BEING THE FUNERAL ORATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. UDOM EMMANUEL, GOVERNOR, AKWA IBOM STATE AT THE FUNERAL OF THE LATE FORMER CHIEF OF AIR STAFF, AIR MARSHAL NSIKAK EDUOK, MBAK EKPE, IBESIKPO ASUTAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, FEBRUARY 27TH, 2021
I stand here today filled with a deep sense of loss and grief on behalf of the Government and the good people of Akwa Ibom State, to bid farewell to a quintessential Nigerian patriot, a trail-blazer, an epitome of courage and bravery, a decorated Air Force Officer and above all, a husband, father and a devout Christian the Late Air Marshall Nsikak Eduok, CFR, DSS, MSS. FSS, USAWC, PSC (+).
The late Air Marshall Eduok was one of our Ambassadors who epitomised the Akwa Ibom defining characteristics of duty, honesty, transparency, integrity, love for country and God and he brought these inspiring ideals to bear in the course of his illustrious career with the Nigerian Air Force where he rose to the pinnacle of that noble Service as the 12th Chief of Air Staff, the first Akwaibomite to ever occupy that exalted position.
Before us today, in the flag-draped coffin, ladies and gentlemen, was a man who defined the true essence of the word loyalty. 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 Chief of Air Staff.
It is on record that during his tenure, he brought about enduring innovations and inspired many of his subordinates who today, are critical members of the lean, agile and fantastic fighting force that the Nigerian Air Force has come to be known for and admired.
In retirement, the late Air Marshall Eduok, chose to relocate to his home State, and was a dependable statesman, a voice for reason and moderation whose counsel when sought was always ready and on point.
Today, our late Air Marshall having earned many flying miles and weathered the turbulence, has made a final landing and the applause is thunderous and the appreciation immense and rightly so!
Let me end this oration by quoting a line from the 19th Century Unitarian preacher and writer, Minot J. Savage “The brave die never, though they sleep in dust. Their courage nerves a thousand living men”
Though Air Marshall Eduok is no longer with us, the courage he exhibited, the life of honesty, loyalty and patriotism he lived by will continue to nerve a thousand living men, especially those in the Nigerian Air Force and indeed the larger Nigerian socio-political space.
As we say it here, Ete, esieroooo! Good night our Air Marshall. May your soul find repose in the bosom of our Lord and Creator.