Alhaji Mohammed Ribadu, fondly called Baba Ribadu by many of his admirers, was Nigeria’s first minister of defence. He played very important roles in the development of Nigeria’s armed forces. In the specific case of the Nigeria Airforce, he initiated the process for the establishment of the service following an official visit to Ethiopia, and being impressed by the Airforce of the East African country.
During a flight from Lagos to Kaduna in the 60s, in the company of Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa and some other ministers, the aircraft got into some fierce turbulence. As usual, many of the passengers panicked, reaching for their praying beads and making their strongest pleas to God to
intervene. Curiously, Baba Ribadu handled his praying beads but with such calmness that impressed the Prime Minister who could not hold back his curiosity when the aircraft finally touched down in Kaduna. He wondered why the minister was so calm while the rest of the passengers were so shaken with fear. Here is Baba Ribadu’s reply: “God Almighty gave us legs to stand and walk easily on solid ground but we decided to build aircrafts to take us into the skies where there are no solid grounds. We should accept whatever happen to us in the sky whenever we fly.”