From left: Former General Manager, Nigeria Airways, Mr. Chris Aligbe; Former Director General, Institute of Directors, Mr. Victor Banjo; Chairman of the Occasion, Prof. Anthony Kila; President Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Mr. Gbenga Olowo; Former Managing Director, Aero contractors, Mr. Dapo Olumide and Director of Air Transport Regulation, NCAA, Group Capt. Edem Oyo-Ita, during the Q4 2018 Quarterly Business Breakfast Meeting on Short Life Span of Nigerian Airline the Importance of Corporate Governance in Lagos on Thursday
…as Boyo asks Nigerians to support indigenous airlines
Posted by Sade Williams
Former Director General of Institute of Directors, Mr. Victor Aderenle Banjo, has stated that as part of efforts to ensure that domestic airlines in the country are not only viable but also have long life span, the reform used in sanitising the banking industry should be introduced in the aviation sector especially for the airlines.
He said this while speaking at the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative Quarter 4 2018 Quarterly Business Breakfast Meeting with the theme, ‘Short Life Span of Nigerian Airlines ,The Importance of Corporate Governance’, at Golfview Hotel and Suite, Lagos .
Banjo stated that if this was done, it would make the airlines more economically viable and increase their life span compared to what is currently obtained.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) , he argued has a lot to do in this area but that unfortunately, “NCAA say the right thing but do not do the right thing.”
He opined that there are several reasons why domestic airlines in the country have short life span, adding that one of the main reasons is that they lack good corporate governance.
Banjo, who was also the Director Human Resources with defunct Virgin Nigeria, stated that the composition of the board matters , adding that a situation where the Board of Directors of an airline is made up of father, mother, children , sisters and brothers of the owner does not augur well for the airline.
According to him, “Who make up the airline’s Board of Directors; the father, wife, children, sisters and brothers of the owner.”
He said that for domestic airlines in the country to have long lifespan and thrive, they must have the four pillars of good Corporate Governance, which includes: accountability, fairness, transparency and independence.
To buttress his point, he cited the case of the moribund Virgin Nigeria, which according to him suffered over bearing influence from the Federal Government.
He also said that a situation where the Managing Director of an airline and is also a pilot and still flies, ”who does he reports to.”
On his part, the Managing Director of Overland Airways, Capt. Edward Boyo stated that it would be wrong to use the defunct Virgin Nigeria as a good model of an airline with good Corporate Governance, adding that the airline also made some mistake which the managers of the airline did not see.
Good Corporate Governance, he said is a good one, he added that a situation where Nigerians built international terminal and hand it over to foreigners to operate would not be tolerated.
Nigerian airlines, Boyo further contended are not only talked down on but that they are not also given the enabling environment to operate and survive, calling on Nigerians to always support and patronise Nigerian airlines.
He added that good Corporate Governance alone cannot make airlines to have long life span, adding that it goes beyond that and that competence is very crucial in the management of airline.
He said : ‘The key is competence and other factors. Everything must work together. NCAA is adopting style that is not compatible with Nigerian environment.’
The Overland Airways CEO added that airlines are supposed to be self regulatory but that in Nigeria domestic airlines are suffering from regulatory overload.
On the pilot ownership, Boyo said that it should not be abused by commentators, as Overland Airways is acting in line within the provision of the law and that today the airline is not indebted to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria(AMCON).
In his words, ”Overland Airways is the longest serving airline in Nigeria today and we are not owing AMCON. I am going to hand over leadership of the company at some point but not today .It should not be dictated from outside because we are working in line with the law.
Boyo pointed out that for airline to thrive, the managers must have executive management, technical management, financial management, political management knowledge .No one of them can go alone.”
Speaking further, he said, ‘You cannot manage an airline without being politically savvy. Virgin Nigeria failed because they super imposed foreign political knowledge on that of Nigeria.
According to him, Airline operation is not for the weak hearted. You must be strong, bold and politically savvy.”