The Governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa and the former National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azazi were among the occupants of a Nigerian Navy helicopter that crashed around the Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on Saturday.
The Governor and the former NSA were among the occupants of the chopper and were reportedly traveling from Bayelsa State where an aide of the President, Oronto Douglas buried his father.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had disclosed that the control tower suddenly lost tracking of the helicopter. The chopper was believed to be around Okoroba, a swampy area in the Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State when the incident occurred. The pilot, Commander Murtala Daba, Lt Adeyemi O. Sowole, Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal, an aide to Gen Azazi and Dauda Tosho one of the Governor’s aides were the other four men on the ill-fated chopper.
The helicopter was conveying the occupants to Port Harcourt.
The National Emergency Management Agency carried out a search and rescue operation and by the time the operation ended on Saturday evening, six occupants of the helicopter were found dead.
Patrick Yakowa who turned 64 on December 1 graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1972. He worked with the Civil Service of the North Central State and later became Permanent Secretary in the Kaduna State Civil Service where he headed the Ministry of Health and later Works and Transport. He transfered to the Federal Civil Service in 1990.
Patrick Yakowa was appointed Deputy Governor in 2005 and in 2007, he was the running mate of Architect Namadi Sambo who won the Kaduna State governorship election. He became Governor on May 20, 2010 after his boss had been appointed as Vice President sequel to the death of the then President, Umar Yar Adua and the elevation of Dr Goodluck Jonathan to the position of the President. He won the April 2011 election and was subsequently sworn in as the elected Governor of the State, the first Christian to be so elected.
Retired General Owoye Azazi was born in 1952 in Bayelsa State. He joined the Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Combatant Cadet- Course 12 in July 1972. Azazi was one of the officers whose promotions could be termed rapid. Between May 2006 and June 2007, he was promoted twice, from Major General to Lieutenant General and later full General. He was appointed as the Chief of Army Staff in 2006 and retired in 2008. Gen Azazi was appointed as the National Security Adviser in 2010, a position he occupied till he was sacked in June 2012.