The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has commenced a two-day Commanders’ Retreat for 2020 at the NAF Officers Mess and Suites Kado, Abuja. The Retreat, which holds from 20 to 21 February 2020, has in attendance NAF Commanders from Formations and Units across the Country, who essentially serve as the fulcrum for the translation and execution of NAF strategies into actionable plans through the daily leadership and administration of various NAF elements. The Theme of the Retreat, which is being held as part of efforts to evolve strategies to meet the requirements of the ever-changing national security environment, is “Enhancing Efficiency and Effectiveness of NAF Unit Commanders in Contemporary Security Environment”.
In his remarks at the event, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubarkar, reiterated that the Retreat was organised to enhance the capacity of Commanders and potential Commanders in the NAF. He noted that the vision of his administration is hinged on human capacity development. He disclosed that this was why the Service has made consistent efforts over the years to conduct over 26,000 training courses for officers, airmen and airwomen, both locally and abroad, across various NAF specialties, towards ensuring the effective and efficient employment of air power in response to National security imperatives.
Speaking further, the CAS reminded Commanders of their responsibilities to the Nation as a fighting force. According to him, the NAF is obligated to protect the sovereignty and sanctity of Nigeria as well as the lives and properties of the citizens and inhabitants. These objectives, he said, could only be achieved through a sound mind, renewed orientation and re-evaluation of one’s actions and inactions as a leader. “It is also pertinent to remind ourselves of the contemporary asymmetric nature of warfare, which has defied the conventional battle. We must recognise that this war cannot be fought in isolation of the civil populace, hence the need to integrate and win the hearts and minds of the civilian populace towards gaining intelligence to further our missions and operations”, he added.
Air Marshal Abubarkar went further to charge the Commanders on the need for prudent management of resources. According to him, in the midst of economic challenges, resources at the disposal of the NAF and its Commanders must be utilized prudently towards the attainment of set objectives. He added that the current Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has zero tolerance for financial misappropriation. The CAS therefore charged the Commanders to keep abreast of the financial regulations as regards the use of public funds. He assured them that the NAF Headquarters, on its part, would continue to work assiduously to ensure that the mandate assigned to the Service is achieved. “As such Commanders should remain assured of our support towards the successful conduct of missions and operations. I therefore implore you all to maximize the opportunity afforded by this Retreat to learn from the experiences of our retired colleagues, rub minds and clear grey areas”, he added.
In his remarks, the Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Isiaka Amao, who earlier welcomed the Guest of Honour and other senior officers to the Retreat, noted that the 2020 Commanders’ Retreat would consolidate on the gains recorded during previous editions, which, he said, reflected positively on the output of participants. He noted that, while the NAF was aware that the Commanders had acquired some knowledge and equipped themselves with various tools for the discharge of command duties either from staff courses, war colleges, defence colleges or through personal efforts, they would undoubtedly benefit from the experiences of others to function optimally. “Moreover, the fluid nature of the contemporary security situation requires Commanders to be flexible in the discharge of command responsibilities of which shared ideas and experiences could greatly help, in the light of command challenges”, he added.
Two presentations were made on the first day of the Retreat. The first presentation was made by AVM Gabriel Odesola (retired) on “Understanding the Rudiments of Command Responsibility in an Asymmetric Environment”, while the second presentation was made by the Assistant Director Analysis Compliance from the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). Day 2 will feature presentations on “Enhancing Civil-Military Relations – Commanders’ Role” and “Strategic Decision Making in Command Appointments – My Experience” by AVM PC Abel (retired) and AVM AA Zannah (retired), respectively. The Year 2020 Retreat is purposed to avail commanders and prospective commanders with out-of-the-book experiences from retired senior officers who held command appointments while in the Service. It will also provide room for sharing of opinions and experiences of various commanders on command responsibilities, issues and challenges.