By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Correspondent Lagos/
LAGOS– THE Nigerian Navy NN has commended itself for the successful hosting of Exercise Obangame Express 2023. The exercise which had 32
member nations participating including the United States of America has been in existence for the past thirteen years now.
The chief of naval staff, Vice Admiral AZ Gambo who gave the
commendation said save for minor foreseeable hiccups, the exercise which was hosted by the Nigerian Navy was a huge success.
He said, “My greatest joy in all of these is that the exercise
Obangame Express 2023 was a huge success. I am delighted to stand before you today at the closing ceremony of Exercise Obangame 2023. I am also
impressed at the immense successes recorded at sea and together we have been able to achieve this feat. He said the type of engagement that occurred during the exercise can be likened to the saying of an American Industrialist and a business magnate, Henry Ford, who said “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success.”
Lessons have been learnt and
lesson would be appreciated. I therefore want to appreciate the diligence of our indefatigable observers for a great job.
I will also not fail to commend the level of preparedness for the Exercise, which manifested in commendable performance. This affirms that the objectives of the Exercise were achieved and therefore declared a success.
To Gambo, “Exercise Obangame Express 2023 did not only bring us together, it created the environment to improve competencies by relating with one another, which to me is the secret of great success.
Pertinently, the Exercise debrief exposed distinct salient points and critical observations, which are apt, relevant and will remain valuable towards improving future exercises.
Let me at this juncture specially, commend partner nations that dispatched ships to participate in this year’s edition of the sea exercise, particularly the United States of America and the Kingdom of Spain. We are indeed inspired by the presence and participation of these ships.
Undoubtedly, such efforts have certainly enhanced capacity development as well as facilitated a safe, more secure and enabling maritime environment for socio-economic activities to thrive within the Gulf of Guinea.
These include the sustenance of Obangame Express exercise since 2010, establishment of the Regional Maritime Domain Awareness facilities in coastal states across the Gulf of Guinea and sustaining capacity through the facility’s Training School at Apapa.
“Absolutely, these are powerful testimonies to the steadfast commitment of the United States Government to enhancing maritime security across the world. In particular, these efforts have greatly facilitated integration of organic national capabilities of navies and coast guards aimed at achieving holistic and sustainable maritime security architecture in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
Continuing, a visibly excited Gambo said no single navy can lay claim to the success recorded during the exercise adding, “I make bold to state that no single navy or Coast Guard can do it alone. It is therefore hoped that lessons from this exercise will be developed into collaborative action plans that will support strategic level initiatives to enhance our collective preparedness to successfully curb emerging maritime challenges in the ever-changing environment in the Gulf of Guinea and beyond.
Distinguished invited guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, once again, I acknowledge and appreciate all eminent personalities, organizations as well as friendly navies and coastguards including the Nigerian Navy participants that contributed in making the exercise a huge success
On this note, I have the honour and privilege to declare Exercise Obangame Express 2023 ended. Thank you, God bless and as we say in the Nigerian Navy, Onward Together, En avant ensemble, Adelante Juntos and Avante Juntos.”
Undoubtedly, the efforts and expertise have helped immensely in the
success of this exercise. I will not end this remarks without due
recognition of our United State partners especially, the African
Command for their efforts toward encouraging richer cooperation and
collaboration. This informed the establishment of richer coastal
maritime command in the coastal state across the Gulf of Guinea.
Testimonies abound of the United States government to enhance safer
and richer maritime domain.”