President Muhammadu Buhari has advised the Nigerian Air Force to continue to be open to innovative ideas and collaborate with the academia and the private sector.
He also implored the air force to continually strive to devise ways of improving the quality of training that it provides.
President Buhari stated this on Wednesday at the Passing out Parade of the Direct Short Service Course 28/2019 Cadets of the Nigerian Air Force at the Military Training Centre, Kaduna.
The president, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, noted the increasing emphasis of the Nigerian Air Force on local innovation.
“The recent launch of the Tsaigumi, Nigeria’s first operational, locally-developed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, is confirmation that you are on the right path,” he said.
President Buhari, who was the Reviewing Officer at the parade, reminded the graduating cadets of Nigeria’s greatness, urging them to contribute in making the country greater.
“We are Africa’s largest economy by GDP – states of Nigeria have larger economies than many African States.
“We have become the last frontier for major economic growth. We are the world’s largest growers of Cassava and yams, we are top 5 in the world in sorghum, millet, we are approaching self-sufficiency in paddy rice production.
“Our potential in Technology and entertainment has been attracting huge attention.
“First is the market, at 174 million GSM phones we are top ten telephone users in the world, and we have the highest percentage of people who use internet on their phones in the world, we are also number 2 in mobile internet banking in the world, 17 million Nigerians are on Facebook.
“Microsoft has announced that it will establish a 100 million dollar African Develop Centre in Nigeria.
“We are already building our own drones. But not nly are we building drones, we are also making spare parts for our aircrafts.
“We are also manufacturing armourd personnel carriers, and all sorts of different military platforms.
“All of these are things that Nigerians are doing in this country.
“Just last week, we saw, at the Army Day, sophisticated mine sweepers that are manufactured in this country. In a few short years, this country will be, by far, the greatest military force in Africa and certainly the most developed economy in Africa.”
Sacrifices of Many
These achievements were built on the sacrifices of many in blood and sweat, especially men and women of the armed forces.
He urged them to ignore those who preach disunity among Nigerians.
“What will undermine our efforts now and in the future is disunity.
“All of those who are preaching narratives of divisions along ethnic and religious lines.
“We must resist all who try to destroy our present gains and in particular our future.
“The future of our country is bright, all we need to do is to keep focus not to allow any to preach any division amongst us.
“If we remain stable and united, everything that we desire for our great country will be ours.”
He The president commended the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for providing inspiring leadership for the Air Force, saying his farsightedness and innovativeness has greatly advanced the prestige and capacity of the Air Force.
Vice President Osinbajo also represented President Buhari as the Special Guest of Honour at the Piping Ceremony of the new Air Force cadets, where he administered the Oath of Allegiance on them.
A total of 187 cadets, who were recruited through short service in January this year, passed out at the ceremony.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of the DSSC 28/2019 Awards to four of the cadets.
The highest award, the President and C-in-C Award, was presented to Cadet T M Ademoluti, who is the first female to win.