Members of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) 35 Regular Course on Saturday, honoured their course mate and the immediate past Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, for his outstanding performance as air chief.
The President, 35 RC Foundation, retired Air Commodore Emmanuel Golit, extolled the virtues of the former air chief at a reception dunner, organised by members of the 35RC foundation in Abuja.
Golit said Amao who is the Patron of 35RC foundation was also the last man standing of the course in the military in recent time.
He said Amao served the air force in different strategic levels such as Air Component Commander, Operation Lafia Dole, Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Tactical Air Command and Chief of Training and Operations at NAF Headquarters.
Golit said the former air chief also served as Commandant, Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, among others, adding that the exposures and experiences garnered in those appointments, contributed immensely to his outstanding performance as the 21st CAS.
“Upon his assumption of office, the Operational, Logistics, Administrative and other key specialised areas of the Nigerian Air Force, witnessed improved consolidation of the previous visions of his predecessors.
“It is equally heartwarming to re-echo the many successes recorded by Amao, some of which were the purchase and induction of new Aircraft types, Drones and other equipment for the NAF by the Federal Government.
“The NAF under the able, focused and highly professional leadership of Air Marshal Amao witnessed renewed vigour from personnel.
“Additionally, certain issues like inter- service rivalry which hitherto hampered harmonious operational collaboration and effectiveness were resolved in synergy became a thing of the past.
“Resultantly, NAF Pilots engaged in fighting Counter-Terrorism operations and other security challenges attended to ground forces at the press of a button,” he said.
Golit said there was improved mission focused intelligence gathering during Amao’s stewardship of the NAF.
According to him, this helped in targeting enclaves and strongholds of terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements located in various parts of the country.
He added that one of his last operation as CAS was the attack on terrorists who were gathering somewhere at the Mambila area.
Golit said those were the kind of strikes recorded regularly by the NAF during his tenure as CAS.
He further said that the NAF received several weapons ordered before his appointment and he made very good use of them just as he invested in training and retraining of more fighter pilots to boost their total number for effective and efficient air power delivery.
“He also invested massively in the training of many technicians for the maintenance of platforms in the NAF.
“Aside these, Air Marshal Amao concentrated on Research and Development, among other several achievements too many to mention.
“In terms of infrastructural development, he improved significantly on what his predecessors, earlier did, laying emphasis on Barrack renovations and establishment of Units to meet NAF operational gaps.
“It is therefore heartwarming to report that most NAF personnel who spoke about Air Marshal Amao’s leadership of the NAF praised his welfare oriented and compassionate pedigree.
“This essential attribute boosted the morale of all NAF personnel.
“A similar report is shared by many NAF veterans across board whose medical bills and welfare issues were attended to with utmost compassion and empathy.
“Accordingly, we the members of 35 RC foundation and our spouses are very pleased to celebrate Air Marshal Amao for a highly successful tour of duty in the Nigerian Air Force spanning 40 years and as the 21st CAS,” he added.
Responding, the ex-air chief thanked the association for organising the grand reception dinner in his honour to celebrate his retirement from the service of the NAF.
Amao said the gesture speaks to the strong bond of friendship that existed among the members of the course since their days in NDA between 1984 and 1986.
He said they had been supportive to one another, adding that they had lost a few of their colleagues, including the former Chief of Army Staff, late Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.
“I am grateful that the Foundation has been reaching out to the families that our late colleagues left behind. I’m equally enthralled by the fact that the 35th Regular Course, known as the Friends of the Needy and Super Foundation, has been growing in leaps and bounds.
“The Foundation has touched so many lives and given support to the needy in our society. It is perhaps part of the foundation’s efforts at touching lives that this grand reception has been put together in my honour,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that both senior and junior officers who worked with the former CAS, took turn to pour glowing encomium on him and prayed for him as well.
Among them is the Senator representing Plateau South in the 10th Assembly, Sen. Napoleon Bali, a retired Air Vice Marshal and member of 35 RC, who urged him to deploy his wealth of experience to promote politics.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria