Platform—–Aviation Minister Pix Aviation minister’s order to NCAA, FAAN and others to relocate to Abuja within 45 days: A move in the wrong direction Zik Gbemre.
- Posted by Editor
- On May 24, 2020
- 0 Comments
With regard to recent reports that the Federal Ministry of Aviation has ordered all Aviation agencies and parastatals to move their corporate headquarters to Abuja within the next 45 days, which was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, HadiSirika, via the ministry’s Twitter handle, I wish to add my voice and express my profound disagreement with the idea of relocating the head office of FAAN, NCAA and others from Lagos to Abuja.
This is hinged on the obvious undeniable fact that the Nigerian Aviation sector activities are predominantly pronounced and active in Lagos. And like we are told in elementary Economics, economic structures should always be sited close to its raw materials. In this case, where the economic activities are predominant.
The flimsy excuse given by the minister that the directive is an attempt to enforce the 2012 Presidential directive that then ordered all government agencies to move their headquarters to the federal capital territory, does not justify this move in any way. Why now, after 8 years of the said directive? And why the rush to have them moved within 45 days? What are they telling Nigerians and stakeholders in the aviation sector?
With the reawakening of the said directive, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET), are expected to relocate within the given time frame. This simply does not make sense.
It is an established fact that Lagos is the hub of the nation’s aviation sector. The Murtala Mohammed International airport, both the domestic and international wings, still remains the busiest airport in Nigeria. So, why moving the head offices of these aviation agencies from Lagos to Abuja? Why are Nigerian political leaders playing politics with everything? How can the country grow with such obvious bias and preferential focus of development based on ethnicity sentiments?
When we consider the fact that most of the international head offices of businesses are located in the areas where there are more economic activities, then we would understand why the federal government’s latest move is a wrong one. How do you expect a country to move forward with all of these sentiments here and there? Industries are located near the sources of raw materials and viable markets, not the opposite. You don’t apply sentiments when it comes to economic activities and business within a key sector like aviation.
Let us be reminded that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) head office was once located in Abuja. But it was former President Olusegun Obasanjo who, amongst the first actions he took as he came into power; relocated the NPA head office from Abuja to Lagos, where the seaports businesses are predominant.
What will officials of FAAN and others concerned be doing in Abuja, when the aviation business activities are in Lagos? If the Aviation Minister is bereft of ideas, then he should take a bow and leave that office. Instead of remaining there and creating nothing but confusion and growth stagnation. He should be focused on updating our different airport facilities across the country, rather than playing politics with this relocation of the head offices in the aviation sector to where they will not function as expected. Sometimes I wonder how they appoint all these clueless people into government to serve, when they actually have nothing to offer.
I have been advocating for years now, on the need to relocate the head offices of the NNPC and its subsidiaries to Warri in the Niger Delta area, where the extractive businesses are done predominantly. The oil and gas productions and operations are in the Niger-Delta area, and the export of these national wealth of resources, are done in the Forcados export terminal and Excravos export terminal – all located in the Niger-Delta area. So, what is the office of the Group Managing Director (GMD) and their Group Executive Directors/Chief Operating Officers doing in Abuja? Of course, practically nothing other than just waiting for papers. The top managements of the NNPC and all its subsidiaries should be in Warri and other parts of the Niger-Delta area.
In the US, all the head offices of oil companies are in Houston in Texas, and not even in Austin city, the state capital. In Canada, the oil companies’ head offices are in Calgary, and not even in Edmonton the headquarters of the Alberta province. That is the ideal standard practice across the globe when it comes to such things. So, the federal government of Nigeria should right all of these wrongs and also appoint vibrant people with up-to-date ideas and innovation to transform the nation’s ailing sectors.
It is not by the accumulation of worthless experiences and worthless credentials, it is about moving with the global trend, and always be forward thinking. The said federal government of Nigeria’s directive should be jettisoned and thrown out. And my above suggested angle of relocation should be adopted and enforced. Every head office of the Nigerian business sectors should not be taken to Abuja. The constituency of the President is the entire country, and not just a section of the country.