By Lawani Mikairu
The President of Aviation Round Table, ART, an association of seasoned aviation professionals, Elder Gbenga Olowo has said there are capable and competent Nigerians who can successfully run domestic airlines in Nigeria and turn them to world class airlines like British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, etc .
Olowo said this during his presentation at this year’s 23rd League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents, LAAC, Conference with the theme, “Boosting Aviation Investment through Policy”. He said what is needed for these capable Nigerians to do their jobs is consistent and long term government aviation policies to enable them plan their operations.
According to him, “If we say Nigerian aviators cannot give birth to solid and sound Nigerian airlines that means that maybe Nigerian shouldn’t be our governor. Nigerian shouldn’t be our president, Nigerian shouldn’t be our legislator.
But as long as Nigerian remains our president, commissioners and governors and local government chairman, and congress, then Nigerians are available to run airlines for us. We have all that solid resources provided the policy thrust are followed”.
“We must have stable regulatory framework, we must have stable legal framework. Regulation shouldn’t be changing the way we change our dress. A regulation that drives economics, we cannot continue to be prodigal the way balance of trade against Nigeria is handled. We need services from foreign partners but we say that those services cannot be provided by us. And that is the emphasis that I made. If we cannot run our businesses then we will not be able to manage even ourselves”, he said.
On how the government can ensure that policies are consistent, the ART President said it does not matter the government of the day, the policy has to be there.
“We must plan into the future. One of the presenters was talking about planning to the year 2030, that kind of plan must be there and it does not matter who is President today or Aviation Minister tomorrow, that must be followed. And that is why I have always been advocating that the CAA (Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA) is the authority for aviation”.
“I want the power of the ministry reduced to the very minimum because most of the time, people in the ministry are political appointments. They are politicians who represent the face of aviation to government but they don’t understand.
Somebody is from women affairs as the permanent secretary in aviation, how can she understand aero-politics? So we need to reduce that ministry to the barest minimum and allow CAA to be in charge. In the US FAA is under the department of transport and FAA controls even the airspace, here we have all the big, big, office that are uncontrollable. Rather than work together they are working in different direction,” Olowo added .