Asaba Vs Anambra Airport: A Case Of Business Politics

 
 
 
 
It was in the late seventies that the concept of an airport in the vicinity of Onitsha was first conceived. Feasibility studies were undertaken, and which had the suburban town of Oba carefully chosen for the project. The late Commodore Emeka Omerua, it would be recalled, was the governor at the time.. Work actually began in earnest, but due to the unstable nature of military administrations, the project lost its momentum and consequently was put on hold.
 
Thirty years along the line, nothing but occasional rhetoric became the hallmark of the project. Hence, an airport that was billed to serve the needs of the commercial and  industrial centers of  Onitsha and Nnewi gradually became a forlorn of all hope. Vested interests: rumours were then rife that the "luxury bus" owners union of Nnewi and Onitsha  were not  keen on seeing an airport in their vicinity as such would put them out of business.
 
While the rumour lingered, the then federal military government of Gen. Babangida announced the creation of Delta state in 1991 with the capital at Asaba. Incidentally, Asaba  shares a 1.4 kilometer bridge border with Onitsha. On the other hand, a new Anambra state was as well created with the capital at Awka. Thus, with the new status of Asaba, It was only natural that she would aspire to have her own airport. So, Delta state indigenes and the Asaba community in particular took the lead in pressing their government for an airport.
 
Back in Anambra, on assuming duty, the erstwhile governor, Chief Andy Uba,  again, revamped the hope for the state's airport. He quickly re-awarded the contract, but In the process, the nation's supreme court annuled his tenure. While Peter Obi the present governor has not been non-challant about the project, his latest stand on the Environmental Impact Assessment report of Oba, which he disclosed was not favorable for an airport, further exacerbated the frustrations that has already trailed the project.
 
Though the governor hinted that the communities of Ogbaru and Aguleri were being considered for the project, but the news did not go down well with the people of Oba, who felt that the governor deliberately used the E.I.A report to deny them a privilege that was long granted to them. While stating that a significant infrastructure has been completed at the Oba site, the Oba community vowed to resist the relocation of the project. It would be recalled that the late Pope John Paul landed at the very airport site on two of his visits to Anambra state.
 
While the airport controversy heated up Anambra state, the Delta state government on the western bank of the river released the sum of 1.6 Billion Naira out of the 6.5 billion cost of the project, for the immediate take-off of the Asaba airport project. Sited about 5 kilometers to Onitsha, Prof. Amos Utuama, the state's deputy governor disclosed that the Asaba airport, a C-category for that matter,  would be ready in 2010. And that work had already commenced.
 
 So the question is, where does all these leave their neighbor Anambra state? Yes, no one of the states can can stop the other from pursuing an airport dream. But It must be borne in mind  that building an airport is not the same as building a bus station. It is a huge investment.
 
The proximity, in my view, is the only worrisome factor, and which cannot be said of the Enugu and the Owerri airports which are at a reasonable distance from the other. If Anambra goes on to pursue the project by siting it in Oba, Ogbaru or Aguleri as mentioned, these towns are not far from Asaba. 
 
From Asaba to Oba is less than 12 kilometers, to Ogbaru, not more than 8 kilometers, and to Aguleri not more than 18 kilometers. Of course,  It is hoped that such a project would bring returns on the investment. But I don't know how this would happen with the possibility of two competing local airports at such proximity. It is also noteworthy to take cognizance of the air safety implications of these projects.
 
The geographical location of Asaba in this context, implies that 80 percent of the passengers arriving at such an airport would be South East bound. That said, it is now obvious that Delta state is competitively poised to take the long neglected advantage of the commercial and industrial cities of Onitsha and Nnewi, as business men would be able to travel, handle multi business matters real-time.  
 
Yes, there is no doubt that this situation has ignited a psycho-entrepreneurial warfare between the two states. Anambra state may likely not back off from the project no matter the proximity factor. It would be too hard for her to swallow a fact that would see her not benefit from her endowed business environment. Another important project is the Orient Petroleum Refinery situated on the banks of Anambra river. It is yet to be completed, and when that does happen, it is expected to buoy the customer traffic of a future Anambra airport.
 
From all indications, It appears the Asaba complex would be big and multi-tasked. So for Anambra to compete favorably, she has to do the same or even surpass what will be of Asaba airport. In the alternative, another site other than the ones mentioned can be considered, say in the Northern most stretch of the state. Which would put the location of their future airport at say 40 kilometer distance from Asaba. I don't know...., but I think this may help to justify Anambra in view of what is currently taking place in Asaba, investing in an airport project.



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Re: Asaba Vs Anambra Airport: A Case Of Business Politics
Denker posted on 02-24-2008, 10:51:15 AM
...i see no need for airport in anambra, what igbo-states need most are well coordinated functional and diversified road-networks...we have airport in PH, Enugu, Owerri and eventually we are getting one in Asaba...i do not think is wise constructing another one in Anambra..dat's investment suicide(erroneous investment). lets consolidate the available airports and move fast developing modern road-networks...
Re: Asaba Vs Anambra Airport: A Case Of Business Politics
NWANZA posted on 02-24-2008, 12:45:27 PM
QUOTE:
...i see no need for airport in anambra, what igbo-states need most are well coordinated functional and diversified road-networks...we have airport in PH, Enugu, Owerri and eventually we are getting one in Asaba...i do not think is wise constructing another one in Anambra..dat's investment suicide(erroneous investment). lets consolidate the available airports and move fast developing modern road-networks...


Like the president said already in the statement above, there is no need to construct one in Onitsha. Anambra state will benefit from the one across the river niger, and concentrate on a logistic agreement or a second bridge acoss the river.

QUOTE:
Yes, there is no doubt that this situation has ignited a psycho-entrepreneurial warfare between the two states. Anambra state may likely not back off from the project no matter the proximity factor. It would be too hard for her to swallow a fact that would see her not benefit from her endowed business environment. Another important project is the Orient Petroleum Refinery situated on the banks of Anambra river. It is yet to be completed, and when that does happen, it is expected to buoy the customer traffic of a future Anambra airport.


This is an old way of thinking, and location should not be an issue as neighbors do not fight each other. Neighboring states should be looking into areas of shared interest and consolidation of resources. All neighboring states should be doing some of this to eliminate various them-verse-us scenarios.

QUOTE:
From all indications, It appears the Asaba complex would be big and multi-tasked. So for Anambra to compete favorably, she has to do the same or even surpass what will be of Asaba airport. In the alternative, another site other than the ones mentioned can be considered, say in the Northern most stretch of the state. Which would put the location of their future airport at say 40 kilometer distance from Asaba. I don't know...., but I think this may help to justify Anambra in view of what is currently taking place in Asaba, investing in an airport project.


The question is who has the capital to execute and finish on schedule, Anambra state should welcome this development. Governor Peter Obi has to look into the plan, and see if that will be able to accommodate the needs of the investment climate in Onitsha. We can invest together to expand the plan.
Re: Asaba Vs Anambra Airport: A Case Of Business Politics
ALORAINIDDEVIL posted on 02-24-2008, 16:17:15 PM
Anambra should forget their plans of building an airport since Delta State Government has started building one in Asaba. They should just forget it and build their roads...
Re: Asaba Vs Anambra Airport: A Case Of Business Politics
Bode_Boluz posted on 02-24-2008, 16:42:22 PM
It is important to build for the right reasons. When the idea for building a structure is flawed from the start, the end product will suffer from that error in judgment on the part of the builders and architects.

This seems to be the classic case all over the developing world.

The Nigerian experiences though are amazingly comical in their reasons for building.

All I can say is it does not matter if one or ten airports or air fields are built. They can only be a good thing.

1. They improve fast access to domestic and international transit routes.

2. If managed correctly, they improve the local environment.

3. If properly managed, they attract and maintain a Highly skilled workforce that can work virtually anywhere in the world. Highly Skilled Technical jobs in Aviation are among the highest engineering disciplines in the world.

4. They attract important business services and community resources.

5. They are a hub for the support, hosting and maintenance of elite security and highly trained emergency services personnel and their equipment.

6. Their perimeters are used to house and host important technical communication infrastructure that covers a host of services from telecomms to TV.

7. Above all it gets people with the right resources and inclination to VISIT that area that has the airport/airfield. The Movers and shakers world wide will always choose to fly.

There are a host of other reasons but these are all I can think of now.

Anyone else got any more???
Re: Asaba Vs Anambra Airport: A Case Of Business Politics
Akunne posted on 02-24-2008, 17:41:08 PM
Thanks Ossie,

I will ignore the Andy Uba part of your contribution and go on to the important issue raised. From my perspective, it is not an accident that Delta State is building its airport close to Onitsha. It is sound economic reasoning and whether Anambra State hastily builds one or doesn't, the airport in Asaba will still be the first choice of residents of the largest city in the state. The political boundary that separates the two states is just that - both states are so economically interwoven that it won't make sense at this time for Anambra State to seek an airport of its own when there are other areas of need in the state. Delta has more revenue accruing to it for Anambra to challenge. I only wish that the wisemen and women involved in the airport will also persuade their Warri brothers to focus on Onitsha and Nnewi businessmen as patrons for the seaport as well. It is only 45 minutes away. But, that is another matter.
Nearer home, Governor Obi has made it clear that the Anambra of the future will be a service-oriented state, catering to the needs of states in the old Eastern and Mid-Western regions. I see medical colleges, computer and engineering as well as management training institutes, in addition to the Stock Exchange, Main Markets and allied manufacturing serving the needs of these areas. That is where Anambra can easily post a competitive advantage.
As for Oba, and sentiments aside, my reservation is informed not only by the environmental challenge, there is also the fact that it sits smack in the middle of a very rapidly growing megapolis. Anambra is fast becoming one single city, anchored on Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka. An airport in its belly is an invitation to danger. The site is excellent for anything from a 5-star hotel, with conferencing facilities to a university, or business school.
Finally, whenever revenue from oil refining in Aguleri permits, an airport may be considered for the state. Right now, is not the time. Thank you again for raising the issue. It shows that we are not all asleep after all.
Re: Asaba Vs Anambra Airport: A Case Of Business Politics
Chinonso posted on 01-27-2009, 07:23:30 AM
Mr. why not delta perish the idea of building an airport since Anambra has initiated the construction of the International Cargo airport in umuleri. Since nothing much is happening in Asaba, the Delta airport does not have targets from its people rather its looking at Onitsha and Nnewi which is in Anambra as its targets. Since Anambra airport is cargo it will make no economic sense for an Anambrans to use asaba airport. rather they will prefer an airport which is an International cargo airport which is in Anambra.
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