By Friday Nwosu
The National Association of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has called on the President elect Muhammadu Buhari to appoint aviator as the next aviation minister in order to sharp practices prevalent in the sector in order to move the industry forward. In a congratulatory letter dated May 18, 2015 and signed by Comrade Olayinka Abioye on behalf of the Secretary, NUATE said an internationally regulated and highly technical industry should not be left in the hands of political manipulators /jobber but for a principled, properly trained and experienced professional with a solid track record of integrity performance and strong character.
“The choice of a core professional would also inspire other professionals in the sector to work hard and be counted. In the same vein, a professional would be better positioned to stop “cutting of corners,” a term used to refer to malpractices in the sector. A professional would also be well positioned and better equipped to address the critical issue of safety, security and development of the nation’s airports and airspace, which has been neglected over the years in favour of remodeling which provides “faster and cheaper money for the boys”. NUATE lamented that since the advent of democracy in the country 16 years ago that no aviation professional has been appointed as Minister adding that it has retarded progress in the sector and Nigeria as a nation.
They urged the President elect to consider the role played by the aviation sector as the biggest promoter of international trade since the twentieth century noting that Nigeria, the most populous black nation on earth and one of the largest exporters of crude oil in the world has not attracted as much foreign direct investment as it should have done due to a number of factors which has to do with safety and security of the nation’s airport and airspace. “As a responsible Trade Union concerned with the growth and development of the Aviation sector of our National economy, we have found it extremely expedient to canvass a policy thrust that will galvanize the industry into providing a safe, secure and efficient air transport industry. Taking cognizance of the significance of aviation as a global business with the challenges and complexities of managing airports, airlines and air Navigation facilities as well as human traffic, it is our conviction that leadership of such an internationally regulated and highly technical industry should not be left in the hands of political manipulators/jobbers.”
NUATE however advised that in appointing a professional care must be taken to avoid bringing on board some of those who were responsible for the destruction and ultimate demise of the Nigeria Airways and the Aviation sector as a whole. Most if not all of them are against change, the change which will bring good to the sector and the country while dislocating their long lasting selfish interests that has hitherto derailed growth of the sector. Many of them are still very much around parading themselves as the best hands in the sector.”