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Keyamo’s Mission: Navigating Nigeria’s Complex Aviation Challenges

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Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo is currently faced with a diverse range of challenges in the aviation industry.

These challenges encompass a mix of prepared and unprepared issues, spanning local, continental, and intercontinental concerns, some of which are desirable while others are undesirable.

While these challenges might seem appealing at first glance, a closer examination reveals a complex mixture of toxic, acetic, salty, plain, and sweet elements. The saying, “the taste of the pudding is in the eating,” highlights the need to experience and understand these issues.

Mr. Keyamo has started exploring the various aviation agencies and gaining insights from the grapevine. 

He is discovering the ingredients and condiments used in preparing these issues, which many before him have experienced and, in some cases, ignored the consequences.

The state of Nigeria’s airports is also a matter of concern. Safety, comfort, and security are in short supply, and passengers often feel uncertain about their travel experiences, including fears of being swindled, losing valuables, and facing unsolicited demands for money.

Airspace safety was discussed at the stakeholders’ meetings, with some teething problems noted but an overall sense of safety.

Managing Director, NAMA, Engr. Tayib Odunowo said, “We have started to build capacity, we never had one, NAMA has been building capacity, I mean, we have pilots, engineers in training”. 

One might wonder if Nigeria lacks qualified professionals to manage these agencies and effect positive changes. The answer is likely no, but there may be political interference and limitations imposed by the Ministry and the Minister, which hinder progress.

Senator Buhari Abdulfatai offers advice to the Minister, emphasizing the rough road ahead but the importance of safely landing the industry.

“Don’t get tired, the road is rough, just like the aircraft, it will be bumpy, it will be smooth, the most important thing is to land the aircraft safely”.

The stakeholders’ meeting held in Lagos on November 4, 2023, highlighted the extensive challenges Mr. Keyamo faces. These include procurement issues, illegal charges, role duplication, government officials’ misconduct, inadequate resources, infrastructure decay, collaboration issues, catering problems, cargo, domestic airline complaints, Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs), and aeropolitics.

Mr. Keyamo seems committed to making a difference in his role and seeks stakeholders’ support to succeed. 

He emphasizes the need for cooperation and warns of potential consequences for those who hinder progress.

In his words at the meeting I quote, “We had a three day retreat with Mr. President all the ministers and at the end of the day we signed a performance bond, I also signed my performance bond so, if you don’t want to get sacked in the next few months tou need to support me on this side and on this side, it is either I get sacked or you get sacked so, it is a race of who will survive that is what I told all my CEO’s. Somebody must die first but before I die, I will take you down, it is as simple as that”.

In summary, Mr. Keyamo faces a complex array of challenges in the aviation industry, and his success hinges on his ability to navigate and address these issues with the support of stakeholders.

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