…As he decorates 13 Air Vice Marshals, 35 Air Commodores
By Joseph Erunke – Abuja
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Thursday, said it was important that the services of the Armed Forces were led by persons with good leadership qualities if what he called “costly mistakes” made during operations must be eliminated or minimized.
Abubakar, speaking after decorating the 13 newly promoted Air Vice Marshals and 35 Air Commodores, in Abuja, said the senior Nigerian Air Force officers were promoted to the next ranks because the service wanted to ensure that such attributes were met.
According to him, the promoted senior officers had worked hard to qualify for elevation to the enviable air ranks.
He observed that “In an increasingly complex security environment where new challenges call for the very best, human capacity development remains one key responsibility of a fighting force.”
“I need not stress that in the discharge of our professional responsibilities, the demands on members of the Armed Forces are unique.
“It is thus very important that the services are led by persons with good leadership qualities if we must eliminate or minimize costly mistakes during operations.
“This requirement is even higher in the case of the Air Force which is a highly technical service.
“I am proud to say that we have found these qualities in the 13 air vice marshals and 35 air commodores we have decorated this morning.
“These senior officers have worked hard to qualify for elevation to the enviable air rank hence we are gather here to celebrate this diligence and to congratulate them on their promotion to higher ranks,” he said.
Speaking further, he said: ” Personnel’s skill and commitment on-the-job go a long way to determining the overall success in the transformational drive and repositioning efforts of the Nigerian Air Force into a highly professional and disciplined force that would respond to national security imperatives.”
The Nigerian Air Force boss said: “While it is quite important to note that time on rank would, understandably continue to be central, factors such as merit, productivity, establishment vacancy, slots for deployment and, to some extent, geographical spread have combined to raise the bar and make the race even more competitive.”
” I, therefore, urge you to see your promotion as recognition of your professionalism and as being entrusted with the capacity to tackle higher responsibilities,” he said, adding: “As you must have realized by now, these officers have earned these ranks by dint of hard work amongst several other criteria considered.”
He spoke further: As part of our desire to reward excellence, we have chosen to have them decorated in front of their friends, peers and families. We believe that their families, particularly their spouses have been greatly involved in their accomplishments.
“We implore them not to relent in their support. Promotion through a reward for hard work is however considered a privilege and a call for higher responsibilities. I, therefore, charge all the officers decorated today, to brace up for the challenges ahead especially in our collective resolve to regenerate the Nigerian Air Force.
“I urge you to be prepared to apply your skills, experience, commitment and time when and wherever it is demanded of you as we continue to build a new NAF.
“We are all aware of the security challenges our dear nation has been battling with. Since the inception of this administration, you would recall that the Nigerian Air Force has over the years, set out to provide the required leadership for the repositioning of the Service into a highly professional and disciplined force. In this regard, human capacity development efforts were considered top priority.
” It is noteworthy that the aircraft serviceability rate across all NAF platforms has continued to improve. This is occasioned by the regular provision of critical spares and intensive training/retraining of aircraft maintenance engineers and technicians.
“The focus on human capacity development has also led to the achievement of great strides in Research and Development. The production of the diaphragm for the Mi-35P helicopter and L39ZA aircraft is an achievement the service is proud of.
“The Service has equally reactivated machine tools workshops both in Makurdi and Lagos so as to improve local fabrication and production of some fast-moving spares.
“Efforts have equally been made to expand the NAF Regiment Speciality with the Force Protection in Complex Air and Ground Environments and Special Operations Force/Special Forces training to equip the personnel with the skills required to adequately protect our bases and critical national assets.
“In terms of flying training, the NAF has winged a total of 101 pilots, out of which 6 are female pilots. This is a remarkable feat in the 55 years history of the Service. All these efforts were deliberate to ensure that the NAF is rapidly transformed and appropriately positioned to meet its constitutional mandate.
“We are glad that these efforts have so far yielded substantial results, and it is quite important to mention that our achievements could not have been possible without the support of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“The Nigerian Air Force is indeed grateful and remains loyal and committed to Mr President’s vision of a secure and prosperous nation. In this regard, I charge you all to rededicate your commitment to the service of our dear nation and prepare for higher challenges.
“Remember, that “in the race to add value to our society and secure our communities, there should be no finishing line.” Your promotion will cost taxpayers additional resources and this must translate to additional security for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Having said this, let me sincerely thank our invited guests for finding time to come and share in the joy of this occasion. My particular thanks go to the family members and friends of the officers decorated this morning for the support they have been providing all these years.
“These senior officers will continue to need this support, perhaps even more now than ever, because promotion demands higher responsibility.
“Mindful of the pivotal role that our spouses play in our career, I believe we should give special recognition to the wives of the decorated officers. I, therefore, crave the indulgence of the audience to give our spouses a rousing round of applause.”