Home News My encounter with Governor Lawal of Zamfara, other VIPs on Air Peace’s flight from Jeddah to Kano

My encounter with Governor Lawal of Zamfara, other VIPs on Air Peace’s flight from Jeddah to Kano

by Business News Report

By Hadiza Oyewumi

My overall impression during the five and half hour flight was that Nigerians are increasingly appreciating the need to patronise Nigerian flag carriers. In a flight from Jeddah to Kano on Wednesday 10th April 2024, many top Nigerian government functionaries and VIPs were on board the Air Peace flight. It was a pleasant surprise to see several dignitaries and high networth personalties many of who in the past would rather fly Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian, Turkish Airlines  or other foreign airlines on the Jeddah to Kano or Lagos to Jeddah routes. As I looked round at the Jeddah airport I decided to engage them. I introduced myself and got them to  take a group photograph before we boarded.
The Governor of Zamfara State His Excellency Dauda Lawal Dare was so down to earth. I had to check again to be sure he was the one. Another personality that made an impression on me was the husband of the Deputy Governor of Ogun stae, Otunba Bode Oyedele. I was impressed by his humility.
Others on board the flight were serving Honourable members of the House of Representatives Hon. Rahim Olawuyi, former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Chairman, Agege Local Government, Chief Ganiyu Egunjobi, Chief Whip, Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon Omolola Bakar and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro. They were all enthusiastic about Air Peace. Another thing that struck me most was the unanimous conscencious amongst Nigerians from all parts of the country that the Nigerian brand -Air Peace- must be massively patronised, supported and hedavily protected.. Governor Dauda Lawal said he is a strong advocate of grow Nigeria and would prefer to point out lapses that require improvments to Alex Onyema rather than patronise other airlines on routes that are operated by Air Peace.
 I was deeply touched and felt proud of being a Nigerian. And as a development banker who is inclined to nurture home-grown brands to become global players, I took note and pictures to encourage others to also embrace initiatives designed to make Nigeria great again by patronising and supporting Nigerian brands.If we patronise Nigerian firms products, demand for foreign currencies would drop, the Naira will be strengthened, more jobs would be created and all of us will benefit from the attendant positive multiplier effects.

From left: Rt Hon. Ikuforiji former speaker Lagos state House of Assembly, His Excellency Otunba Bode Oyedele; husband to the Dep Gov of Ogun state, His Excellency Alaji Dauda Lawal, Executive Governor of Zamfara state, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Hon. Rahim Olawuyi, Member House of Representatives Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency,
Chief whip Ogun state House of Assembly, Hon. Omolola Bakare and chief Ganiyu Egunjobi, Chairman Agege local government, Lagos, Shortly before boarding Airpeace flight to Nigeria,after performing lesser hajj from Jeddah to Kano, and Lagos.

As a development practitioner, I kept pondering on the extensive positive developmental impact that Air Peace’s foreign flight operations is having on the Nigerian economy. Nigerian made snacks and drinks as well as Nigerian cuisine were served on board the flight. I reasoned that they were indeed giving expression to President Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda. Need I add that the service on board the flight was world class. As the saying goes a trial will convince you. I recall that while on Channels Television’s Politics Today program, Mr Allen Onyema asserted the existence of an “unspoken alliance” among foreign airlines. He alleged that these airlines are employing lower pricing strategies with the aim of forcing Air Peace out of off the Nigeria-London route and ultimately out of business. “If they take out Air Peace prematurely, this country will pay dearly for it, 10 times over, as billions of Naira will be lost and there would be resurgnce of heavy pressure on the Naira. He cried out that Air Peace was being deliberately frustrated in all ways,” citing ground handling and space allocation difficulties at the Gatwick Airport in the last couple of days. “It’s a very devilish conspiracy. 

All of a sudden, (foreign) airlines are underpricing, below their costs.It is not up to one month, an airline was advertising $100, another one $305, $350.”Fill up the entire aircraft and carry people on the wings their revenue would not be enough to fuel the aircraft”. So, how are they able to do this? It is because their governments are supporting them because Nigerian route has been a cash cow for everybody for more than twenty years. Their governments are supporting them to do this and take Air Peace out. The idea is to take Air Peace out and the moment they succeed in taking Air Peace out, Nigerians will again pay air fares that will be 20 times over what they paid previously.”
In conclusion I must thank my friend Bolaji Mustapha, the CEO of Grand Express Tour Centre(GETCentre), who promotes Air Peace for encouraging me to patronise the airline and for subsequently booking my trip to Saudi Arabia. She had assured me that their service was outstanding and indeed it was!

Hadiza Oyewumi is Head Strategic Communications (South), Bank of Industry, Lagos

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