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Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda @1: Festus Keyamo; Patriotically Breaking Barriers In The Aviation Sector For The Prosperity Of Our Nation By Adeboye Adebayo



When President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was sworn in last year, having prepared for the task ahead, he took his time to put his cabinet members in place and during their retreat, he ensured they all signed performance bonds to show the world that it was not business as usual.

As the countdown began on the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr President, Festus Keyamo who is manning the Ministry of Aviation & Aerospace Development as the Aviator 001 called the stakeholders in the ministry to retreats in Warri & Lagos to intimate them of intention not to fail on his assignments in the ministry, he sought for their supports, cooperation, patriotism and professionalism and the retreats did not end without a stern warning for those who may think “Na so them dey do” that any failure from anybody will attract outright dismissal and performance bond was also signed by the head of agencies with the honourable minister to ensure seriousness.

Immediately after he assumed office, Festus Keyamo set out with five areas of principle that would guide his operation in the sector. The five areason include; (1) Ensuring the Safety of passengers. (2) Improving Infrastructure in the Aviation Sector. (3) Ensuring the growth & survival of local operators. (4) Human Capacity Development for the operators in the Aviation sector. (5) Improving Revenue for the Government.

Nine months down the line which climaxed with the first anniversary of President Tinubu’s administration and his renewed hope agenda, Festus Keyamo has achieved so much in setting Nigeria’s aviation industry on the path to prosperity for Nigeria and Nigerians.

In ensuring the safety of passengers: Within two weeks of assuming office, the Honourable Minister of Aviation successfully resolved a longstanding land dispute that had hindered the construction of the Abuja Second Runway. This allowed the contractors to commence work on the project, which had been stalled for over a year.

Improving Infrastructure in the sector: Within a month, the Honourable Minister ordered all international airlines to relocate to the new international terminal in Lagos, addressing design flaws that had previously rendered the facility unusable for many international flights. This action ensured the smooth operation of the terminal.

Still on improving infrastructure in the aviation sector: Through a Public-Private Partnership, the Honourable Minister expedited and supervised the remodelling of the Arrival Hall of Wing E at Lagos International Airport. This resulted in the establishment of a modern facility, enhancing the overall airport experience for passengers.

Still on ensuring the safety of passengers: The Honourable Minister facilitated the swift repair and reactivation of Lagos’ Second Runway (18R), which had been out of service for nearly a year. This crucial action enabled the airport to operate with two runways, increasing efficiency and reducing congestion.

Ensuring Ease of doing business to encourage foreign direct investment, FDI, the Honourable Minister, working closely with the Central Bank of Nigeria ensured the clearance of a longstandingachieve meant backlog of trapped funds for foreign airlines. This significant achievement resolved an issue that had persisted for years, positively impacting the financial stability of the aviation industry.

Ensuring the growth & survival of local operators: By engaging with UK authorities, the Honourable Minister; Festus Keyamo successfully broke the longstanding monopoly of foreign airlines on the UK-Nigeria route. This led to the granting of reciprocal operating rights to Air Peace, a local airline, resulting in increased competition and reduced international airfares for Nigerian travellers.

Improving Revenue for the Government: Recently obtaining approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the Honourable Minister; Festus Keyamo implemented access fees for all VIPs at airport toll gates nationwide. This departure from a long-standing tradition of exemptions ensures fair revenue generation and prevents losses at FAAN facilities.

Ensuring the growth & survival of local operators: Under the watch of Festus Keyamo, the United States-Nigeria Open Skies Air Transport Agreement came into force. This significant milestone opens doors for local airlines to operate the route, promoting increased connectivity and trade between the two countries.

Yet on Improving Revenue for the Government: During a recent visit to Saudi Arabia, the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development worked towards reviving long-dormant cargo flight operations between Nigeria and the country. This initiative aims to enhance bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

Yet for the comfort and safety of passengers: The Hajj Terminals nationwide had been neglected and left in a dilapidated state for many years. However, Barrister Festus Keyamo took proactive measures to address this issue. In a significant move, he personally visited the Pilgrims on their maiden flight in Kebbi State and Abuja before their departure to the holy land. This gesture showcased his commitment to improving the pilgrimage experience and ensuring the safety and comfort of the pilgrims. In a major move, through diplomatic efforts coordinated with UAE authorities, the Honourable Minister successfully facilitated the resumption of Emirates flights by October 1, 2024. This achievement strengthens air travel connectivity between Nigeria and the UAE.

Even the naysayers agreed with popular opinion that Festus Keyamo is working his talks by showing commitment to Nigerians who gave their popular mandate to Bola Tinubu and voted him as the President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces by ensuring improvement in the activities in the aviation geared towards economic growth and development for Nigerian people through more creation of sustainable jobs, improved revenue for government, creation of more economic and business opportunities for Nigerians and also ensuring ease of doing business in the sector thereby attracting foreign direct investments in droves.

It takes a man with courage, a high level of patriotism and a high sense of responsibility to challenge the status quo in a sector like Aviation in Nigeria and begin to see such results that are raising the lost hopes of Nigerians in a once-moribund and hopeless sector where our nation is putting so much and gain nothing within the spate of nine months.

Less I forget, under the watch of the Honourable Minister, the African Aviation and Aerospace University, Abuja has begun admitting students and the infrastructure at the permanent of the University is gradually taking shape. The university will serve as a hub for the provision of manpower and developing capacity for the operators in the aviation and aerospace sector of Nigeria, Africa and also exportable abroad.

Kudos, The Learned Silk!!!!!

_Comrade Adeboye Adebayo is the National Publicity of Asiwaju Grassroots Foundation; AGF, he was the National Director of the Defunct Asiwaju Project Beyond 2023 and was a Spokesman for APC, Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council._