ABUJA — Following the decoration of the Service Chiefs and the Chief of Defence Staff by President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, and their subsequent assumption of office, a mild drama evolved at the Naval Headquarters when the outgoing Chief of Naval Staff and new CDS, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, burst into tears while reading his speech to herald his hand over to the new CNS, Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba.

Senior officers at the occasion, invited guests including wife of the new CDS, parents of the new CNS and members of the media were stunned when minutes into his speech, Ibrahim paused and started shedding tears only for him to say later that he was “only human and being emotional.”

Former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ola Ibrahim (L), handing over to his successor, Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba in Abuja on Monday

Vanguard gathered, however, that the CDS tears may not be unconnected with media reports alleging that the new CNS was unfairly treated by the administration of his predecessor to the extent that one of the best officers ever produced by the Navy had been in ‘Siberia’  until he was called to take over as CNS.

In his address, however, Admiral Ibrahim noted that he had no doubt in his mind that the new CNS was capable of taking the Nigerian Navy to a higher level, pointing out that the Navy had been a victim of negative perception.

He called on his successor to “keep the Navy family together” for achievement of better results.

Responding, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, who also shed tears,  said he was emotional about the occasion, noting that he was going to make discipline in the service his watchword.

He noted:“We must shape up or ship out.”

Discipline is the benchmark of any successful military organisation. In our armed forces today, we have issues with discipline. We must be firm, resolute to achieve our mandate which is to restore the best traditions and practices to the Navy.”

Continuing he said, “For us in the Navy, we are one close family because we interact as a team. On those principles I shall lead. Today Mr. President gave a directive that CNS, you must put a stop to oil theft, illegal bunkering, piracy, pipeline vandalization because they are killing our economy. It is a very big task but I know we can do it. It demands collective sincerity of purpose and leadership which I promise to provide”.

Earlier, the new Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh had while taking over command, described his predecessor, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar as ‘one of Nigerian Airforce finest gentlemen and an astute leader/achiever per excellence’ who did so much in transforming and developing the NAF.

He requested that the same support and cooperation given his predecessor which made him achieved so much should be extended to him so that his administration will improve from what he met on ground



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