Monday, 27 May 2019

Obudu Int'l Cargo Airport: Why Governor Ayade should rather be supported

By Eugene Upah

The Cross River State cyberspace have been awash with photos of the proposed Obudu International Cargo airport since the signpost featured online two weeks ago. To some; it's a welcome idea as it would open up economic and leisurely activities to other parts of the state and to others, the proposal is perceived to have failed on arrival and unrealistic because according to them, it may likely be one of those botched "wonder projects" of this administration.

Recent events have shown that Cross Riverians are the architects of their own woes. A project as viable and realizable as this, especially one cited in an area that will serve Cross River North and Central, Ebonyi, Abia and some parts of Benue should be embraced amidst widespread jubilation. Whether it is sustainable or realistic should be left for the appropriate authorities to worry about. Aviation and air management experts - NIMET, FAAN, IATA and other local and international regulatory Agencies have given the nod by providing technical support, approvals & clearances makes the project an express one. 

Now, who are the people criticizing the birth of an airport in the northern part of the state? The Northerners.

Who are the people holding placards & demonstrating against the kick off? The Northerners.

Who have sworn that the project will never come to fruition? The Northerners.

Who is leading the pack of Media protests, sponsoring groups and Civil Societies Organizations against the project. Again, they are mostly northerners. What a North!

To think that these same group of persons are the first to applaud and share photos of Governor Umahi, Nyesom Wike or Rochas Okorocha when they build an airport, road, school, health centre and commission projects amuses me. A little swipe through their Facebook timelines will convince you. It is only in Cross River where critics have made themselves professionals in every field of life. 

Though, I do not (totally) agree with the idea of starting up a new airport when we already have an existing Airstrip at Bebi in Obanliku, however, the gains of having a passenger flight taking off from an International airport located within the northern part of the state are enormous - an air fleet around this area will breed national and international presence/recognition, open up human and vehicular traffic hence expediting economic activities down the area, connect neighboring zones and states to Cross River, annex the north to calabar being the administrative host of the state amongst many other pluses. 

I dare say the real enemies of the state are not the poor old and middle-aged women carrying placards demonstrating against a divinely conceived project. The real enemies are the people who took out time to buy placards, write inscriptions and hand the old poor farmers who do not know that with an airport their children of young school ages can be gainfully employed. Who do not know that with the presence of an airport their locally made products will sell more and their firstchild - the Obudu Ranch Resort will again beam to lime lights. Who do not know that with the citing of an airport they and their children would have access to modern day facilities ranging from medicare, schools and other basic infrastructure opening up. Something must bring growth and development to a people; the airport may just be one of those leading lights.  A man must dare to bring endless suffering to his people, Senator Ayade has dared, we will support him.

For crying out loud, a project that have been conceived and about to be birthed shouldn't be killed because of mere speculative misconceptions. Our people must go past whatever they have against the government of Ayade; Ayade is a process that will come and go but the airport is an institution that will live long after him. Whether the project is conceived, begun and completed within the time frame it is set out for or not is talk for another day. If the project ends midway, we will arise and hold the authorities accountable. For now, let the project kick off. It is realistic.