By Sumaila Ogbaje
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday unveil 81 national and regimental colours for the newly established and operationalised units and retired unit colours of the Nigerian Army.
The Army’s Director of Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said this while briefing newsmen on the Trooping and Presentation of Colours Parade on Tuesday in Abuja.
Nwachukwu said the last trooping and presentation of Colours Parade for the army units was conducted in 2007.
He added that new units had been established and operationalised since then in line with the increasing operational commitments of the army as well as provisions of its extant Order of Battle (ORBAT).
He said colours were usually retired after 10 years of service.
According to him, most of the colours in the Nigerian Army have been used in multiple operations in various geopolitical zones of the country as well as foreign countries, hence deserving retirement and the presentation of new ones.
“It is against this backdrop and in line with the traditions, customs and ethics of the Nigerian Army, trooping and presentation of colours parade 2023 will be conducted to retire torn or worn out colours.
“A total of 81 units will, therefore, be participating in the parade; 53 colours will be due for retirement, while 28 will be presented to new units.
“The event is a unique ceremony not only to the units eligible for colours presentation, as many are looking up to this ceremony to witness the height of military discipline and regimentation.
“No doubt the parade will win more admirers for the Nigerian Army as it will provide another opportunity to showcase its reputation for excellent and colourful parades,” he said.
According to him, the special guest of honour and reviewing officer is the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The event will also have in attendance members of the National and Executive Council, members of the Diplomatic Corps and Governors of the States benefitting Units.
“Others are Service Chiefs, past Chief of Army Staff, senior military officers both serving and retired, captains of industries as well as other important dignitaries,” he said.
Nwachukwu explained that the national and regimental colours carried by army units during parades and ceremonial activities were important source of identity and pride not only for the units involved but for the army and the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
He added that the sight of the colours created a feeling of pride in soldiers and ex-soldiers.
He said from ancient history, colours had served as inspiration for heroic acts of self-sacrifice and became the symbol of the fighting spirit of regiments.
He explained that colours also symbolised the campaigns, battle honours and badges granted to the regiment in commemoration of the gallant deeds performed by its members from the time it was raised.
“The association of the colours with heroic deeds of the units emblazoned on them has led to the custom of regarding the colours with veneration,” he added.
Nwachukwu advised motorists to make use of alternative routes and all proximate routes to the Eagle Square from 5.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on Thursday.