It was a dream come true for indigenes of Edo state and Governor Adams Oshiomhole in particular when the remodeled Benin Airport terminal in Benin City, Edo state capital was commissioned Friday.
The airport is the third to be commissioned among the 11 airports listed under the first phase of the Airport Remodeling Project. The two already commissioned are the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1, on October 22, 2012 and the General Aviation Terminal of the NnamdiAzikiweInternationalAirport, Abuja on January 21st, 2013.
The colourful ceremony witnessed several dance groups from the ancient city of Benin and it was visible in the eyes of all that the once mushroom airport is now beautified with state of the art facilities.
Keen observers in the state would attest that the airport became busier since the inception of the administration of Oshiomhole as governor of the state due to the activities of foreign companies handling different projects in the state and investors.
Consequently, after his one year in office, Oshiomhole told the Federal Government that there was need to upgrade the BeninAirport and also increase the flights with a view to meeting the demands of the people. His dream came true and his joy full so to speak last Friday when he had the opportunity to commission the remodeled airport.
The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, said: " We consider today's event significant because the remodelling of the Benin Airport terminal, more than any other airport in the country, readily reflects the true face of the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in the aviation industry."
Anyone who knew the state of this airport terminal before its remodelling and compares it to what the terminal has become today cannot but agree that the country's aviation industry is truly undergoing major transformation.
It will therefore, not be out of place to begin to refer to the BeninAirport as the true face of the transformation agenda in the aviation sector. An airport terminal that constituted an embarrassment to Nigerians by reason of its antiquated infrastructure has now become a thing of pride, not just to people of Edo State but to all Nigerians.
Today's commissioning ceremony is also important because it bears eloquent testimony to the commitment of our visionary leader and President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to reverse the decadence in the aviation industry, which is a veritable vehicle for rapid industrial and economic development in any country. Today's commissioning ceremony is the third, in less than five months, for three airports, out of the eleven airports earmarked for completion under the first phase of the Airport Remodelling Programme, fashioned out by this administration to modernise all airports in the country".
The Minister recalled that "On October 22, 2012, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim commissioned the reconstructed General Aviation Terminal (Now Domestic Terminal I) of the MMA while the General Aviation Terminal (including a pilgrims terminal) of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the first for that airport since its inception in the mid 1980s, was commissioned by the Deputy Senate President, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu on January 21, 2013.
Today, we are delighted that the Comrade Governor himself, Comrade Adams Oshomole would lend his weight to this wind of change in the industry by commissioning the third terminal here in Benin Airport.
The other eight remaining airports in the first phase of the project - Yola, Jos, Enugu, Owerri, Kano, Kaduna, Calabar and Port-Harcourt International Airport would all be commissioned by August this year, about the same that the second phase of the project, involving the remaining airports in the country, would commence.