By Uche Amunike
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state, Thursday, announced that he has named the new Ebonyi Airport after Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, as it is now known as Muhammadu Buhari International Airport.
Speaking, during the test-run of flight operations at the Ebonyi airport, he stated that he was particularly grateful to the president for his ‘unquantified support towards the dream of completing the airport project.
According to him, the president approved of N10 billion for the construction of both the international and domestic wings of the Airport. He further said that at a time when they became constrained on the funds with which to procure equipment, President Buhari gave directives to the Ministry of Finance to assist them in sourcing for funds even if it was a loan.
His words: ‘The airport is named after Buhari as approved by the House of Assembly and if you say he is not good to you, he is to me and Ebonyi. We will continue loving him and before a fortnight, he will be in Ebonyi to inaugurate the project.’
He added that he would prevail on the federal government to take over the airport which has presently created more than 500 jobs. He described the government as a poor manager of resources, stating that his government was more interested in the revenue generated from it.
Governor Umahi Also stated that the members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, made big sacrifices towards the actualization of the Airport by forfeiting their three-year constituency project fund for the completion of the state’s new international airport.
According to Governor Umahi, the House of Assembly, which is led by its speaker, Francis Nwifuru, made great sacrifices for the actualization of the airport that cost N36 billion.
Hear him: ‘When we were seeking N10 billion to procure equipment for the airport, the speaker recalled the members who were on recess to approve the fund. The members did not only approve the fund, they also forfeited their three-year constituency project funds to ensure the project is completed,” he said.
Meanwhile, a representative of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Oladipo Adebayo, tasked residents of Ebonyi state to make sure that they maintain and protect the airport’s facilities, because it has opened them up to the world.
The Ebonyi state Governor-elect Mr. Nwifuru, stated that the governor already put him under severe pressure as a result of the monumental projects that he would inherit from his government and maintain.
A representative of Air Peace Airlines, Collins Oti, on his part, urged the incoming administration of the state government to ensure that they maximize the potentials provided by the airport. Note that two aircrafts belonging to Air Peace Airlines already landed at the airport.
There were goodwill messages delivered at the event by a former governor of the state, Martin Elechi, traditional rulers, representatives of the clergy, among others.