April 16, 2024

Nigeria Transport Hub

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FG Culpable for the drawback of Aviation in Nigeria- Gbenga Olowo/Oba Femi Ogunleye

7 min read

Dr. Gbenga Olowo displayed the special copy of the book, Travel Agency Operations in Nigeria, Historical Perspectives, presented by the author, Elder Ebenezer Olusoji Amusan

*** Government and its agents have constituted a clog to the progress of aviation in Nigeria

*** Outgoing regime scorecard in aviation is abysmally low

*** If Nigeria Air is of national priority to the in-coming government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, ASRTI, is ready to offer advisory for its birth in record time

*** Knock down all airports for reconstruction and provide makeshift tents in the interim

*** Defunct Nigeria Airways hired 16 Managing Directors/Chief Executives within 25 years

*** Australia’s national carrier, Qantas, appoints the twelfth CEO in 103 years of operations

At an august gathering of veterans in Nigeria’s air transport industry, especially of veterans and bigwigs prospecting in the downstream sector of air transport, they in unison make bold to identify the federal government as the major culprit for the slow pace of growth of air transport in Nigeria.

The gathering was at the public presentation of a book titled, “Travel Agency Operations in Nigeria, Historical Perspectives”. The book is authored by an industry veteran, an octogenarian, and a former President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agency, NANTA, Elder Ebenezer Olusoji Amusan.

A cursory glance at the array of guests in attendance revealed predominantly business and leisure travel managers and of which none had put in less than thirty-five (35) years of distinguished practice in selling travel, tourism, and hospitality.

The author was reported to have garnered about five decades of cognate experience in the downstream operations of aviation thus sending a signal to discerning observers, students, new entrants into aviation and all that cherish knowledge will find the book a precious literature that must be possessed and treasured.

Glowing tributes were paid to the author for his passion for continuing education in the travel trade. And for his numerous efforts towards the growth and professionalizing of the services travel agents offer their numerous clients.

At the moment the event progressed to the point of retrospective look on the progress Nigeria aviation had recorded, the august guests were full of lamentations.

Nearly everyone present had a bitter story about the demise of Nigeria Airways and about the lack luster in the current dispensation in which efforts at restoring the industry to its past glory had severally been bungled.The Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Gbenga Olowo, President Sabre Travel Network, eulogized the author of the book as a professional to the core.

He said Elder Amusan’s excellent orientation at Lufthansa reflected throughout his entire career mostly outside of Lufthansa and on his private businesses.

He said the author’s love for education informed his establishment of an IATA-accredited travel institution. And also in adding to the knowledge base of the travel trade through his published literature.

Asked about his appraisal of the outgoing regime’s performance as far as aviation was concerned, Olowo described the dispensation as an abysmal failure.

Gbenga Olowo who had also chalked up over four decades of experience in air travel management, lamented that the government had been responsible for the headwind the nation’s aviation had severally been flown into and its consequent colossal failure.


Citing an instance of the ministry falling short, Dr. Gbenga Olowo asked of the reasons why Air Peace has not been on the London route since the airline is Nigeria’s major flag carrier. He called on the aviation ministry to do a self-reappraisal on how well it has discharged its statutory responsibilities on behalf of the nation’s aviation industry.

3rd Left, Elder Olusoji Amusan, author, 4th left, Wife of the author, grandchildren, 2nd right Dr. Gbenga Olowo, back row, Oba Femi Ogunleye, Royal Father of the day, and Hon. Kalejaye, represented Mr. Tokunbo Afikuyomi at the book launch

Olowo squarely placed the blame on the federal government, for the lateness experienced by air passengers, delays by the airlines, scarcity of aviation fuel, lack of comfort at the airports, and unavailability of foreign exchange for airlines and other aviation-related businesses to procure spares, among others.

He added that the shoddy approach to very serious industry issues was partly responsible for the botched national carrier although it’s no more in vogue but a flag carrier, and the crappy concession program of the airports.

The renowned economist and aviation consultant, Gbenga Olowo, said all the airports as they stand are a misfit and eyesore, especially in their functionality.

He said building a state-of-the-art airport is not rocket science nor does it take eternity. He opined that when a square peg is put into a square hole, a harvest of positive results will begin to delight of everybody and most especially it will impact positively the nation’s treasury and create jobs.

