In line with its ongoing effort at reforming and transforming the army into a formidable force capable of meeting the security challenges facing the country, the Nigerian Army has approved the promotion of 2,900 soldiers in the last one year.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, at the Command Officers Mess, Asokoro, Abuja during the decoration of 37 senior officers (formerly colonels) to the rank of Brigadier Generals.
Ihejirika further revealed that more soldiers would be promoted within the next one month immediately their documentation and verification processes were concluded with over 10,000 on the awaiting list.
The Army Council had in the last two months approved the promotion of 150 senior officers and phased out 51 others through voluntary or compulsory retirement from military service.
The COAS, however, made it clear that the vacuum created would be filled through the promotion of junior officers, which would shape new scheme of things in the oldest arm of the Nigerian military service.
He said: "Let me also use this opportunity to also inform you that the promotion is not just restricted to the (senior) officers. As at today, I have just been informed that 2,900 soldiers have been promoted. More soldiers will be promoted as soon as their documents are verified and the processes are expected to be completed between now and end of the month.
"I am aware that a total of about 10,000 soldiers have been recommended by their various commanders for promotion."
"On this note, let me once again congratulate those who have made it and to tell those who have missed this time around that it is not the end of the road," he added.
Ihejirika also warned the newly-promoted and decorated officers not to see their elevation as a jamboree associated with chieftaincy title acquisition but a call for more hardwork.
He said: "The process to get to this rank is tedious, hectic and takes a lot of hardwork, honesty, doggedness and the grace of God to make it to this level.
"I warned two years ago for those promoted officers not to see their promotion to the new rank as acquisition of a chieftaincy title as witnessed in my part of the country. Promotion is a recognition of harwork but it goes beyond that."
Quoting the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin (rtd), he said: "Promotion in the military is not just a reward but a demonstration of confidence on the part of the leadership that those promoted still have much more to offer.
"You have done well yes, but you are being promoted with expectation to contribute more to the country, meaning that you are yet to put in your best and we are looking forward to see your best and that is what we require to confront the challenges facing our nation," he noted.
Also speaking, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, commended the efforts of the Nigerian Army, describing them as the best in the country.
"I have continued to make the point that the Nigerian security officers remain the best trained and the most disciplined officers in the continent," Maku said.
"Today our military institutions have remained the pride of the continent as military officers from all over Africa have continued to come here for training."
"My charge for those newly promoted is that every promotion is a call for higher service, higher duty and of course a call to higher sacrifices," he stated.