Icheoku asks, how much is simply just too much for the people of Igboland to continue to take or accept as given from their "lords and masters," the Hausa-Fulani Oligarchs of Islamic Northern Nigeria? When will enough of these intimidation and oppressions become really enough for the Igbos to just say, no more shall we continue to take this? Further why are the Igbo elites, including men and women who find themselves in the corridors of power so complacent that they choose to do nothing about the fate which the Igbos found themselves in Nigeria? The current deputy senate president Ike Ekweremadu is of the Igbo extraction and except for some feeble speeches on the subject seems to be less passionate with pursuing and realising the cause? And there are so many other Igbo federal legislators and senators who could ordinarily support such a cause but wouldn't? And before this present bunch, were about four Igbo senate presidents and so many other legislators including ministers; yet none of them have spoken out or done something to arrest this Igbo continued marginalization in Nigeria, why must it continue? Icheoku says such a sell-out by these representatives is abominable, inexplicable and absolutely shameful; yet they pretend to represent the people? How do these guys have the face to parade themselves in Igboland as 'somebody' when they could not attract any meaningful federal presence in their region or make sure that the available ones remain open? How can any of these representatives say that he/she is representing a region without a functioning airport, talk-less of an international airport, making travel to the South East a nightmarish chaotic experience? How do such legislators get back home to their constituencies or do they also travel through those Nigerian notorious death-traps of roads? A person travelling to South East from overseas for example, is compelled to fly into Lagos, Abuja, Kano or Port Harcourt; and then is left at the mercy of armed robbers infested, pot-hole filled Nigerian roads enroute Enugu and the entire South East? Please tell Icheoku who wants such an awful experience of being a seating duck on such horrible roads, waiting for the ever-present armed robbers to cart away what you toiled several years to procure, and we are talking of when these marauding beasts are merciful enough to spare your life? It is our position therefore that these marginalization and deprivations must stop forthwith, a siege-situation on the entire south east hatched through a well-planned out, deftly orchestrated, deliberative attempt to totally and completely subjugate a people, the remnants of those killed in a genocidal Yakubu Gowon led war against Igbo people, during the Biafran-Nigeria war of attrition? The Igbos are traders and businessmen who are highly mobile travelling from places to places and they need at least a viable functional airport to aid their trips. Unfortunately, just like the Hausa-Fulani and their Yoruba collaborators figured out that 'starvation is the best instrument of warfare;" this time the latest arsenal in their armoury is their discovery that depriving Ndigbo their only functional airport will suffocate their derive or at least slow it down? One does not need to be an airport expert or air-transportation consultant to understand that what is involved here is a high-stakes games being played by the powers that be in Nigeria against the Igbo nation; having to completely shuttered their one functional airport for one full calendar month? All those concessionaires, taxi-operators as well as other workers and contractors servicing the airport were equally put out of commission for the duration of this one year of asphalt lacing on the tarmac? So economically, socially and politically speaking, the one-year closure of the Akanu Ibiam 'Local' Airport (ENU), in Enugu South East Nigeria is a catastrophic mistake which should not have been allowed by the Igbos or at least loudly protested until something changed? But no, as those Igbo people whose protest should have counted chose to keep quiet, having mortgaged their selfish souls to the devil of petty contracts, crumbs from the masters table with northerners like Theophilus Danjuma making $500 million dollars profit from just one oil-well, which he obtained for free as a gift, from the late midget of Kano, Sani Abacha; and turned around and sold it for $1 billion dollars in one of the quickest deals of all times? Easy and quick money, the bureau du change style of all northern mallams? So like GW hard work is not for them, the messed-up northerners?
Monday, March 29, 2010
ENUGU AIRPORT, THE TALE OF A YEAR-LONG TARMAC OVERLAY PROJECT?
