It was tales of different stories over the weekend in Ogun when the Aviation Committee of the Nigerian National Assembly came on a tour.
The National Assembly team led by Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi visited the construction site in Wasimi area of the proposed International Airport which is in the Federal Budget. He came in company of the former Governor of the State who is now a Senator.
This is as the State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has said the state does not need an International Airport but an Agro Cargo Airport to be sited in Ilisan Remo area of the state. According to media Report in TBI.
“The State government, under the past administration of former governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun had commenced the construction of the airport project which was meant to be completed in March 2019.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi who is representing Kogi West Senatorial District at the Upper Chamber disclosed that the Wasinmi project was part of the Assembly’s concern, adding that it had been occurring in the federal government’s budget.
“The Senator though could not ascertain when the construction would be completed, stressed that the federal government would consider all available means to ensure that the project sees the light of the day.
“On the completion of the project, I cannot say anything, ours is to make sure that money that is appropriated for the project is spent on it.
He hinted that Committee would meet the Ministry of Aviation for the continuity of the construction in due time.
Adeyemi said “We cannot diversify the economy without partnering the aviation industry, the industry is fundamentals to development. Politics will not affect the project, what is important is the welfare of the people. It is obvious that this is a construction site for international airport.
“This is not a new project to the National Assembly, it’s a project that has been in place before now.
“Wasimi airport is something that has been occurring in the federal government’s budget. We are equally aware that there’s another one that the state government is working on which we visited yesterday.
“We will sit with the Ministry of Aviation and discuss what we have seen and what we think should be the way forward.
“We have seen the site and we will go back and look at availability of funds as appropriated and if not FG will look at other means through which the project can be supported. We are not going to be an obstacle to any projects.
In his remark, Senator Ibikunle Amosun who is representing Ogun Central Senatorial District appreciated the Committee lauded the commitment of Presidential Muhammadu Buhari toward the construction of the Airport.
Earlier on Friday, Ogun State government said it will continue with the plan for construction of an agro-cargo airport in Ilisan Remo.
Governor Dapo Abiodun said this when he received the Committee at the Exco Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
The governor said that the agro-cargo airport project, conceptualized by the Gbenga Daniel administration in 2007, has lots of potentials in the overall development of the state in particular and the country in general.
Abiodun noted that what Ogun State is yearning for is an airport that will support its massive agro development potentials.
“The need to have a Cargo airport was made by our joint inter-ministerial committee and we consequently evaluated the initiatives that were started by previous administrations because government is a continuum.
“After a thorough evaluation, the choice of the Airport cargo location in Ilishan was unanimous, it complements the Agric/processing factories eco system in that corridor with access/egress road network.
But in the contrary, former Governor Amosun maintained that the state can have more than airport, if possible.
“For me, if it is possible for us to have ten airport, that’s fine. By the grace of God, this airport will see the light of the day,” Amosun prayed.”
But in a widely Read reaction which was posted on Social media an Aviation Security Expert Capt. John Ojikutu who was involved in the earlier Airport Projects in Ogun State gave a Background Story to the Controversy.
“The development of an airport for Ogun state had been in the 75/80 national development plan of Gen Obasanjo (Owu/Egba) to build between Abeokuta and Ilaro (Yewa) just as the development of the Lagos/Sokoto Road through Agbara/Atan -Ota. Gbenga Daniel (Ijebu/Remo) took it up and set up a committee headed by Kayode Anibaba (Lagosian); I was a member.
The committee report approved an area in Ijebu East which I alone dissented because of possible traffic conflict with Lagos traffic.
Amosun took the project up and reverted the location to Wasimi (Egba); Abiodun another gov (Ijebu) is now in power want to revert to what Gbenga Daniel could not do but where he wants to locate it is what is not very clear to me.
However, whether Ogun State needs an airport, yes but where to locate it will always be in conflict between the ethnic Yoruba tribes in the state, viz, the Egbas, Ijebus and the Yewas/Aworis. The development around these ethnics like those in Lagos around Epe/Ikorodu that brought one to Lekki require one too around them.
The development of Lagos airport within uncontrolled urban development and complicated road networks are restricting the infrastructural development for the Lagos airport. Rather than the airport developing into its land, the urban people are developing into the land making the plan for aerotropolis a mirage.
I have suggested in one of my proposals in my report of 2008 that the expansion of passengers’ terminals in Lagos may not accommodate further expansion of the cargo terminals.
The Ogun cargo terminal airport located somewhere between Papalanto/Wasimi as now located by Amosun will service the purpose of the industries located at the three ethnicity areas of the state at Agbara/Ota, Shagamu/Ibadan Express road and Abeokuta/Shagamu and beyond to neighbouring state of Oyo if only the connecting federal roads linking these areas are given as concession to the state to reconstruct for additional load and traffic to the airport.”
The last has not been heard of this long drawn out drama over an airport. Of all the proposed airport projects in the South West only Akure airport has been built and is operational. Ekiti and Osun projects have been thriving on paper just like that of Ogun in the last 10 Years.