The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has successfully held a pulling-out parade in honour of the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin (retired). The ceremonial Pulling-Out Parade which took place today 16 February 2021 at the Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja, was the climax of events to mark the final exit and disengagement of the former CDS from the Nigerian Army after 40 years of meritorious service to the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).
In his valedictory speech at the event, the erstwhile CDS described his long and successful career in the AFN as uncommon grace and favour of Almighty God, as well as the magnanimity of President Muhammadu Buhari, who found him worthy to be appointed as the 16th Chief of Defence Staff of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
Gen Olonisakin (rtd) further maintained the AFN under his command and with the support of the political leadership was able to reclaim territories that were hitherto under the control of Boko Haram Terrorists.
According to him, the AFN under the current political dispensation has been transformed by building capacity and gaining valuable experience in fighting asymmetric threats which transited from fighting conventional war on land, sea and air to capacity to containing cyber-security threats.
The former Defence Chief, further disclosed that the military/defence diplomacy which was the overall strategy of the Nigerian Government by applying a whole-of-government approach to addressing the insurgency/terrorism gave birth to the operationalization of various military alliances between Nigeria and her neighboring countries, especially in the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
This efforts, he said led to improved regional cooperation and the strengthening of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
He further pointed out that the establishment of close interaction and liaison with other strategic partners such as the P-3 Partners comprising the United Stated of America, United Kingdom and France and some Middle East countries as well as South Africa was in the overall interest of the AFN and in furtherance of Nigerian national security efforts.
The former CDS thanked his former counter-parts within the African continent for supporting the AFN in its counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism campaigns.
According to the former CDS, “we have therefore built a solid foundation on which the current and indeed future generations of Nigerian military commanders can build on in the performance of their constitutional roles of defending our dear nation from both external and domestic threats to our corporate existence.”
Gen Olonisakin (rtd) posited that the establishment of DHQ Special Forces Brigade and its deployment to the Gambia in 2017 for Operation Restore Democracy enabled the restoration of democracy in that country following the aftermath of an election crisis.
On the welfare of personnel of the AFN, the former CDS said his administration embarked on numerous office and residential accommodations, approval of an improved Terms and Conditions of Service, and Manual of Financial Administration for the AFN.
He expressed appreciation to the Minister of Defence, members of the National Assembly, especially the Senate and House Committees on Defence for their support throughout his tenure in office.
He equally thanked the immediate Service Chiefs and the Chief of Defence Intelligence for their unwavering commitment to duty while in office.
The former CDS lauded the efforts, contributions and sacrifices of personnel of the AFN, veterans and civilian staff as well as troops in the various theatres of operation, urging the new military leadership to continue to provide the needed support to the families of military fallen heroes.
Gen Olonisakin who is a member of 25 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), thanked his course-mates for their inputs and service, describing them as his strategic team ‘A-Team’ which he said constituted members of the future Plans Committee.
Highlight of the ceremony included review of the parade by the immediate past CDS, march past in slow and quick time by 4 Guards comprising Nigerian Army, Navy and Air Force and the pulling-out of the former CDS and his wife, Mrs Omobolanle Olonisakin.
Among the dignitaries that graced the occasion were; the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Minster of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Mr Musa Instifanus, CDS, Maj Gen Lucky Irabor, Chief of Army Staff, Maj Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao.
Others were Heads of Security and law enforcement agencies, former CDS, Admiral Ola Saa’d Ibrahim (rtd), former CNS, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas (rtd), The President of Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association, Mrs. Victoria Irabor, and the Olode of Ode Ekiti.
Guber 2023: APC Youths Summon Akan Udofia
…Warn Habitual Candidates To Stay Off
A Coalition of All Progressives Congress Youth in Akwa Ibom State has called on billionaire oil magnate, Mr. Akanimo Udofia, to consider contesting for governorship of the State come 2023 on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC.
Mr. Udofia is the CEO/Managing Director, Desicon Engineering Limited, an engineering, procurement and construction services company, one of the major service providers in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. He was rumoured recently to have joined partisan politics on the platform of APC.
The APC youth coalition, which is an amalgamation of major political youth groups in the main opposition party in the State, made this call last Sunday, during its inaugural meeting at Akwa Ibom Renaissance Secretariat, Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Anthony Bassey, the leader of Akwa Ibom Renaissance, urged youths to close ranks and objectively weighed antecedents of every intending governorship aspirant against the collective dreams of Akwa Ibom people.
He said the era of use and dump politics is over as youths are determined to assert themselves and get involved in every aspect of state development from electioneering to governance, adding that the decision to call on Mr. Akanimo Udofia to contest the 2023 governorship election in the State was reflective of current expectations of Akwa Ibom youths.
Governor Udom Emmanuel (l) with Mr. Akanimo Udofia (m) and Senator Godswill Akpabio (r) during an award presentation ceremony in 2018.
A communique from the group, made available to The Guide Newspapers further strengthened this position, which was reached after a reassessment of the chances of the party and the desires of the younger generation to raise the ante of governance in the State and Nigeria as a whole come 2023 and beyond.
Giving reasons for its choice of Udofia, the group stated that “the State at this time is in dire need of a governor whom the people can look up from his past and current development drive and economic pursuits and connections within and around the Nation and the world and can easily attract industries, capital investment and strong capacity and ability to harness his personal resources and wealth of business acumen to the wealth and resources of the State for the general good of all irrespective of party lines, religious affinity, social status and inclinations; a detribalized Akwa Ibomite, a national and internationally known and recognized figure who could break even at any stage in the world for the good of the State.”
It continued that “after a thorough, painstaking soul search, we have come to the inescapable conclusion and we vouch for MR. AKANIMO UDOFIA as such a person that possesses all the earlier listed qualities, credibility and charisma that will give us victory with ease and will not be a disappointment to our great party and state come 2023.
“His aspiration will boost our chances and help to add quality and value to our primaries and general Elections come 2023. We hereby extend the call to our illustrious and distinguished son to contest the 2023 general election as Governor of Akwa Ibom state.”
Mr. Anthony Bassey, addressing representatives of APC youth groups in the State during the meeting at Akwa Ibom Renaissance Secretariat, Uyo, last Sunday.
The youth coalition acknowledged President Mohammed Buhari’s efforts to enhance APC’s political capital in the State through various appointments of party chieftains in his government, which sadly failed to bring about notable political gain to the party hence it admonished [federal political appointees] to harmoniously work together to foster the positive nest of political gains in Akwa Ibom State.
Furthermore, the group warned habitual governorship candidates in the party to take a break and embrace change, noting that from past contests they have tested their popularity and known their strength “we also have come to know in real political participation paradigm their strengths and weaknesses hence we appreciate all they have built for the party and their followers’ strength at each congresses and general elections notwithstanding.
“It is our earnest position that owing to their antecedents and precedents in past elections we note that if they continue to work together and see more of the party good and push forward an acceptable more credible, younger, youth friendly candidate and push same for presentation to the Akwa Ibom people, it will be very easy for our great party to take over government”. The group posited.
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