By Paul Nwosu
The second anniversary celebration of Chinua Achebe International Passenger and Cargo Airport, Umueri comes with a special dimension.
Ever since Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo CFR renamed the erstwhile Anambra Airport at Umueri to Chinua Achebe International Passenger and Cargo Airport during the 63rd Nigerian Independence Anniversary which took place at Dr Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, on October 1, 2023, the fledgling airport has soared into the stratosphere.
A name truly matters. Chinua Achebe, who Governor Soludo described as “an African and global hero” has bequeathed the ultra-modern airport a commanding name to fly high with.
The Achebe name works like magic anywhere it is deployed. It is noteworthy to recall that when Chinua Achebe had the tragic accident that paralyzed him, an American university, Bard College in New York, USA employed “the father of African literature” and built the special “Achebe House” for him on campus. Global tourists immediately began flooding to the university wanting to go to “Achebe House.”
It’s therefore a masterstroke from Governor Soludo to name the airport after Prof Chinua Achebe. In this second anniversary of the airport, Achebe’s global clout is already bringing dividends.
Governor Soludo’s vision of making Anambra State a destination of choice instead of a departure lounge has an ennobling emblem in Chinua Achebe International Passenger and Cargo Airport. The export oriented economy that Governor Soludo is knitting together has a solid support base in the crowd-pulling airport.
The Export Emporium being put in place by Governor Soludo is destined to soar into the orbit. The Ikenga Mixed-Use Industrial City Masterplan Development signed with the President of Mahindra Consulting Engineers Limited is a great leap forward.
Anambra Intra-City Rail has been signed with the senior executives of CPCS Canada that had undertaken five jobs in Nigeria through varying stages, from design to execution. The delivery of the Anambra Intra-City Rail will connect Awka, Ekwulobia, Nnewi and Onitsha. The binding hub is of course Chinua Achebe International Passenger and Cargo Airport.
The coming to Anambra of OMAA/Kojo Motors for the building of the AUU Automotive Industrial Park deserves celebration. OMAA aims to set up a world-class auto assembly plant to produce CNG-powered and electric mass transit vehicles at the AUU Automotive Industrial Park. Evans Pharmaceuticals and Dozzy Group are setting up pharmaceutical manufacturing and other allied businesses at Pharmaceutical Industrial Park, Ogboji. There is the Anambra State Pharmaceutical Distribution Hub at Oba. The esteemed Sundry Markets Limited is poised for the completion of the Awka Shopping Mall through a Joint Venture Partnership within 15 months. The Neni Water Scheme, a Public Private Community Partnership (PPCP), is being undertaken in partnership with Birsal Water Limited.
Governor Soludo has through personal example shown that no nook or cranny of Anambra State would be left out in the general development of the State. He had damned all the risks to undertake a trip by boat, keke and okada to the remote island of Olumbanasa where no former Anambra State Governor had ever gone to before. From the airport, to the well over 400 kilometres of contracted roads and the tributaries of rivers, development is ongoing everywhere.
There is no debating the fact that Anambra has the highest population density per square kilometre in Nigeria. Anambra ranks as the number one out of the 17 southern states of Nigeria on the ease of doing business. In the words of Mr. Governor, “Anambra State is a locational hub.”
It is little wonder then why the Chairman of AfreximBank, Dr. Benedict Oramah, endorses Governor Soludo as having ushered in a new lease of life into the state’s growth trajectory. As a testament to the assured growth of Anambra State, AfreximBank is partnering with Anambra, the acclaimed “light of the nation”, in a $200 million dollar industrial city project to bring export-oriented businesses into the state.
In marking the auspicious occasion of the second anniversary of the Chinua Achebe International Passenger and Cargo Airport, it is equally crucial to celebrate the coming to fruition of Governor Soludo’s drive to turn Anambra State into a liveable and prosperous homeland that will be a destination point instead of a departure lounge.
SIR PAUL NWOSU
Commissioner for Information