Former Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Arewa Consultative Forum Maj. Gen IBM Haruna (rtd) OFR, Walin Garkida, alongside four other eminent alumni of the Nigerian Military School (NMS) Zaria, have been appointed as Patrons of the FCT Chapter of the alumni body, The NMS Ex-Boys Association.
Whilst Haruna was elevated to the highest position of Life Patron, former Military Adviser to the United Nations and Assistant Secretary General in the UN, Lt. Gen Isaac Chikadibia Okafor (rtd) OFR; one-time Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Artillery (NASA), Col. John Okoli (rtd); former military administrator of Plateau and Rivers states, Col. Musa Sheikh Shehu (rtd) OFR and former Director of Finance and Accounts of the Nigerian Air Force, Gp. Capt. Yakubu Suleiman (rtd) were decorated as Patrons.
Speaking to journalists after the event, Maj. Gen Haruna (rtd) who was among the first set of 30 boys admitted into the school in 1954 and a Federal Commissioner for Information and Culture from 1975 to 1977 said:
"It is always a honor and a privilege to be accorded recognition. This means that they have been studying me and have found something which they believe will serve as a positive model for younger ones. The Nigerian Military School Zaria has always been at the forefront in the promotion of unity and patriotism. It is my hope that I will continue to be able to contribute my quota to ensure that these values are retained not just in our members but through them, to the wider society especially in these times."
"As at the time it was set up in 1954, the Nigerian Military School Zaria (then known as Boys Company) was the first military institution in Nigeria to be provided for in the federal budget during the colonial era. It was one of the very first attempts to bridge ethnic and regional lines and over 60 years after, it is still holding on to that tradition," he added.
While delivering his goodwill message, Lt. Gen. Chikadibia Obiakor used his personal experiences during and after the Nigerian Civil War to illustrate the power of the brotherliness that transcends regional and ethnic lines that exists between students of the institution and why Nigerians should emulate it as a way of life.
Capt. Hassan Baro, the Representative of Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello the Executive Governor of Niger - himself an alumni of the institution - also echoed the words of two Generals.
"NMS has always stood for unity. It has also produced great men who have held sway over the affairs of Nigeria and its products have shed blood for peace to reign not just in Nigeria but in several theatres of conflict across Africa," Capt. Baro said.
Another major highlight in the day's event was the induction of twenty-five Ex-Boys who had recently passed out of the military school into alumni body.
Other distinguished alumni who graced the occasion include the National President of the Association, Rear Admiral Godwill Ombo (rtd), former military administrator of Yobe state, Gp. Capt. Ben Kalio (rtd), Maj. Gen. Garba Audu (rtd), Brig. Gen. Mannix Nyiam (rtd), Col. Abayomi Dabiri (rtd), Col. John Adache (rtd) and Major Maxwell Alexander among others.