Update On The Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu

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The author, Charles Ogbu

Last Friday, the 13th of September, 2019, the contract for the re-designing and renovation of the Airport runway was awarded to P.W construction company after Julius Berger backed out, citing inability to meet up with the December deadline as its official reason.

P.W agreed to deliver within the December deadline with a promise to start immediately working day and night.

On fears as to whether they will deliver quality work, the Aviation ministry, P.W Construction and FAAN agreed to allow a select team of Southeast Engineers, Commissioners of works from each Igbo state and representatives from the Clergy and Ohaneze Ndigbo to monitor every stage of the work from beginning to the end.

An independent Consultant will also be hired. All of these are to ensure that the shoddy job done the last time in the runway doesn’t repeat itself. If they renege on any of these, I will keep you guys informed.

Please, I carry God beg you, don’t ask me whether the December deadline for completion of the work is realistic because quite frankly, I don’t know.

I have absolutely no power to make anything happen. My role in all of this is strictly and solely to update you guys.

Earlier…

At the last meeting of the Southeast Governors Forum which I attended as part of a four-man delegation of another Igbo forum working on the Airport, our Governors and Ohanaeze Ndigbo categorically made it clear to the Aviation minister, Hadi Sirika that they would prefer Julius Berger for obvious reasons. He agreed.

But the thing is, everyone at the meeting knew the minister has always wanted the job to be done by no other company but P.W, a company his brother has a large stake in. So it was always two options:

  • Insist on Julius Berger against the minister’s preferred company and have the job delayed till next year
  • Give in to the minister’s body language choice and have the job proceed.

They had the ball here. We were negotiating from a position of weakness seeing as the airport is in the Exclusive List. So it was clear we would never have all our demands met.

Be that as it may, if they agree to all the monitoring agreements reached at the meeting, the chances of a shoddy job will be significantly reduced unless our own people working in the monitoring team decide to compromise on standard

Truth be told, that airport has never been an international airport in the real sense of the word. All those who worked there before did a horrible job, deliberately.

At the end of the meeting with the minister in Enugu, the Southeast Governors Forum inaugurated a committee made up of Works commissioners from each state of the Southeast who will work with representatives from Ohaneze Ndigbo, the clergy and other Experts in the field to monitor and work with the Aviation ministry, FAAN and other relevant agencies all through the stages of the runway reconstruction until it is completed.

I just reported what I witnessed.

The monitoring team has people like Engineer Chris Okoye, Archbishop Chris Edeh of Enugu Methodist church and other private people whose names I can’t readily remember now.

I guess the governors couldn’t resist having eyes and ears in the monitoring team.

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