Friday, January 1st 2021 witnessed the celebration of an iconic personality, Rev.(Dr.) Alfred O. Edukugho, the immediate past Manager Asaba Aiport, and Former General Manager (Deputy Director) Air Traffic Service Operation and Search and Rescue in the old Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN until 1998).
BIOGRAPHY OF REVEREND (DR) ALFRED ODEWORITSE EDUKUGHO
Rev. (Dr) Alfred Odeworitse Edukugho is a husband, father, grandfather, a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and an astute aviation professional who has distinguished himself as a technocrat with adequate managerial expertise and who has added value and made footprints on the sand of time in the Nigerian aviation sector.
Born into the family of Degbeyin Edukugho of Omadino, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta state on January 1, 1941 by Late Pa Luck Edukugho of Omdino, Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State and Late Madam Margaret Urenmasaka Nebi Edukugho (nee Pinnick) of Idale Oketa, Warri North Local Government Area, Delta State. He was fondly called “Happi” as a child because of his birth on a special day – 1st of January. He attended Sido Preparatory Primary School, Warri, Delta State and completed his secondary education at the prestigious Academy Grammar School, Sapele (Now Okotie Eboh Grammar School, Sapele), Delta State and went on to attend the Nigeria Civil Aviation Training College, Zaria, Kaduna State where he trained to become an Air Traffic Controller.
Pa Alfred Odeworitse Edukugho began his career in the aviation sector after he joined the Federal Ministry of Aviation in July 1963 as an Air Traffic Control Assistant. He rose through all the ranks on passing all the professional examinations and ratings in the Management of Standard Air Traffic Control Service. Amongst these include the Standard Air Traffic Controllers Course at the Nigeria Civil Aviation Training College, Zaria, Course AC3 1971 and Air Traffic Controller License (No 26) with the following ratings: Aerodrome and Approach (Procedural) and Radar.
He had some firsts in his career. He was in the first Nigerian Approach Radar Rated Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs) having qualified from the Swedish School of Aviation in Malmo, Sweden. He is also the first trained Nigeria Aeronautical Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator (SAR-MC) having qualified from East African School of Aviation, Embakasi Nairobi, Kenya.
He obtained Area Control Service Certificate from Egyptian Aviation Academy and attended, at various times, many international aviation management courses, seminars, conferences, and workshops at International Aviation Management Training Institute (IAMTI) in Montreal Canada, Nairobi Kenya, Cairo Egypt, Singapore, La Reunion France, Istanbul Turkey to mention but a few.
Amongst many positions he held in his active years of service was managing the Benin Airport throughout the duration of the civil war. He was also involved in the training of younger Air Traffic Controllers. On attaining the mandatory retirement age, he left the service meritoriously in 1998 as General Manager (Deputy Director) Air Traffic Service Operation and Search and Rescue in the old Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Even in retirement, he remained very active and involved in several national aviation assignments. In 2006, due to the exigency of what the aviation sector was going through at that time, he was invited to serve in the Technical Committee that produced the current aviation system namely Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), (the new) Federal Airport Authority Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) and Accident Investigation Bureaus (AIB) in Nigeria. He was also involved in establishing the Air Traffic Control Service in Escravos Airport that services Chevron. He later joined the NCAA as a consultant to handle the setting up of the Aeronautical Search and Rescue Coordination for Nigeria. Working in close liaison with NEMA and Nigeria Maritime Safety Administration (NIMASA), the first MOU for coordinating Civil Search and Rescue was produced for the Nation. This was simulated by NEMA in an operation nicknamed Operation Chanka that took about two weeks to plan at Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji, Kaduna State and also simulated with success in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.On opening Asaba International Airport, he was deployed by NCAA to oversee its operations as the Airport Manager, a position he held for nine (9) years until October 2020 when he finally left the service again for the second time. He literally spent 57 years of his life serving the nation in the aviation sector. What an asset he has been to the nation.
Pa Alfred Edukugho loves and fears God and these have been evident from the early stages of his life, being introduced to God by his parents. The same God he introduced to his children which he also passed down to his grandchildren. While still in government service, but in his quest to know more of God, he made out time to attend Faith Bible College, Sango Otta, Ogun State where he studied alongside the wife of his youth until both of them got ordained Reverend Pastors. He continued his studies at the Bible College and this culminated into the award of a PhD in Theology. Rev (Dr) Alfred Odeworitse Edukugho became so much intoxicated with God and Kingdom service that he heeded the call of God to raise a people for Him through Life Gate Evangelical Mission, a Ministry he served in as the General Overseer. In the early days of the service of God in the Ministry, he was involved in aggressive soul winning exercise where he committed his time and resources into rural crusades and evangelism. He not only preached and led the congregation to serve and love God, he also invested his time, finances and material resources including his wealth of experience into human capacity development of the congregants. He was personally involved in the progress and growth of every individual and family in the Ministry. His love and passion for God is unprecedented. At his age, he still enjoys waiting on God in fasting in so much that the children had to plead with him to give it up and stepdown the tempo for the sake of his age and health. He worships, praises, and literally enjoys the presence of God.
The family life of Pa Alfred Odeworitse Edukugho is worthy of emulation. Anyone who has associated with him know how much he attaches value to family relationships. His dealings with family members, both immediate and extended, epitomizes sacrifice and high level of responsibility. You need not go far to learn how to be a responsible husband, father and grandfather with him around you. No wonder the privilege God has given him to have been happily married to Mama Helen Olumewo Edukugho for close to 60 years and an honor from the Almighty God to have his quiver full of children and grandchildren.
The children, grandchildren, family & friends came together to celebrate this Icon as he turned 80. Cheers to more years of celebration.
The event was a colourful one with the beautiful Itsekiri culture bring demonstrated in it’s awesome glory.
Pictures from the event that took place in Lagos, Nigeria on 1st January 2021