Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has announced that the state is on track to recover its investments in the Agro Cargo Airport as international aviation companies express interest in concessional operations.
The airport, which was located along Iperu-Ilishan road in Ikenne Local Government area of the state was conceptualized as an aerotropolis, based on its strategic location, being contiguous to the nation’s commercial capital of Lagos.
The governor, shortly after inspection of the airport at the weekend had a chat with newsmen, asserting that commercial flights would begin operations at the airport before the end of the year.
He added that the concessioning of the facility would be done in the next one and half months with the state recouping the money expended on the facility.
He said: “I’m sure that in the next 30 to 45 days, we should sign the dotted lines of the concessioning of this airport, which would mean that everything the airport has cost us would completely be repay back to us and we can use the money to pay our debt and also begin to look at other projects.”
The governor also noted that the airport would be granted approval to commence commercial operations by the end of 2023, which will see both local and international flights landing at the airport.
“This airport, sometime by the end of November, December would be fully granted approval. Commercial operations would start here. It means that you can board a flight to Abuja, Port Harcourt and I am sure that by the end of the year, you will begin to see international flights leave wherever and land in this airport by the grace of God,” Prince Abiodun said.
Governor Abiodun said what Ogun State is building is a truly international airport that can compete with anyone around the world, adding that his government decided to take the plunge to build the facility because failure to do so would have meant waiting forever.
He said: “We are building a truly international airport. And we believe that we as government should be facilitators to the enablers. We have de-risk this project because as much as we believe that as government, we don’t have any business in business, we realise the fact that were we to wait for others to come and build this airport, we would probably be waiting after I must have left office.
“But, what did we do? We decided as government to look for funding and build this airport and then concession it to others, thereby de-risking the project. So, today, what you see is a world class airport that in itself is attracting the attention of airport operators around the world.
“We have a process that is in place where a few others have expressed interest to get the airport concession to them. It is very exciting that the airport is not completed and yet people are jostling to take over the airport, pay us all that it has cost us and begin to run this airport. Had we not built this airport to world class standard, nobody would come here.
“There are other airports all over the country that different states have built and I don’t know how much interest those airports are receiving all over the world, but this airport is receiving interest from international airport operators around the world.
“You will see that our initiatives, vision, dedication, intentionality, resolute, our refusal to be distracted by treacherous politicians and backstabbers and our resolved to remain focus, is paying off.”
The governor described the runway, administrative building, apron and the control tower at the airport as the best in the country.
According to him, the runway is the longest, the widest and the best ever constructed in Nigeria.
“Beyond the runway, we have an apron. The apron itself is a world class apron. That is where planes park after they land. That apron is 82,000 square metres of solid concrete. I am not sure of how many aprons are built to this standard. And we have the administration building which is nearing completion. Against the administration building is the control tower. I say with pride and I beat my chest, there is no control tower that comes anything near this facility,” he added.
The airport, according to him was located within a special processing zone as a good example of Public Private sector partnership.
“For us, this initiative ticks the box of providing an enabling environment for Public Private Sector partnership, which is part of our vision ab initio,” the governor noted.