When the Minister for Aviation Hadi Sirika travelled all the way to Farnborough Air-show London in July, 2018 to unveil the Logo of Nigeria Air it was an indication that the exercise would like most unpatriotic ventures yield no fruit. What would appear more disheartening in such show of cynicism and move was the fact that the Minister never thought it wise to release or unveil the Logo to the primary users in their country but rather in far away London.
What may seem more embarrassing were the project designer and the unbelievable amount it supposedly gulped. As a result of the outburst from Nigerians on the uncertainty over the actual designer of the Logo and the amount spent on it. Form 6 Communication which had earlier made a post on its Facebook page claiming credit for the design, eventually made a u-turn by pulling the post down and replacing it.
While in its previous post it read, “Very proud to showcase our most recent Airline branding project, Nigeria Air. Nigeria’s new flag carrier which was unveiled at the Farnborough Airshow today”; the agency replaced it with something else that simply said the branding project was carried out in conjunction with “Nigerian marketing agency Image & Time and Airline Management Group (AMG), Transactions Advisors for the new National Flag Carrier. Obviously the Minister would expect Nigerians to believe that the agency made a mistake in their previous post and could only be corrected days after the outburst. Further investigation revealed that neither Form 6 Communication nor Image & Time were incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
This aside, the secrecy that bounded the project made it complicated to come to terms with an exact figure on what was expended on the logo. It was believed to have cost $600,000 which would amount to 360,000,000 million naira with an exchange rate of 600 hundred naira today. In a country where stakeholders expected that government would executive the May, 2017 Executive Order on support for Local Content in Public Procumbent with actions; rather saw such amount exported for Logo.
After the entire jamboree that played out on the Nigeria Air and its logo, nothing significant was heard about the project until recently; when the interim management led by Capt. Dapo Olumide a former Managing Director of the defunct Virgin Nigeria Airways was handed the Air Transport License (ATL) at the NCAA headquarters in Abuja. This next phase was coming on board four years after unveiling of the logo in far-away London.
This clearly exposes government insincerity towards this project and could be concluded to be a strategically mapped out avenue for looting. It would be recalled that the in 2017 Budget, the Federal Government budgeted N555 million for the establishment of national carrier and N200 million for Consultancy. In the same way, N50 million and N20 million was allocated for the establishment of the carrier and consultancy respectively in 2018.
To imagine all the fund that has been sunk into this project that was originally scheduled to take the sky by December 2018, there would be no reason to trust that it would ever come into being. Within this period while Nigeria was rolling out excuses and reasons why tax-payers money should continued to be spent recklessly without any result, the Ethiopian Airline has taken delivery of some of the world best carriers.
In 2010, Ethiopian placed its largest order to date – 12 A350-900s, due for delivery between 2016 and 2019. The order was designed to give Boeing a wake-up call – implying that its long-time African operator was unhappy with the delays, and that it was prepared to look elsewhere for new aircraft. Despite the apparent threat, Ethiopian Airlines reaffirmed its Boeing order and was expected in its first B787-8 between 12-Mar-2012 and 15-Jun-2014, not Jan-2012 as originally thought. Ethiopian stated the new aircraft, both the B787-8s and the A350-900s, would be used to complement and replaced its existing fleet, with the A350s to be deployed on services to the Far East and the Americas, and the B787-8s likely to replaced B767s and B757s.
While other Africa countries are building alternative and sustainable stream of income, creating jobs for their citizens and competing globally, Nigerian political career workers who supposedly hide under the term, leaders are seeking more paths to loot and siphon public funds. In the next four years which was what has been agreed upon for each layers of work to be done on the Nigeria Air, this present administration would have long be forgotten alongside all the money wasted on this project. Since it was obvious that continuity has never been well practiced in Nigeria, it would probably be a mirage that Nigeria Air ever felt the warmth of the sky.