The Country Race and the Green Berets

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soldiersThe prevailing line of thought among some Nigerians today that; our soldiers, who are currently in battle field in defense of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian nation, appear to be losing the battle due to their inadequate training, may not be true after all,it’s twin argument of inadequate and poor arms may still stand, what is obviously clear from the last week hot battle between the soldiers and the Boko Haram insurgents, which led to about half of a thousand of our green berets over zealously charging beyond our geography(pun intended!) into the Cameroonian territory, proves the point that after all, our soldiers might not have had adequate training in defeating a handful of dissidents, who lurk in a government-owned forest reserve raising arms against the state, they are adequately trained in trail blazing records as most athletic soldiers in history. It takes some soul snapping drills to make a soldier a complete athlete!

Back to my secondary school days, we used to do what was called a “country race”. We would take off from the assembly ground in the morning and race round the town only to end it at the starting point . I had always wondered why it was called a ‘country race ’ when we only ran round the town. That question had always erupted and collapsed within my mind as I had never bothered to ask any of my teachers. The answer too, had remained elusive not until last week when our green berets demonstrated what my curiosity finally came to terms with as the correct definition of a “country race” – running on foot from one country to another!

While the news hit the media that some Nigerian soldiers had been pursued into Cameroon by the Boko haram insurgents, it initially came as an embarrassment to many of us until when the defence headquarters quickly came out to “debunk the rumours” and gave us the “true picture” of what had transpired. The DHQ, through it ‘s eloquent brigadier Chris Olukolade had described what happened as a “Tactical maneuver ” which was meagerly explained as our soldiers purposefully “charging” towards the Cameroonian territory to round up the insurgents and crush them from a vantage point. He further explained that the soldiers, having realized that they had entered into the Cameroonian border, voluntarily laid down their arms to avoid threatening the Paul Biya’s army.He meant the cameroonian soldiers who have always won Boko haram in all their own encounters! Why will Cameroon not be threatened by Nigeria? Didn’t we show them during the bakassi peninsula dispute that our soldiers are too gallant to dare? Haven’t we also demonstrated from the current fight against insurgency that any external aggression would be crushed within twinkling of an eye?

The Cameroonian authority described the same occurence as “disarming” many Nigerian soldiers that fled to her territory, while being pursued by the insurgents. What Chris Olukolade did not tell us was that these soldiers had had all their vans captured and set ablaze by the Boko haram fighters and the trans-border “tactical maneuver” that ensued was not without their boots on the sand, while the charging lasted. We were also not told about how the soldiers had demonstrated their overzealous gallantry by charging to Cameroon without waiting for the mandatory order from their commanders as their professional codes of ethics demand, not mentioning the fact that neither the foot soldiers nor their commanders had it as part of the plan to charge in that tactical maneuver, and that the soldiers only paid homage to the rabbit.

By the time the DHQ spokesman had finished with his apologetics,the lexicon in our comic library had increased by another vocabulary. Then there is that economic advantage of the last week event, which has ushered in another economic opportunities for the “socio-comical entrepreneurs” among us. “Tactical maneuver”, being the latest “hit-phrase” in our socio-comical parlance after the other now moribund ones such as “oga at the top” and “there is God o”. The new vocabulary too, will soon be on customized brands like T-shirts, bags, and so on, with some smart “Okoro” and “Kanayo” spinning thousands and smiling to the bank while others are busy popularizing the phrase as part-time freelance rib crackers. Our military and paramilitary outfits are now emerging as sub-sectors of the fast growing entertainment Industry!

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