The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh, has stated that no democracy can survive or flourish without a strong and effective armed forces backing it and assured Nigerians that the military is totally committed to upholding Nigeria's democracy.
Badeh stated this Sunday in Yola, Adamawa State, during a civic reception organised by the members of the 21 Regular Course, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in honour of his appointment as the 18th CAS and promotion to the rank of Air Marshal.
He said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) was working towards attaining its targets as one of the strongest in Africa and the world, adding that NAF was collaborating with some technical partners to improve on technical know-how.
"As a highly technical force...we are collaborating with local and international technical partners...Let us get the Armed Forces strong again because without the Armed Forces, democracy will be weak," he said.
The Air Force Chief also commended President Goodluck Jonathan for paying attention to needs of the Armed Forces to transform it into a modern force that was able to meet up with the contemporary security challenges.
He, however, used the opportunity to remember about 22 of members of NDA Regular Course 21 who died in active service, especially 19 of them that perished in the 1992 ill-fated C-130 aircraft that crashed in Lagos.
He said: "I am deeply moved, especially my course mates who stood by me to celebrate this occasion. We were about 73 when we started but lost 19 of our course mates on the C-130 airplane crash of 1992, three others also died through various circumstances. My sojourn in NAF is nothing short of miracle...," he noted.
Speaking also, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who is also the chairman of the occasion, commended the members of NDA Regular Course 21 for organising the event in Adamawa, the home state of the CAS.
Tukur also expressed confidence on the capacity of Badeh to carry NAF to a higher standard than he met the service.
"I will like to give the NDA Regular Course 21, a 21 gun salute because I am so much impressed that you decided not to celebrate this in Abuja or Lagos but here in Adamawa to show that you care and appreciate our people," he said.
Also, the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, who represented by his deputy, Mr. James Ngalari, noted that the Air Force Chief exhibited the kind of character needed to move the country to next level.
"He is somebody who humane, who through sheer hardwork, patience and humility got elevated," Nyako said.
"Our country is on the threshold and only men with character like yourself that will take us to the next level," he added.
Badeh was appointed the Chief of Air Staff on September 4, 2012 and promoted on September 8, 2012 by Jonathan alongside Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Joseph Ezeoba, and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Sa'ad Ibrahim.