Thursday, September 5, 2013

AKA Ikenga Salutes President Goodluck Jonathan and Princess Stella Oduah on Enugu International Airport

Travelers boarding Ethiopian Airlines plane at the Enugu International Airport.

AKA Ikenga Salutes President Goodluck Jonathan and Princess Stella Oduah on Enugu International Airport


On Sunday 25th August, ‘Aka Ikenga’, the Think Tank Group of Igbo patriots, with operational bases in Surulere Lagos, resolved on their meeting, to give 100% Igbo salute to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, for the fulfillment of his electoral promise with the upgrading to international standard of the Akanu-Ibiam airport Enugu and the commencement of international flights to the airport.

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.

Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah.

The tremendous joy that the airport has generated among the people of Eastern Nigeria, shows that the president recognized the fact that the people of the south east zone badly needed an outlet to the world and the approval of international flight to the Enugu airport marks him out as a president that is genuinely interested in promoting development and keeping the country together. The tremendous positive economic impact that the international airport will engender towards unity and prosperity of Nigeria, has proven that President Jonathan is a doer, not a talker! Now Igbo people abroad do not have to do another six hours on the road to get home, after flying eleven to sixteen hours to come into the country.

Chief Barrister Goddy Uwazuruike, President of AKA Ikenga.

In a media release signed by his President, Chief Goddy Uwazuruike, Aka Ikenga also salutes the vibrant, energetic and super-achieving aviation minister, Princes Stella Oduah, for recording this milestone achievement, making the dream of Igbo people to come true. The group also salutes all the members of the National Assembly, led by deputy senate president, senator Ike Ekweremadu, who dedicated their constituency projects to the airport and indeed all who saw to the completion of the airport, to the satisfaction of an enduring call from the people of the South East who have for many years clamoured for an international airport for the zone, which they believe will reinforce the resourcefulness of the people who are known for their entrepreneurship and trade.

Henceforth, businessmen and other travelers from Enugu, Aba, Abakaliki, Onistha, Owerri, Umuahia, and as far as Asaba and Benin, will be saved the distress of travelling hours to Lagos and Abuja to board international flights, with the inherent dangers on the road, as they fight for time to catch their flights to international destinations.

Aka Ikenga unanimously resolved that President Jonathan and his team have fulfilled their promise of giving every part of the country equal opportunity to develop and realize its dreams. The group particularly commends the aviation minister for her determination in actualizing the aviation master plan, which the Jonathan administration has prioritized in its transformation agenda, with the objective of giving every part of the country and every citizen, the opportunity to grow to his full potential.

The following is a report on the comments of prominent Nigerian state governors, top government officials and other passengers on the inaugural Enugu–Addis Ababa flight of Ethiopian Airlines by This Day newspapers.

By Ike Ekweremadu
You can see that I am endorsing the route. I don’t have any business going to Ethiopia now. But to reassure our people that it’s a dream come true, I have decided to be part of the inaugural flight. We have been working on this project for quite a long time and we thank God that at our time, we have realised it. And we need to thank President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for making it possible, for the political will.

We also have to thank the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, who tenaciously pursued the project and saw to it that it became a reality. And of course we have to thank our Governors, I mean the Governors from the South East for their tremendous support. My colleagues at the National Assembly have been wonderful in their support for this project too and must be commended.

I know the people of the Southeast, the Southsouth and other people around despite where they come from can, and in fact should take advantage of it to turn around the economy. I want to assure the airline for taking the risk of flying to Enugu. They will come to find out later that it will be the most lucrative route for them.

It has been a wonderful experience. It is one of the gTood things to happen here and I want the business community in the South Not only the Southeast, but all over the country to use the airport and the airline. I had to personally fly the airline and join the fight from Enugu to Ethiopia and back so that I can reassure the business men and women that we are all in support of it and happy, associated with it too.

I am appealing to our Igbo brothers and other travellers that the most important thing is to patronise the airline. Their time of flying to Nigeria has been reduced. They will no longer go through longer distances to fly an International plane to China, Middle East and other areas where they do business.

