The 1st aircraft, ATR 42 Nigeria Air Force plane, landed at the airport’s runway at exactly 10.20 a.m
The newly inaugurated Ekiti Airport will open up the state to partake actively in global commerce and tourism, if completely harnessed and managed, Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, has told.
Mr. Sirika, who performed the official inauguration of the airport, was among the personalities on board of the aircraft, which flew from Abuja to make the historic landing on Ekiti soil.
However, the project was a dream come true for the people of Ekiti as the State Agro-Allied International Airport, Ado-Ekiti, was inaugurated for public use, shortly after the first aircraft landed at the facility on Saturday.
With its inauguration and landing of the 1st flight, Ekiti has joined the elite club of states in Nigeria that could boast of the functional airport, which is expected to increase the export of agricultural produce, service educational and health institutions as well as abundant tourism potential in the state.
The 1st aircraft, ATR 42 Nigeria Air Force plane piloted by E.A. Balogun, a flight lieutenant, landed at the airport’s runway at exactly 10.20 a.m. amidst cheers and excitement by eminent guests, government officials and members of the public who arrived to witness the historic occasion.
Aviation Minister and officials
Shortly after the plane landed and taxied to the tarmac, the excited crowd of residents and guests were seen taking pictures of the moving aircraft and enthusiastically welcomed the Aviation Minister and officials of the agencies, who disembarked from the aircraft.
He described the Ekiti Airport as “an extremely very important project” which would in turn facilitate the import and export of goods and commodities.”
The minister recalled that when he was on the site for a groundbreaking in October 2019, there were divergent views as to the viability of the project, saying airports are being operated as “one-city nation-states in the world” to drive their economy. According to him, “I use to make an assertion, that a one-mile long road leads to nowhere, but one-mile runway leads to everywhere.
You see, I arrived here today through the runway of this airport provided by Goverment. Fayemi. There is a future with this project- market and trade can drive everybody here. “I was at ABUAD, I visited the university, the farm, the industrial park, and the hospital, ” he stated.
The minister told that an airport here, would connect people to this facility and reduce foreign medical tourism. “Airports are by no means the best catalysts for the economic development of any state or nation.
“35 percent of international trade by value is moved through airports and 18.6 dollar billion of cargo is moved daily through air transportation. “The wealthy among you should take to agriculture for example and start to produce things that you will be exported to other parts of the world.
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“You can be land-locked, but you cannot be sky-locked. We can all see the importance of having a facility like this. “Thank you, Mr. Governor, you have provided this facility for the people of Ekiti; they should own it,” Mr. Sirika stated.
Mr. Fayemi said
An excited outgoing Governor, Kayode Fayemi, who could not hide his joy, stated: “My job is done”. Mr. Fayemi said satisfaction that the project eventually saw the light of day 10 years after its conception during his 1st administration in 2012.
A fulfilled Mr. Fayemi expressed: “My job is done, Ekiti Kete,” and this drew thunderous applause from the crowd that thronged the tarmac to be part of the occasion.
He also operated the occasion to provide an assurance to the people of the state that the federal roads that are now in dilapidated condition would be given attention to bring relief to their users and complement the newly inaugurated airport project.
We acquired 4,017 hectares of land from nine communities: Ago Aduloju, Aso Ayegunle, Bolorunduro, Igbogun, Araromi, Obbo, Afro, Orun, Igbemo, and Iran, covering three local government areas in the state,” Mr. Fayemi stated.
China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation
Earlier, in his remarks, Zhang Zichen, the Chairman, of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), which handled the project, praised Mr. Fayemi for the vision which would change the face of the state economy. Mr. Zichen explained that the airport was not just a project, but “the engine of the economy of the state”.
He stated that it would open up Ekiti airport to more growth and investment to the benefit of the state and business community. The Chairman, of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) chief, described the airport as a “landmark project”, and stated it was among notable projects completed by his corporation.
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