Business Hilights
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Between what Buhari said on Nigerian Airways prior to 2015 elections and current realities

Since the resumption of the current administration in May, 29, 2015, the government had been somersaulting policy direction in the repositioning of the aviation sub-sector.

Shortly after appointing ministers six months into the administration, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and Minister of State for Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika informed Nigerians that returning of defunct Nigerian Airways solely by the government is uppermost in the mind of the government.

Few months after, the idea switched to working with the private sector to build a national carrier or fleet both in the aviation and shipping.

One to two year on, another switch in policy position emerged hinting that government is looking for investors to drive funding of a national carrier.

Besides, the latest twist is plans to sell only four commercially viable international airports including Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt, even though there had been stiff opposition from several quarters against concesssioning national assests.

Only recently, the federal government approved some billions of naira for the installation of strategic security and aviation infrastructure in some listed Nigerian airport and no mention was made in recourse to President Muhammadu Buhari’s election promises in the aviation sector during the 2015 campaigns.

However, as the four years of President Muhammadu Buhari administration is almost midway into the last lap of the last year, Business Hilights exhumed one of his election promises while speaking in London on Saturday, February 21, 2015.

It would be recalled that earlier last month, he declared his intention to re-contest in the 2019 election at the meeting of the National Working Committee of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) before leaving for London for CHOGM meeting.

In London on February 21, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari averred that “I Will Maintain a Modest Lifestyle as President  …Will Resuscitate Nigerian Airways…All Presidential Aircrafts Will Be Brought under Nigerian Airways.

“One of the major killers of our economy apart from corruption is Waste. Our scarce resources are being plundered away very carelessly and unnecessarily wasted. “Let me give an instance, presently, there are more than 6 aircraft in the presidential fleet.

What do you call that? “Billions of naira is budgeted every year for the maintenance of these aircraft not to talk of operational cost and other expenses.

“You may want to ask what a Nigerian President is doing with so much aircraft when a Prime

Minister of Britain fly around using the same public aircraft like an ordinary Briton.

“Go and check and compare with that of any developed country in the world, the office of the Nigerian President is a very expensive one inspite our high level of poverty and joblessness.

“Despite all these, you still find a Nigerian Minister spending about N10billion to charter an aircraft for just one year.

“Now, for me, when we come into office, all these waste will be blocked and properly channelled into our economy.

“We intend for instance, to bring back our National carrier, the Nigerian Airways.

“We shall do this by bringing all the aircraft in the presidential fleet into the Nigerian airway and within a year increase the fleet into about 20.

What is the Difference between me and those who elected us to represent them, absolutely nothing?

Why should Nigerian President not fly with other Nigerian public?”Why do I need to embark on a foreign trip as a president with a huge crowd with public funds?”Why do I need to go for foreign medical trip if we cannot make our hospital functional?”Why do we need to send our children to school abroad if we cannot develop our university to compete with the foreign ones?

“Why and why must our people be servants to the foreigners in the midst of plenty?

I can go on and on.”I came here in the UK and I chose to trek just to make sure I sent a message back home to some people who wish us dead.

This is not my struggle; it is our collective efforts to save Nigeria from those who have failed us for 16 years”.