Okon Bassey in Uyo
The people of Akwa Ibom State were in mourning mood at the weekend as the remains of another high ranking Nigerian Air Force officer from the state, late Air Vice Marshal Mfon Udo Ekpoh, were laid to rest.
At the funeral service in honour of the deceased two-star military general held at the Ibom Hall Arena in Uyo, the state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, described as saddening the grave losses of its illustrious citizens in the Nigerian Air Force in quick succession.
He said: “It’s a difficult moment for me. …I stand to be corrected, the number of Air Force Generals we’ve lost this year alone from the state is high, and I think we need prayers as a state. I don’t know if as at today, we still have a single two-star general in the Air Force any longer, as we’ve lost AVM Ekpoh, someone that was just promoted a year ago.
“We are gathered here, united in pain, grief-stricken, because lying before us this afternoon, are the remains of a patriotic Nigerian, a strategic ambassador of our dear state, a man imbued and illuminated by the fiery passion to serve God and uplift the ideals of our common humanity.”
The governor thanked God for the fortitude granted the family to carry on through the period, and thanked the leadership of the Nigerian military and the Redeemed Christian Church of God for honouring the bereaved family and the state.
He described the deceased as a bridge-builder, an epitome of humility, who saw and cultivated the best of the human condition.
Emmanuel noted the late Ekpoh’s kindredship and described him as an epitome of peace, despite being trained for war, a man with a genuine heart, whose words were his bond and a lover of the people who could take any opportunity to advance the human condition.
He maintained that the memories of what he did in his short lifetime would always remain in their hearts.
“As he goes home to be with the Lord today, we will continue to celebrate and remember those great years of impact, of his wonderful and infectious smile, of his
boundless optimism, his brotherhood and kindredship, and above all, his love for God,” he added.
The various components of the Nigerian Armed Forces as well as graduands of the 36 regular course, the community and beneficiaries of his goodwill also paid glowing tributes to the fallen hero.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, represented by the Air Force Chief of Administration, AVM Idris Mohammad, recalled Ekpoh’s gallantry and commitment to the service since he joined the Force in 1984, describing his death as a great loss, and affirming his peaceful disposition and cordial relationship across all ranks.