The Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun and the former Governor of the state, Ibikunle Amosun, are in disagreement over an airport projects in the state.
The state Governor called for an Agro-Allied Cargo airport to be located in Ilishan-Remo, Ikenne Local Government Area, the lawmaker representing Ogun Central called for a passenger airport at Wasimi, Ewekoro Local Government Area of the state.
The duo locked horns when the Senate Committee on Aviation led by Smart Adeyemi ( Kogi West), visited the state to inspect the airport projects.
A former governor of the state, Gbenga Daniels, in 2017 conceptualized Gateway Agro Cargo Airport at Ilishan-Remo, but upon assumption of office, Amosun abandoned Daniel’s project and in 2018, proposed to construct a passenger airport in Wasimi area of the state.
However, Amosun was unable to complete the project before his governorship tenure ended.
Abiodun who hosted the Senate Committee on Saturday, disclosed the plan to continue with the agro cargo airport floated by Daniel.
Abiodun told the Senate Committee that the agro-cargo airport project has a lot of potentials in the overall development of the state in particular and the country in general.
According to him, the decision to continue with the agro airport project was made by the state’s joint inter-ministerial committee, which evaluated and placed priority on it as against the Ewekoro passenger airport.
Abiodun noted that a lot of verifiable work had started on the agro-cargo airport project, which had the approval of the federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
He informed the committee that there were no details or information on the Ewekoro project in the handover note of the Amosun administration.
He said, “This administration is deliberate and methodical. 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.”
“Again, government is a continuum, we are completing this project that was conceptualized by a previous administration same way we have completed other projects (like) roads, bridges, hospitals and schools that were started by the previous administration. Our decision are always based on the economic value and benefits to our people.”
“Comparatively on the other proposed airport location, we did not find any details or information in any handover notes as it all seems to be shrouded in secrecy.”
Adeyemi-led committee, however, inspected sites of the two disputed airport projects.
Amosun led the Committee to the project site at Wasinmi, and justified why the project needs to be completed.
He 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 airport, that’s fine. By the grace of God, this airport will see the light of the day.”
Briefing newsmen after inspecting the site for the proposed passenger airport in Wasimi, Adeyemi, said the Committee members were in the state to inspect the projects, without any prejudice.
He said Ogun could accommodate the two airports due to the concentration of industries, adding that the committee would come out with its report, which will be presented to the National Assembly.
Adeyemi 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 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 international airport. This is not a new project to the National Assembly, it’s a project that had 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 (Friday).
“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.”