- Dash out ₦2 Million to Winning Command.
By Akanimo Kufre (Uyo)
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state has assured the Nigerian Air Force that he will provide land for the commencement of NAF operational command in the state.
The governor stated this as he addressed Chief of Air Staff and members of airmen at the closing ceremony of NAF Combat Sports Competition in Uyo last Friday.
“I want to commend the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubarkar for creating a working and pragmatic vision for the Nigerian Air Force. He is repositioning the Nigerian Air Force into a highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiative for effective, efficient and prompt deployment of air power response to Nigeria national security imperatives. It might interest you to know that this state is the largest oil producer today in this country but funny enough everything you see in this state from the airport you landed to every single tarred road you see not even a single project from the federal government. Not even a kilometre of road from federal government. That is why I commend the Chief of Air Staff for bringing this event to a struggling state like ours. You can see what we are able to put up here (stadium), it is one of the best in Africa. He will not retire until he gives me an air operational base in Akwa Ibom. I am ready and willing to partner with the Nigerian air force to establish their presence here. We have the land already and can add helicopter. I thank all the service chiefs that are present here and above all thank the commander in chief of the Nigerian armed forces. If he did not provide the resources NAF and other Armed Forces wouldn’t have been what they are today. I must thank President Muhammadu Buhari for being such a good general for all of us, including myself. Am not afraid to say this anytime, anywhere, he is the father of all of us!”
The governor also presented medals and trophies to personnel and commands for outstanding performances in difference combat sports. These sports included, combat swimming, combat boxing, invitational combat relay race etc. Earlier on Gov. Udom conducted the tug of war finals between team Logistic Command, LC and Team Special Operation Command, SOC.
The Chief of Air Staff, CAS, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, earlier in his remarks at the opening ceremony, reiterated the importance of physical fitness to a fighting force. He noted that physical fitness remains the cornerstone of military combat readiness and hence, the NAF leadership’s decision to sustain the annual 10 km walk/jog competition, quarterly route march exercise and the combat sports competition. Air Marshal Abubakar explained further that the willingness of the Service to continue to enforce physical fitness among NAF personnel could be predicated on one of the key drivers of his administration, which focuses on comradeship and regimentation.
The Ground Training Command, GTC came out tops on the medal table beating six other commands of NAF to become overall winners of the week long NAF Combat Sports ‘Uyo 2018.’
The Air Officer Commanding the Ground Training Command, Air Vice Marshall S. O. Akpasa who is an Akwa Ibom indigene took the victory as a pleasant birthday gift by winning the overall Games on his home soil. The governor while appreciating the officers and men of the GTC command announce the donation of ₦2 million to the trophy.
The Director, Material and System Management and Chairman of the Games Air Commodore M. U. Ekpoh in his vote of thank appreciated all for participation and contribution to the success of the championship.
“May I also express profound gratitude to His Excellency Gov. Ben Ayade, who was represented by his Deputy for his support and encouragement to NAF. Our gratitude goes to Honourable members of the National assembly for attending the ceremony of this magnitude. May I specially thank the executive governor of Akwa Ibom state, our host His Excellency Gov. Udom G. Emmanuel for his immense support all through the stages of preparation and execution of the sports fiesta. We thank the state Exco the wonderful people of Akwa Ibom state.”
Air commodore Epkoh also appreciate staff of the Akwa Ibom state ministry of Youth and Sports for facility and technical officiating.
Dignitaries in attendance at the closing ceremony included Director of Air Force, Ministry of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Defence Intelligence, members of Akwa Ibom State Exco, NAF Branch Chiefs, Air Officers Commanding, Commandants of Tri-Service Institutions, Unit Commanders, Senior Officers Serving and Retired including HE Idongesit Nkanga, Heads of Para-Military Agencies including NSCDC, NIS, DSS, NPF etc.