Wednesday, October 14, 2015


So Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has ordered the immediate suspension of work on the Airport project in the outskirt of the state till December because of the death of an oil plantation farmer, Tijani Hakeem who died from shock following the destruction of his farm by Ekiti State government bulldozers, to make way for the airport project.


Many people have argued about the propriety of undertaking an airport project by this Fayose-led government that has less than four years to do in office for reasons such as the following:
- when there are airports in neighbouring states, 
- when these are lean times not only for the federal, but state governments as well, with the latter (including Ekiti State) requiring bailout funds to offset salary arrears, indebtedness to contractors and banks amongst others,
- when at a time Nigeria should be looking to wean itself from overdependence on revenue from sale of crude oil, to embrace sectors such as the Agriculture, only to be siting an airport on a palm oil plantation (as well as other food and cash crop producing farms) because of other non-agric factors in consideration,
- when the state government appears not to have carried along fully the owners of the land, including the plantation farmers one of which has now died from shock, for which the attention of the governor has finally been drawn, in requesting to meet with affected landowners and farmers to discuss amongst other issues, compensation.


Besides the fact that the airport project may not positively impact the lives of the majority of the people in the state, its viability is also suspect, as several other airports dotting the landscape of Nigeria (including that of its neighbours), especially most of those built by state governments have remained but huge monumental failures unable to raise even the capital used to build them in revenue years after they were built, catering only to private jets owned or chattered by the governors, political acolytes, with major traffic only during christian and muslim pilgrimages (sponsored in the main by most state governments).

At the end of the day it massages only the ego of the governors and serves their megalomaniacal tendencies (in their attempt to leave behind legacy projects that can be named after them, or go down in history as initiated by them) over and above service to humanity or the uplifting of the circumstances of the ordinary people of the state, in the siting of many of the white elephant projects they embark upon when they are in government, and that includes even laudable projects such as hospitals like the so called "WORLD CLASS HOSPITAL" built by former Governor Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, which he abandoned for a hospital abroad when he had scratch following an accident in Abuja recently. Infact, when eventually, these projects begin to impact the lives of the masses, it is usually more like a "side effect" rather than an "expected result" and that is only in the few instances when these projects aren't abandoned by successive governments. 

This airport project embarked upon by Governor Fayose, is ill-timed, wrongly located (as regards the opportunity cost it makes of agriculture), ill-advised (in relation to other pressing issues of importance for the state) and totally needless because of the presence of other airports in neighbouring states, one of which is suffering from neglect and is at some stage of disuse. It isn't likely that Governor Fayose can now be dissuaded. (definitely not from a pliant rubber stamp state legislature, or by a subdued majority of Ekiti people waiting on STOMACH INFRASTRUCTURE packages dispense at will by the governor when it tickles his fancy) from towing a different line over this issue, so I can only hope that the best of possibilities happen with this airport to the people of Ekiti State if not while Fayose is in office, then years later after he's left office.



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