The construction of the MKO Abiola International Airport in Ido-Osun, Osun State, will turn around the state’s economic prospect and industrial base, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Bashiru Ajibola, has said.
According to Ajibola, the concessionaire of the project, which is under construction, is All Works of Life (AWOL) International Limited,
He said it is part of the interventions of Rauf Aregbesola-led administration enclosed in the Blue Book that focuses on the six integral action plans.
Ajibola said the blue book has served as a compass in guiding the seven-year-old administration to address challenges related to banishing hunger, unemployment and poverty from the state.
Ajibola said the 3.5 kilometre airport runway has attained 85 per cent completion with other support facilities that would create a good ambience for aircraft maintenance services and hangar.
He said facilities under construction at the proposed airport could only be compared to those in Johannesburg, in South Africa, and Ethiopia.
The airport, Ajibola said, will be unique because of its ability to handle haulage and cargo shipment.
On the economic implication of the project, he said: “five -10 percent of the N69billion earmarked will find its way into the economy of the state through direct engagement of skilled and unskilled workers by the concessionaire.
“It will galvanise our local economy, not to forget the fact that the access road to the international airport will be a dual carriageway, thereby improving the road infrastructure, which will be a value booster for property and structures in the axis.
“Over time, the offices of statistics and economic planning have been engaged in monitoring the direct and indirect benefits of all our interventions with special cognisance to a reduction in unemployment ratio and attendant economic effect. The reports computed have always been positive and encouraging.”
According toAjibola, besides the construction of an international airport in the state, the administration has embarked on other infrastructure intervention by facilitating the movement of indigenes through rail.
He said the government has spent N3.5 billion to re- construct the runway of the abandoned aerodrome used for airlifting military personnel during the Second World War.
The governor, he said, has adopted creative ingenuity in the financing of the airport project by opting for the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model by engaging a concessionaire.
The concessionaire, Ajibola said, is carrying out the project in collaboration with the Turkish Government.
He said:”This is the reason the governor adopted a creative financing model to demonstrate his ingenuity in assisting Osun people. This explains why the BOT model was adopted by engaging AWOL. This is done in collaboration with the Turkish Government, wherein 85 per cent of the N69 billion will be sourced from them.”
Ajibola said the whole idea was to cement the export and import partnership development and trade arrangement for technological and expertise contribution of the Turkish Government to Africa using the State of Osun as a standard template for its materialisation.
“The basic essentials of the airport, which are the runway, control tower, terminal building, aviation equipment, regulatory interphase with the Federal Government will be perfected such that a Boeing 747 will taxi from the MKO Abiola International Airport in eight months time,”he said.
– The Nation