Monday, July 26, 2021

By Raheem Ajayi, March 8, 2021

The controversy surrounding the desirability or otherwise of the Federal Government owned Wasinmi Airport has again exposed the real friends of Yewa-Awori people of Ogun West.

The controversy was fueled by the visit of Senate Committee on Aviation which came to inspect the level of work on the project. The Committee also inspected the proposed Iperu Cargo Ariport owned by Ogun State Government. Ordinarily, there should not have been any issue about the two projects because there is no controversy about their ownership.

While the Wasinmi Airport has been enjoying consistent funding by its owner, Federal Government, for almost 10 years; the proposed Iperu Cargo Airport has not enjoyed same attention from Ogun State Government. In fact, it hasn’t gone beyond drawings, land clearing and largely approvals by relevant authorities according to the Governor, Dapo Abiodun himself.

The Governor might have been woken up by the pace of work on the Wasinmi Airport as well as the visit of the Smart Adeyemi led Senate Committee on Aviation.

While playing host to the Adeyemi’s Committee, in attempt to justify his opposition to the Wasinmi Airport, Abiodun told the committee that there were no details or information on the Ewekoro airport project in the handover note of the Amosun’s administration. How could Governor Abiodun expect his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, to have given him reports on a Federal Government project? Was Amosun Minister of Aviation?

Abiodun said, “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”. The question to ask our governor would be why would he expect a report on a Federal Government project?

Wasinmi Airport was reported to have started by the Federal Government in 2005 and that of Iperu was conceived in 2007 by former Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. However, the immediate past Governor and the Senator representing Ogun Central, Ibikunle Amosun only prevailed on the Federal Government in 2018 to resume work on the project site.

Why would Ogun State government now want the Federal Government jettision its project in Wasinmi for Iperu? Is there any law that says once Federal Government sites an Airport, the State Government cannot build its own?

For us in Ogun West, Wasinmi Airport is a blessing as it will enhance the socio-economic drive of our people because it shares boundry with Maria, a community in Ogun West. Maria is in the outskirts of Imasayi, my homeland in Yewa North Local Government. Anyone calmouring for work to stop on Wasinmi Airport is an enemy of Yewa and Ogun West in general.

I saw a video where in his remark, a member of the committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, representing Lagos West, maintained that Ogun needs a cargo airport more than a passenger one, stressing that from the documents available, approval by relevant bodies were granted the State for Cargo airport and not passengers airport. A Lagos Senator doesn’t know the map of Ogun State, he couldn’t have known that the location of Wasinmi is beneficial to us. The economic benefits of such an airport that shares boundary with Ogun West cannot be quantified.

I am not against the Ogun State proposed Iperu Cargo airport, it will also open up the other side of the State. However, the State Government should look for how to fund it and stop moves to kill Wasinmi Airport, a project whose time has come.

Raheem Ajayi Baglo wrote from Imasayi, Yewa North, Ogun State.

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