A Touchdown Wrapped In Boundless Joy  (Photos)

By Emeka Ozumba 
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There was hardly any observer of stoic disposition who did not erupt in joyous excitement and praise to God when the first aircraft Boeing 737 N5-BUJ touched down on the brand new Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri at exactly 2.26pm on 30th April, 2021. The joy was infectious among the massive crowd who gathered to witness the epocal test Fight.

As the aircraft appeared on the horizon, the crowd made up of ndi Anambra, friends and well wishers went wild with shouts of excitement. But in the midst of all these, the chief architect of the history making event and the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano (Akpokuodike) stood dignified with his trade mark walking stick, lapping up the adulation and commendations. While right beside him, his wife and First Lady, Dr. Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano(Osodieme), knelt in supplication and effusive praises to God. She was heard shouting the name of Jesus Christ in appreciation of the wonderful work of God for ndi Anambra, through her husband, the Governor.

When the Airpeace airline taxied towards the tarmac, it appeared to open its wings to full stretch, basking in the glory of the nautical miles just covered as it parked on the 1ft thick concrete apron, measuring 300x200 metres.

Again, the throng at the edge of the apron, anxious to catch a glimpse of the big bird and it's occupant surged forward in anticipation. Thanks to the mounted guard who politely restrained them to comply with the airport safety standards and avoid crowding the apron.

But that was temporary for immediately the aircraft doors opened, the crowd roared in admiration on sighting Chief Allen Onyema the Mbosi-born Anambra chief executive officer of Airpeace alight to the warm embrace and welcome by Governor Obiano, his wife and other dignitaries on hand.

For a man that toiled to generate the necessary funding and supervised the airport construction thus far, being on site virtually every other week since the project commenced, the import of the historic moment of triumph was not lost on Obiano when he intoned:

"Umu nnem, in every generation there is always a day when the sun and the stars come together in a perfect agreement with the hopes and dreams of a people. Ndi Anambra that day is today!"

Having been trolled and castigated by opponents and their paid hacks for daring to suggest that he will midwive the realization of the long held-dream and aspirations of ndi Anambra with a befitting airport gateway, Akpokuodike betrayed no anger, but rather remained steadfast to his set goal. ''Eyes on the ball,'' he often admonishes his aides. Little wonder he continually lives up to his traditional title by quietly bringing to fruition the most audacious legacy of his tenure in the hearts of friends and foes alike.

Also worthy of note is the passion and commitment of Chief Allen Onyema who not long ago assured Governor Obiano and ndi Anambra that he will be the first to fly in with more than one aircraft. And he kept his word. Expressing his joy on the great accomplishment, he revealed that he was teary-eyed on touch down. Being a big player in the aviation industry, the import of the feat must have hit home. Such is the stuff of true patriots, and undoubtedly, a perfect, yet explicit endorsement of the Governor's Akuluo-uno ( Invest at Home) philosophy.

Amidst the pomp and ceremony of the successful maiden flight, Governor Obiano stated that there remains more work ahead to cement his vision predicated on expanding the frontiers of excellence across the state. There is no doubt that the facts on ground attest to his successes. Everybody, including friends and foes, admits to the fact that the Anambra State International Cargo and Passenger Airport is indeed a compelling achievement by any state government.