By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Akwa Ibom State Government has approved 30 hectares of land for the Nigerian Airforce for the construction of an Air Traffic Services Training Centre (ATSTC) in Uyo.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Okadayo Amao, disclosed this during a courtesy call on Governor Emmanuel Udom.
The CAS and his team where in the state for the burial of former Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok.
A press release by Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola, Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, said the burial of the 12th CAS held at his country home in Mbak Ekpe on the outskirts of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
He said the CAS described the late Air Marshal as an amiable personality, a man of valour and integrity and a great achiever, with unprecedented drive for success.
“He was a mentor to so many of us both serving and retired. He was one of the best hands in the NAF who steered the tide of the Service towards the successes recorded in the past years. He changed the landscape of the Service and left the scene like a hero while the ovation was still reverberating”, the CAS said.
“According to him, late Air Marshal Eduok contributed significantly to the development of the NAF. He noted that the late CAS was his personal mentor, a great fighter Pilot whose transformational approach to leadership tremendously impacted on the development of the NAF. AVM Amao further described him as an accommodating Air Marshal, whose astuteness, diligence and dedication during his sojourn on earth made significant and considerable impacts in “our lives and the NAF as a whole”. Speaking further, AVM Amao stated that while serving as the CAS, late Air Marshal Eduok brought his wealth of operational and administrative experiences to bear in steering the affairs of the NAF. The feat, which he said, ultimately led to the outstanding transformations the Service is enjoying today.
He noted that the late former CAS was renowned as the first CAS to procure an attack helicopter which enhanced the offensive capability and operational effectiveness of the NAF. “A warrior that he was, Air Marshal Eduok saw to the successful conclusion of the National Peace Enforcement efforts in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Even in retirement, the late former CAS continued to make invaluable contributions to the development of the Service, with significant inputs towards the restructuring of the NAF to make it more effective in dealing with contemporary security challenges facing the Country. His contributions to NAF operations in pursuit of Nigeria’s national security and stability will forever be remembered”, the CAS said. “The CAS also used the opportunity to thank the Governor for his support to the family of late Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok while he was in the hospital and after his death.
“In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency, Udom Emmanuel expressed a deep sense of loss and grief on behalf of the Government and good people of Akwa Ibom State, as he bade farewell to Late Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok, whom he described as a quintessential Nigerian patriot, a trail-blazer, an epitome of courage and bravery, a decorated Air Force Officer and above all, a husband, father and a devout Christian.
“He stated further that, the late CAS was one of the Ambassadors in Akwa Ibom State who epitomised the State’s defining characteristics of duty, honesty, transparency, integrity, love for country and God which he brought to bear in the course of his illustrious career with the NAF where he rose to the pinnacle of the Service as the 12th Chief of Air Staff; “the first Akwaibomite to ever occupy that exalted position”, he said. “Speaking during the courtesy call, Governor Udom Emmanuel congratulated the CAS on his appointment and urged him to kick-start the construction of ATSTC without further delay. The Governor stated that the CAS was appointed at a critical time when the Country is facing serious security issues. He expressed his condolences on behalf of the good people of Akwa Ibom State to the CAS on the loss of the 7 NAF personnel who lost their lives in the recent ill-fated air crash.
“Mr Emmanuel assured that the State would continue to support the NAF in every way possible remarking that the State would be available to host any of the NAF’s or Armed Forces’ events, especially sporting competitions. He equally appreciated the CAS for ensuring that standards were maintained at the Air Force Comprehensive Secondary School in Akwa Ibom State to make it the best public school in the South-South Region and one of the best in the Country.”