenant after the success of his first combat mission. His salary goes from £20,173 to £24,247.
What are the lessons derived from this? Gen Olusegun Obasanjo's son is today a Colonel in the Nigerian Army, but never had the baptism of fire at ECOMOG in the 1990s when he was at the rank of Lt Harry. Same goes for all chidren of the timbre and calibre of Nigeria, but yet, their children are promoted far and above their colleagues, with juicy appointments abroad and of course, with fat salaries. Have you heard that the reason why the prince had to be at the war front, is because it will affect his promotion and salary emolument?
The prince never had any preferential treatment at the front, his military gears- boots, uniforms, weapons and stuff is the same with the kitting procedures of the British soldiers and officers. He ate and drink and accomodated in the same place with his colleagues. His Commander was never at any time summoned by the Defence Chief or retired for giving orders to the prince while on military training and any military duty.
The implication of this all important news is far reaching.
(a) It means the British military keeps to the rules of mlitary welfare, knowing that it is the national army belonging to all.
(b) every penny disbursed for the purposes to which they were budgeted for were strictly adhered to. No allowance is held back or cut into Army Chief pot - 'Millo 9'.
(c) Second hand weapon or short changed military armament can never find its way into the armoury of the British military as it is norm in Nigeria with dead air coffins called aircrafts.
(d) High morale is boosted and enhanced, thus compelling all citizens to serve in the British military is maintained as it is viewed as a privilege and honour to serve one's national army.
(e) signal of psychological warfare - warning to the terrorist organisations and Islamic fundamentalists that the British are not asleep or yobbish as any one may think. Thus, if threatened, every British is a soldier, and indeed a warrior. Rule Britannica indeed!
Nigeria has the potential to lead Africa and set standards. We have a lot in common with Great Britain. Nigeria was once a British colony, just as Britain was a Roman colony. What is more, Nigeria has Oil, while Britain has none. In fact any attempt to parallelism is tantamount to comparing sleep with death.
But at least, let us seize this opportunity to rethink - reduce corruption and play by the rules. I have said it once, that not for the poverty in Nigeria, the Nigerian Army will have to use force to get men and women to serve in the national Army, because of the way its men are treated as slaves. There is need for an overhaul of our training and doctrine command to meet international standard.
Editor-in-Chief, Defence Times Newsmagazine, London.