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Mixed Reactions Greets Return Of Pilot Turned Politician, Captain Hadi Sirika

The return of Captain Hadi Sirika as minister of Aviation as caused uproar in the industry, eliciting mixed reactions from players.

HSENations understands the decision of the government to carve out Aviation Ministry from Transportation however came to players as a step in the right direction.

They said appointing Sirika for such undertaking, because of his professional background as an airline pilot, was a right step.

Experts say his experience in the industry as a pilot and politician in the last two decades, puts him in better stead to appreciate and offer workable solutions to a myriad of challenges facing the sector.

The Chief Executive Officer of Centurion Securities Limited, Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd), commended the government for returning Sirika.

He said a new person could have triggered a downward and dangerous trend for the sector.

He said: “The aviation minister belongs to the group that has contributed positively to the sector. Not returning him to the ministry and bringing a new person could have created a downward and dangerous trend.“

Ojikutu, however, spared a thought for the minister; “Sirika should consider merging Arik and Aero and designate the eventual airline as a flag carrier.

“The airlines could be merged, with a view to selling them to technical foreign investors, patriotic and credible Nigerians at a reasonable cost to set up a flag carrier. This will be only if the government funds can be fully recovered and those of other creditors, except if they are willing to be part of the new carrier with their credit in Arik and Aero.”

Advised the new minister to put measures in place for the actualization of the proposed national carrier.

He said: “There should be no going back on the plan for a national carrier’’.

Further speaking, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon Nnolim Nnaji, described Sirika’s appointment as a welcome development to ensure continuity in the sector.

Nnaji noted that he would expect the minister to hit the ground running because he was already familiar with the terrain. He said: “There is so much to be done within a short time.”

The lawmaker representing Nkanu East and West Federal Constituency, Enugu State, said he was happy the minister came at the time the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) had begun the reconstruction of the Enugu Airport Runway. Nnaji assured him of his committee’s cooperation towards providing a safe, viable and reliable industry.

On his part, President, Aviation Safety Initiative Round Table (ART), Dr Gbenga Olowo, urged Sirika to ramp up efforts to deliver timelines if he intendeds to take the sector to a higher level.

He said; ” I do not envy Sirika for the arduous task ahead because he has said so much in the past four years and expectations are so high.

“These four years have no room for rhetorics. In fact, 2019 is already gone and 2023 is an election year. He has barely 24 months to write his name in gold. He should put all his focus on measurable deliverables.”

He urged Sirika to expedite action on his plans to concession airports and ensure he delivers between two and three airport companies. The companies should have the task of building modern terminals and installing high technology and functional car parks that will make Lagos and Abuja as well as Kano formidable West African hubs by 2025.

“This is doable judging from the case study of Ghana within a span of four years’’.

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