Former National Security Adviser, Andrew Iwoye Azazi was on Saturday buried at the Ijaw National Heroes Square in Yenegoa, the capital of Bayelsa state.
The late Azazi, a four star general retired from service on 20th August 2008 and was appointed National Security Adviser on October 2010. He was the Chairman of Bayelsa State post flood disaster management committee before his death through a helicopter crash while returning from burial ceremony of the father of an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan in Bayelsa State.
The casket, draped in the nation’s green-white-green colours, bearing the remains of the late General, arrived the venue of the funeral service, in a Nigerian Army ambulance marked, NA 459 E 01 at 10.02 am.
When the casket was brought out from the olive coloured ambulance, it was carried by officers of the rank of Major General to the podium specifically set up for the purpose of the commendation service while a military helicopter was hovering over the arena ostensibly on reconnaissance mission and in honour of the departed four-star general.
The solemn ceremony commenced shortly after President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, and Governor Seriake and his wife arrived the venue at about 10.30am.
Other dignitaries at the funeral ceremony were the Chairman of the Governors Forum, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and his wife, Judith; Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State; former Bayesa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha; former Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Alexander Ogomudia (rtd); Rear Admiral John Kpokpogiri (rtd); former governor of old Rivers State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff; former NDDC Managing Director and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Timi Alaibe; former JTF commander in the Niger Delta, Major General Sarkin Yakin Bello (rtd); PFN/CAN President Ayo Oritsejafor; and former transport minister, Rear Admiral Festus Porbeni.
Also present were former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; Speaker of the Bayesa State House of Assembly, Benson Kombowei; Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke; Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah; Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe; and the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Speaking at the funeral service, President Jonathan described the late Azazi as a patriotic Nigerian.
He said, “Saturday, December 15, 2012 was a sad day in the history of Nigeria. Gen Azazi, though we are from Bayelsa State and the Ijaw ethnic nationality, I never met him until 2004 when the then Brigadier Azazi was made the Director of Military Intelligence.
“I was then the deputy governor of Bayelsa. Somebody came to me to say one of our own had been made the DMI boss and that was a prestigious posting in the army. And I decided I was going to receive him and have a little party for him. I hosted him one evening in Abuja at an Officer’s Mess. From that time, we remained in touch; then he was promoted to Major General and made the GOC One Division, Kaduna and then he was also made the chief of the army staff. That was another level of our interaction in 2006, by which time; I was the governor of Bayelsa State. I also hosted him as chief of the army staff alongside the current Minister of Petroleum Resources, then as the first female executive director of Shell. It was also my first time of meeting her.
“He was made chief of defence staff in 2007 when I was vice president to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’dua. I also made him the NSA when I became president. I saw him as somebody who meant well for this country. Sometimes, people wonder why good people die, it is quite touching.”
President Jonathan urged Nigerians to imbibe the qualities of the late General saying that “if we change our attitude to do what is right, the country will change for the best.”