History was made Yesterday (Tuesday, November 19th, 2013) in Montreal, Canada as President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation of the aviation sector received the endorsement of the international community as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) unanimously elected a Nigerian and the first African, Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu as the President of the ICAO.
The election, of Dr Aliu whose term commences on Januray 1, 2014 through December 31st 2016, took place at the ICAO Council Chambers. The Proposal of the Nigerian representative was made by his Singaporean counterpart, Ng Teachiou and seconded by the representative from Saudi Arabia.
All the voting members of the council, were called Country after country to voice their position on the candidature of Aliu and they unanimously declared their support for the Nigerian candidate. This was swiftly followed by a unanimous vote and declaration of Dr Aliu as the new President of the Council by then outgoing President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez . His declaration as the new ICAO helmsman was greeted with a thunderous ovation and congratulations from fellow Council members.
Gonzalez who presided over the election with the Secretary General Raymond Benjamin, expressed satisfaction with the conduct and called on all members to extend the same level of cooperation given to him to the new President. He extolled the virtues of Aliu, expressing confidence that the Council and ICAO will grow from strength to strength under the new President.
Meanwhile, Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah has congratulated President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the government and people of Nigeria as well as Dr Aliu on his election as the new President of ICAO. Oduah stated that Aliu”s election, the first African to head the international civil aviation body is a landmark event. She said the victory should be dedicated to the President who nominated and supported the country’s candidature all the way from beginning to the end.
” The election of Dr Aliu is another historic moment for Nigeria’s aviation sector, coming shortly after the historic signing of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with the State of Israel. I want to dedicate this victory to Mr President, who not only nominated Dr Aliu for the position, but also gave his full support for his candidature from beginning to the end. This victory would not have been possible without his full interest in Nigeria’s aspiration to lead the global aviation body. My congratulations go to him, the government and people of Nigeria and Dr Aliu himself”, the Minister declared.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Dr George Ossi who led the Nigerian delegation and witnessed the historic moment inside the Chambers, thanked all member states and Council members for their support and election of Nigeria’s candidate, Dr Aliu. ”On behalf of His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, the good people of Nigeria and indeed Africa, I wish to thank you all for the support and election of Dr Aliu as the new President of the Council”, he said.
He called on the Council to continue to support the new President, stressing that ”your cooperation and collaboration with him will ensure that the Council and indeed ICAO as an organisation continues to promote safe, secure, efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable civil aviation globally”.
In his acceptance speech, Aliu thanked the President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for nominating him for the position as well as the ”Representatives on the Council and to all member states of the Council for electing me to the exalted office of President of Council”.
He said he felt honoured and humbled by the trust and confidence reposed in him and ”will do everything in my power to justify your confidence”. Aliu who has been Nigerias representative to the World body since 2006, said he was ready for the challenge and will not fail Nigerians and the global aviation Community in ensuring safer, more secure, efficient and sustainable civil aviation industry” in the world.