• Monday, March 04, 2024
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Suspicion as unions finger lobbyists in plans to thwart appointment of professional as Minister

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Worried over underground moves by some industry players to thwart its proposal for the appointment of a technocrat as the next aviation minister, joint aviation unions and associations they will also thwart the plans by some ‘lobbyists’ to hoodwink President Goodluck Jonathan into appointing a non professional whose name is being circulated in offices in Abuja.

A source hinted that rather than work towards achieving the objective of the open letter sent by stakeholders , some industry experts are running around high quarters to position themselves for the ministerial seat.

The decision to appoint a person with aviation knowledge and experience as the next minister of aviation is a fall out of an open letter sent last week to President Goodluck Jonathan by aviation unions and other groups.

The open letter was the outcome of a meeting called by Nogie Meggison, chairman of the Airline Operators of Nigeria ( AON), and other unions such as  the Aviation Roundtable , National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers( NAAPE), National Union of AirTransport Employees ( NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ( ATSSSAN ) and the National Cabin Crew Association and others .

The letter according to Meggison, is the position of the stakeholders on the criteria Jonathan should use while considering anybody to be appointed as minister of aviation.

He said the failure of government in the past to appoint somebody with knowledge of how the aviation industry works is responsible for the slow march towards growth for the important sector .

Meggison said the professionals came together to urge   Jonathan to appoint an aviation expert as minister, because of the sensitivity  of the industry, which should not be left in the hands of non industry experts.

He said like it is the practice in other sectors, including health and justice only seasoned professionals are appointed as  ministers .

“This is the reason , we are calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to as a matter of urgency consider appointing an aviation professional as minister . It is not yet late, there is still sufficient time to correct the mistakes of the past..

“If previous ministers of aviation has aviation background, the industry would have moved forward “, he said.

Also speaking, Isaac Balami , the NAAPE President , said aviation stakeholders are poised to ensure the President listen to their agitation an immediately appoint an aviation professional as minister .

Balami said stakeholders will not succumb to any threat or blackmail until the President appoint an industry expert as minister.

He said  stakeholders are resolved to ensure that government appoints an aviation expert as minister, who will hit the ground running without requiring too much time to learnt on the job.

“ The mistakes we have made in the past are enough. We cannot continue in the old fashion of recycling politicians to oversee the aviation sector.

Meggison he is constrained to restate this position on account of feelers emanating from some circles that some persons are capitalising on the open letter sent to President Goodluck Jonathan to appoint a technocrat as minister to lobby for themselves .

He said it has come to the notice of stakeholders that some persons were using some experts to make case for themselves as against the collective position.

“one of the major reasons why industry players need a technocrat as the next aviation minister is to rescue the industry from its current state, where certain self centered  elements without pedigree and track record want to continue to hijack the industry . A clear situation is where the industry finds itself today where such people are now in Abuja lobbying to be the next minister of aviation. The appointment of a technocrat will be able see through their selfish motives to enable him or her decipher the grain from the chaff”

He said the industry has  some seasoned industry technocrats not limited to people like Dapo Olumide, former managing director of Air Nigeria; and deputy managing director, Aerocontractors , and is currently financial consultant with African Finance Corporation;Kiddy Dare, former logistics director ExxonMobil, and former director of operations at the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) and Adebayo Araba, former rector, Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) .

Speaking further, the unions said: now that aviation has a supervising minister he should be allowed to clear the mess left behind at the Ministry, the same so called professionals that are now agitating to be considered to replace the former Minister are those that misadvised her and are being sponsored.