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Umez Foundation (UF)

Addressing Nigerian African Issues Head-on

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Akanu Ibiam International Airport: A Letter of Gratitude   

by Bedford N. Umez 

Fellow Petitioners,

Thank you!

You see, when people get together and work as a team, they accomplish a lot. That is the logic of collective action, and that was the case with Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu.

My SPECIAL gratitude to ALL the 2,215 compatriots who signed Akanu Ibiam International Airport Petition in 2006. Your deep sense of patriotism and complete understanding of the difficulties the people of the Southeast Nigeria encounter, year after year, decade after decade, for not having an International Airport in the region, spoke volumes. Thank you!

As I thank you, you must know that our petition contributed immensely to the actualization of Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu. In fact, in one of the exchanges dealing with this airport petition, this is what our Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, wrote to me concerning our petition:

"Dear. Prof. Umez. Many thanks for your kind words on the upgrading of Enugu airport. I must also thank you [Prof. Umez] for your interest on the subject and for all the steps you took which I must confess inspired our action in meeting with Mr. President on the matter. It is a victory for all of us." – Senator Ike Ekweremadu, CFR (Wed, Dec 5, 2007 at 2:24 PM)

Kudos to all of you - the petitioners!

As I thank you, for your patriotism and the courage to sign the petition, I must also thank some Southeast members of the Nigerian National Assembly, e.g., Hon. Senator Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu State), the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation (2007), Hon. Senator Anyim Ude (Ebonyi State) and so many other Representatives who were equally inspired by the petition and quickly acted upon it. That was an act of true representation. That was leadership. I thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his continued support – starting from the time (2007) he was the Vice President to this moment (2013), as a President. Similarly, I thank Dr. Ken Okorie, Dr. J.O.S. Okeke, Kevin Ani, Dr. SKC Ogbonnia and Nwamaka Erih for their initial contribution to the petition.
Now, a brief history of the petition and Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu.

A brief history of how it all started.......

Our petition, signed by 2,215 compatriots, was FIRST mailed to President Obasanjo on December 23, 2006. [Here is the petition,] Following the petition, President Obasanjo promised to upgrade Akanu Ibiam Airport to international standard. However, that did not happen before he left office. When he [President Obasanjo] left office, I was contacted by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation (2007), Hon. Senator Anyim Ude, through one of his PRs, Nnanna Anyim Ude, to resubmit the petition. The petition was immediately resubmitted on Jan 16, 2007 to (a) President Yaradua, (b) Nigerian National Assembly, (c) Southeast Representatives in the Nigerian National Assembly and (d) the Governors of the Southeast Nigeria, namely, Abia, Anambra, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu , Imo, and Kogi.

Following the resubmission, our Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Anyim Ude, among others, who were inspired by the petition, patriotically seized the moment, and met President Yaradua without delay. Thereafter, President Yaradua promised to upgrade the airport to international standard. Once President Yaradua made the promise, we quickly wrote a thank-you-letter to him. Here is that etter:

Today, fellow compatriots, Akanu Ibiam airport is an international airport, suggesting, once more, that when people come together and work as a team, sky is their limit.

NOTE: We must bear in mind that Akanu Ibiam International Airport is by no means at par with other established international airports, say Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. As such, every effort must be made immediately to bring Akanu Ibiam International Airport to the true level of other international airports so that international flights from say America, Asia, and Europe can conveniently land at Enugu.

Again, my special thanks to those who made Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu a reality.

Bedford Nwabueze Umez, Author of the Petition

"Iconic Milestone of Akanu Ibiam international Airport"

by Mazi Ogbonna of Olu Umuigbo

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