From Joe Effiong, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanue has expressed agony over the rapid deaths of some prominent persons in the state, especially retired military officers.
Speaking at the funeral of the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Nsikak Eduok, organised at Ibom Hall grounds, Uyo, and officiated by the United Evangelical Church and the Nigerian Airforce Chaplaincy, on Saturday, Governor Emmanuel mentioned the former director of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Major General Edet Akpan (retd), the former military governor of the state, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd) and late Nsikak Eduok as those who deaths have seriously hurt the state.
He said in his funeral oration rhat the late Air Marshall Eduok was one of the state’s ambassadors who epitomised Akwa Ibom’s defining characteristics of duty, honesty, transparency, integrity, love for country and God, and who brought those inspiring ideals to bear in the course of his illustrious career with the Force, where he rose to the pinnacle of service not only as the 12th Chief of Air Staff but also as the first Akwa Ibom citizen to occupy the position.
‘Before us today, in the flag-draped coffin, ladies and gentlemen, was a man who defined the true essence of the word loyalty,’ the governor stated at the funeral.
‘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 speech, the Chief of Sir Ataff, Vice Marshal Oladayo 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 significant and considerable impact on the overall development of the service.
‘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 on 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 an 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 immortalise him.’
The COAS, who recalled that two weeks ago the remains of late Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd) 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.
Earlier in a very brief homily, the Director, Chaplaincy Protestant Church, NAF, Group Capt, Dogo Gani, had 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,’ Gani said.
Eduok died on January 6 at the age of 73.