DAILY FLIGHT CONNECTING AKURE AND LAGOS; BEYOND THE RAZZMATAZZ By Ade Adeogun
A few weeks back I invited a few friends to join me at a community event in the hilly but beautiful terrains of my Oba Akoko village.
I’d boasted to these friends that I inherited a private mineral rich rock from my grand parents and that such rocks still abound in communities all over Ondo State.
As excited as my friends were they all turned down my offer of adventure because of the poor state of the roads linking Lagos to my promised Eldorado and fear of insecurity.
Like my fearful friends, i know so many families from Ondo and Ekiti States who cannot bring their over pampered wards home because of absence of air link to Lagos.
I am aware too that in the past only few high net worth individuals who can afford private air charter dared venture to the state to pursue business opportunities. The five hours road trip to Akure from Lagos was a serious disincentive for many except in cases where the risk/reward ratio is unprecedentedly high comparable to the returns from investing in Afghanistan. With the elimination of the risk, the state is now open to serious investors and tourist, especially domestic ones like my friends.
As a businessman I see opportunities beyond the ease of travel. I know that increased air traffic would generate new jobs both through direct employment by the airline and indirectly through ancillary services. For instance, discerning Akure based entrepreneurs can now invest in car hire business to take care of passengers who do not have cars to use whilst visiting the state. A decent eatery within the vicinity of the Airport to take care of passengers while they wait is also a possibility.
Similarly, occupancy rates in hotels in Akure will increase as more people visit the state. The money spent by such visitors will go a long way to reflate the economy of the state and keep market women buoyant even in the dry periods between one pay day and the other.
With the commencement of Air Peace’ six weekly flights to Akure today, a new vista of opportunities has been opened to our dear State. I wish to therefore commend the government of Arakunrin Akeredolu for this vision to kill several birds with one stone. I hope that Our dear Government will follow this success with a diligent pursuit of the MOU with NDDC to connect Ondo to Lagos as well as the proposal to create an IT hub in Akure.