It was a night of showers of encomiums for Dr. Bernard Olumuyiwa Aliu as Nigerians in different Ministries, Department, Agencies and other walks of life put aside all engagements to celebrate the first African and a Nigerian to be elected as the President of the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO.
There was no dull moment at the Transcorp Hill Hotel, Abuja were a dinner was organised in his honour to celebrate professionalism and excellence as dignitaries took turns to sing praises of Dr. Aliu for putting Nigeria in the forefront of civil aviation in the world and making its citizens proud to be called a Nigerian.
In his remarks at the event, the outgoing ICAO president, Mr. Roberto Kobeh Gonzales who held the position for 7 years and 2 months described Dr. Aliu as a hard working, dedicated, knowledgeable and full of passion for civil aviation.
He said ICAO was in the hands of a capable and seasoned aviator and was comfortable handing over to Dr. Aliu who was elected by acclamation by members of all contracting states of ICAO.
Mr. Gonzales explained that government support for the civil aviation is key to promoting safety in the sector and as such, the NCAA's must be given the wherewith all to carryout it safety oversight.
According to him, “accident rates in Africa have decreased due to relentless efforts of the CAA to ensure that standards and recommended practices are followed”
Mr. Gonzales applauded the commitment of the federal government for its decision to present Dr. Aliu as candidate for the ICAO presidency.
He promised to continue to support Dr. Aliu in and out of office.
In her address of welcome, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah described Dr. Aliu as a distinguished Nigerian and was therefore not surprised that he won the confidence of his peers,and therefore emerged as the president-elect.
“On behalf of the aviation industry, and indeed the entire people of Nigeria, I want to give credit and gratitude to President Goodluck Jonathan who provided tremendous support, leadership and guidance that made it possible for our own Dr. Bernard Olumuyiwa Aliu to emerge”
She noted Nigeria shares ICAO vision of promoting safety, security, environmental protection, comfort and sustainability of civil aviation globally, adding that Nigeria also recognizes that the aviation sector plays a pivotal role in the socioeconomic development of a nation.
According to her, it is on this basis that the President through his transformation agenda directed that the aviation sector be repositioned to play an enabling and pivotal role for socioe-conomic development of the nation.
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Mrs. Nkiruka Onyejeocha said Nigerian aviation sector is now on a pedestal for speedy growth with the election of Dr. Aliu
“One thing I have to leave here is that to whom much is given, much is expected, we supported you, you won, now you are a winner, when you finish this race, we will like to celebrate you as the best president that ICAO ever had” she added.
The event was attended by members of Airline Operators of Nigeria led by its chairman, Captain Movie Meggison, all heads of agencies in the sector and their Directors, DG, NOA, Mexican Ambassador to Nigeria, foreign airline representatives, government functionaries among others.