Sunday, May 19, 2024

First lady commends first Nigerian female British military academy graduate

The nation would continually celebrate you because of what you have done.

• May 6, 2024
Remi Tinubu and Second Lt. Oluchukwu Owowoh
Remi Tinubu and Second Lt. Oluchukwu Owowoh[Credit: X]

The first Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, has commended Second Lt. Oluchukwu Owowoh for emerging as the first Nigerian female cadet to graduate from the Royal Military Academy (RMA), Sandhurst, United Kingdom.

Mrs Tinubu, who received Ms Owowoh, led by Maj.-Gen. John Ochia, the commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), to the State House on Monday, described her achievement as outstanding and divine.

“Your story is that of aspiration, resilience and determination; really, your case is divine; it is not because you studied very hard but because God selected you for a purpose.

“It is going to be from glory to glory; that is why we are here to celebrate you for what you have done, and I know that you still have more worlds ahead of you.

“I pray that goodness and mercy will continue to follow you. The nation would continually celebrate you because of what you have done.

Mrs Oluremi also commended the Nigerian Army for giving a female the chance to excel.

“I want to thank the Nigerian Army for giving you that opportunity and for realising that this is your time and you did not disappoint them.

“You have opened doors for other women so that they can look at them and give them a trial.

“I pray that God will teach you every step of the way, how to behave and that you will bring joy to your generation and the generation unborn because you have become a reference.

Mrs Oluremi further encouraged the nation’s youth to emulate Owowoh’s resiliency and cautioned them to desist from being destructive, lousy and problematic.

She, however, recommended Ms Owowoh for a national award and encouraged her superiors to encourage her to become a youth advocate for others to learn positively from her.

Earlier, Mr Ochai had said that Ms Owowoh’s outstanding performance marked history in countries like India, Pakistan, Qatar, the UK, Canada, Australia and others that brought their best to be trained in the institution where she succeeded.

He said that Ms Owowoh was subjected to rigorous training and that she excelled. “If she were male, we would have left it at that, but because she is female, we tested her and she came first in academics; even in the physical training, she went through a tough process until her male colleagues even noticed that we did not have to go further.

“In a male-dominated profession like this, in the Army in particular, what is significant about her graduation is that the RMA is one of the oldest military training institutions for the training of officers for the armed forces of countries in the Commonwealth and the UK.

“ The significance of Owowoh’s case is that, in the cause of the training, we selected the best; she surpassed the record of over 200 male cadet officers. When we did the selection, she came first and we doubted her.

“Secondly, she is going on a global skill; are we going to risk putting her there and probably if she eventually does not graduate, then it will be an embarrassment to the nation? We subjected her to another test and she came first again.

“In that academy, gender is not given preference; as a matter of fact, even in their accommodation, they share other facilities and control the same training; there is no concession; if you fail at any point, you will drop and she came out as the best.

“It is on that note that I wish to present Owowoh to you,’’ Mr Ochai said.

Oghogho Musa, the president of the Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association (DEPOWA), on behalf of other officer’s wives associates, who also accompanied the celebrant, appreciated the Nigerian Army for giving Ms Owowoh the chance to shine.

“We are sincerely grateful; today, our hearts are full of gladness because, as the commandant said, the NDA is dominated by men, and our sister excelled and became the overall best.

“We are grateful to God for giving us such a brilliant officer and keeping the flag flying for us. As women, we are happy that the inclusions we are talking about are seeing the result now.’’

Mr Musa said that her success would create opportunities for more women in the military to be included in key decision making and get involved in other notable exercises.

Ms Owowoh, in her response, expressed gladness and gratitude for the support she got, saying that “the nation should expect greater things from her.

“I feel honoured; I am overwhelmed because this does not come like an everyday breakfast. It is due to my hard work, dedication, God’s grace and mentorship from my officers and my parent’s advice that all this came together for me to be where I am today.

“Nigeria should expect the best from me; I will give my best in my capacity with the help of God and with the Nigerian Army giving me the backup that is required.

“I will also try to learn what is specific to my field and to my corps and try my best to deliver what I can.’’

Ms Owowoh, a 23-year-old officer of the Nigerian Armed Forces, graduated from RMA in a colourful sovereign parade on April 12.

She was a member of the 70 Regular Course before she proceeded to the RMA for training. Ms Owowoh passed out as second lieutenant alongside 24 other international cadets with honours and was recognised for her exceptional performance during her time at the RMA.

Other dignitaries who received Ms Owowoh alongside the first lady were the wife of the vice president, Nana Shettima, and the wife of the Chief of Army Staff, Maria Lagbaja, among others.


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