An Address Delivered by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano to Mark the Inaugural Flight into Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport, Umeri on April 30, 2021
Edited by Ononye VC
Umu nnem, in every generation, there is always a day when the sun and the stars come together in a perfect agreement with the hopes and dreams of a people. Ndi Anambra, that day is today!
Ndi b’anyi, we are gathered today to witness the historic ‘Demonstration/Testing Flight’ into the Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport, Umueri. We have waited patiently for this day. Yes, it is sunrise in Anambra State.
The Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport is the most audacious legacy of my administration and perhaps the most revolutionary too. Experts tell me that our airport has set a record in the aviation industry as the fastest and most modern airport to be built in recent times. This airport took 15 months to build. Construction work began in January 2020 and here we are; 15 months after, witnessing the first flight into the airport. It took only one year and three months of determination, perseverance and courage in the face of danger, to build this. We rose above the gloom and doom of global lockdowns and phobia over COVID-19 to bring this dream to reality. This airport is proof that no army, no matter how fortified, can stand the force of an idea! A great idea may rest for a while; but it will come to reality when its time is due!
The most interesting thing about this airport, for me, is that the Anambra State Government did not borrow a kobo to build it. Not a single kobo! This in itself; is a record in leadership vision and execution in Nigeria with our current realities.
Ndi Anambra, this airport is an idea whose time has come. Our dream for our own airport began almost 30 years ago when the Government of Anambra State acquired 530 hectares of land in Oba, Idemili South Local Government Area with the intention of building a domestic airport. The idea came up again in 2006 when Orient Petroleum dreamt of building an airport here in Umueri. Umu nnem, that dream is fulfilled today.
When began the effort to expand the frontiers of excellence in Anambra State, seven years ago, we announced that our Vision was to make Anambra State the first choice investment destination and hub of industrialization and commercial activities. We also declared that our Mission was to create a socially stable, business friendly environment that will attract both indigenes and foreigners to wealth creating opportunities in Anambra State. This airport is a fulfillment of our vision and mission statements.
It is difficult to create a new economic corridor without a functional international airport that will serve as a direct bridge between us and the world. With this facility, we have made the journey easier for any investor who wants to prospect Anambra State for business!
In the past seven years, my administration has worked tirelessly to change the story of Anambra State. We have developed an agro-economy with top mechanized farming, modern food processing and export of agricultural produce. We have upgraded Awka with facilities that will position it as a 21st Century capital city. The International Conference Center, Awka is the largest conference venue in Nigeria with 10,000 sitting capacity. The roofing of the Center is almost completed. We have taken development to the rural areas with the highly acclaimed N20m Community-Choose-your-Project Initiative. There is no community in Anambra State that has not felt the presence my administration. We have constructed 18 bridges and several kilometers of road to maintain the reputation of Anambra State as the state with the best network of roads in the South East. The Awka City Stadium is almost ready for commissioning. And now, we have the most advanced airport in Africa!
Anyone who is familiar with Anambra State knows that Ndi Anambra admire self-reliance a lot. We do not summon external help for what we can do for ourselves. We rose from the ashes of an unpleasant past to build a promising homeland for ourselves. Our people crisscross the globe in search of a better life. This airport is therefore a timely bridge between Anambra and the world. It is the link between a dream and its fulfillment! I have no doubt that in the shortest possible time, the Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport shall become one of the busiest airports in Nigeria. The key success factors are there for all to see!
Indeed, the economic values from this airport cannot be quantified. The construction of this airport has kept 3000 people in direct employment and another 3500 in indirect employment for 15 months.
Ladies and gentlemen, this airport tells its own story eloquently. So, I will bring these remarks to an end shortly. But before I do that, I must commend the zeal and determination of the various construction companies involved in the building of this airport. They are; Craneburg Construction Ltd, IDC Construction Ltd, MACE Aviation Nigeria, Niger CAT, JK PEEZ Impex Company Ltd, Teetag Construction International Limited and China Railway. These companies worked night and day for 15 months to deliver this airport to Ndi Anambra. I must also commend my indefatigable Commissioner for Works, Engr. Marcel Ifejiofor and his team for doing an excellent job. My gratitude also goes to the people of Umueri, Nsugbe, Nteje and other communities on whose land the airport stands with all the access roads to it. Chukwu gozie unu!
In conclusion, the symbol of our great party (APGA) is a cock. The cock crows to announce a new day! Ndi Anambra, our cock has crowed.