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Two Weeks After Controversial Nigeria Air Unveil, Ethiopian Airlines Board Chairman  Steps Down

He has been replaced by Lieutenant General Yilma Merdasa, commander of the Ethiopian Air Force.

Eighteen days after the controversial unveiling of Nigeria Air, Girma Wake has resigned from his post as Ethiopian Airlines’ board chairman.

The reason for his resignation has not yet been revealed. 

It comes after the “unveiling” of Nigeria Air  on May 26, three days before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Nigeria’s Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika has come under fire for the hurried unveiling, after a chartered Ethiopian Airlines 

It was said that Wake acknowledged his departure from the position but declined to go into any detail on why he left the organization.

In a tweet that was shared on Monday, the airline confirmed Wake’s departure, and announced his successor as Yilma Merdasa, commander of the Ethiopian Air Force.

The airline then commended Wake as he “provided effective guidance to the group, sharing his wealth of experience in the aviation field” during his tenure as management board chairman.

The airline said, “Ethiopian Airlines Group welcomes Lieutenant General Yilma Merdasa and wishes him success in his new role.”.

A few days before during a House of Representatives in Nigeria, Dapo Olumide, the CEO of Nigeria Air, said that the aircraft utilized for the introduction of Nigeria Air was a chartered flight from Ethiopian Airlines, which owns a 49% equity stake in Nigeria Air.

Sirika also discussed the matter on Sunday during an ARISE News interview and claimed that even if the plane was chartered, the government was not liable for covering the cost of the trip.

Wake served as Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO from 2004 to 2011, and he joined the board of Ethiopian Airlines in 2018. 

In April 2022, he was elected chairman of the airline’s board, making the total time he had served the airline 30 years. He also served as the board chairman of Rwanda Air and adviser to the minister of transport in Rwanda.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi