By Precious Igbonwelundu
Dignitaries converged on the parade ground of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) QUORRA for the pulling out ceremony of Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, the immediate past Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) on Friday.
Defying the usual Apapa gridlock and despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the guests, including Lagos Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, his Cross River counterpart, Prof. Ivara Esu; wife of Akwa Ibom Governor, Mrs. Martha Udom, former Cross River Governor, Donald Duke, Minister of State for Power, Goddy Agba, Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Yusuf Gadji, Managing Director (MD) Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala-Usman, Director General (DG) Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Authority (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, as well as past military chiefs, watched with excitement the colourful valedictory parade commanded by Lieutenant Commander MO Abdullahi.
After the parade, the former CNS mounted a decorated open land rover jeep with his wife, Mrs. Theresa Ibas, which was pulled from NNS QUORRA to NNS BEECROFT where the retired senior officer boarded a boat and set sail.
For most of the guests, attending the ceremony was a way to appreciate Admiral Ibas for the innovations the navy witnessed under his watch especially in the area of fleet recapitalisation, barrack renovation and tackling maritime crimes.
Ibas said he was fulfilled and satisfied to have served the country through the navy despite not setting out to be a military man.
“I consider my story remarkable because military service was for me not even a distant thought as a career; that expectation belonged to my hopes to become a medical doctor, and much later into my teenage years that gave way to the desire to be a pilot.
“However, the pull of destiny won me over when I casually processed the NDA entry and even then, the choice of the Navy as the arm of service only came later to replace the continuation of my early love for flying in the NAF.
“Now, with the benefit of my experience from my initial ambitions, I consider my achievements incredibly unexpected and therefore justifiably gladdening and filled with satisfaction…”
Thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for the supports given the navy, Ibas urged officers and ratings of the service to remain committed and patriotic because the country rallies on them to fully reinstate order in the maritime space for the peaceful harvesting of economic resources.
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