Please say it is not true that the resurfacing of a glorified highway for planes to land and take off, aka tarmac, that is less than 8000 feet long will take one full calendar year to complete? According to authorities, the airport which they closed to air-traffic on February 10, 2010 will remain closed for one year? And you ask yourself, if the contractor cannot timely execute the project or lacks the expertise to handle the project and complete same within a more reasonable time, why was the contract awarded to it? And in the interim what are patrons of the airport excepted to do to get around, except to expose themselves further to the hazards of road-travel in Nigeria; including armed robberies, more fatal head-on collisions on accident-prone, narrow and pot-holes filled roads; which are prevalent in Nigeria, especially the south eastern region? Similar-sized projects the world over sometimes take only 12 hours - from sun-set to sun-rise, to complete; but not in Nigeria? A Lufthansa tarmac in Frankfurt Hahn International Airport Germany was just recently resurfaced overnight, from airport shutdown at midnight to the first flight-in by 5.00am? Manila airport Philippines had one of its runways similarly resurfaced overnight and this is the Philippines? From United States of America to Britain to Mexico to Brazil to even South Africa airport runways have regularly been resurfaced and never took such a length of time, not even when a new airport is being built? Tarmacs have been resurfaced within few hours and in so many cases with a 24 hours turn around; yet Nigeria is taking one full year to do a similar work in a local airport? It is needless to say that the said airport will remain closed, completely shutdown, during this one year asphalt replacement project? It is also instructive to note that this Nigerian airport lands less than ten small bodied air-planes every 24 hours while the Frankfurt Hahn airport mentioned earlier lands more than ten wide bodied and jumbo air-planes every 60 seconds? SO what is so special about the work involved in re-paving an airport runway that will take one year to complete, except corruption and a calculated delay tactic to possibly abandon the project midway, after collecting 90% of the cost of the total work as mobilisation fees, upfront, the Nigerian way? The airport under advisement is located in the Biafra section of Nigeria, in a place called Enugu, the capital of then Biafra and now the unofficial capital of Igboland? It is Akanu Ibiam Local Airport Enugu (ENU)! Still contending with an unfinished war with the Nigeria state, still pending since 1970, the Igbos have been at the receiving end of what the Hausa-Fulani power-hijackers of Nigeria PLC have been dishing out their way since 1970? They are hellbent on starving the Igbo land of any federal presence/infrastructure including a functioning airport, as they have now closed the only viable airport in Igboland which caters to about 90 percent of the regional air-travelers and users alike? Admitted the shooting aspect of the war has since been over but the psychological war against the Igbo still goes on and continues till date in all manners and forms of discrimination, which led to the closing of this airport under the subterfuge that an asphalt layering takes one year to finish? Icheoku disagrees that it takes that long to resurface a tarmac and queries why this particular tarmac would take one year just to resurface, when so many tarmacs world-wide have been completed within few night hours? Icheoku says that the powers that be in Nigeria are once again waging their atrocious war on the psyche of the Igbo people of Nigeria by depriving them the use of their only functional airport, which principally serves their entire region? It is also instructive to note that the South East Igbo region of Nigeria is the only pre-independence region in Nigeria without any International Airport, whereas the north has over federal built six international airports? Now the only local airport servicing the South East region, built in the 60's, is now put out of commission and for one full long year? How these mallams, desert dwellers of the northern Nigeria expect the Igbos to move about, during this airport closure, is beyond any one's imagination; and this is happening in a country that has a national planning department?
Regrettably, the authorities in Nigeria are impervious, dumb, deaf and daft to ameliorating suggestions; so much so that no reasoning makes any sense before them? To them what is right is and should be wrong and what is wrong is right; to them what is logical is illogical and vice versa and so being mindful of this, Icheoku is but trying to have it on record that it was said but not heeded, and not necessarily with the expectation that they will have a change of heart to do good? From the politics of not making the Enugu airport an international airport to now closing it completely for one full year under the guise of resurfacing its tarmac, Icheoku says, the Hausa-Fulani have finally come a full circle in their 'kill them off' approach to anything and everything Igboman. If they get away with this, they will try yet another thing; after-all they said there was no money for a second bridge over the River Niger but have money to drench the same River Niger up to their region, to ensure a water access and solve their problem of being a land-locked territory. If it were the Yorubas or any other activist group in Nigeria that were affected by this year-long closure of their only airport, they will scream full-lungs until there is a reversal; but not the unorganised Igbos? The Igbos are ready to even trek from Enugu to Abuja and up to Sokoto if that is all that it will take to permit them to continue buying and selling their wares; so provided there is a way to drive from Enugu to Abuja, they do not care if their only airport is closed for however long, hence no one cares to tackle the politics of a one year tarmac resurfacing induced closure of the only airport in South East? The implication is that within this one year period, if any Igboman falls sick for example and requires an urgent overseas medical treatment, such a person will probably die before making it through the pot-holes filled, armed robbers infested roads to catch a flight from Lagos or Abuja? If for instance the Ikemba Nnewi and Biafran warlord Chukwuemeka Ojukwu were to have an emergency need to travel to somewhere in Nigeria or overseas immediately, he must then have to drive by road to the nearest airport in another region before catching his out-bound flight? It is not fair, it is penal and does not in anyway support or encourage commerce or economy of the Igbo nation. What a vindictiveness! Icheoku's position is that closing an entire airport just for a a layer of asphalt on its 7879 x 148 feet runway (tarmac) does not make any sense whatsoever? Politically, socially and economically it is not profitable; and should not have been permitted or so tailored by the planners of Nigeria that it hurts everything? Also the Igbo governors and leaders of thought in Igboland should have foreseen its ramifications and so vehemently protested the decision until someone in Abuja changes his heart; but no, they lack convictions of a true Igbo patriot and provided they are accommodated within the corridors of power, that is enough for them? Unlike Oliver Twist, they do not want some more as would positively impact the Igbo nation in general? To them being Igbo means "I Go Before Others", so once their stomach is fed, other Igbo interest can suffer for all that they care? A situation symptomatic of the Igbo people and which is the root-cause of the disorganized society that is the Igbo nation, which is militating against their political re-awakening in Nigeria? Icheoku deplores this lackadaisical attitude as stupidity, cowardice and servitude; and urges that it be discontinued in order to enable the Igbos reclaim their rightful place in Nigeria. An airport tarmac does not take one full year to have its asphalt replaced, as such could be done within a much shorter period and without completely shutting down the airport, especially when there is no immediate functional similar-capacity alternative to assume the air-traffic; therefore the Akanu Ibiam 'Local' Airport in Enugu (ENU) should not have been an exception!