An aircraft conveying Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to a campaign rally has crash-landed in the northcentral state of Kogi, with no deaths or injuries recorded, a presidential spokesman said on Saturday.
“VP Osinbajo’s Chopper crash lands in Kabba, but he and the entire crew safe. He is continuing with his engagements and plans for the day in Kogi State.” Laolu Akande, a media aide of Osinbajo tweeted.
Kabba is 278 kilometers or 4-hours drive away from the country’s capital, Abuja. Osinbajo had gone on campaigns there as the vice presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress while President Muhammadu Buhari was in the northeastern state of Gombe campaigning at the same time.
The presidential aide assured Nigerians that Osinbajo survived the crash unscathed and commended the professionalism of the helicopter crew.
In a statement later, Akande said after all checks were conducted “everyone is safe. Prof. Osinbajo now in Kabba after the incident and continuing his engagements in the State.”
Osibanjo while meeting with local chiefs after leaving the crash site said the mishap left no one injured.
“We are extremely grateful to the Lord for preserving our lives from the incident that just happened. Everyone of us is safe and no one is maimed. God has kept us safe and alive, delivered us from death so we can do more for our people & country.” Osibanjo told the Obaro of Kabba and relieved supporters of the ruling party.
Many Nigerians have continued to wish Osibanjo well after reports of the crash, including Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the major opposition party in the February 16 polls, the Peoples Democratic Party.
“Dear Vice President @ProfOsinbajo, I just received news of the crash of your helicopter in Kabba, Kogi State. I am happy to note however that all is well with you and your delegation. -AA”, Abubakar tweeted.
Twitter user, @AbrahamAwe said “Not as a politician, but as Kingdom mate, Lord I thank you for rescuing your son Yemi Osinbanjo from death today. Let someone shout hallelujah!”
The air mishap is the second in seven months involving the vice president who has had a very busy schedule in the past eighteen months criss-crossing Nigeria on behalf of the presidency while holding forth for President Buhari who has had to cut down his itinerary due to health challenges in the past, until recently.
The first chopper failure involving Osinbajo had occurred in June last year in Gwagwalada, outskirts of Abuja, where the aircraft conveying him from a Customs Staff College was forced to land, just a few minutes after take-off due to a technical failure.
An official explanation later said the helicopter had conveyed him successfully to the event but on its way back the aircraft could not ascend beyond the level of trees before it started emitting thick smoke hence the need to ground the flight. Osinbajo later left the college by an official motorcade.
The presidential fleet of the Nigerian government has about ten aircrafts which consists of two Agusta Westland AW 139 helicopters; two AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters including Boeing Business jets, Falcons 7X and Gulfstream V jets.