Following the recent approval by the Air Force Council of the promotion of some senior Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officers to the next higher ranks, the NAF, today, 11 December 2018, decorated 14 Air Commodores and 36 Group Captains with their new ranks of Air Vice Marshal and Air Commodore, respectively, at the Headquarters NAF Abuja. Additionally, for the first time in the history of the NAF, 4 Senior Non Commissioned Officers (SNCOs), who were granted concessional commission, were decorated with the rank of Flight Lieutenant for their exceptional performance and contributions to the NAF over the years. Notable among the 4 newly commissioned officers is Flight Lieutenant Aniemeka Enem, who had earlier been promoted to the rank of Air Warrant Officer in 2017 for his various contributions to Research and Development in the NAF as well as for emerging as the overall best graduating doctorate student at the Babcock University, Ogun State.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who, alongside other dignitaries and the spouses of the beneficiaries, decorated the officers, noted that the promotion of the senior officers and concessional commissioning of the 4 SNCOs were premised on their past performances and the resolve of the Service to constantly reward excellence. Speaking particularly on the concessional commissioning, the CAS stated that the beneficiaries, who had each put in not less than 33 years of outstanding meritorious service to the nation, had been found to possess exemplary leadership qualities. He noted that their commissioning was a reward for hard work and would also serve as motivation for other airmen/airwomen to aspire for such rare elevation. In order to ensure the newly commissioned officers quickly come to terms with their new status, the CAS gave directives that they be immediately moved from SNCOs’ quarters into officers’ quarters at their various units.
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar highlighted that the increasingly complex and challenging security environment required the Service to put forward its very best at all times. He therefore noted that promotion could no longer be business as usual. According to him, “while time on rank would, understandably, continue to be central, factors such as merit, productivity, establishment vacancy, deployability and, to some extent, geographical spread have combined to raise the bar and make the race even more competitive”. He explained further that, in the discharge of military responsibilities, the demands on members of the Armed Forces are unique, requiring, in some instances, paying the supreme price. Thus, he said, “it is very important that the Services are led by persons of exceptional leadership qualities so as to eliminate or minimize costly mistakes in the fog of war, which is even higher in the case of the Air Force given the complex nature of air operations”.
The CAS specially applauded the spouses and family members of the celebrants while imploring them to sustain the support to enable them excel in their new, higher responsibilities. He ended his remarks by tasking the newly promoted officers to brace up for the challenges ahead especially in the collective resolve to regenerate the NAF and secure Nigeria and Nigerians. He urged them to continue to apply their skills, experience, commitment and time when and wherever it is demanded. He also reminded them that the taxpayers, who would bear the additional cost of the elevation, expect more from them. He stressed that they would therefore need to critically interrogate every process, procedure and strategy being used today to ensure Nigeria’s sovereignty is not undermined.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chief of Administration (COA), Air Vice Marshal Kingsley Lar, noted that the occasion was another milestone in the career development of some of the officers who were able to scale through the painstaking screening process and the approval by the Air Force Council. According to him, the selection process culminating in promotion is usually an exhaustive one which involves applying stringent criteria for elevation, especially to the prestigious air rank. He explained further that several qualities and conditions are used to determine an officer’s eligibility for promotion; the most critical of these being merit. He however pointed out that it does not mean that the officers who were not promoted are not fit but for the constraint of establishment vacancies. The COA noted that elevation comes with higher responsibilities and therefore enjoined the newly decorated officers to be more diligent, committed and accountable in the discharge of their duties as well as in their interactions with their professional colleagues and civilians.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force