Dr. Olowo however, made a clarion call to the incoming government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to reach out to the revered think tank group, Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, ASRTI, which specializes in air transport matters, to offer simple, and workable advisories on knotty aviation challenges, and for a piece of candid advice on how the Nigeria Air could take to the sky with far fewer
hassles as against the experience witnessed in the past seven years.

Oba Femi Ogunleye on the sideline of the book launch said the present regime failed woefully to make any good showing in aviation.

Oba Ogunleye returned questions asked on his appraisal of the outgoing regime’s impact on aviation by asking our correspondent to name one thing outstanding he knew had been done by the outgoing regime.

He said the eight years of the outgoing administration fell far below expectations as most professionals were utterly disappointed.

Oba Ogunleye concurred with Dr. Gbenga Olowo that the federal government was the main culprit for the retrogression aviation had been subjected to in Nigeria.

The visibly angry royal highness contrasted what he described as a bungled eight years of the present dispensation with his experience with government interventions at the defunct Nigeria Airways.

Oba Ogunleye said he retired from Nigeria Airways as a Manager of Public Affairs. He said that for the twenty-five years, he worked with the airline, he served sixteen (16) Managing Directors/Chief Executives.

He asked how could such an organization, an airline that required a strategic approach and usually would require appreciable time to see through to fruition, should be subjected to such appalling arbitrary tenure for its CEOs

Hence, he affirmed that the government and its agents assigned to manage aviation are the ones withholding the progress the industry ought to have made as evident in the present dispensation.

2nd left, Elder Olusoji Amusan, author, 3rd left, His Royal Highness, Oba Femi Ogunleye, Royal Father of the Day, 2nd right, Mr Edmonton Andrew Okunuga, former Managing Director, Nigeria Airways,

However, one could juxtapose the experience relayed by the Royal Highness with the fact of history of the enviable heritage that exists in Qantas, the national carrier of Australia.

The airline is 103 years old this year, 2023. But at its Annual General Meeting, AGM, on Tuesday, 2nd May 2023, the board of directors announced the next Chief Executive, that will assume office in November 2023.

The new Managing Director/CEO designate when she assumes office, would be the twelfth (12) MD/CEO since Qantas’ 103 years of operations. Stability, consistency, devoid of any fire brigade or hurried tenure approach which often hinders long-term planning nay the growth and development of an organization.

One can juxtapose the Qantas tradition with the 25 years of service with Nigeria Airways, in which the airline had to contend with 16 Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers who were all appointed by the federal government to manage its company. The outcome is now history.

Another trend that has become a feature in the past six years of the present dispensation could be observed in the several self-induced abortions for the proposed Nigeria Air. With this glaring emerging debacle, although the promoters are attempting to present the charade to the world as a miscarriage. They are government agents. Trampling on the people’s business entrusted in their care.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Qantas, in full Qantas Airways Limited, Australian airline, the oldest in the English-speaking world, was founded in 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd. (from which the name Qantas was derived). Its first operations were taxi services and pleasure flights. By the early 21st century, however, its scheduled air routes extended throughout Asia, Australia, the Americas, Europe, and New Zealand. The airline’s headquarter is in Sydney.

What is the return on investment on the trip to Farnborough five years ago? The Public Affairs Manager to the defunct Nigeria Airways, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, a veteran Public Relations Practitioner and consultant on aviation media and consumers relations, threw another salvo by asking who foot the bill of the disgraceful jamboree to Farnborough in 2018 and what profit came to the federal government from it.

The Public Relations guru and a royal father asked if the expenditure incurred by the government on the proposed airline’s livery, return tickets for the entourage to the jamboree, their visas, hotel accommodations, and the estacodes to wit, were all incurred merely to launch a ribbon?

His royal highness also wondered if half of a decade was not enough to save the country from the oddity exhibited at Farnborough in 2018, by quickly assembling veterans who could bring to birth a national airline without much ado.

He described all that transpired from the aviation ministry in regard to the national carrier and airport concession as nothing but a charade, a clown that succeeded in bruising Nigerians and the reputation of Nigeria.

The traditional leader of Akinale in the Owu kingdom of Abeokuta, Ogun state, was sorely pained by the amount of retrogression he identified that the outgoing regime brought on the nation’s air transport industry.

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