It is exactly seventeen years that the former national carrier, the Nigeria Airways was controversially liquidated by the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
It will be recalled how the defunct national airline used to be the pride of not only Nigeria but that of Africa as it flew the flag of the country around the world.
The impressive performance of the defunct national carrier, unfortunately, did not last as pockets of challenges, which started confronting the national carrier, gradually continued to weigh it down until its final demise in 2004.
The Obasanjo government had liquidated Nigeria Airways on the excuse that it was highly indebted and corruption ridden, a position many Nigerians had punctured on the ground that the airline still had the potential to bounce back then. Well, the rest is history now.
Seventeen years after its demise, the four governments including the sitting government of President Muhammadu Buhari have failed to provide a replacement for the defunct national carrier.
Each of the four governments had made attempts at different periods to float another national carrier but failed woefully despite the huge public funds sunk into the project.
The manner the various governments have gone and still going about floating the new national carrier which has become like a rocket science or something impossible has however turned the entire country to a laughing stock before even the other African countries and other parts of the world.
The questions on the lips of other African countries include; why is has become so difficult for Nigeria to float another national carrier for its citizens despite all the structures God has bestowed on the country with its strategic position.
This and many other questions cropped up at the recent 29TH MRO Africa & 8th African Aviation Training Conference & Exhibition held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where key players wandered why Nigeria with all its potential has failed to meet the yearnings of its citizens in this area.
Like many stakeholders from the African continent who attended the MRO conference, the former Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Girma Wake, attributed why it has become a mirage for the various government officials to break this jinx to a dangerous trend of incoming governments to embrace the policy of continuity.
According to the stakeholders, it has become a norm for a new government in Nigeria to jettison the projects embarked upon by a previous government no matter how good they may be.
To many other African countries like Ethiopia, South Africa and even Ghana, what keeps them ongoing is the principle of continuity and patriotism for the purpose of national interest which has made it almost impossible for an incoming government official to discard a national policy in existence.
For Girma Wake:”If Nigeria cannot have a national carrier, no other African country can have it. Nigeria has all what it takes, it has the market, it has the finance, it has the best base and the population to have the best national carrier in the continent. If Nigeria has the financial discipline, patriotism and national interest, Nigeria has all what it takes to bring another national carrier back.”
Obviously, many African countries who are looking up to Nigeria are presently changing the high expectations they have for the largest black African country because of issues of such bad policies.
The ongoing front and back policies of government officials on national issues has been a source of worries not only to Nigerians but other countries who do not even have half of the wherewithals Nigeria can boast of.
Nigeria has the structures, the strategic position, the population, the finance, the brains and other requirements needed to have the best national carrier on the continent.
The questions on the lips of many African countries include: what spirit is driving Nigeria and why simple things like floating a national carrier is becoming almost too impossible when other countries like Uganda and Ghana have since achieved a similar goal.