The Senate Committee on Aviation has disagreed with a claim by Governor Dapo Abiodun that an airport could not be sited at Wasinmi, Ewekoro area of Ogun State because the area plays host to the largest cement factories in the country.
Abiodun was of the belief that the cement “factories are emitting dust particles and pollutants into the sky.”
Instead of an airport, the governor said he would do a “trailer/container transit terminal and park” for the cement factories.
Abiodun, while addressing the Senate Committee on Aviation led by Senator Smart Adeyemi at his office in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, made known his plan to resume work on the agro-cargo airport abandoned by ex-Governor Gbenga Daniel at Ilishan Remo in 2007, condemning Senator Ibikunle Amosun for allegedly starting another airport in Ewekoro in 2018.
DAILY POST reports that Abiodun accused Amosun of shrouding the project in secrecy, saying he did not include it in his handover note.
He also stated that an investigation by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) on the Wasinmi airport revealed that it was not approved by the Ministry of Aviation nor the NCAA.
But, it appears the governor’s claim was in sharp contrast with the position of the Senate Committee, which visited the site of the Ewekoro airport on Saturday alongside Senator Amosun.
Speaking on behalf of the committee, Smart Adeyemi, said the project was not a new one to the National Assembly, saying it was being appropriated for in the yearly budget.
Contrary to Abiodun’s claim that the project was not approved by government, Adeyemi stated that “this project is known to us, nobody can say the National Assembly does not know about Wasinmi airport.”
Adeyemi clarified that, “It (the project) is what I inherited; and I saw over the years that it has been occurring on the Federal Government budget for this airport to be constructed. Maybe what was appropriated in the past years was not enough.
“We are equally aware there’s another one the state government is working on, which we visited yesterday (Friday). Ours is to go back and sit down with the Minister of Aviation to discuss what we have seen and what we think should be the way forward.
“Ours is to ensure when money is appropriated, it is used for the purpose it is meant. Like I said, this is not a new project. This project is known to us. Nobody will tell us National Assembly does not know Wasinmi airport. Ours is to ensure when projects are started, they are completed.
“If anybody says we are here because of Senator Amosun, I think it’s worth it. It means he is somebody who wants the best for his people, and if he can bring us here, I don’t think anybody should lose sleep over that.
“Even at that, we still visited the other airport. So, it wasn’t like we came purposely to look at this. Ours is to compare the two and look at the extent of work done and look at which one is good for the state. Having said that, I want to say Ogun State is a very lucky State. If you want to have five airports, once you have the money and Federal Government is ready to support you, there is nothing bad about it. I don’t think anybody should lose sleep about our coming.
“Ours is to see the state of work done and as I can see here, a lot of work has been done here. The contractor handling the project has succeeded in laying out the runway. The runway is so clear. It is so visible, so obvious that this is a runway. We are not going to be an obstacle to any project to be done by the Federal Government.
“I don’t think any of these projeyct will stop the other from being completed. The state government owns the state to a large extent, but I don’t think politics will affect meaningful projects. What is important is the wellbeing of the people, the development of Ogun State and Nigeria,” Adeyemi submitted.
On his own part, Amosun said the project is owned by the Federal Government, contrary to his successor’s assertion that he commenced the airport project in 2018.
While expressing optimism that the Wasinmi airport will be completed, Amosun opined that there is nothing wrong if the state can have many airports.
“For me, if it is possible for us to have ten airports, so be it. I am happy with it. By the benevolence of the Almighty God, this airport will see the light of the day. And you can see, pictures don’t lie. Zoom your camera and see, runways already established.
“This is not just a game; it is the result of hard work and the support we are getting from the Federal Government. This is a Federal Government project and I’m sure FG doesn’t want to waste its money. They wouldn’t be appropriating for a project they don’t want to finish,” Amosun affirmed.
The former governor appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for his supports towards making sure the project was completed in record time.
DAILY POST reports that the Ewekoro airport was commenced by the Federal Government in 2005.
During his tenure as the Governor of Ogun State, Amosun prevailed on the Buhari government to revive the project.