By Sade Williams
Aviation stakeholders have continued to laud the emergence of Engr. Saleh Dunoma, Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), as President, Airport Council International, African region (ACI-Africa).
Dunoma was elected last week during ACI-Africa conference in Maputo, Mozambique.
One of them, an industry consultant and CEO of Belujane Konsult, Chris Aligbe said that Dunoma’s election signifies the high rating and confidence ACI-Africa has on the FAAN boss and their acknowledgment of the pivotal role Nigeria is playing in the air transport industry in Africa.
“The election of Dunoma signifies that Africa still have hope in Nigeria. It is not because we have some of the highly rated airports in Africa, but Africa still believes that Nigeria is in a position to make a difference, so the election is an incentive to Nigeria to contribute more to the development of aviation in Africa,” Aligbe said.
The aviation consultant also observed that it is due to the strategic position of Nigeria that Nigerians are heading very important organisations in Africa and beyond, noting that Dr Bernard Olumuyiwa Aliu is the President of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council; a Nigerian is the Secretary General of Africa Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), Iyabo Sosina, the President of Afrexim Bank, Dr Benedict Okey Okoroma and now the election of Dunoma as the President of AFI-Africa.
“Africa has high expectation of Nigeria and the continent wants us to be in the lead and we should ensure that we don’t disappoint them. The continent has inspired us so we can no longer stay behind,” Aligbe said.
The media consultant to FAAN on ACI-Africa, Yakubu Dati, in his reaction after the emergence of Dunoma said, “By this election, Dunoma has made history as the first Nigerian to preside over the body made up of 62 members, operating 250 airports in 47 countries throughout the African continent.”
Also the former Managing Director of FAAN, Richard Aisuebeogun, said that besides the well-horned experience of Dunoma and his personal contribution to Nigeria’s aviation sector, that his election was also enhanced by the fact that Nigeria is a major player in the Council.
“When many countries in Africa are showcasing one international airport each Nigeria is showcasing four and now it has become five because Enugu has been added where Ethiopia Airlines, the best airline in Africa operates. Nigeria should be recognised for the role she plays in Africa. Nigeria has not delayed in paying its annual levies to the organisation and in terms of human resources and in terms of capacity Nigeria has produced more airport professionals than any other country in the continent.
“In 2010 under my watch Nigeria hosted ACI-Africa conference in Abuja despite security fears and since then Nigeria has been highly rated and it has become imperative that the country should play that leading role in airport development in the continent,” Aisuebeogun said.
Dati described Dunoma as a consummate team player and dedicated professional who has over three decades of hands-on experience in the aviation sector, which obviously would come to bear in his presidency.