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How Gov Abiodun diminished Amosun’s airport project to float another near his hometown

 

During his spell as governor of the southwest state of Ogun, Amosun promised to midwife the construction of an international airport at Wasinmi in Ewekoro Local Government Area, before the expiration of his term.


Amosun believed that an international passenger airport in Ogun is imperative because the state is an established industrial hub with proximity to Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city and commercial capital.


Four days before the end of his administration, Amosun invited President Muhammadu Buhari to Ogun State to commission some projects, including the airport which at the time was still at a rudimentary construction stage.


However, Governor Dapo Abiodun has faulted the location of the proposed Wasinmi International Airport because of its nearness to cement factories in Ewekoro, adding that the factories are emitting dust particles and pollutants into the atmosphere.


Abiodun also frowned at the idea of having a passenger airport in Ogun, saying what the state needs is a cargo-airport to be sited at Ilisan Remo, a town that belongs in the same local government with his home town of Iperu Remo.


The governor argued that the state needs an airport that will support its massive agro development potentials.



While addressing the senate committee on Aviation, led by Senator Smart Adeyemi, at the Exco Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan on Friday, March 5, 2021, the governor said the agro-cargo airport project, conceptualized by the Gbenga Daniel administration in 2007, has lots of potentials and is central to the overall development of the state.


The governor also said the decision to have the airport in Ilishan Remo was made by the state’s joint inter-ministerial committee, which prioritised it over the Wasimi passenger airport.


He said, “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 ecosystem in that corridor with access/egress road network.


“To that extent, our decisions are guided by the principles of good governance; it is fair, just and equitable to all. Is the process transparent and inclusive? Is it of economic importance/value? Will it possibly impact the lives of our people? After all, the people are the essence of governance and we are only holding the office in trust for them.”


The governor also told the lawmakers that details about the proposed Wasinmi International Airport project were not in the handover note of the Amosun administration.


He added that the project was shrouded in secrecy, adding that the airport was neither approved by the Ministry of Aviation nor the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).


Due to the claim that the proposed international airport in Wasinmi is close to cement factories in Ewekoro, Governor Abiodun said his administration has redesigned the location for a more complementary purpose as a trailer and container transit terminal and park.


Members of the inter-ministerial committee from Amosun’s senatorial district who supported the relocation of the airport project include Alh. Afolabi Shoaib, Chief of Staff to the Governor; Hon Ganiyu Hamzat, Commissioner for Cooperative Developments; Mr Afolabi Afuape, Commissioner for Local Govt and Chieftaincy Affairs; Mr Taiwo Oludotun, Commissioner for Rural Development; Dr Mrs Tomi Coker, Commissioner for Health;


Others are; Mr Gbolahan Adeniran, Commissioner for Justice & Attorney General; and Rt Hon Tunji Egbetokun, Senior Special Adviser on Political Affairs; Hon Adijat Adeleye, Special Adviser on Women Affairs; Engr Akeem Adesina, Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure; Hon Tajudeen Egunjobi, Special Adviser on Housing.


During their recent visit to the state to inspect the airport project at Wasinmi, a member of the senate committee on Aviation, Senator Solomon Adeola, representing Lagos West, said Ogun only needs a cargo airport and not a passenger one, while Amosun maintained that the Wasinmi airport project will be completed.


Amosun, who recently joined members of the senate committee during their inspection of the project site said, “This is not the first time they will be coming here and I also want to appreciate the support of President Muhammadu Buhari because if not for his support, we wouldn’t have moved this project to this level.


“For me, if it is possible for us to have ten airports, that’s fine. By the grace of God, this airport will see the light of the day.”


The Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Smart Adeyemi corroborated Amosun’s position on FG’s support for the project but was not sure whether the project will be completed or not.


While addressing journalists after inspecting the project on Friday, Adeyemi said the project has been recurring in the federal government’s budget, adding that the committee is aware that the state government is working on another airport project in the state.


He said, “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.


“We cannot diversify the economy without partnering with the aviation industry. The industry is fundamental 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 an international airport. This is not a new project to the national assembly, it’s a project that has been in place before now.


“Wasinmi 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.”


Adeyemi concluded that following the committee’s inspection of the proposed airport, it will discuss with the Ministry of Aviation to think about the way forward. 


ovu: Wednesday, 10 March 2021 at 3/10/2021 02:26:00 pm

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