“Our militaries represent the conscience of our respective nations. Therefore, we need to approach our call to national duty with the utmost sacrifice and competence that our noble profession demands of us”.
This call was made by former Commander, Ghana Military Academy and Commandant of the Military Academy Training Schools – Major General (Maj Gen) William Omane-Agyekum (Rtd) –at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) 2022 Graduation Regimental Dinner on Friday, 12 August, 2022, which was held at the prestigious Military College.
Urging the African military Officers there gathered to love their countries and be patriotic, the Army General reminded them of the Chetwode Code; “The safety, honour and welfare of your country comes first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and everytime”.
“You are the future Generals of your various militaries and you need to properly position yourselves for it. Render selfless service to your respective countries and Armed Forces and be the agents of transformation wherever you find yourselves” he said to them.
The retired General, himself former Directing Staff, Chief Instructor, and Director of Studies at the Military College, averred that any good commander looks forward to working with well-trained and truly professional staff officers and subordinate commanders, in this case, to be assured of an effective and efficient headquarters, and be confident to release resources, both personnel and material, to a ready, willing and a reliable fighting force.
He intimated that that knowledge, competence and values, which every Commander expects in his staff and subordinates, is what have been imbibed into the military Officers during the eleven-month period of their stay in Ghana’s prestigious Military College and Center of Excellence.
Painting a picture of gleam of current global affairs of crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Monkey Pox, Marburg Virus Disease, growing spate of terrorism and Violent Extremism (VE) across the African Continent, implications of the Russia-Ukraine War on global peace and security, and the ravaging effects of climate change, he charged the students to provide useful professional advice to superiors, and offer quality leadership to subordinates.
“The truest integration of the African continent should be seen in the successful integration of African militaries for peace and stability on the Continent.”
Touching on an array of values required for a military Officer to meet the expectations of his country, the General cited leadership as being so important since it pulls nations out of crises, quoting Field Marshal Montgomery: “Leadership is the will to dominate, together with the character which inspires confidence”.
“Your character should inspire confidence. Indecision, cowardice, lack of seriousness, undermining of superiors, greed, excessive love for money – which will drive you to do shameful things, and many such vices do not inspire confidence”, the graduate from the Senior Command and Staff Course in Jaji, Nigeria stated.
To further buttress his point, he quoted Billy Graham, the renowned Bible Evangelist who said “when wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost”.
Staying on character, General Omane-Agyekum referenced William Howard Taft – 27th President of the United States, who said “Unless education promotes character making, unless it helps men to be more moral, more just to their fellows, more law-abiding, more discriminatingly patriotic and public-spirited, it is not worth the trouble taken to furnish it”.
Congratulating the Officers, he spoke against the tendency to stop learning, quoting President John Kennedy, the 35th President of United States, who said “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”, Mahatma Gandhi – “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”, and said the military life is a lifestyle of learning.
He urged the students to nurture the friendships they had made during the period, as they would need it one day, adding that the network is a huge wealth of social capital which should not go waste, and that the truest integration of the African continent should be seen in the successful integration of African militaries for peace and stability on the Continent.
“Good human relations is key. Emotional Intelligence is a game changer and you need to learn and put it into practice. In this era of mission command, you need to be nice and approachable. Respect the people you lead. Without them you are not a leader. Because as the Akans say, ‘obi nnim ɔbirempɔng ahyɛsiɛ’ – to wit nobody knows the beginning of a great person. Be humble and eschew pride.”
The Regimental Dinner, a light occasion for merry-making, was organized to honour students of the College’s Senior Command and Staff Course 43, for successfully going through 11 months of training, and the key indicator that the period of stay in the College closes on Friday, 19 August 2022.
The College’s Senior Command and Staff Course 43 is a “Past Staff College” package which includes its Master of Science (MSc) in Defence and International Politics (MDIP) program 2022, for 102 persons, 85 being Regular Students/Officers of the Military College, 59 of the 85 being from GAF, 26 from Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo, are designed to adequately equip and make students masters of military craft.
The 11-month period of the mandatory career course, saw the Officers being tutored variously including lectures, syndication presentations, and practical exercises such as Exercises WALK DANCE, MAZA MAZA, KAN LOKACHI, BATA BUO, NKABOM.
By Kofi Ampeah-Woode