Being the remarks by His Excellency Seyi Makinde, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, at the welcoming of the Air Peace Inaugural Flight E195-E2 to Ibadan Airport and the Official Opening of the Remodelled Protocol/VIP Lounge on Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Well, this day has finally come, and it is an exciting one for all of us here. For us in Ibadan, this inaugural flight is the fulfilment of a long-held dream. Many who had to travel to Lagos to catch a flight now have an alternative. I have been told that Air Peace will be starting with an initial one flight a day. We are optimistic that this will increase soon.
I remember the first time I talked to the CEO of Air Peace Airlines, Chief Allen Onyema, about having flights out of Ibadan. At that time, the airport was not ready to receive a commercial aircraft like the Embraer E195-E2 used for this inaugural flight. We had to put some things in place.
For example, we donated an operational vehicle and a firetruck to the authorities, which enabled the upgrade of the safety status of the airport from Category 5 to Category 6. We also remodelled and equipped the new Protocol/VIP Lounge – which we will be opening today- and made provisions for its maintenance.
More recently, we awarded the contract for constructing and installing a 500,000-litre aviation fuel facility. This is a step towards ensuring the upgrade of the Ibadan Airport to an International Airport status.
Some people have asked why we need an International Airport so close to Lagos. I have spoken a number of times of how flights are often diverted to Ghana to refuel. We want them to redirect to Ibadan. This airport upgrade project is another way of turning our proximity into economic benefits.
Also, when we attain international status, we can serve as a logistics hub to complement the Ibadan Inland Dry Port. And then maybe Air Peace will be persuaded to make the Ibadan Airport their operational base.
These are just a few of the many reasons that the Ibadan Airport project is a viable one. And let me also mention that this airport will serve as an alternative to commuters from the other southwestern states. Why should they go and endure the traffic of Lagos when they can easily come to Ibadan through the newly reconstructed 21km Airport-Ajia-New Ife Express Road, now at 60% completion or the dualised Agodi Gate-Old Ife Road-Adegbayi Road with a spur to Airport Road?
So, we are continuing on our mission of turning all our potentials into economic benefits. Today’s event may seem like a baby step. But, we know that the consistent steps of a baby steady its feet until it attains adulthood.
We are happy to receive all of you at Ibadan today, and we urge you to come again and again. And when you come, don’t stop at the airport, come into the city. It is not challenging for you to get around. There are things to see and things to buy.
I cannot end this remark without saying thank you to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria for working with us on this project. It certainly would not have been possible if you did not agree to this partnership.
And our heartfelt appreciation goes to the management of Air Peace Airline for keying into our vision and pioneering this project. We look forward to your settling in here and showing others that it is possible.
Thank you all, and God bless you.
~ Governor Seyi Makinde, August 17, 2021