UN's highest ranking Nigerian military officer retires

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The highest ranking Nigerian soldier to serve the UN, Lt.-Gen. Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor, has retired from the Army after 48 years of service.

The 60-year-old, who is the immediate past Military Adviser for peacekeeping operations to the UN Secretary General, was Friday formally pulled out of the Nigerian Army.

In a message to his colleagues, Gen Obiakor told officers and men of the Nigerian military to face the challenges of their responsibilities by enhancing their state of professionalism.

He told the audience at his pulling out parade at the Mogadishu Cantonment Abuja that the military "must at all times remain focused and tenacious in fulfilling our constitutional role. I know am leaving a Nigerian Army that is committed to its constitutional responsibilities and will continue to contribute meaningfully to the entrenchment of the nascent democracy"

He stated that having served as a Nigerian and international military officer, "I am glad to say boldly that our Army has officers and men that are truly professional and committed to the ideals of democratic values."

The senior officer, who has served longest as an a General in the Nigerian military in recent memory, extolled the nation’s contribution to world peace through the Peace Support Operations (PSOs), noting that “this chosen course by Nigeria is not only humane but divine and it is my wish and prayer that God continues to bestow on our leaders the political will to stay the course.”

An obviously elated Obiakor, who is a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Course 10 (current Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubike Ihejirika is Course 18), declared that he owed his rise in the Nigerian and international community military “today to our dear country Nigeria”, pledging again “my unalloyed loyalty, abilities and competencies to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Obiakor noted: “to me, this eventful ceremony epitomises our celebration of commitment to serve our fatherland”, urging all military personnel “to continue the onerous goal of making Nigeria proud amongst the committee of nations.”

The ceremony was attended by Senate President, David Mark, National Security Adviser, Gen Owoye Azazi, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ihejirika, representatives of other Service Chiefs, former Chiefs of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs, senior officers of the Nigerian military and paramilitary services and representative of the Governor of Anambra State.

Obiakor, who hails from Awka, Anambra State, was born on 18 February, 1951.

Before his mission to the UN in 2008, he was the Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), a position former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed him to in January 2006.

Obiakor started his military career with the Nigerian Army in 1973. He has served as the Commander of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) Artillery Brigade in Liberia (1996 and 1997), the ECOMOG Chief Coordinator of the Liberian elections in July 1997 and as the General Officer Commanding, Second Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army.

He also held the position of Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Army, in charge of the welfare, discipline and medical services for all Nigerian military personnel.

Obiakor is a graduate of the National War College in Abuja and obtained a Master of Science degree in strategic studies from the University of Ibadan. He has also participated in numerous international military courses.
-0- PANA MON/VAO 24June2011

24 Junho 2011 15:33:41

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