Recently, Charles Nengite, a colonel in the Nigerian Army, bagged six awards and emerged second best speaker for 2016 Strategic Officers’ Course at the United States War College. He shares his experience during the programme with PREMIUM TIMES’ Aminu Adamu, in this interview.
PT: In a class of 308 Americans and 79 foreign students that
participated in the strategic officers’ course at the USAWC you
distinguished yourself by winning six awards and emerging the second
best speaker for 2016. Tell us about it.
Nengite: First of all, I did not expect to perform
so well partly because I had my apprehensions. But the system is
designed to bring out the best in you and it is very fair and so with
every task and course requirement I found myself doing very well. At one
point I felt I should just seize the moment and give that extra effort
that made the difference. One thing I have to make clear is that the
college discourages calling someone the best graduating student because
in the college, competition is discouraged. Instead participants are
encouraged to seek collaboration and team work. At the end you graduate
in the class as best graduating student of the college. That way your
performance is timeless and you are regarded as a distinguished graduate
of the college.
The college provides graduate level instruction to senior military
officers and civilians to prepare them for senior leadership assignments
and responsibilities. In other words, the college educates current and
future leaders on the development and employment of land power in a
joint, multinational and inter-agency environment.
The six awards and honours I won are the
award, the United States Army War College Commandant’s award for
distinction in research for my strategy research project “Boko Haram”,
establishing an intelligence fusion centre to combat the terrorists”.
Others are a recognition award for my efforts at creating awareness for
the Sexual Harassment and Response Program (SHARP) and the 2nd place
award for the 2016 public speaking competition which is a very tough
competition among the student body.
The honours include being the President, International Fellows and
Vice President of the entire student body comprising 381 students. These
are appointments with very demanding responsibilities. What makes the
college awards and honours special was that there were very strict
guidelines to win and the process was very transparent. Notable alumni
are Dwight D Eisenhower (class of 1928), George S Patton (class of
1932), Ulysses S Grant 111 (class of 1934), and Omar Bradley (class of
1934). Others include Norman Schwarzkopf (class of 1973), President
Muhammadu Buhari (class of 1980), and Abdul Fatah Al Sisi (class of
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