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Aviation Stakeholders Write Jonathan, Insists On Professional As Minister

Ruth Bamidele, Lagos

Stakeholders in the aviation industry have called on President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently appoint a professional with technical background as Minister of Aviation.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

The stakeholders made this known in a letter written to president Jonathan to express the seriousness of their agitation, which they said was not negotiable .

Speaking at an emergency meeting held at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, the convener, Captain Nogie Meggison , who is chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria ( AON), said, “there could be no better time to appoint an aviation professional as minister than now given the enormity of challenges in the sector”.

Meggison said the professionals came together to urge Jonathan to appoint an aviation expert as minister, because of the sensitivity of the industry, which should not be left in the hands of non-industry experts.

He said like it is the practice in other sectors, including health and justice only seasoned professionals are appointed as ministers.

Meggison explained that though, the immediate minister , Princess Stella Oduah attracted robust funding into the sector, her limited knowledge of aviation led to some of the unpopular policy decisions .

“This is the reason, we are calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to as a matter of urgency to consider appointing an aviation professional as minister . It is not yet late, there is still sufficient time to correct the mistakes of the past.  If previous ministers of aviation has aviation background, the industry would have moved forward” he noted.

Also speaking at the stakeholder’s meeting, the NAAPE President, Isaac Balami said aviation stakeholders are poised to ensure the President listen to their agitation and immediately appoint an aviation professional as minister.

Balami said stakeholders will not succumb to any threat or blackmail until the President appoint an industry expert as minister.

He said stakeholders have resolved to ensure that government appoints an aviation expert as minister, who will hit the ground running without requiring too much time to learnt on the job.

According to Balami, ” The mistakes we have made in the past are enough. We cannot continue in the old fashion of recycling politicians to oversee the aviation sector. This time around, stakeholders insist that an industry expert must be appointed as minister of aviation. Failure to do that will take the industry backwards.”

Also speaking, President of Aviation Round table, Captain Dele Ore said there is no going back on the agitation for the appointment of aviation professional as minister of aviation.

“Failure to do that will take aviation to the dark ages. The industry cannot afford to have another minister without aviation knowledge who will go through the learning curve all over again .  We need somebody to hit the ground running , a seasoned professional , who does not need ten months or one year to learn the rudiments of aviation.”

Stakeholders at the Friday meeting include:  Aviation Round table, Airline Operators of Nigeria ( AON),  and professional unions including National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers ( NAAPE), Nigerian Professional Pilots Association ( NPP), National Association of Air Traffic Controllers ( NATCA), National Association of Air Traffic Engineers ( NAEE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ( ATSSSAN),   National Cabin Crew Association ( NACCA),  National Air Traffic Communicators  Association of Nigeria ( NACAN)and others.



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