There was excitement in Ogun State on Friday as the state recorded a remarkable feat, with the first commercial flight landing at the Gateway Agro Cargo International Airport along Iperu-Ilishan road in the Ikenne Local Government Area of the State. With the development, aviation experts are of the view that the new airport will definitely shore up the economic fortunes of the state.
The first private aircraft landed at 2.15 pm to the excitement of the Ogun people who had earlier trooped to the airport to witness the occasion. The height of the day was the landing of Valuejet airline at 3:30 pm thus becoming the first commercial flight to land at the cargo airport.
The Agro Cargo Airport was the idea of the Gbenga Daniel’s administration conceived in 2005, abandoned by his successor Ibikunle Amosun but actualized by Dapo Abiodun.
Speaking at the event, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN said the construction and development of critical infrastructure that will transform the economy and create more job opportunities for citizens is one way to build a modern and prosperous future for all Nigerians.
“This is how we build a modern, prosperous future for all Nigerians. I have no doubt that the culture of innovation and progress that the Gateway Agro Cargo International Airport has already brought will continue to motivate the people of Ogun State even more,” the VP said at the momentous occasion.
According to the Vice President, in a statement by his media aide, Laolu Akande, the State “is now poised to provide facilities for a world-class economic zone,” because beyond being a fulfillment of a vision, the airport project “is one of the infrastructures for building a dynamic economic area.”
He emphasized the significance of the Agro Cargo Airport and Kajola Dry Port projects in the operationalization of the Special Agriculture Processing Zones, and Nigeria’s participation in the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The VP said; “The future is even more exciting than today. The airport will serve the Special Agriculture Processing Zones established with the generous assistance of the African Development Bank. It is also an essential tool in our preparation for full participation as serious players in the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.
“In a few months, Kajola dry port will also be operational. I am confident that this airport will transform the entire Southwest region, and serve as a catalyst for economic growth and development in our nation and sub-region.”
Commending the State Government and past administrations for the actualization of the project, the VP said “It is a tribute to the wisdom and understanding of our current governor, Prince Dr. Dapo Abiodun that he took it from the idea, re-envisioned it in the light of the opportunities, needs, and realities of today; and birthed the Gateway Agro Cargo International Airport, Ogun State.”
Similarly, the VP commended the former Governor of the State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, whom he said conceived the idea of the airport and eventually secured approval from the Federal Government.
He added that “Ogun is definitely taking a huge step forward in fulfilling the dreams of our forebears; dreams of a vibrant, modern, and industrious community living together in peace and prosperity.”
According to him, “this project is the fulfillment of a vision but the airport is only the infrastructure for building a dynamic economic area. We are now poised to provide facilities for a world-class economic zone.”
Earlier, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State paid glowing tributes to the VP and his predecessors including Chief Segun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel for their support in the construction of the airport, noting that the airport was among the best in the country.
According to him, “this airport is a category 4E airport. It is one of the best-constructed airports in Nigeria. It can accommodate an Airbus A380, a Boeing 777, and a Boeing 747. It has a 4-kilometer runway, a 36-meter control tower, a fire station, a cargo apron, and terminal buildings. It has 82, 000 square- meters of cargo apron for types E and C aircraft when completed.”
On his part, Minister of Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika while commending the visioners of the airport said it is “a product of people that sat down to think what can add value to the economy, to the social well-being of the people, and it has happened.”
He added that the construction of the airport was part of the achievements of the Buhari administration in the aviation sector, noting that “during the Buhari government, aviation became the fastest growing sector of the economy before COVID-19. This is according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Finance. We have doubled the number of airports and have doubled the number of airlines.”
Other dignitaries at the event included the Wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo; the Wife of the Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun; the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, former Governors of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole, traditional rulers, and top State government officials.
Source: The Will