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Aviation think-tank scores Buhari govt 6% on devt, execution

By Wole Oyebade
03 February 2023   |   2:03 pm
Scorecard of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s performance in the air transport sector was yesterday unveiled, with the government pooling only six per cent success rate in over seven years.

Former Managing Director of defunct Nigerian Airways, Andrew Okunuga (left); Founder, Centre for Value in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi; President of Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Dr. Gbenga Olowo, and Professor of Strategy and Development, Anthony Kila, at the ASRTI Business Breakfast meeting in Lagos, yesterday.

Scorecard of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s performance in the air transport sector was yesterday unveiled, with the government pooling only six per cent success rate in over seven years.

The scorecard, courtesy of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), was benchmarked on key performance indices like the aviation roadmap, critical issues identified by the stakeholders and recommendations made to the government since assumption of office.

ASRTI, a think-tank group, estimated that only six per cent of the agenda has so far been implemented successfully; 42 per cent still in the progress, while 52 per cent others remained unscratched in almost eight years.

Recall that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in 2016 initiated and unveiled the Aviation Roadmap agenda with deliverables like a new national carrier, concession of airports, Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, aircraft leasing company and creation of aerotropolis at major airports.

Opening the ASRTI Business Breakfast Meeting in Lagos, yesterday, President of the group, Dr. Gbenga Olowo, said it was regrettable to find the “national carrier a stillbirth, MRO as unborn, and airport concessioning inconclusive”.

Olowo added that the government, however, did well in the area of regulatory bodies, with the status upgrade of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and expansion of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) into National Safety Investigation Board (NSIB).

He, however, said that: “the failure to establish some aviation agency boards as stated in the Civil Aviation Act (CAA) violates Section 29:1 of the Civil Aviation Act, as contained in Section 11:1 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.

“The New Airport Terminal Building in Lagos, commissioned by the President last year, was said to have had no apron for parking, ditto for the one in Abuja obstructing the control tower.

“The light rail line in Abuja does not connect to the airport terminal building either. Were there no plans before these projects were executed?” he queried.

Olowo reiterated that the ASRTI remains apolitical but deemed it fit to engage the presidential aspirants in knowledge-sharing ahead of the elections. He, however, lamented that only two candidates sent representatives.

Representatives of the presidential aspirant of the Labour Party, Prof. Pat Utomi, said that no serious government would undermine the importance of multimodal transport and its air transport component.

Utomi, a professor of political economy, said that both Dubai and Singapore got developed through the aviation sector, and Nigeria should not continue to be different.

“Politicians have continued to show incapacity to understand the peoples’ need and strategy to deliver them. We need to vote out these characters.

“The aviation industry needs to learn how to cooperate, even if you are competing with one another. We need to build real and not an inelastic market. Also, there is a need for intermodal linkages. The Labour party has a plan to build new cities that are linked. In these cities, there will be air, road and rail linkages. Aviation has to be well positioned to drive that,” he said.

Utomi added that there is no reason Nigerian airports should not be properly managed to provide common services that meet up to international standards.

“If we get into government, we will fire any airport manager if in six months, the airport he manages does meet standards seen in other parts of the world.

“What is so difficult about having a toilet that is clean that people can use at our airports? Our politics should be about detailing how things happen and how people should be held accountable if it does not happen. We travel all over the world and come back to see something different. This will no longer be allowed,” Utomi said.

Representatives of the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Olanrewaju Kamal, also told the gathering that the party has an array of intellectuals and professionals that are aware of the need to drive aviation and tourism potential.

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