June 2, 2023

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CAPT OLAJIDE OLADELE ORE @ 80: Protagonist of Clinch Concession of One Int’l Airport Get Four to Your Kitty

9 min read

Capt/Bar Olajide Oladele Ore, a very rare personality. He successfully juggled life in the cockpit and in the courtroom

• “No man in Nigerian Aviation has paid more than Dele Ore for holding on to his principles” – birthday tribute by Capt. Bara Allwell-Brown
• Waiting on a lawyer to vet his negotiations before signing agreements, propelled the cockpit guru to become a courtroom pundit
• Airline may be excusable for not making a profit but not the airport
• My committee on airport concession recommended taking a slice of meat along with four bones
• Those reproducing Aero Consult prepared manuals without the company’s consent urge to turn a new leaf

Captain Olajide Oladele Ore, without an iota of doubt, is a man of many parts. He lives, breaths, sleeps, dreams, awakens, eats, and drinks, aviation. He lives for aviation and humanity in general. Not that Capt. Ore spent the better part of his life on aviation rather, he dedicated his entire life, from his adolescence to adulthood, and now as an octogenarian, he had severally expended himself vigorously for the continuing improvement of each of the entire aviation value chains.

After completing his Higher School Certificate, HSC, at Government College Ibadan, from 1958-1963, he left the shores of Nigeria for Great Britain where he qualified as a Pilot. He returned to Nigeria and was employed by Nigeria Airways in 1965.

Since 1965 when Capt. Ore laid his hand on the figurative plow in aviation, and to date, 10th January 2023, when he marked his 80th years’ birthday, he has not looked back

He, however, made a relevant detour, when he enrolled to study law, at the University of Lagos from 1988 to 1993, and was called to the Nigerian bar in 1994.

Asked about the reason for his second found love in law, an addition to his first love, the cockpit, he said his experience while serving as Technical Adviser to the Managing Director of Nigeria Airways, (1984-1986) and as a Member of the Negotiating Team for Aircraft Acquisition, Lease and Sales, made him determined to utilize any opportunity that would come his way to study law.

Pa Olajide Oladele Ore. A father and grandfather

Capt Ore recalled that on many occasions when his committee would have concluded a deal to either purchase aircraft or lease, none of the committee members would be allowed to sign the purchase or lease agreement until the company’s lawyer, often outsourced, arrived to study the agreement and sign before progress could be made on a negotiation he had already concluded.

Hence, he decided to give that desire whatever it takes to be grounded in legal issues especially aspects that border on every material, particularly on any aspects of aviation. The rest is history as Captain Ore for the past 29 years has been a bona fide member of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA.

Taking cognizance of Capt. Ore’s impeccable track record, and as a man of character and integrity, he is often sought after by Ministers as soon as they are appointed. He said those who reach out to him, he would present with a “certified true picture” of the industry and suggestions for moving forward. And those who feel otherwise, no qualms, he said. Everyone to his or her tent oh Israel.

Writing a tribute on Capt. Ore’s integrity, on his 80th birthday, a colleague of his, a Capt of repute with the defunct Nigeria Airways, also an octogenarian, Bara Allwell-Brown, wrote these glowing tributes on Pa Ore’s Facebook page;

Bara Allwell-Brown:
Dele welcome to the Club of 80s.

If any man in Nigerian Aviation has paid more than Dele Ore for holding on to his principles rather than compromise, we are yet to meet that man.

We are proud of you and glad to announce that holding on to Principles in Aviation would not kill and that even the temporary setbacks they may bring would not last as long as the lifelong respect in standing for something good.

Have a happy birthday.

One just remembered; 11 The Drive, Golders Green, upstairs/downstairs, and our Younger days, today (10th January 2023) you are 80.

Bara, Helen, and the kids.

Capt Dele Ore, as fondly known and addressed in the aviation world

AIRPORT CONCESSION: a program that further defines Capt. Dele Ore (2008 to date)

In a chat, Capt Dele Ore narrated the discreet manner he availed his wealth of experience to people in government. On that premise, he said Engr Babatunde Omotoba, Minister of Aviation, 2008-2010, invited him to preside over a team the minister had assembled and charged them to come up with the modality to concession four international airports.

Excerpt from the interview-:

Qs: How did you get involved in an uncompleted airport concession project in which you were made chairman by Engr. Babatunde Omotoba?

Ans: Omotoba fetched me out. Came and said the government wanted to privatize, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, MAKIA, Port Harcourt International Airport, PHIA, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja.

Qs: How was the assignment executed?
Ans: The committee opted from touring the world for the task but we invited experts from International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, Montreal, Canada, who spent a week with us in Nigeria and brainstormed with the committee.

Qs: Only ICAO input, was there input from Airport Council International, ACI, and as Chief MKO Abiola of blessed memory would say, you cannot shave someone’s hair from his head at his back, (without his consent). Did you elicit information, and critical data from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN?

Ans: As I said earlier, the committee decided to abstain from globetrotting but visited each of the four airports. ICAO experts also made copious input. Some very senior staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, were mandated to address the committee.

Engr Babatunde Omotoba, Minister of Aviation. 17th Dec. 2008- March 2010

We visited each of the airports and thoroughly engaged the head of each of the airports and the management team in each airport penciled for concession.

Qs: Can you remember some of the specifics?
Ans: FAAN staff revealed the maximum number of passengers each of the terminals can comfortably process.

