Governor Makinde Wants Ibadan Airport Upgraded to Regional Airport

Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan

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Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, on Thursday, asked the Federal Government to take necessary steps to uplift the standard of the Ibadan Airport, declaring that making Ibadan a regional airport would be of benefit to the state and the national economy.

The governor, who stated this while hosting the Joint National Assembly Committee on Aviation, led to his office by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, said the state government had commissioned a study that clearly showed that a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement would fast-track the planned upgrading of the airport to international standard.

 

He explained that the state was willing to lead the charge to turnaround the airport if the Federal Government would agree to hand it over, saying the Ibadan Airport should readily serve Nigeria better as the alternate airport to Lagos, instead of diverting international flights to Accra, Ghana.

 

While enumerating possible benefits of the Ibadan Airport, if upgraded, Governor Makinde explained various efforts of his administration aimed at improving the standard of the airport, including the rehabilitation of adjoining roads as well as provision of basic facilities at the airport, and called on the Federal Government to do more by collaborating with the state in its resolve to uplift the airport.

Makinde said: “We have commissioned a study to look at the airport; to look at those things we should upgrade. We know for a fact that the runway right now is 2400m/45metres and they said if we want to make it standard, it should go to 3.3km/60 metres. Even the parking area is about 25,200 square metres and we should actually push that to 76,500 to be able to accommodate wide-body aircraft. So, we are looking at the instrument landing system and the airport lighting system.”

The governor noted that the model is not to use the state’s funds per se, but to do a Public-Private Partnership, where the state would join up with experts in the field and people with investable money, take over the airport, do all the expansion and see if it could be turned into an international airport that would focus on the West African region.

He noted that his government had signed an MoU with KOPEC to fix the road from Iwo Road junction all the way to Alakia, a federal road which has been awarded by the federal government but not funded yet, saying his government would provide the fund to fix it because of the citizens that ply the road and would get the money back whenever the Federal Government decides to refund it.

Governor Makinde said the road from the airport through Ajia, with a spur to Amuloko, through which people coming from Ile-Ife and Ogun State could have access to the airport without going into the city, had been awarded by his administration and the work is close to 60 percent level of completion.

 

He also mentioned that the Beere-Akanra-Dagbolu road, almost 30 minutes drive to the airport, through which people coming from Ijebu-Igbo who want to fly through Ibadan can travel, was awarded by the previous administration and his government is continuing with the project, saying with the roads, the Ibadan Airport would not only serve the Ibadan people but also adjoining states.

Makinde affirmed that his administration had started fixing some of the things it noticed are not available at the airport, awarded a contract to BOVAS to put in a storage and dispensing facility, asked for a new protocol lounge which is almost done and also provided a fire tender for the airport.

He stated: “We have put in our money and we will still continue to do more because the airport for us, economically, is a link to the Oluyole Industrial park and pacesetter industrial area and our central business district. Now, it is being moved to Moniya because that is where we have the rail corridor and dry port. The airport is really central to the economic development of our state.”

The governor asserted that an upgraded Ibadan Airport would help improve the state’s economy beyond oil, as it would be able to develop its solid mineral deposits including some of the best tourist sites like the hanging lake at Ado-Awaye and the Ikere Gorge Dam, adding that since the Federal Government was already thinking of concessioning the airports in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano, it could as well cede the Ibadan Airport to Oyo on a PPP.

While speaking, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, commended Governor Makinde’s vision, which he said is helping to turn around the state’s economy, saying the committee already observed encroachment on the airport land and the need to enhance safety of the airport and upgrade its equipment.

He said: “We equally observed that there is need for extension of the run-way to meet up with international standard; again, the runway is calling for attention. So our coming here today is an eye opener to some of the situations that require urgent attention. As the legislature our duty is to call the attention of the executive to areas where they need to provide funding.”

Also speaking, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, also stressed the economic importance of upgrading the nation’s airports, particularly as an alternative to road transportation due to prevailing insecurity challenges in the country.

 

The delegation afterwards undertook an assessment tour of the Ibadan airport to evaluate its concerns.

 

Nnenna.O

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