TRACKING >Barring a last-minute change in plan, the Ekiti State government will today stage the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Ekiti Cargo Airport project already valued at N20 billion.
The project is coming upstream after 10 years of back and forth by successive governments. Yet, the current administration has modelled the airport after similar ventures in Ogun, Osun, Benue, Zamfara, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, and Bayelsa that have either failed or abandoned after take-off.
But aviation stakeholders, however, described the high-capital intensive project as unsustainable by traffic demand, and “another vanity project” given the proximity of Ekiti State to functional though under-utilised airports in Akure, Ondo State, and Ibadan, Oyo State.
At the kick-start of activities marking the first year anniversary of Governor Kayode Fayemi’s second-coming to office at the weekend, the state Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Values Orientation, Olumuyiwa Olumilua, disclosed that the state was already in partnership with some private investors and development partners that would attract to the state over N35 billion ($100 million) to finance the proposed Ekiti Airport, among other infrastructural projects in the state.
While Olumilua did not disclose the construction cost of the proposed airport, sources within the state government offered an estimated average sum of N20 billion.
Meanwhile, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State said at the weekend that the people of the state should get prepared for unprecedented development in the state.
Makinde, who stated this while addressing a mammoth crowd that gathered for a civic reception in his honour at his ancestral village, Ajia, in Ona Ara Local Council of the state, said that he was already in talks with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for an upgrade of Ibadan Airport to facilitate cargo operations and international flights.
A statement by Chief Press Secretary to Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that agro-allied services would benefit heavily from the impending upgrade of the airport.
“As I stand in front of you, I promise that I will not disappoint the people of the State. I am telling you here today, prepare yourself for the unprecedented development of the state,” the Governor said, adding that he will reward the people who trusted him with votes with unprecedented development across the state.