  • We evaluated what each airport is worth
  • We evaluated the minimum and maximum investment each airport would require.
  • We forecast what the likely return on investment, ROI, would be.
  • We evaluated the timeline, and tenor of the concessionaire and determine when the airports should revert to FAAN/government.

Qs: Did your committee agree to concession those facilities as they were?
Ans: No. We unanimously agreed the facilities required an
appreciable amount of investment to make them attractive to serious bidders.
However, having rejected the idea of globetrotting about twice, the Permanent Secretary came frontally requesting the trip as very crucial to the assignment. But as the Chairman, I strongly resisted any form of jamboree and squandering of taxpayers’ money.

We completed the task, and a very comprehensive report was generated. We were congratulating ourselves when the report was submitted to Engr. Omotoba.

But the prevention of the wish of the few to junket around the world, and the personal benefits therefrom, the final report was suspended and kept in the coolers to gather dust in the ministry.

Qs: Why did you not reach out to the minister to enquire about the progress and plan to execute the content of the report?

Ans: Shortly after we submitted the report, there was the reshuffling of ministers, and Omotoba was dropped and Felicia Aguabata Njeze, was appointed as the new minister.
As I told you earlier, I always mind my business if not invited.

Qs: But I know you had some dealings with the ministry during Mrs. Njeze’s tenure, can you let us in on that?

Ans: Minister Felicia Njeze also came calling and invited me to Abuja. At the meeting, the minister said the government wanted four airports’ concessions and a committee will be needed to provide a modus operandi for the exercise. From her statement, I knew no one told her the job had been done and that a comprehensive report was already in the ministry. That much I told her.

Qs: What progress was made with that?
Ans: They spent quite a reasonable time searching for the report as if a pin was being sought. Finally, they found the report and handed it to the minister. When she read through the report, she pulled a call through and was full of gratitude to the committee that her task was already made an ice cream. She promised with excitement that the report would be speedily executed.

Mrs Fidelia Akuabata Njeze. Former Minister of Aviation

Qs: But nothing on airport concession or remodeling happened in her tenure apart from a few mentions by her in public fora. What was behind that?
Ans: Shortly after she resolved to give serious attention to the committee’s report, she was dropped as a minister and Stella Oduah assumed office.

Qs: I noticed during Stella Oduah’s tenure you weren’t close to her in person or were you serving the ministry incognito?

Ans: Stella Oduah came and did a cosmetic job. Although she made a lot of noise. Her team followed her steps and nearly turned everything upside down. Then, the media affairs officer for the airports was making public pronouncements on national television about an air accident even before the Commissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, and even before the DG of NCAA, made any public pronouncement on the air mishap. Such was the anachronism that existed

Her team deliberately avoided me. She was abusing me and Aviation Round Table. My column in Champion newspaper every Friday, “From the Cockpit” allowed me to express myself. Articles in Champion could form a book. That column allowed me to place in the public domain most issues on airports and airlines.

Qs: What about the program kicked off under the present dispensation?
Ans: With the gentleman Hadi Sirika, a friend and a good team player, with Engr Akin Olateru, and their team, if they needed me, they can easily reach me.

But it is that report that HADI Sirika is using now!!!. I think it’s very dishonest not to even consult with me. The program being done now is just in line with my recommendation. The first approach is to make the airports very attractive. Facilities, the restroom, and the like to be top-notch.

Qs: So your committee’s recommendation was to continue improving the best four international airports and the less-performing ones can go extinct?

Ans: That is not the route recommended. The committee arranged that for each of the four international airports for concession, four other airports were penciled in to be taken along by the winner of each of the airports. It was to be delivered in a package. Four airports are to be taken over by the preferred bidder for each airport. So by the time the four major airports are concession, a total of 16 other airports would be in the kitty of the preferred bidders to nurture and harnessed to attain commercial viability.

For emphasis, the big four were each paired with four lesser airports. The lesser airports are concerned more about serviceability and safety. Win the bid for one international airport, and take four others. No winner of any bid will take the meat and leave the bone.

Qs: Would that not lay the basis for not making a profit when the four less-performing airports could become a financial liability to the concessionaires?
Ans: The airline may be pardoned for not making a profit but the airports do not have a reason not to make a profit.

12 copies of the airport concession report were left in the ministry.

Qs: Is it extremely cumbersome, or perhaps it’s rocket science that is needed to birth an airline?

Ans: And by the way, what does it take to have a national carrier? No big deal. What does it take to form an airline? The Establishment, management of airline startups, and even rejig the old or existing but not profitable airlines to profitability are all that we do at Aero consult.

For the past 15 years, we’ve been putting up the feasibility together, we generate the manuals for the personnel and the entire outfit to be able to pass necessary approvals and be qualified to obtain necessary licenses to discharge specific tasks.

All the five (5) stages to traverse in procuring the Air Operator’s Certificate, AOC, we effortlessly assist startups to clinch with ease and even in record time. You can count about 4 or 5 airlines Aero Consult was involved in consultancy from scratch to finish and they obtained the AOC in record time.
At Aero Consult, we develop manuals that are in use by most airlines today.

The bad aspect is that people are just copying and reproducing our manuals and continue to use the manuals we developed without recourse to us. This is not the way to appreciate the intellectual property of Aero Consult.

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