Commentary: Anambra International Airport, A Dream Come True

Commentary: Anambra International Airport, A Dream Come True

In every generation, there is always a day when the sun and the stars come together in a perfect agreement with the hopes and dreams of a people. Today is that day in Anambra state; the day the whole world is witnessing the commissioning of the Anambra International Passenger/Cargo Airport for Commercial Operation. No doubt, patriotic Umu Anambra have waited patiently for this day. Yes, today is sunrise in Anambra State.

Those naysayers, who wonder whether this is real, now believe. It is as real as night and day. Those who question the choice of an airport by Governor Willie Obiano over other things the government would have done with the scarce resources are now dumfounded. This government considers the airport project a priority likewise other infrastructural projects it has embarked on, because of the multiplier economic effect. The next government can focus on other areas and projects.

Those, who question the idea behind the airport when there are Asaba, Enugu and Owerri airports, should understand that there are lots of considerations in passengers and users choosing an airport to patronize. They include proximity from home, office or departure point; State of origin effect, emotional and sentimental reasons and patronizing your own to grow your state economy. There are also service availability such as Cargo, hotels, shopping mall etcetera; flight schedules and routes available; operating airlines and ease of arriving at airport. We should note that traffic on Niger Bridge Onitsha sometimes lasts hours among others.

According to Governor Willie Obiano, the Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport is the most audacious legacy of his administration and, perhaps, the most revolutionary too. Experts say that the airport has set a record in the aviation industry as the fastest and most modern airport to be built in recent times.

Remarkably, the airport took 15 months to build. Construction work began in January 2020 and, 15 months after, it witnessed the first flight into the airport. It took only one year and three months of determination, perseverance and courage in the face of danger, to build the edifice.

Obiano rose above the gloom and doom of global lockdowns and phobia over COVID-19 to bring this dream to reality. This airport is proof that no army, no matter how fortified, can stand the force of an idea! A great idea may rest for a while; but it will come to reality when it is time is due!

The most interesting thing about the airport, though, is that the Anambra State Government did not borrow a kobo to build it. This in itself; is a record in leadership, vision and execution in Nigeria with the current realities.

No doubt, this airport is an idea whose time has come. Anambra’s dream for their own airport began almost 30 years ago when the Government of Anambra State acquired 530 hectares of land at Oba, Idemili South Local Government Area with the intention of building a domestic airport. The idea came up again in 2006 when Orient Petroleum dreamt of building an airport at Umueri. Today, that dream is fulfilled.

When the Obiano administration began the effort to expand the frontiers of excellence in Anambra State seven and half years ago, it announced that its Vision was to make the State the first choice investment destination and hub of industrialization and commercial activities. It also declared that its Mission was to create a socially stable, business friendly environment that will attract both indigenes and foreigners to wealth creating opportunities in Anambra State. The airport is a fulfillment of the vision and mission statements.

It is difficult to create a new economic corridor without a functional international airport that will serve as a direct bridge between Anambra and the world. With the airport, Obiano has made the journey easier for any investor who wants to prospect Anambra State for business.

Anyone who is familiar with Anambra State knows that Ndi Anambra admire self-reliance a lot. They travel a lot too. We do not summon external help for what we can do for ourselves. We rose from the ashes of an unpleasant past to build a promising homeland. Our people crisscross the globe in search of a better life.

This airport is therefore a timely bridge between Anambra and the world. It is the link between a dream and its fulfillment! There is no doubt that the Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport shall become one of the busiest airports in Nigeria. The key success factors are there for all to see!

Another dream of the APGA government in Anambra is to also establish a seaport in the state. And with Professor Chukwuma Soludo, it is expected that the dream will materialize, just as the International Passenger And Cargo Airport.

WRITTEN BY SIR NOBERT OBI

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