By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
THE Chief of Air Staff, COAS, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao and Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State have described the former COAS, late, Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok, rtd, as a man of integrity, selfless, dedicated leader, God-fearing and a great achiever.
They spoke weekend in Uyo while presenting their condolences at the end of the funeral service conducted by the United Evangelical Church, held for late Eduok who died on January 6, 2021, at the age of 73.
Amao extolled late Eduok for being one of the best hands that contributed towards the successes recorded in the NAF, adding that dedication during his sojourn on earth made a significant and considerable impact on the overall development of the service.
His words, “Our able Air Marshal was a man of valour, integrity and a great achiever with unprecedented strive for success. He was a mentor to so many of us, both serving and retired. As the 12th Chief of Air Staff, he contributed significantly to the development of the Nigerian Air Force and impacted the service. He was my personal mentor.
“While serving as a Chief of Air Staff, late Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok brought operational and administrative experiences to bear in steering the affairs of the Nigerian Air Force. He was renowned as the first Chief Of Air Staff to procure a Helicopter which enhanced the capability and operational efficiency of NAF.
“Even in retirement, late former Chief of Air Staff continued to make invaluable contributions to the development of the service with significant input in the restructuring of the NAF to make it more effective in dealing with the contemporary security challenges facing the country. His contributions to the NAF, in pursuit of national security, will forever be remembered.
“Air Marshal Eduok will surely be missed for his professional contributions, not just to the Air Force and Akwa Ibom State alone but to the entire nation. In honour of his sacrifice to the service and the nation and recognition of his extraordinary crave for fitness the Ultra-fit Gymnasium centre at the Nigerian Air Force Base Yola was commissioned and named after Air Marshall Nsikak Eduok to immortalize him”
The COAS who recalled that two weeks ago the remains of late Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (Rtd) was laid to rest, thanked the governor for giving the two Air Marshals befitting burials and assured the state of NAF’s continuous support in the trying times.
Governor Udom Emmanuel while presenting his funeral oration said, “The late Air Marshall Eduok was one of our Ambassadors who epitomised the Akwa Ibom defining characteristics of duty, honesty, transparency, integrity, love for the country and God and he brought these inspiring ideas to bear in the course of his illustrious career with the Nigerian Air Force where he rose to the pinnacle of that noble Service as the 12th Chief of Air Staff, the first Akwaibomite to ever occupy that exalted position.
“Before us, today, in the flag-draped coffin, ladies and gentlemen, was a man who defined the true essence of the word loyalty.
” Not many people would have been possessed of such level of stoic resignation and a deep sense of equanimity as he did, when he was first announced the Chief of Air Staff, only to have it reversed a few days later, yet he did not display any sense of bitterness.
“The late Air Marshall Eduok was a man of deep faith, an Elder in the United Evangelical Church, founded as Qua Iboe Church. He believed in the immutable power of prayer. As a deep believer, he knew instinctively that who God chooses he qualifies and when the right time came, God elevated him to the position of the COAS”
In his condolence message, the Minister of Defence, Maj. General Bashir Magashi (Rtd) commiserated with the State government and family of the deceased, saying it was gratifying that he lived a worthy and exemplary life.
“Indeed I found in him striking lessons of selfless service, discipline and commitment. In the course of his glorious career in the Nigerian Air Force and to the country and the country at large. In times like this, mere words alone cannot express our sorrows or give you sufficient comfort”, he said.
Earlier in his sermon, the director, Chaplaincy Protestant church, NAF, Group Capt, Dogo Gani n his sermon reminded Christians to always learn to carry out God’s purpose while still alive through honest and selfless service to humanity.
He appreciated God that the deceased lived a life worthy of celebration and emulation evident in his selfless sacrifice for humanity and in the service of God.
” Everyone of us has a generation to serve, and limited time to serve. No matter how highly placed you are, one day you will go down the grave. Sadly, selfishness and self-centeredness, pride and arrogance has become the bane of our society today”
Past and present leaders who attended the funeral service held at the Ibom hall ground on Saturday were the former military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, John Ebiye, former governor, and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang, immediate past Chief of Naval Staff, Ibokette Ibas, former minister and Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) senator John Akpanudoedehe.
Also, both the Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Naval Staff were represented at the event