As Nigerians Await Nigeria Air

ABUJA (TRIBUNE) - Obviously, the administration of the present government is drawing gradually to its end as the atmosphere thickens with electoral campaigns that will usher in a new government at the expiration of its eight years mandate.

Whichever way one views it, the administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari and by extension, the country’s aviation sector under Senator Hadi Sirika as the minister will not be forgotten as they must have impacted the sector through the policies implemented during their time.

The Buhari administration at the twilight of its coming assured Nigerians of another national carrier after the unwise liquidation of the former Nigeria Airways. Though several attempts made to fulfil this promise ran into different murky waters with the government withholding the necessary information on how it intends to float the new carrier from stakeholders.

However, even as many believed that the dream of having the new national airline is still doubtful due to the absence of physical evidence on the ground, amidst the doubts came the information recently that may have changed all the negative notions earlier nursed about the probability of having a new national carrier under the administration.

As the intrigues over how the government plans to float a new airline continue, the news has filtered in that Captain Dapo Olumide has been named the interim managing director of the new national carrier, Nigeria Air by the federal government.

One obvious fact is that the news about the appointment of Dapo Olumide to manage the coming national airline has gone a long way in dousing the hitherto tension and intrigues surrounding the project for so many reasons.

All the promises the minister had earlier made to package a well-deserved airline for Nigeria which had been punctured by key players in view of professional lapses may not be a ruse after all following the involvement of Olumide.

In the aviation circle today, Dapo Olumide is highly rated as one of the most qualified professionals and administrators as witnessed in his days at Aero Contractors, Virgin Nigeria and subsequently Nigerian Eagle.

Dapo Olumide, who holds a Bachelor’s degree from the prestigious Embryridle Aeronautics University, Florida, USA, along with professional qualifications in airline operations was able to transform the then Virgin Nigeria Airways into Nigerian Eagle Airlines.

His performance while at the Aero Contractors still speaks for him. Unfortunately, immediately he left the airline, its story became sad.

Therefore, with the pedigree of Olumide, his appointment as the Chief Operating Officer of the airline is a square peg in a square hole. In other words, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel.

Since he is not the kind who gets his hands soiled, for him to have accepted to work in the new airline, he might have weighed so many options.

At this juncture, while Nigerians await the final coming of the new national carrier, appointing Olumide and his team for the airline is not the end of the story as government needs to avoid unnecessary involvement.

Agreed that government cannot totally let go of the activities, but the government should allow Olumide and his team to run the airline without undue interference or imposition.

Allowing the interim management to package a standard national carrier for Nigerians this time around will go a long way in revamping the image of the country.

It will be a great relief if team Olumide is given the wherewithal and freedom needed to package the new national carrier for Nigerians and in doing this, the sector which had been thrown into instability since the exit of the defunct national carrier will witness further stability once again.

The story of the successful take-off of the new national carrier under well-packaged management consisting of core professionals will surely take away the over two decades of the hopelessness of a large country like Nigeria to float a new national airline.

While Nigerians await the coming of Nigeria Air, the Crucial Moment is welcoming onboard the Olumide team and hoping they will bring back smiles to the faces of Nigerians, particularly the travelling class.