Aviation Stakeholders Insist On Appointment Of Industry Expert As Minister
PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN SAN FRANCISCO, February 16, (THEWILL) - Stakeholders consisting the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Aviation Roundtable, and professional unions including National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), National Association of Air Traffic Controllers ( NATCA), Nigerian Professional Pilots Association (NPP), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Association of Air Traffic Engineers (NAEE), National Cabin Crew Association (NACCA), National Air Traffic Communicators Association of Nigeria (NACAN) and others, in the aviation industry Sunday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to as a matter of urgency appoint a professional with technical background and interest of the sector as Minister of Aviation.
They have written a letter to Jonathan to express the seriousness of their agitation, which they affirm is not negotiable.
This is the first time aviation stakeholders are taking a unanimous position on sensitive industry issues.
Rising from an emergency meeting yesterday at the secretariat of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), at Beesam junction along the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, the convener, Captain Nogie Meggison, who is chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), said there could be no better time to appoint an aviation professional as Minister than now given the enormity of challenges in the sector.
Megison said the aviation industry is not a learning place for any Minister, who out of limited knowledge could make mistakes that could affect several lives.
Meggison said the professionals came together to urge Jonathan to appoint an aviation expert as Minister because of the sensitivity of the industry, which should not be left in the hands of a non industry expert.
He said failure to appoint an aviation professional as Minister will take the industry several years backwards because previous ministers that were appointed could have performed better in office, if they had sufficient knowledge of the sector.
He said like it is the practice in other sectors, including health and justice only seasoned professionals are appointed as ministers.
Meggison explained that though, the immediate minister, Princess Stella Oduah attracted robust funding into the sector, but her limited knowledge of aviation led to some of the unpopular policy decisions.
He said the time to let the government know that aviation deserves the best is now.
Also speaking, the NAAPE President, Isaac Balami said aviation stakeholders are poised to ensure the President listen to their agitation an immediately appoint an aviation professional as Minister.
Balami said stakeholders will not succumb to any threat or blackmail until the President appoints an industry expert as Minister.
Also speaking, the president of NUATE, Comrade Mohammed Safiyanu said there is no going back on the appointment of an aviation expert as minister of aviation.
President of the Aviation Roundtable, Captain Dele Ore towed the same of argument.
'Failure to do that will take aviation to the dark ages.
The industry cannot afford to have another minister without aviation knowledge who will go through the learning curve all over again," he said adding, 'If Dr Aliu, an aviation expert trained in Nigeria could be elected as the president of ICAO, why can't an aviation professional run aviation industry in Nigeria.