Akwa Ibom State has a new two-star general in the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).

He is Air Vice Marshal Iboro Harry Etukudo, an indigene of Atan Ikpe in Edemaya Clan of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area (LGA), who has been promoted from the one-star general’s rank of Air Commodore.

Etukudo is among the 235 officers of different ranks whose promotions were released on Tuesday, last week, after the sitting of the Army Council, the Navy Council and the Air Council, respectively, held at the Ministry of Defence, Abuja, with the Minister for Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd), presiding.

In all, this time, the Army Council promoted 36 two-star generals while the Navy Council and the Air Council promoted 21 and 30, respectively.

Etukudo is the lone two-star general from Akwa Ibom promoted this time in all three services unlike in November, last year, when there were three – Major General Uwem Udo Bassey, Rear Admiral Uduak Asuquo Ibanga and Air Vice Marshal Mfon Udo Ekpoh.

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He is the 31st two-star general from the state since Late Major General Edet Adam Akpan (retd.), from Iwok Obio Aduang in Nsit Atai LGA, blazed the trail in 1994.

So far, Akwa Ibom has had only one three-star general, Late Air Marshal Nsikak Essien Eduok (retd.), from Mbak Ekpe in Ibesipo Asutan LGA.

The state is yet to produce a four-star general (usually the Chief of Defence Staff) or a five-star general (usually the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces) in the AFN.

Etukudo, nephew of a former Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Akpan Wilson Etukudo, is the second two-star general from Ikot Abasi after Rear Admiral Sylvester Usoro Umosen (retd) from Essene in Ikpa Nung Assang Clan.

He is also the lone Air Force two-star general from Akwa Ibom presently, a record previously held by Ekpoh, from Ikot Mbong in ONNA LGA, for a year till death last month.

There are five others still serving, three in the Navy and two in the Army.

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One of them is Rear Admiral Okon Edet Eyo, from Akai-Udo Ebughu in Mbo LGA, who is the Director of Training at Defence Headquarters, Abuja.

He acted recently as the Chief of Training and Operations at the apex military high command.

The two in the Army are Major General Solomon Effiong Udounwa, from Nung Udoe in Ibesikpo Asutan LGA, who is the Commandant of Army War College Nigeria (AWCN), Abuja, and Bassey, from Mbiabong Ikot Udo in Ini LGA, who is not only the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division of the Nigerian Army, Sokoto, but also the Commander of Operation Hadarin Daji, the Joint Task Force battling banditry in the North West zone.

The two at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja, are Rear Admiral Joseph Akpan, from Idikpa Nsit in Nsit Atai LGA, who is the Director of Personnel Release, and Ibanga, from Ikot Ekan in Etinan LGA, who is the Director of Project Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation.

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Akwa Ibom started 2021 with eight two-star generals but ended the year with six due to retirement and death.

Rear Admiral Michael Etok Ebe, from Ikot Obong Edong in Ikot Ekpene LGA, who was the Chief of Logistics at Naval Headquarters, and Major General Ifiok Martins Obot, from Afaha Essang in Abak LGA, who was at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja, both retired early in the year.

Ekpoh, who served in quick succession as the Deputy Commandant of Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, and the Managing Director of Nigeria Air Force Properties Limited, Abuja, within the year, exited the two-star generals’ club through death.

Credit: Inemesit Ina

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