The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has berated President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika and South-East politicians for “deceiving the people of the region by going ahead to commission the Akanu Ibiam International Airport whose renovation works have not even reached a significant proportion or percentage.”
The organisation also dismissed as “sycophantic rhetoric the praises heaped on President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration by some political nitwits of South-East extraction over the commissioning which is a ruse to deceive the gullible people to believe that the central government is up and doing with delivering the needed infrastructure that will enable economic growth to take place.”
The group added that “assuming without conceding that the renovation of the only international airport serving Nigeria’s most travelled population is a good thing, why do we have to praise the President as if he personally bankrolled the project,” adding: “The services and projects delivered by political office holders are done from the resources of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
In a statement issued in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA wondered why “it took the same government less than two months to renovate the Abuja International Airport, build a brand new road to Kaduna airport and renovated Kaduna airport to take flights coming to land in Abuja, but the Akanu Ibiam International Airport was shut for over a year, and almost all of the strategic components to enhance safety and standardised services at the airport are yet to be installed, and yet Nigerians of Igbo extraction are made to venerate the President as if the South East of Nigeria is not part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The organisation went on: “We are disappointed that the airport was shut down for over a year for renovation, and was supposed to have been completed back in April, but the Federal Government failed to keep to its words and even when the re-opening was deferred, it has still emerged that the strategic components that should make the airport standard are yet to be installed, but yet over 60 million South Easterners were deceived into believing that the government at the centre has completed the renovation for which a paltry N10 billion was approved, whereas the National Assembly said the same government has spent N60 billion to renovate the fence of the University of Maiduguri in Borno, North East of Nigeria.
“The idea that elected politicians of South-East extraction are falling on themselves in their sycophantic gambit to outperform one another towards pleasing the ‘powerful’ President Muhammadu Buhari over the yet-to-be-completed renovation works at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu shows that there is a deep deficit of leadership in the South East, and should be a pointer for the people who will vote in subsequent elections to look beyond the momentary bribes of bags of salt, rice and wrappers to search for leaders who have strong will and greater people-friendly character to be elected.”