Permit me to wish you peace, joy and happiness at this holy season of Ramadan.
May you end it well in praise.
Even though retired from the public service, I make bold to state herein that I am a privileged stakeholder in the industry with more than forty years experience.
I have seen the rise and fall of many Ministers hence this short letter Sir, if it will prick your conscience to slow down a bit and reflect on your sojourn in our industry as a Minister serving the Nigerian people this past eight years.
Under the Buhari government, you are one of the luckiest and most admired Minister amongst the lot and having received accolades home and abroad, it will be extremely humiliating and demeaning for you to leave office a disgraced public official.
Given your historic beginning as a Minister, which by the grace of God arose out of our pleadings and promptings to the Federal Government to choose a professional aviator as our Minister, you have earned a golden name but please, don’t rock the boat so that you do not capsize with it.
In recent months, news awash of your expressed intentions to engage in some unpatriotic, unwholesome and unacceptable policies and projects which to your mind is good for the industry but whose total outcome when weighed, is detrimental to the general good of the industry and the well being of the entire aviation workers and lovers of the industry.
In order not to bore you, I will limit myself to just two out of your many unsuccessful planned roadmaps.
All those issues raised in your Roadmaps have been on the table before you became the Minister and we saw in you, a man of his words, a man of action and someone who works in the interests of the greater good of the Nigerian people.
Alas, you have failed woefully in many fronts Sir, not because you haven’t tried, but simply because you thought you are the alpha and omega of the aviation sector and that whatever you say becomes law, not minding whose ox is gored.
At least, members of the AON have proved you wrong in the court of law on the National Carrier which we wanted so much but managed very sloppily and badly.
My major concern here now is your continued threat of demolishing many buildings and structures constructed even before you ventured into aviation. What are your reasons and or justification for these planned demolitions?
Sir, do you not think that if your Ministry and those edging you on had taken time to do a holistic job, evaluating the needs and ways of doing due diligence, your Ministry and the Contractor handling the construction of a new Terminal ought to have known their requirements and did the needful instead of turning round to engage in demolishing Government buildings that has cost so much money to build and threatening to demolish other structures like the EAN and Dominion Hangers as if those structures were built without necessary approvals. Opposite the same EAN and Caverton Helicopters, more than 15 buildings housing members of staff of NAMA and FAAN were demolished while those innocent staff and their families were thrown out without any iota of compassion or empathy.
If at all you intend to pull them down, what are the alternatives provided for the owners/occupiers and the compensation for AIB that you rushed out of Lagos to Abuja without a single humane thought for their well being, comfort and safety, knowing fully well that the agency does not have any structure in place in Abuja just like NAMA, which spent humongous amount renting office accommodation from Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry? Where is FAAN, the supposed airport landlord who cannot have land/office in her own airport?
I am really aghast about your planned demolition of our buildings such as the Lagos Headquarters and offices of FAAN, NAMA, NCAA and other choice areas that has taken your fancy. As a Pensioner of NAMA and my other compatriots in the NCAA and FAAN, do you expect us to travel to Abuja for our respective welfare issues with our various management?And at whose costs, Sir?
Do you really and actually mean well for this industry? I think not!!
If you mean well for us, and you are aware of the contents and spirits of the Act establishing FAAN for instance, it is not within the purview of the Honorable Minister to dabble into how economic development of FAAN can be enhanced but FAAN which has a fully functional Directorate peopled with knowledgeable personnel to handle such economic drives such as Aerotropolis, which our Unions have clamoured for before you became the Minister.
I find it difficult to place your hunger for this Demolition exercise particularly with a few months to your leaving office. What legacy are you leaving us Sir?
Aerotropolis is a great project and policy to be driven not by the Ministry/Minister but by FAAN, whose duties would have to include determining areas and locations where they find suitable to house structures that shall be accommodated for the Aerotropolis project…
What Aviation stakeholders Need urgently is a conducive environment where airlines can do business successfully, functionally and seamlessly without any encumbrances. Have you provided this? There is no evidence on ground to prove otherwise
The Industry Stakeholders would have expected your office to help deepen the process of reducing Prices of Jet A1 and Create a seamless platform of clearing of aircraft parts and sundry aviation related objects through Customs for less not withstanding the waivers of certain categories of parts.
We would have loved to see you assist Foreign airlines get their funds which your government deliberately withheld thereby creating avoidable lacunas for Nigerians willing to travel abroad. It is my candid opinion Sir, as I plead that you slow down now, jettison the idea of demolishing any structure for now until a new Minister is appointed with the hope that your laudable roadmaps shall be in your handover notes for the next Minister to make use of in the interest of Nigerians and Stakeholders.
There are many issues I would have raised but given my present situation, I wish to shelve them until another place and time when we come down from our high horses.
I pray God strengthens you to do the right things right now before you go but NO to Concession;
NO to Demolition;
NO to Sniffer Dogs when handlers/trainers and AvSec personnel are hungry and unhappy; Without approved New Uniforms!!!
I hope to seeing and shaking your hands for a job well done after May 29th Insha Allah.
Yours in Solidarity,
Comrade Olusanya Olayinka Abioye,
immediate Past General Secretary,
National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE).