Transition: Buhari Takes Delivery Of Alleged Hired Plane To Start –off Nigeria Air,  Not Going  To Be A Rosy  Start- Shettima Warns

By Lateef Adegbite

While Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state, and the incoming Nigerian President, appears to be intense  under pressure to query Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, over the failed  new naira redesign project,  Hadi irika, minister of Aviation and Space, at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, had hurriedly  taken delivery  of the first Nigeria Air, aircraft  at a brief ceremony  at  the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport , Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on Friday, May 26, 2023.

Tinubu: President-elect

The outgoing Nigerian President was said to  have given the minister the nod to take delivery of the Nigeria Air, plane, to show  that the project was conceived and executed  by the Administration instead of giving the credit to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed  Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos and the President- elect on the platform of the ruling All Progresive Congrss, APC, who was said to have been given the Lagos-Ibadan Express Way to Commission on June 30, 2023 since it could  not be Commissioned by the Administartion due to the delay of  work by the Contractors.

The outgoing  minister  who had repeatedly said that  30 aircrafts  are expected to form  the fleet  of the new national carrier   in the next five years, had said  that  it  will commence,  what industry stakeholders had described  as’’ abracadabra  operation’’  when  the second aircraft  arrives the country  but failed to  give the exact date for the arrival of damp leased plane  to the country.

He said had that ‘’an application has been made to the Civil Aviation Authority, CAA, for a grant of an Air Transport License for Nigeria Air Limited to operate scheduled and Non-scheduled passenger and cargo  services within the airports across the country’’.

The Katsina state born Politician, had reported that the new national carrier would be ‘’private -sector driven with the Nigerian government holding only a 5% stake in the project and the   private investors would hold the remaining 95% shares.

 He may have alluded to the fact that the Ethiopian Airline which would take over control and management of the Nigeria Air will hold 49% state on the new national carrier that will take over the 81 routes of the defunct Nigerian Airways that covers local, regional and international routes. This may have informed why the outgoing minster of Aviation and Space had said that ‘’the airline would be sustained’’.

 Given that  the Ethiopian airline, which is the preferred bidder of the Nigerian Air, are really  out for business is evident going by the statement by   Lemma Gudeta, the airline Chief Financial Officer, CFO, who has  that ‘’it is targeting  an investment  base of about $1 billion  for the Nigeria Air’’.

Given the track record of the Ethiopian airline,  Gedeta, the CFO, was said to have assured Nigerians that the airline Authorities will replicate what it has done in Ethiopia inNigeria : efficiency in service delivery’’  when the Nigeria Air Commences operation.

Many believe that there was no basis for the outgoing President Buhari to be in a hurry to see that the Nigeria Air commence operations on May 29, 2023, since it could not meet the March deadline until all the necessary  technical structures are put in place.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Sirika, the outgoing minister, who could not hide his feelings   about the coming of the Nigerian Air and the arrival of the one plane, out of three expected from the Ethiopian Airline had said that, ‘’it has been a very long, tedious, daunting and difficult path ‘’, to scale through hurdle as the Local airline operators were said to have done everything within their powers through the Court process to sabotage the project has gulped overN7.45 billion, over the last three years.   

     In spite of   the celebrations in political circles that the assumption of office on May 29, 2023,of the former governor of Lagos state as  the President of the  Federal Republic of Nigeria that things would get better,  Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno state and the Vice President-elect, has warned  that’’ it is not going  to be a rosy start’’.

Shettima: Vice President -Elect, Not Going To Be Rosy

Shettima , the Vice  President-elect  may have come to the conclusion that it is not going to be a rosy start for the Administration because of  the  oil subsidy removal programme of the Katsina state born Nigerian President    which is expected to be implemented by the incoming Administration at the end of June, 2023. Hear him: it has become an albatross around our necks.

The former Borno state governor who could not hide his feelings further stated that ‘’the multiple exchange rates system that had been  implemented by the outgoing Buhari’s Administration  over the last eight years which was a drain on the national economy has created a ‘’dual economic system’’, that may take time to solve..

He has made it clear to those cares to listen that  ‘’there are certain decisions  that the new Administration  will take, which may sound harsh initially  but on the long run , Nigerians would come ‘’to appreciate it  and to celebrate with the new government.

  Shettima, has made clear that ‘’the incoming Administration   does not have the luxury of time as the challenges facing the nation are humogous’. He had said that ‘’Nigerians are all united by a common heritage of poverty, destitution and insecurity’’, noting that ‘’this is time to coalesce into a single Force’’ to solve the problems.

Although, the robust  contributions of the  likes of Olabode George , a retired Air Commodore and Chieftain of the Opposition People Democratic Party, PDP, for the development of the country in this trying times may  be missing as he may  likely  relocate to the  neighbouring west African country of Ghana, as  Tinubu assumes office but  Senator Adeyemi Smart,  has called on the incoming Nigerian President ‘’to question Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and those involved  in the naira redesign project’’, that has become a failure.

  The Kogoi state born Politician  may have alluded to the outgoing Nigerian President who had said that he authorized the CBN,’’ to redesign the new naira notes in order to have firm control over the money in circulation.

The outgoing President had justified the designing of the new naira Notes by stating that in 2015,  during his first term in office  the currency in circulation nationwide   was only 1.4 trillion  but rose to N3.23 trillion in October, 2022.  He noted  that ‘’ only N500 billion  was within the banking system  while N2.7  trillion remained  permanently outside  the system,  which was distorting  the country’s Financial system and efficient management of inflation’’.

  Notwithstanding the reasons given for the redesigning of the new naira Notes by former President Buhari, Senator Adeyemi was said to have asked Tinubu the President-elect,, to invite Emefiele, and others involved in the naira redesign project ‘’to come and explain what happened and what   was the reason  behind the redesigning  of the N200, N500 and N1000, Notes that has become a failed project.

He averred that ‘’anarchy was setting in during the shortage of the redesigned naira Notes in different parts of the country as people do not have access to their money’’.  He  may have seen  the naira redesign project as a fraud   as the CBN, Governor  could not fulfil his promise that  in two weeks of the introduction of the new Notes   at that time , there  would be  enough new naira redesign Notes  that would  be  in circulation. He noted that since after the Supreme Court Judgment, uptil now, on the usage of the old Notes till the end of December, 2023, ‘’the so-called redesigned naira Notes are off circulation’’.

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