It was my opinion back then that Bauchi state did not need an airport, and that it was a noble idea to partner with Gombe state to further enhance its own airport, especially with a very good road network around it, thereby improving the standards and sizes of the roads that connect the two states together. I was heavily reluctant in supporting Governor Isa Yuguda’s Airport project, I even openly criticized it, citing the masses’ poverty level as higher on my scale of preference for the things I felt he ought to concentrate on.
The airport, is no ordinary airport, it is an international airport, ranked 5th in the country and the biggest in the North-east. I gather the newly commissioned airport is also awaiting presidential approval to be designated as a cargo port. It boasts of the longest and biggest runway which conforms to International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) specifications for an international airport. It has great access roads and is edified by elaborately partitioned buildings housing the arrival and departure wings for both domestic and international flights.
The control tower is fully equipped with modern meteorological systems as well as very current communication systems, and in summary; Bauchi International Airport has the latest navigational systems and equipment that compete with international airports with very classy standards. Fire-fighting equipment and accessories are solidly in place and a backup power system comprising several independent transformers are ready to provide uninterrupted power supply; atleast so they say on that one. The airport has already been christened Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport, in honour of Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister who hailed from Bauchi.
The airport itself as an edifice and facility to open up Bauchi state to the world, especially with the Yankari Game Reserve situated in the state, would still have remained an unsalable idea to me, because holding it up against our immense poverty in the state simply negates the idea of sinking funds in it. However, the discovery of Kolmani OPL 809, an oil well near the Yankari Game Reserve, has broadly changed my perspectives and today I am more than jubilant that the Bauchi (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa) airport is in place.
Kolmani OPL 809 is an oil well in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi state which is rich with about 100billion standard cubic feet of gas which should last a period of 25 years, at least. This places Bauchi state as a prospective energy hub of Northern Nigeria, a major Nigerian player, and eventually an internationally recognized venture. The New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) was mandated by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to develop Kolmani as a joint venture between the company and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
If we fail to remember that the discovery of the OPL was done before now, during the Abacha administration, then we will not be doing justice to history. Bauchi state was previously awash with celebrations of the discovery of oil by the then Zakhem Company. Little did we know that Bauchi state, probably, has a better resource, gas, than the Niger Delta Region. Yes, better because it is without the attendant spillage and environmental degradation and so on.
With an oil well housing billions of cubic meters of gas, a natural game reserve with international acclaim, and the possibility of Bauchi airport being designated as a cargo port; it’s Eureka for Isa Yuguda in spite of his government and its emancipation for the people of Bauchi state. The airport, which Yuguda can take full credit for, combined with the OPL 809 are definitely lights at the end of the tunnel for the coma and peril that Bauchi state people have suffered for over many years. Probably from providence, Bauchi state has survived the security crisis and Yuguda must be commended for that as well.
All the same, I must say that Laminu, my Bauchi PDP man and an ardent support of Yuguda’s government has won this round of healthy debates and arguments that we usually have amongst us; a younger generation of Nigerians who are yearning to become youths as we find ourselves with a generation or bracket ahead of us who are aged between 50 and 60 and yet insist on occupying our space as youths, youth leaders and eventually champions of tomorrow. We may differ in party memberships, but we are of the same drive and school of thought that our present youths must be graduated so that the newly born like us and the unborn may be matriculated into Nigeria’s political adventures.No tags for this post.