A Nigerian, Dr. Olumuyiwa Babatunde Aliu, has been elected president of the International Council of Aviation Organisations (ICAO), a 191-member specialized agency of the United Nations.
Dr. Aliu is the first African president of the organisation.
His election was confirmed on Monday when the 36 countries which comprise ICAO’s governing Council registered their unanimous agreement during the body’s 200th Session. He resumes duty officially as ICAO Council President on 1st January 2014 for a three-year term.
Dr. Aliu expressed his gratitude to his colleagues after the election: “I am very grateful to my distinguished colleagues on the ICAO Council for their support and recognition,” Aliu remarked. “Aviation today faces many challenges but its role in expanding tourism and market access has never been more important to modern society and to the local, regional and global economic players who rely so significantly today on safe and dependable air transport connectivity. I will look forward to working with my Council colleagues over the next triennium, with the support of the ICAO Air Navigation Commission and Secretariat, as we seek to address aviation’s key areas of priority.”
According to the ICAO website, prior to his election as its President, Aliu served for eight years as the ICAO Council’s Nigerian Representative (2005-2013). He was also Director of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s Air Transport Regulation Directorate (2000-2004), Chairman for the formulation of African Civil Aviation Policy under the African Union (2009-2011) and performed many other professional and technical roles in the service of his State’s civil aviation sector over the past three decades.
Dr. Aliu will be succeeding Robert Kobeh Gonzalez of Mexico. Gonzalez was elected in March 2006 after the previous president retired prematurely. Gonzalez was subsequently re-elected twice in 2007 and 2010.
On Dr. Aliu’s election, Gonzalez said, “It has been my great pleasure to help lead ICAO and support international aviation during the last seven years,” Kobeh commented. “Having known and worked beside Dr. Aliu for much of this period, I am very pleased that the leadership of the Council will now be in such capable hands. Dr. Aliu’s broad diplomatic perspective and demonstrated skills at consensus-building will be essential to the success of ICAO’s continuing mission.”