Senator Anyim Pius Anyim
It’s indeed a new horizon and you can agree with me that it will open a whole new vista. I was also told that it is not just the airport here, the Aerotropolis is also coming here in Enugu. That it is being developed around here. I believe that more people particularly the Igbos and traders from neighbouring states, other businessmen in the Southeast It will be a great boost to their businesses. This is one of those things that one must see and believe.
Very importantly, President Goodluck Jonathan promised and he has been able to fulfill that. It’s a promise fulfilled. It is one of the transformational agenda of this administration. It is a move in the right direction by the President who has made it possible for this to become a reality. And I believe it is a sign of good things to come.
I want to appeal to the people, not only from the Southeast, but other areas to patronise the airport and the airlines as they travel. It will be a wonderful experience and opening up of areas that were hitherto hidden

Governor Sullivan Chime
Its exciting, one feels very excited. It’s a promise fulfilled, wonderful project. It’s quite exciting that this is happening .Its quite encouraging for the economy. This is actually part of the grand plan to open up this area. We have also sort and got an approval for a Free Trade Zone, we have been working on getting the rail lines around the area to be rehabilitated so that the farmers, traders and other businessmen could move their farm produce and goods to the ports and other areas. We are pursuing the rail line project so that the Federal Government will take it up, so that our people can move their products. It can change a whole lot of things.

Governor Peter Obi
It’s a dream come through. The Southeast deserves all the best and should work towards getting the best. The Federal Government has demonstrated that the Igbos hold a strong stake in the economy of the country. The Southeast people are traders and business people. The airport will surely witness a big boost as the Southeasterners who travel to the Middle East and Asia and even other parts of the world would surely patronise the place.
When the International wing being built by the Chinese is fully completed, I am sure the patronage will be outstanding. I thank all my colleagues from the Southeast, the Aviation Minister, the members of the National Assembly who ensured that there was appropriation for the international wing and the President Goodluck Jonathan who believed in the project.
From Information available from the airline, the seats have been booked till September. I must tell you that the airline may be using a wide body aircraft when the Christmas season approaches because of the expected traffic.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Dr. Iweala who exchanged greetings with all the passengers from the Business Class to the last seat in the economy class of the Boeing 737 said on stepping into the aircraft: “I am also happy that this has come to be a reality. I want to congratulate those of you who made history by flying in the first commercial plane to make an international journey from Enugu to the outside world. A lot of work was done to make this dream a reality. The traders and businessmen will surely find this place ideal. It will boost and will cut by some hours the journey to the Middle East, and Asia from these airports in Nigeria.
This is bringing international travel to their doorsteps. Government is working on the new terminal and when that is completed, it will assist in making travel from here interesting. The airline will need patronage and I am sure that other airlines will want to fly this route very soon

Princess Stella Oduah
I am extremely happy. Am so happy that we have been able to accomplish this. We must thank the Almighty God that it happened. All credit, all thanks go to God and President Goodluck Jonathan. He was bent on breaking the jinx and making this projects a reality. He was committed on making the Akanu Ibiam an international airport.
It has been accomplished. It means that this zone that is landlocked will no longer be landlocked. You will have access to global business activities and facilities. The people from this zone will soon be feeling the impact and other events of a global scale. What can I say, but to tell you that it is just the beginning of more things to come
People from this zone are travellers, they are businessmen and they will surely find the airport very useful. You can see that the inaugural flight is fully booked. Even the incoming flight had some passengers from this area on board. You can see how excited the people are about the whole thing.
About seven airlines are presently talking with the Aviation Ministry to ply this route

Akpa Joseph, the first passenger to board the Aircraft…
I am a trader from Enugu State, but I live in Onitsha where I do business. I can’t describe enough how I feel; I thought it was a joke when I heard about it. You can see that I just left Onitsha this morning, some few hours ago and now I am in Enugu. I deal on ladies and am a gold card carrier of another airline-Qatar. But now I am using Ethiopian airlines. Its now going to reduce the numbers of hours I fly to and from Lagos and then to China where I buy my goods.
I want to thank President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Aviation. They are going to reduce our suffering on the road to Lagos and even the accidents on that road will be reduced. It’s very nice to think about us. Everything is not politics but the comfort of your people. It is one good thing coming to us.

Nkata Ugonna, another passenger on the flight…
Its serene, its something good, its cheaper to fly through here, I am extremely happy. I am going to China and I deal on mobile phones and mobile phone accessories

First female passenger, Nwolisa Peace…
I bought my ticket from the travel agent in Onitsha and when he told me about travelling from Enugu, I thought it was not going to be possible. It was done with ease. Even when my friends later wanted to buy, it was already fully booked. I deal on textiles. This is so good. I am just thinking it’s not true, but here I am checked in with ease ready to fly. Now I have seen the plane and its no longer unfulfilled stories like before. The aircraft has landed… It’s very good.

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