Yoruba group urges South West states to establish O’odua airlines

A group, the Alliance for Yoruba Democratic Movements (AYDM), on Tuesday urged the six South-West states to establish O’odua Airlines dedicated to local and international routes, saying that the initiative had a very high prospect of viability.

The group made the call in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Mr Popoola Ajayi, saying that the O’odua Airline if established, would complement existing private initiatives and ultimately lead to a cut in air travel costs, create jobs, and bring about improvements in tourism and agriculture not only in the region but in Nigeria as a whole.

The group said, to this end, it had already sent letters to the affected state governors, urging them to embark on the initiative, which it described as “utmost priority” as it noted that millions of Yoruba lived outside the country and “use foreign airlines because there are no alternatives.”

This was just as AYDM noted that the Oodua airline would equally boost the transportation of agro-products in Nigeria if embarked upon.

It, therefore, urged the governors to set up a technical committee to look into the matter and work out the modalities without delay, assuring that many aviation companies across the world would be anxious to partner with the South West states on the project.

“We call on the governors of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, and Ondo to begin the process of creating O’odua Airlines. This is of utmost priority.

“There are some 10 million Nigerians living in West Africa, among whom over three million Yoruba people are residents in Ivory Coast alone. In Europe and America, the Yoruba and Nigerians have the largest population of black people.

“In the UK alone, there are no fewer than one million Nigerians, while in the United States, the figure is even higher. These people use foreign airlines because there are no alternatives,” the AYDM said.

The group, however, commended the efforts of Air Peace owner, Mr. Allen Onyema, but quickly noted that his contribution was not enough, saying that there were many gaps yet to be filled in the aviation industry.

“Air Peace has made a remarkable move, which is commendable, but this is not enough. Other stakeholders should invest in the aviation industry. The South-West States should team up to establish a regional airline. This will remain a milestone and a significant contribution to solving unemployment and improving tourism in Nigeria and in the South-West,” the group said.

Speaking further, AYDM observed that since the establishment of Ibom Airlines, the project has continued to thrive, pointing out that the initiative of the Akwa Ibom State government was a challenge to other state governments in the country.

“There can be no better time to establish the O’odua Airline. We suggest that Ibadan be the commercial hub of the O’odua Airline. Five of the South West States—Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, and Ogun—have airports. With O’odua Airline, the airports will become even more active,” the group said.



Tribune Online