By Inemesit Ina
Akwa Ibom’s prominence in the Nigerian Army high command since the beginning of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari continued on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, with the appointment of Major General Enobong Okon
Udoh, an indigene of Ikot Udobia in Etinan Local Government Area (LGA), as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the newly-established 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt.
His appointment, which was part of a major shake-up in the Army, last week, came barely two months after two other two-star generals from the state were appointed to command two key fighting corps in the Army.
In November, Major General Isidore Henry Edet, from Uko Akpan Enwang in Mbo LGA, was named Commander of the Nigerian Army Corps of Infantry, Jaji, Kaduna State, an appointment that has made him virtually superintend over 65 per cent of the Army as the Infantry Corps, made up of the foot-soldiers, form the bulk of the force.
Similarly, Major General Okon Etim Ekanem, an electronics engineer from Itak Ikot Obio Ise in Ini LGA, was appointed Commander of the Nigerian Army Corps of Signals, Lagos, becoming the second Akwa Ibom indigene to command the elite corps after Major General Godwin George Umo (retd.), the first Annang two-star general, was in charge from 2009 to 2010.
Previous Commanders of the corps included Late General Murtala Ramat Muhammed, Nigeria’s former Head of State, Brigadier General David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark (retd.), the immediate past Senate President, Late Major General (later Senator) Abubakar Tanko Ayuba (retd.), a former Military Governor of Kaduna State, and Brigadier General Raji Alagbe Rasaki (retd.), a former Military Governor of Ogun and Lagos States.
General Udoh, an Infantry officer as General Edet, takes over command of the 6 Division from Major General Kasimu Abdulkadir, the pioneer GOC of the division which was established in November, last year.
As GOC, his Area of Responsibility (AoR) covers Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom States.
Before his new appointment which took effect on Thursday, January 12, 2017, General Udoh was the Director of Campaign Planning at Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
Previously, he had served as Chief of Staff of 7 Division, Maiduguri, and acted briefly as the GOC of the division.
Reacting to the appointment in a telephone interview, General Edet, who himself made history as the first Oro two-star general in 2014 and the first Akwa Ibom-born officer to command an Army division in 15 years when he was appointed GOC of 81 Division, Lagos, in 2015, described it as an achievement for the state.
He expressed confidence that General Udoh would deliver on his new assignment given his training and experience and the fact that he was in a familiar environment, having commanded a battalion in Port Harcourt in the past.
General Edet, who was in the committee set up by the Chief of Army Staff that recommended the establishment of 6 Division, stated that with the location of the divisional headquarters in Port Harcourt, 2 Brigade, previously headquartered in the Rivers State capital, will move to Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, while 16 Brigade and 63 Brigade will be established in Bayelsa State and Delta State, respectively, as part of the division.
Similarly, Oron in Akwa Ibom State will play host to a new Amphibious Battalion which together with the already existing 6 Battalion in Ibagwa, Abak, and the soon-to-be established battalion in Opobo in neighbouring Rivers State will constitute the new 2 Brigade.
An Army division comprises of brigades while a brigade, in turn, is made up of battalions.