By Nkechi Ikenwoke and Chike Enechukwu
A GOOD number of ndi Anambra have expressed their happiness over the Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport project which was test-run on Friday amid cheers and jubilation.
Member representing Aguata Federal Constituency, Chukwuma Umeoji has applauded Governor Willie Obiano for being a visionary leader in the mould of the late Michael Okpara, describing him as a visionary leader and idea bearer who has written his name in the sands of time.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the first and second flights landed successfully and safely at the airport, Umeoji said that Anambra was indeed blessed to have Governor Willie Obiano, who have defiled every odd to prove his mettle and boldly engrave his name in history.
“What the governor has done will forever be remarkable in the annals of our history. He has opened another phase in our journey as people and State. The International Passenger and Cargo Airport will provide us an opportunity to develop the state. It is indeed a new dawn for every onye Anambra at home and in the Diaspora. We are only urging the flying public and the business community to take advantage of this wonderful facility to break new grounds and realise their business and leisure interests in Anambra State. The Anambra International Airport is a huge achievement for us all”.
The lawmaker noted that the great project will trigger rapid industrial and economic development in Anambra.
Igwe Benneth Emeka, Okebo of Umuleri described the project as an excellent job, professional in building, the longest runway in Nigeria after Lagos, including the tarmacs and control tower.
He further said that looking at his face, he felt overwhelmed even though when it was earlier brought to his notice before the constructions began, he saw it as an achievable project, adding that he knew the governor keeps his promises once made.
“Today is very historic in my life and life of the community of Umuleri. There has never been a thing of joy like this before for over 24 years ago. But today, we have an airport. I knew very well that it is going to be a reality. The job is very wonderful. My expectations for ndi Anambra is that as soon as the airport is commissioned and every other works is done, aircrafts will begin to land here bringing goods, generating revenue for ndi Anambra and job opportunity for the community and Anambra at large.
Fellow, Nigerian Society of Engineer and Commissioner for Works, Anambra State, Marcel Ifejiofor said he was elated about the event and for a job well done.
According to him, “we started this a year and three months ago and I am happy we have achieved it today. His Excellency, the governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano has created a community which is the airport where we will have social and economic benefits. Airport goes with a lot of things like schools, banks, employment opportunity, artisan and many other things. I am happy. We can now be counted among the states in the world that has an international airport”.
Engr. Ifejiofor also stated that Anambra State has a governor that fulfils his promises and urged them to support him as a good leader that loves his people even as they reciprocate by being peaceful.
Chairman, Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council and the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, said Anambra made another historic mark by taking another bold step toward a launch of the state and country into higher economic spheres.
Igwe Achebe described the airport project as one of the remarkable things that had happened to ndi Anambra, assuring the state government of their royal blessings and support.
Other traditional rulers said that the airport was a dream come true, placing it as one of the best in the Africa continent.
They expressed joy over the success of the airport project, hinting that ndi Anambra could now start making use of the airport.
Also, the SSA to Governor on Finance and Budget office, Chinedu Nzeribe said he saw the importance of the project when it was brought to his table
“It is built in less than 15 months. Historically in Nigeria, electoral officers used their second tenure to make wealth but this particular governor used his second tenure to make our state better. We are grateful and rejoicing”.
The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Anambra State Chapter, Venerable Joseph Nweke said, “more than 20 years, Oba Airport was not delivered. Later, Governor Obiano said there would be a Cargo Airport in Anambra State. And within 15 months, he delivered the airport here in Umueri. So today is a great day. We are rejoicing with our brother, Governor Willie Obiano for this singular show of solidarity to Ndi Anambra. We have come to witness the first ever airplane to land in this international airport here in Umueri, Okebo in Omambara region.
Looking at the economic benefit of the airport, an APGA governorship aspirant in the forthcoming Governorship election in Anambra State, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo said that even a farmer of vegetables, pawpaw, orange, etc can sale his products anywhere in the world with his attached name and address, adding that the opportunity is unlimited.
“I feel like dancing. You know when you come here, the excitement that you will have, you will know that Governor Obiano is a bold governor. Look at the open sky, very beautiful. He is lifting us up to all sorts of progress. There is nothing better anybody has done for Anambra State than this. This is where the world will meet us and where we will from meet the world. The next government will have an internet cover over Anambra State. So, we are over excited”.
According to Obinna Okechukwu, who spoke from Nnewi, there will never be anything that will shut up the governor’s critics than this airport dream fulfillment which his predecessors could not achieve starting from first Anambra State administration, which mapped the project at Oba, later relocated to Umueri where the airport project was “midwifed” with a bouncing result.
He said that Obiano made impossibility of security possible in Anambra State today out of 36 states of the federation, which attracted investors and ensured prompt payment of workers’ salaries and taking care of erosion problems in the 100 Foot Road at Nnewi which submerged routes and destroyed link access to all the markets in Nnewi, among others.
The NASPA Chairman said that the state’s notable and illustrious sons and daughters could today, enjoy air flight journeys they travel miles to book and board planes at Umueri Airport, the latest and most applauded result Obiano has given for the next APGA elected governor come Nov.6, 2021, to carry on.