From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, yesterday inaugurated the newly constructed Ekiti Cargo International Airport, along Ado- Ijan road in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, shortly after the first airplane with registration number
ATR 42 (Nigeria Air Force plane 930) piloted by Flight Lieutenant E.A. Balogun landed at the facility.
Sirika was among the personalities onboard of the airplane, which flew way from Abuja to make the historic landing on Ekiti soil.
The outgoing governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, expressed satisfaction that the project eventually saw the light of the day 10 years after it was conceived during his first administration in 2012 saying, “My job is done, Ekiti Kete.’
Fayemi whose tenure ends today as the governor of the state, said the facility will boost export of agricultural produce, service educational and health institutions and abundant tourism potentials in the state.
Fayemi said the inauguration of the airport was in fulfillment of his promise to continue to work for the people of the state, who elected him, to his very last day in office saying the project saw the light of the day despite the very limited resources available to the state.
The governor noted that his administration defied the challenges of COVID-19 that affected global, national and state economies to ensure that the dream of the airport became a reality which culminated in the test landing of the first airplane on his last day in office.
Going down the memory lane, the governor recalled that the move to start the project began during his first tenure in 2012 with a Committee on the Viability of the Airport led by legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola, raised by his then administration noting that the committee submitted its report in 2012.
According to him, his first administration through the State Executive Council considered and approved the report submitted which was accommodated in the its plan for 2013-2015 Medium Term Sector Strategy but the plan was halted by his exit from office after the 2014 governorship election which placed the project on suspension.
The governor said his successor in office, Mr. Ayo Fayose, embraced the idea to continue with the project but it couldn’t see the light of the day until the tenure ended in 2018.
He said further: “Upon my assumption of office in 2018, I appointed aviation experts and industry-related officials to kick-start the implementation of the project. They made several advocacy visits to communities in order to meet the requirements for the establishment of the airport.