Wednesday 26 June 2013

Opinion Ed: Aviation Industry in Nigeria, the Great Metamorphosis

by Ugwuja Johnson Udoka

Infrastructural development taking place in Nigerian airports, from those located at the heart of the Savannah in the north, to those at the fringe of the rain forest in the South, bears eloquent testimony to the success of the transformation agenda of the Federal Government in the aviation industry. 

The nation’s airports now wear a new look with the grand re-modelling project currently going on at the airports, courtesy of the foresight of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the courage and determination of the Honorable Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah. 

It is no longer news that ultra-modern airport terminals are springing up at various airports at the blink of an eye. What is news now is the great impact of this developmental metamorphosis and the deep-seated attitudinal change it has brought about in airport users nationwide. 

There is no doubt, environment affects attitude. Airport environment hitherto commanded no respect as users could afford to splash and litter the environment at ease. The story is different today. The saying that cleanliness is next to godliness has truly found meaning in our airports. Travelers and other airport users can afford to savor fresh air while transiting to various destinations and transacting businesses at the nation’s airports. 

It was indeed a moment of true confession and kudos to the Honorable Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, at the recently concluded 24th Enugu International Trade Fair, in which the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) participated actively. Investors and discerning members of the public who visited FAAN’s stand lauded the efforts of the present leadership in the aviation industry. Some of them literally went emotional as they praised the invisible hand that tele-guided Princess Stella Oduah into the aviation industry as the Honorable Minister. 

This was how Mr. Abiola Daisy Idufueko of Que Initiative (NGO), No. 2A Idahosa Street, Off 2nd Cemetery Road, Edo State, expressed his joy and enthusiasm about the transformation in the aviation industry in the country: “With what we have seen in Benin Airport, we are very very impressed. We say to Princess, the sky is your starting point. God bless you real good.” Dr. Nwaneri of Department of Surgery, University Teaching Hospital, Enugu picked it from there: “I am impressed with what I saw.” That was not all. Passion came alive with the commendation from Njoku Obiageli of Union Bank of Nigeria, Okpara Avenue, Enugu State: “You are really doing a great job in re-modelling our airports. Keep it up.”

It did not end there. Valentine Poly Okafor of Union Express Ltd, 1 Garden Avenue Enugu, lauded the current change in aviation industry thus: “Highly impressed with the transformation going on nationwide in the airports of our country by Princess Adaeze. Kudos!! The encomiums continued unabated while the trade fair lasted.

From what our highly esteemed visitors confessed above, one thing is clear: that the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, has surpassed her predecessors, as today’s airports, under her close watch, have become the pride of the Nigerian people, who now see themselves as the true owners of the nation’s airport business.

Genuine investors from all walks of life, across the globe, are now willing to collaborate with the Ministry of Aviation and FAAN to explore the investment opportunities at Nigerian airports as exemplified by the MoU signed by the Governments of China and Nigeria to build five world-class ultra-modern international airport terminals in Nigeria. This is an indication that the present handlers of aviation matters in the country have won both domestic and international trust and confidence. This means that the aviation industry in Nigeria is truly playing a key role in making Nigeria realize her vision of becoming one of the biggest 20 economies in the  world come year 2020.

The current revolution in aviation industry in Nigeria has generated many job opportunities in the last one year as ready employees now find succor in the industry. 

What else need be said? To revive a sub-sector hitherto in coma and bring it to the limelight, placing it in a vantage position of serving as the engine of the nation’s economic growth, is no mean task to say the least.

It is on this note that we congratulate Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Hon. Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah and the Managing Director/CEO, FAAN, Mr George Uriesi, for the metamorphosis that has taken place at our airports in the last one year, making them the pride of the nation.

Ugwuja Johnson Udoka writes from the Corporate Communications Department, FAAN Headquarters, Ikeja, Lagos.


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