Industry experts and stakeholders on Wednesday expressed mixed reactions on the return of Captain Hadi Sirika as Minister of Aviation.
Among the experts were Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Aviation Hon. Nnolim Nnaji; President Aviation Round Table, Dr Gbenga Olowo; Chief Executive Officer, Centurion Securities Limited Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd) and former General Secretary, National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) Comrade Olayinka Abioye.
While Nnaji described the appointment of Sirika as a good development for the industry on account of continuity, others urged him to either consolidate the strides of the first tenure or move on a new path.
Nnaji noted that he would expect the Minister to hit the ground running because he was already familiar with the terrains.
“There are so much to be done within a short time to prepare the industry for the challenges posed by the emerging African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) so we don’t need a new person that will require a lot of time to learn the ropes,” he said.
The lawmaker representing Nkanu East and West Federal Constituency, Enugu State also stated that he is happy the minister is coming at the time the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) is commencing the reconstruction of the Enugu Airport Runway.
He urged the minister, whom he said understands the problems associated to Enugu Airport, to use his knowledge as a seasoned aviator to ensure the right things are done immediately because of the importance of the Airport to the South East.
Olowo on his part said: “I do not envy him for the arduous tasks ahead because he has said so much in the past 4 years and expectations are so high.
“These four years have no room for rhetoric. He has barely 24 months to write his name in gold.
“He should put all his focus on measurable deliverable on .Airport concessioning as planned and ensure to deliver two or three Airport companies of Nigeria with the Task of modern Terminal Buildings with installed High Technologies & functional car parks that will make Lagos , Abuja and Kano a formidable West African Hub by 2025.
“This is doable judging from the case study of Ghana within a span of four years.”
Ojikutu said: “It would be better to consolidate on the previous achievement by fine tuning their level of development within the specified timings to next level of development.
“The minister should consider merging Arik and Aero and designating the eventual airline as a flag carrier.”
Abioye said: “Now that you are back, there is much to do as the industry begs for a new direction and galvanised action.
“We trust that you have the capacity and ability to excel but you must carry all your colleagues in the industry along, the stakeholders, industry supporters and aviation enthusiasts, the unions and even share a listening ear with the critics.”