Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has reiterated the need for Nigerians to, as a mark of honour for the sacrifices of the men and women of the armed forces, show more commitment to the unity of the nation and the task of building a better society.
Prof. Osinbajo, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, stated this Sunday at the Interdenominational Church Service to mark the 2021 Armed Force Remembrance Day Celebration, held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.
According to the Vice President, “drawn from all across the country, these brave men and women of the Armed Forces have made our nation proud and their lives show us what it means to be patriots. Each one of them remind us of the timeless words of our national pledge: ‘to be faithful, loyal and honest, to serve Nigeria with all our strength, to defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory’.
“It is to the memories of these heroes and heroines who fought, to preserve the freedom of the nations of the world from totalitarianism in the First and Second World Wars; to keep our Nation and its peoples as one in the Civil war; who laid down their lives in peace-keeping operations on the continent and elsewhere; who paid the ultimate price in the fight against the mindless terrorism in the North East; and in defending this land from other threats to security, that we pledge in the words of our National anthem that “the labors of our heroes past shall never be in vain”.
Speaking further , Prof. Osinbajo noted that “that promise that their blood, spilled on the field of battle, will not be wasted, is the burden that we, the living, bear. And it is an onerous one indeed.
“It means that we must commit to ensuring the unity of our nation, that regardless of the tensions on account of differences in politics, religion and ethnicity we are stronger together than apart.”
Emphasizing the need for all citizens to always strive to preserve the sacrifices of fallen heroes especially their efforts in building a more progressive society, the Vice President said that “we must at every opportunity insist that every great multiethnic, and multi religious nation has through thick and thin fought to realize the great dividends of diversity and pluralism.
“And that the struggle to ensure a more perfect federation is a lifelong enterprise to which each generation must resolutely commit.”
Speaking further while recalling the example of the late young Nigerian Air Force female combat pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, Prof. Osinbajo stressed “speaking of generations, we should be greatly encouraged and proud of the continuing commitment of our young men and women to serving in the armed forces.
“We remember for instance Ms.Tolulope Arotile who made history in October 2019, when she was winged as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot in the 55 years of existence of the Nigerian Air Force.”
“According to a statement by the Nigerian Air Force then, as of October 2019, Tolulope had acquired 460 hours (about 19 days) of flight within 14 months in flying a helicopter.
“Although her young life was cut short in very unfortunate circumstances, Tolulope lived her dream to join the Nigerian military and along with colleagues from all parts of this nation, to defend the territorial integrity, peace and security of this nation,” the Vice President added.
While extending condolences on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government, the Vice President prayed for “the families, relations and loved ones of our fallen heroes, those who daily bear the pain and deprivation of their absence.”