Women are regularly reminded that to be successful in work, they need to emulate men and take on masculine qualities. Those belonging to this school of thought must be ignorant of the fact that women also have standing qualities that they bring to the workplace which are capable of improving their working environments.
Though, in this part of the world, men are the ones dominating the space, but from all indications, women can equally go far if given the free hand to operate in whichever capacities they are given.
It is no longer hidden that some women who rose to the peak of their carriers in their different areas of callings have proved beyond any doubt that if given the necessary wherewithals, they can comfortably turn things around.
Amongst such women who have written their names in gold for standing tall in the midst of ‘giant’ men’ includes the Nigerian born Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the present Director General, World. trade Organization and Christine Lagarde, of the European Central Bank
Therefore, the recent appointment of the first female Managing Director for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in the person of Mrs Olubunmi Kuku is such an opportunity for another woman to prove the doubting Thomases wrong that a woman’s job is not only limited to the ‘other room’, apology to the former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Within the little time she has assumed her position as the one in charge of keeping the over 26 airports spread across the country safe and secured for air transport operations, Kuku has shown her resilience towards ensuring the traveling public enjoy seamless services through standard airport infrastructural facilities.
From all indications, the FAAN MD has already hit the ground running as witnessed in her zero tolerance for lawlessness and distortion of principles that guide Airports management in line with international standard.
For anybody who witnessed what transpired at the reopening of the renovated E-Wing terminal at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport last week when the British Airways passengers were the first to enjoy the upgraded terminal which can now compete with anyone outside the shores of the country owing to the fantastic architectural designs that put into considerations the cultural strenth of the different ethnic groups in the country, better days are definitely ahead for air transport.
Even the British Airways passengers who happened to be the first users of the upgraded terminal could not hide their excitement over the sharp and feasible transformation that took place at the hitherto dilapidated terminal building.
According to one of the passengers: “I like the art work, I hope they can maintain it. I love this, thanks to everyone who has contributed government, private sector for accomplishing this, this is beautiful. There has been an improvement which is commendable we are getting there little by little but we just pray that we are able to maintain it and improve more on it”.
The FAAN MD who led her team to the international airport to witness the reopening of the E-Wing terminal and monitor other activities pertaining to operations, confirmed that women can make great leaders with the manner she was able to control the gridlock that occurred on the day in question being Friday and the peak time for international flights.
The FAAN MD as if envisaging the additional responsibilities that may confront her, apart from coming to supervise the reopening of the renovated terminal, was adequately prepared for other eventualities that may come her way through the simple blouse and jeans trousers she wore which is a departure from the usual dress to kill apparels often put on by many women in such positions put on even when it is not necessary.
It is on record that some women while going to perform sensitive functions that require absolute somberness and smartness, would still prefer to dress as if going for a fashion parade.
On the day of the reopening of the terminal, the FAAN MD created the impression on the minds of Nigerians including the passengers and other airport users that she has actually come to contribute her quota towards making the agendas of the President Bola Tinubu led government through the minister of aviation and aerospace development, Mr Festus Keyamo a reality.
At a point, Kuku took up the job of a road traffic warden clearing the access road that links the arrival and departure halls of the chaotic gridlock created by the lawless parkings of vehicles that were at the airport to either pick or drop passengers.
The FAAN boss who was visibly disappointed with the failure of the FAAN security personnel and other uniform personnel in charge of making both humans and vehicular movements seamless, was able to bring sanity to the environment as she personally controlled the congestion.
Kuku has not only confirmed that women make great leaders, she has equally proved that the womenfolk if given the free hand can be hard-working, motivating, effective communicators, and have incredibly high standards.
Kuku as a pacesetter and being the first woman to attain the topmost level in the history of the aviation agencies has no doubt become an ambassador of other women both within and out of the sector.
Because one of the great qualities that women bring as leaders is their ability to inspire others, particularly other women, with the display of such agility on the day in question, the FAAN MD may not allow any act of incompetency from any worker or any other airport users to hinder her from achieving her targeted goals. This attitude is capable of inspiring and motivating other women to do the same and to show that it can be done.
The FAAN MD even after carrying out the rigorous exercise of clearing the traffic congestion was still able to confront the ever ready aviation journalists waiting to get clarifications on some burning issues affecting FAAN and the Airports in general.
Perhaps, her agility combined with her youthful stance led her to intelligently tackle the questions put to her through which she further confirmed her readiness to address the Herculean duties ahead of her.
During the questions and answers, the FAAN MD particularly pledged to make passengers’ comfort her priority through a working airport system even as she mentioned that in the next few days, plans would be rolled out to eliminate the gridlock often experienced at the peak periods in other to bring sanity to the environment.
Her words: ” Well, there is quite a lot that we have in mind. I have mentioned that passengers’ experience is critical. We are opening the terminal and in addition we are going to make sure we focus on the cooling systems . We are collaborating with heads of other agencies at the airport to make sure our operations streamline
There has to be a solution because we cannot afford to keep this going. We owe it to our passengers, we owe it to ourselves.Our core responsibility at FAAN is to provide good passengers’ experience, with good infrastructure, safety and comfort so we will make sure that is done, that’s why I am here.”
The upgraded E-Wing arrival hall now reopened to flight operations, is aimed at among others streamline the arrival process, providing a smoother experience for passengers, especially the elderly and those with mobility challenges.