Recently, the Nigeria’s ninth National Assembly named the chairmen that will manage the affairs of the several committees directly or indirectly linked to the various government agencies.
The leaderships of the committees with other members of the committees are expected to carry out their oversight functions on the various agencies and parastatals and other government interests vis a vis how they run the activities therein and report back to the general assembly.
The appointments into the various committees which did not exempt the country’s aviation sector, led to the appointment of Senator Dino Melaye as the Chairman of Senate Committee on Aviation while the House of Representatives appointed Honourable Nnolim Nnaji as the chairman, House Committee on Aviation.
In other words, the two lawmakers are to use their leadership qualities to work with their members to formulate and ensure implementation of friendly policies that will move and improve the lot of the aviation sector in the next four years.
Aviation sector apart from being the link through where movements of humans and cargoes to other parts of the world are made possible seamlessly also falls amongst the most revenue generating sectors to the country’s economy.
Without doubt, and due to the information so far gathered, Senator Melaye based on his resilience is more than equal to the task ahead while for Honourable Nnaji who though happens to be among the first timers into the green chambers to be appointed as the chairman of the house committee on aviation speaks volume about his capacity.
Therefore, while welcoming them onboard the flight, it is pertinent to draw their attention to some crucial issues calling for serious attention without which the sector will continue to struggle behind other smaller countries on the continent despite the best brains God has endowed the sector with.
It may interest the lawmakers to know that the sector despite the efforts being made by the different professionals to reposition it, the major problem frustrating these efforts can be traced to the Federal Government’s questionable policies which have continued to be the bane.
Such retrogressive policies calling for urgent action from their committees include: the loose Bilateral Air Service Agreements popularly known as BASAs which are all disadvantageous to Nigeria, the preferential treatment being given to the foreign airlines over the domestic airlines by the federal government, the refusal of government to protect the indigenous airlines through getting involved in aero politics.
For the attention of the Melaye/Nnaji committees, the federal government is guilty of an obvious double standard and unpatriotic tendencies as seen in its ever readiness to attend to the yearnings of the foreign carriers while its indigenous airlines are being choked up with bad policies.
The too many multiple frequencies and entry points being dashed to the foreign carriers who operate into Nigeria are contradictory to the hostile policies the few Nigerian carriers are faced with in the home countries of the foreign carriers.
Another area that needs to be urgently and completely overhauled is the department of BASA at the ministry of aviation. Many of the officials in this department have overstayed their usefulness to the extent that they are no longer in tune with what is obtained in other climes when it comes to the issue of negotiating these trade agreements.
It is on record today that most of the agreements which have been described as lopsided were foisted on Nigeria by them for selfish reasons. It will therefore do the sector and the country good if the BASA directorate is completely overhauled.
Above all, the Melaye/Nnaji committees would have written their names in gold if they can use their tenure to right the wrongs presently killing the morale of the workers as witnessed in the unfair employments and appointments that are in contradiction to the statutory civil service rules.
With the appointment of the Melaye/Nnaji committees, hope is very high amongst key players saying that the combination of the two may bring back the lost hope hitherto brought by all the unfriendly policies listed above. They should also beware of many questionable ‘experts’ who will come to them just to confuse the committees for their selfish agenda.