By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika on Saturday disclosed that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has so far completed 134 of the 157 projects it embarked upon since its inception.
Senator Sirika who said in Ibadan while unveiling and opening the recently built terminal building at the Ibadan airport pointed out that the 134 projects which included the Ibadan Airport terminal building are 100 percent completed.
“We have achieved this feat as parts of the 157 projects that we undertook during this administration and completed 134 of them a hundred percent and this is one of them.” he said.
The Minister stressed that the President Buhari’s administration recognized the importance of Ibadan and other historic cities in the country to the social and economic growth of Nigeria.
“Ibadan, being a city with rich history, culture and population remains a pivotal point to the developmental plans and agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government hence the need for the renovation of the Ibadan Airport terminal building as well as its upgrade so as to serve the people of Oyo state, region and country in the areas of economy and commerce.”
Senator Sikira added, “The importance of Ibadan as a city and its environs, the rich history, culture and traditional, the trade and its commerce coupled with the size of the population of Ibadan is too important as a city to be ignored. The federal government through the Ministry of transportation and aviation is conscious of these, therefore we undertook this project to rehabilitate the airport and try to recreate the activities around the airport to take it past its previous glory.”
Emphasizing that “we cannot grow bigger and can’t run faster than our fathers”, the Minister said, “therefore, we will not abandoned those cities for their historical significance, for their population, for their contribution to the development and growth of this country, for the socio-economic activities around those cities, for the trade and commerce and for the politics in those cities. Even for their tradition and culture among others.”
Speaking further, the Minister said the “city of Ibadan indeed is a pillar city in West Africa. It is central, just like Kano.” adding, “we revere this city and against this background, the Ministry of Transportation and Aviation decided to rehabilitate the Ibadan Terminal building and some other associated works including perimeter fencing.”
In his remarks, the Senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District, Senator Soji Akanbi said the time has come for the Federal Government to put the airport into use in full capacity by giving it the privilege of airlifting pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem,” adding that “efforts have been made to ensure the airport runs in full capacity like Lagos and others”.
“Actually. I am here today to represent our people in Ibadan and deliver a clear message to the minister. They have done well, with the construction, the facelift and others. We are grateful but we are asking for more.This place is indeed underutilised. I said to the Minister that we want a situation where these facility is upgraded, even if it is not up to world-class, but to a level that our people going to Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem can fly directly from here and that will benefit the neighbouring states like Osun and Ekiti.” he said
Senator Akanbi stressed “because this place is underutilised, we must maximise what we have on ground. Lagos is over congested and Ibadan is an ideal point to help decongest Lagos”.
“We are really appealing to the Federal Government to please upgrade this airport to help decongest Lagos.
They must encourage the use of these facilities and it will help. We could use this place as cargo terminal because of the mass land and the serene environment that will attract people.”
Speaking with journalists, the airport manager, Mr Victor Akinselure charged
the Federal Government not to relent in its effort to ensure the standard of the airport is further increased and put to full utilisation.
“This commissioning is like getting Ibadan ready to fly because Ibadan has a lot of potentials, when I came on board with my management team, we did our survey and we discovered that more than 3, 000 people travels from Ibadan to the Southeast, including, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Imo and so on. And we also discovered that more than 2,000 people travel from Ibadan to all these West African countries and what we are now looking at if this airport can capture about 50 percent of those people and it will be good for us.”