IN a remarkable act of service delivery, the aviation authorities kept to the promise of reconstructing the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, within six weeks.
The airport which is the only one servicing the federal capital had been closed on March 8 with the promise of being reopened on April 19. The closure enabled reconstruction of the runway whose lifespan lapsed years ago.
The execution of the project and the relocation of air travels through Kaduna, 242.2 kilometres away, came with much apprehension for many travellers. However, it opened a new vista for the transportation sector with many Nigerians for the first time using the local train service.
The closure and promise of completing the reconstruction within six weeks came with much scepticism. It was especially so for several generations of Nigerians used to the abandonment of government projects.
However, in defence of his stance, that the reconstruction would not exceed the promised six weeks, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika in an unprecedented gesture, vowed to resign his appointment if he failed to deliver. That the reconstructed runway was on Monday, April 17 declared fit for operations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA is a remarkable feat for which the authorities and all those involved must be commended.
We commend the dedication and energy with which the authorities and all those concerned brought to bear in ensuring the completion of the project within the specified time frame.
It, however, brings to fore the capacity of government to realize set goals for the good of all. The efficiency with which the reconstruction of the runway and ancillary works was done suggests that government can perform but only when top government officials or the elite class are affected.
This newspaper is not unaware of the fact that the Abuja airport is of great importance to the Nigerian ruling class who shuttle the federal capital in the course of government business. Many in that class including governors who have made Abuja a second home. They were among those seriously disturbed by the closure and would now be greatly relieved by the re-opening.
While commending the efficiency with which the authorities brought to bear in achieving this goal, we call on all levels of government to bring the same zeal to bear in seeing to the completion of other projects that touch on ordinary Nigerians. In many cases, such projects have been left abandoned or funds meant for them embezzled with no one asking questions.
Governments across board must give effect to Section 17 (2) (a) which provides that “every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations, and opportunities before the law.”
We deserve nothing less.