By Lawani Mikairu
Aviation stakeholders and experts Thursday at the 4th quarterly Business Breakfast Meeting organized by the Aviation Safety Roundtable Initiative,ASRTI, in Lagos unanimously said that lack of consultation with knowledgeable aviation experts led to the inability of the current Aviation Minister of State, Senator Hadi Sirika to midwife the suspended national carrier, Nigeria Air.
The quarterly Business Breakfast Meeting with the theme: Short Lifespan of Nigerian Airlines ; The Importance of Corporate Governance , was chaired by Director of Studies, Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies, Prof. Anthony Kila, who also reacted to the suspension of the national carrier.
According to Kila, “The Nigeria Air project was embarked on without due consultation and communication with people that matters. There was no industry engagement and when a project is done like that it is bound to die. Nigeria should avoid this kind of failure.”
“Nigeria Air was conceived on PowerPoint, shared on Adobe and died on Twitter. The project lacked the fundamentals on strategic management, they embarked on a project without consideration of the status quo, the effects on operators and looking into the future, the project was embarked on without consultation without those that matters in the industry”.
He further said that when there is no communication failure was guaranteed, “this failure would have been avoided if there was a roundtable where information is shared and consultation with each other”.
Guest lecturer at the event, Former Director General, Institute of Directors, IOD, Mr. Victor Adenrele Banjo said the Nigeria Air was a deceit as it never had a visible structure and was shrouded in secrecy.
“The 0% control of government is not evident, no visible structure. The idea was not to operate an airline but achieve other motives not disclosed, no wonder, it was a premature leading to still born”, Banjo said
He advised government to focus more on creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive and leave business to the professionals.
In his reaction , President of Aviation Roundtable, ART, Elder Gbenga Olowo said the announcement by the federal government to bring back the national carrier was a vote of no confidence on the existing airlines.
Olowo said, “The announcement of Nigeria Air in the last three years of President Buhari shook the industry. That announcement was a vote of no confidence on the sector; that the Airlines that are existing are not doing well. ‘We are going to float another airline’.
“And three years after we suddenly learnt that project is being suspended and that made all of us to start speculating why, how, what happened and we will continue to speculate until we hear exactly what happened. I will say that it destabilizes the sector because in planning with the Nigerian Airlines in the last three years, they would factor in that announcement. If I were to be the MD of a Nigerian airline, I would factor in the arrival of a very strong competitor”.
He challenged the Federal Government to come out and tell Nigerians whether the project was only suspended or it would be resuscitated.
Recall the establishment of Nigeria Air was suspended in September after a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting and the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika twittered the suspension on his twitter handle.