Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike(middle) with JTF Commander Major General Sarkin-Yaki Bello

In the Nigerian Armed Forces,an officer is clearly and at all times identified by his course intake.There is simply no way round it.

Between March 1960 and March 1964, all locally trained officers came through a 6-month training course at the then Nigerian Military Training College. Every six months,a fresh set of officer cadets came into the College for training and thereafter moved out of the country for their Young Officers Course(orientation basically)and specialized infantry,armour, artillery,engineers training.

The first crop of officers trained at the NMTC beginning in March 1960 included Generals TY Danjuma,Sam Ogbemudia,Alani Akinrinade,Emmanuel Abisoye,Alabi-Isama etc.

In 1961(2 intakes),the likes of Abdullahi Mohammed,Anthony Ochefu,Ebitu Ukiwe,DY Bali,G.Innih etc came through the College.

In April 1962,Muhammadu Buhari,Shehu Yar’Adua,Chris Ugokwe,Aduloju,Zamani Lekwot,Shelleng,Hananiya etc had their turn. 6 months later,IBB,Abacha,Magoro,Garba Duba,Useni,Nasko,YY Kure,Ola Oni,Nebo among other accomplished and very experienced(sadly)coup plotters had their turn too.

Eventually after the 1963 intakes,the Nigerian Defence Academy was born in March 1964. The NDA was to train officers for 3 years instead of 6 months,equipping them with the NDA Certificate of Education which was basically GCE A’Level after 2years and in their 3rd year,they received exclusive military training.

NDA’s Regular Course 1 had the likes of Allison Madueke,Joshua Dogonyaro,Bello Khaliel,Ekundayo(Taribo West’s ex-father in law),Salihu Ibrahim,Gusau,Rabiu Aliyu,Ishola Williams etc.  RC 2 had Opaleye,Iweze,Dyeri(beautiful Amina Sijuade’s father),Unimna,Kupolati,Bakut,Jubrilla Ayinla,Ejembi etc.

As of July 2005, RC 15 officers who were all commissioned in June 1976 and RC 16 officers who passed out in Dec 1976 were Brigadiers-General or equivalent.

The Nigerian Emergency Commission which later became the Short Service combatant Course was inaugurated in March 1967 to rapidly train cadets for 3months.The emphasis was on serving NCOs and ex-boys of the Nigerian Military School(NMS) to make up for the short duration of the training. At the time,the Army’s officer corps had been badly hit by the exodus of Ibo officers back to Eastern Nigeria. The officer corps and the teeth arms of the Army until 1966 had been dominated by Ibo officers.

”  The NMS had come into being in May 1954.The Boys Company as it used to be called was established as a full fledged training institution under the regimentation and administration of the defunct Nigerian Regimental Training Centre (NRTC) now Depot NA. The aim of the school was the production of “middle and skilled manpower” to replace the departing British Colonial NCOs. Thus, a lot of emphasis was laid on military and academic training. In 1958, ten Boys from the School sat for the overseas Armed Forces General Certificate Examination and the school changed to school certificate status. ”

But Back to the Nigerian Emergency Commission later known as SSC 1. It had the likes of then Sergeants Tanko Ayuba(later Major General)who left the NMS in 1961 and as was customary then was made an NCO,as well as Sergeants John Shagaya and John Inienger who later rose to become one-star and two-star generals. To meet the exigencies of war,the SSCs came in every 3 months and moved straight to the battlefield thereafter.

The most famous SSC 2 officer is General Chris Alli,a first-rate iIntelligence officer(crisis Adminstrator of Plateau State)who later became a Chief of Army Staff. SSC 3 had the likes of Generals Ahmed Abdullahi(ex GOC 1 Mechanised Div) and Alwali Kazir. SSC 4 had the likes of the two Bamaiyis,Ibrahim Sabo,Ibrahim Karmashe,Aziza etc.

It is apparent that the succession to the exalted position of COAS has been by course succession. For example,an SSC 2 officer left off for an SSC 3 officer and he in turn got replaced by an SSC 4 officer. The trend explains the all-important nature of officers identification of each other by course intakes


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
This entry was posted in NIGERIA, NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES, NIGERIAN MILITARY HISTORY and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. farayola gideon says:

    I have been reading about army all my life and I hope to be one after my degree program. Its something I will say its my calling and I know I will contribute In no small measure to the nigerian army. Long live nigeria

  2. I want to join Nigeria Army

  3. hassan says:

    i want to join Nigeria army pls how can i make it

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