A clash of interests is brewing between Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, and his predecessor, Ibikunle Amosun, over the construction of airports in Wasimi and Ilishan-Remo, both in the state.
While Abiodun is pushing for the construction of the proposed Gateway Agro Cargo Airport, Ilishan-Remo, Ikenne Local Government Area, Amosun is also making a strong case for a passenger airport located at Wasimi, Ewekoro Local Government Area of the state.
The clash of interests became manifest on Saturday when the Senate Committee on Aviation, on Saturday, inspected the two proposed sites for airports in the state.
Our correspondent gathered that there was a high level of politicking in the Senate committee led by Senator Smart Adeyemi over which of the airports should get the attention of the Federal Government in the coming budget.
It was further gathered that, while the agro cargo airport had been conceptualised in 2007 by the Gbenga Daniel administration, the immediate past administration of Amosun in 2018 proposed to construct a passenger airport with its proposed location in the Wasimi area of the state.
Explaining while the Senate committee should give the passenger airport a quick attention, Amosun, who represents Ogun Central Senatorial District, said the Committee on Aviation had been inspecting the site since.
He said, “This is not the first time they will be coming here and I also want to appreciate the support of President Muhammadu Buhari because if not for his support, we wouldn’t have moved this project to this level.
“For me, if it is possible for us to have 10 airports, that’s fine. By the grace of God, this airport will see the light of the day.”
But, in his remarks, while receiving the committee, Abiodun stated that his administration would continue with the plan to construct an agro-cargo airport in the state.
Abiodun explained that the agro-cargo airport project has a lot of potential in the overall development of the state in particular and the country in general.
The governor, however, noted that what Ogun State yearns for is an airport that will support its massive agro development potentials.
According to him, the decision to continue with the agro-airport project, located in Ilishan-Remo in Ogun East Senatorial District, was made by the state’s joint inter-ministerial committee, which evaluated and placed priority on it as against the Ewekoro passenger airport.
Abiodun noted that a lot of verifiable work had started on the agro-cargo airport project, which had the approval of the federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
He informed the committee that there were no details or information on the Ewekoro project in the handover note of the Amosun administration.
The governor said, “This administration is deliberate and methodical. The need to have a cargo airport was made by our joint inter-ministerial committee and we consequently evaluated the initiatives that were started by previous administrations because government is a continuum.
“After a thorough evaluation, the choice of the airport cargo location in Ilishan was unanimous; it complements the agric/processing factories ecosystem in that corridor with access/egress road network.
“We are completing this project that was conceptualised by a previous administration the same way we have completed other projects (like) roads, bridges, hospitals and schools that were started by the previous administration. Our decision is always based on the economic value and benefits to our people.
“Comparatively, on the other proposed airport location, we did not find any details or information in any handover notes as it all seems to be shrouded in secrecy.”
Briefing journalists after inspecting the site for the proposed passenger airport in Wasimi, Adeyemi said the Senate committee was in the state to inspect the proposed airport projects without any prejudice.
The committee chairman noted that Ogun could accommodate the two airports due to the concentration of industries, saying the committee would come out with its report and submit such to the National Assembly.