By Ifeanyi Nwoko
Former Minister of Aviation, Sen. Stella Oduah, has blamed the seeming slow pace of development in aviation sector to the deviation from its master plan.
At the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, Oduah called for return to the document, saying that it would guide the development of the sector to desired level.
She said that when she assumed office as minister, she met decay and a huge gap in the industry, and that with the support of stakeholders, a master plan was developed as roadmap to grow the sector.
She ascribed the successes recorded in the sector during her tenure to strict adherence to the master plan,
According to Oduah, because we knew that aviation business is viable, whatever you spend it is recoverable, that gave us the impetus to develop the Aviation Master Plan.
“This master plan guided us on the A-Z of rehabilitating the aviation sector and we did our best with the resources that we had.
“I believe that today, if we still maintain that master plan, knowing that aviation is the catalyst for economic growth of any nation, the goals will still be accomplished,” she said.
The former minister, who currently represents Anambra North constituency at the Senate, said that during her tenure at the ministry, she tackled the problem of unsafe airspace in the country.
“We started by looking at the impediments, one of which was the airspace – how to make it safe that it will be commercially viable.
“The same way for the terminals, where you board and where you sit; as much as we wanted it to be safe, we also wanted it to be comfortable.”
She said that her team ensured that commerce thrived at the airports in a way that it was convenient for passengers to buy something, adding that at the average, each passenger spent N100.
“A multiple of N100 from passengers is huge for the economy of wherever an airport is located,” she said.
However, the senator said, “I have left the aviation sector; I left a long time ago, so for me now it is history.
“I saw decay that should not have been there; I saw huge gaps and I did my best.
“What made it easy for me was to have a holistic overview of the sector, identified the challenges and charted our objective.
“The objective was to make the aviation sector in Nigeria a catalyst for our national economic development.”