By Lubem Gena
The House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to complete the MKO Abiola Airport in Iddo Osun, Osun State which is the first landing strip built by the British Empire in 1933.
The House passed this resolution today after the member representing Ede North, Ede South, Egbedore and Ejigbo federal constituency of Osun state, Representative Bamidele Salam moved a motion to that effect during the plenary sitting.
Rep. Salam’s motion which was described as very important by the Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila was seconded by Rep. Benjamin Kalu from Abia state and was unanimously passed by the House.
Before the passage of the motion, the federal lawmaker explained that completion of the airport will form part of efforts to harness the huge tourism, economic and agricultural potentials of the state.
He urge the House to resolve to mandate the Federal Government to take over the completion of the Airport through Federal Ministry of Aviation and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in conjunction with Osun State Government who is asked to look at the possibility of partnership on the project.
The motion further urges the House committee on Aviation to ensure compliance.
Rep. Salam noted that the MKO Abiola International Airport is situated in Ido-Osun, Egbedore Local Government of Osun State on a site which was the first community where aviation activity took place in the entire West Africa.
The rest of the motion reads:
Also note that after acquisition of the site, an airstrip, which served as take-off and landing platform for the West African Frontier Force during the Second World War, was constructed by the British Empire in the area;
Further note that the site spans over 839 hectares of land and located in a flat area which the British considered as a very perfect site for Aviation activities and thereafter made the site the first landing strip in British West Africa during the preparation for the Second World War;
Aware that the historical sites such as this are meant to be revitalized and preserved in order to foster appreciation of National history and heritage;
Also aware that former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s administration, in its attempt to construct a modern Airport on the same expanse of land, acquired more land but the life of that government was cut short and therefore, could not be actualised by the administration;
Further aware that the subsequent administration of former Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the incumbent Governor Gboyega Oyetola attempted to revive the moribund site of the MKO Abiola Airport, but were constraint by several factors;
Worried that the 3.5 kilometres runway of the Airport had been marked, dredged with drainage on each side while many drain boxes are waiting to be fixed;
Further worried that despite billions of naira already expended on the project, the Airport is currently abandoned and begging for a revival;
Cognizance that Osun State has a population of over 4 million with huge tourism, economic and agricultural potential;
Further cognizance that the massive potential of tourism in Osun State is capable of shoring up Nigeria and the state’s revenue in dollars and can best be encouraged with the establishment of an Airport in the state;
Also cognizance that Osun state is one of the most urbanized and cosmopolitan states in Nigeria with the presence of eight leading public and private universities and several other prominent higher institutions of leaning;
Assured that the Airport will facilitate trade, generate economic growth and ultimately create jobs for the teaming unemployed youth in the State;
Worried that the completion of this Airport will require a huge capital which the current state of finance of Osun State may not be able to accomplish;
Disturbed that if nothing is done to revive the MKO Abiola Airport project in Ido-Osun, several billions of Naira already spent on the project would go down the drains”.
(a) Urge the Federal Government to take over the completion of the MKO Abiola Airport, Ido-Osun, Osun State
(b) Urge the federal Ministry of Aviation and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to liaise with Osun State Government to look at the possibility of partnership on the project.
(c) Urge the House committee on Aviation to ensure compliance.