By Anayo Okoli & Chinedu Adonu
ALL is now set for the reopening of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, after over one year closure to effect repairs and upgrade the facilities to international standard.
The ceremony will hold by 10 am tomorrow and will be witnessed by notable Igbo leaders led the Southeast governors and members of the National Assembly from the zone.
The expanded and extended runway has been completed and wearing a new look. Finishing touches were being put on few things inside the airport building as at the time of filing the report, while the Aviation Minister, Senator Sirika was being expected at the airport for final supervision ahead the reopening ceremony.
The rehabilitation of the effort has been engrossed in controversy with intermittent stoppage of work for lack of fund. However, Igbo leaders led by the South-East governors and National Assembly members from Igbo land never relented. They mounted immense pressures on the Federal Government over the airport, lamenting the negative economic impact of the continued closure of the airport on the zone.
Based on the pressure and subsequent release of funds, the minister had made frequent inspection visits to the airport, just like the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who had literarily taken the project as his State project, making regular unscheduled inspection visits.
The completion and reopening schedule had been fixed and cancelled many times for one reason or the order, including the coronavirus pandemic outbreak which caused the last delay.
To ensure the scheduled completion of the rehabilitation, Enugu State Government had embarked on the demolition of structures obstructing work on the airport project even to the extent of stepping on some toes just to ensure that the airport was completed and reopened.
With the reopening of the airport today, air travellers from the Southeast, especially international travellers will have sigh of relief.
The reopening ceremony which will be done by President Muhammadu Buhari will be attended by the Southeast governors, led by their chairman, David Umahi and notable Igbo leaders, including members of the National Assembly from the Southeast and officials of the aviation ministry.