Thursday 23 August 2012

Aviation Industry: Giant strides amidst a season of media denigration

By Skywatch correspondent.

Any avid news follower of Nigerian news especially news from the aviation sub-sector would have noticed the calculated campaign of calumny that has been drawn up by paid mischief makers to derail the steady but surely revolution that is daily gaining grounds in the aviation industry. However, the pay masters of these faceless individuals and groups are no longer the beneficiaries from the corrupt cartels that have cornered all juicy deals in the aviation sector for several years. Independent investigations have shown that the sponsors of the tirades against the Ministry and the person of the Minister are those whose lobbying prowess has failed in the face of the singular determination to do good by God, country and above all give the much needed honest lease of life –to a sector that remains highly under utilised and remains one of the most important link in the transportation equilibrium of not only Nigeria but sub-saharan Africa and the entire globe.

Never in the history of Nigeria’s aviation has the Ministry come under such barrage of media misrepresentations like the one currently being thrown at the Ministry and the person of the Minister Princess Stella Adaze Oduah.

Every step of the Airport terminal reconstruction has been met with stiff resistant, even from prominent stakeholders, even at a time when the airports didn’t have functional amenities and were not worthy of being the terminals of one of Africa’s most important air routes. It is befuddling to hear aviation professionals say safety first before reconstruction, forgetting that though aviation safety is the singular most important factor in instilling the confidence in air travel, it is equally only a comfortably well equipped airport that can compliment air safety. An airport with safe runways, well demarcated perimeter fence and functional tower facilities, fire service hubs and clinics that can aide in ensuring that such edifice is fit for air travelling amidst optimum safety and comfort.

 As if the paid ghost writers haven’t had enough their pay masters have also told them to attack the process of the bidding of the airport projects, not even the Ministry of aviation’s explanation of the projects being emergency projects in order the fast track the development of the sector has dissuade them from peddling their outright lies and half truths.

The investment drive abroad in search of competent aviation professionals to become big players in Nigeria’s aviation sector was greeted with so much disdain that if not for her patriotic zeal, the attention currently being enjoyed by potential investors wouldn’t have even been thought of. Another much maligned aspect of the Minister’s transformation drive has been the misconception and misrepresentation of the facts about the BASA fund, an interventionist fund meant for the ministry which the minister has said part of it will be channelled towards bequeathing world class airport terminals and other safety facilities at our airports nationwide. 

In fact not even fatal and tragic crashes that characterised the tenure of Prof. Babalola Borishade did the Ministry suffer such negative criticisms and wholesome cynicism. To refresh our minds a bit after Prof. Borishade was replaced on November 2 2006 four days after the crash of ADC Airlines Boeing 737 passenger aircraft, two years later he was later to be arraigned alongside his successor Femi Fani Kayode for their roles in the mismanagement of the 19.5 Billion Naira aviation intervention fund. One of the highlights of this sordid case was when an Austrian executive mentioned during a hearing that they had paid Borishade the sum of 1 Billion Naira in order to acquire the contract for the remodelling of the airports. Yet the aforementioned were not daily staples in our news items 6 years ago.

It is sad that some so-called stakeholders will rather wish for Nigeria’s aviation sector to remain underdeveloped at the expense self interest, it is important that at this critical juncture we are come together to ensure that we have an aviation sector that is amongst one of the best in Africa, the steps are already being taken, its time to rally round the Minister and ensure that the strides currently being made are sustained for the generality of Nigerians and those unborn.


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