MMI Airport Concession: FCAA and the Cesspool of Corruption.
By Bolaji O. Akinyemi.
Our potential in aviation was limitless having inherited an airport, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, which was first built during the second world war as a lifting ground for the British Royal Army. It became the operation ground for Nigeria Airways founded in 1958 after the dissolution of West African Airways Corporation WAAC, the Federal Government owned 51% until 1961 when it boosted its shareholding to 100% and made it the country’s flag bearer.
The new terminal was modeled after Amsterdam Airport, Schiphol and was commissioned by General Olusegun Obasanjo, the head of the outgoing military Government who will that year hand over to the democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. Commissioned on the 16th of March 1979 and named after Murtala Ramat Muhammed, MMI, was a tower of national beauty and pride of the continent!
Her control tower was the montage that tells my age group it was time for Network News on NTA in my growing up years!
The hydra-headed monster of corruption has fully launched itself against the Nigerian state, it plagued everything on her with institutionalized mis-management, our aviation industry was one of the badly hit from the early 80s. Corruption didn’t just find its way to MMI, it was the location where “son checking out was shot”, a video commercial of a certain young Nigeria, named Andrew on his way to where the pasture was greener! The japa syndrome didn’t start today, and may continue until the beast of no nation; corruption, driving the youth out of the country is killed.
One thing Nigeria has never forgotten is the promise of Muhammadu Buhari to kill corruption before it will kills Nigeria. Our corruption index is a critical point of rating the present Government. Its attempt to restore our National Carrier allegedly drained billions with only a logo to show! Reminding Nigerians while announcing the concession bid that the country will go ahead with her partnership with Ethiopian Airline to establish Nigeria Airlines Limited is nothing but a bad day dream! Why should a government that did push a logo in 7 and half years suddenly wake up and are in a haste to fix 8 years duty in 6 month. Nigerians should ask the minister why they are in such a hurry!
Concession of MMI is the 2nd step by this administration at revamping the aviation industry and it’s looking like the process is already at the mercy of corruption, when it shouldn’t be!
The hope of every facility that has been run aground in Nigeria in a bid for a fresh breath of air is concessional arrangement.
Usually giving the best hands in professionalism and management capacity the opportunity to turn them around, so it was good news to hear the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has thrown the opportunity out for MMI to be restored to her place of pride which she occupied in my growing up years. Many my age mates will like to see this facility made to bring back the nostalgia of my teenage years!
A leading Indigenous aviation handling and management company Sifax/Changi Consortium rose to the occasion and in partnership with a Singaporean Company indicated interest in the concession along side other companies. Singapore is the cynosure of aviation wonder in the world today and competing for laurels with her in creative aviation tourism is worth our consideration as a country.
Unfortunately, Nigerians right now, have reasons to be worried as the process is rather being compromised.
Hadi Sirika, Minister for Aviation had said while announcing the preferred bidder, that the process was done in line with Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission Act, 2005 AND GLOBAL BEST PRACTICE by the Federal Ministry of Aviation in Consultation with ICRC and other Stakeholders…
As Nigerians we are Stakeholders in whose interest FCAA and ICRC are set up by law to act and take decisions, though we need not be consulted in this process. We are however recognized by law to dutifully demand for due process to be followed and justice to be done where breaches had occurred!
TAV Airport Holdings & GMR Airport Limited who are both subsidiaries of Airport De Paris (ADP) made RFQ submissions for the Airport Concession Programme.
This is a material misrepresentation and breach of section 2.2 and subsection 2.2.1 of the RFQ for the concession programme. Two subsidiaries of same entity placed as number 1 & 2 in the bid for MMI concession! It looks absurd.
The corporate profile and global rating of Airport De Paris (Owners of TAV and GMR) should be of interest to our Government and people of Nigeria, as they are known for professional integrity issues which has led to its suspension and sanction by the World Bank and various countries around the world. They are accused in various cases of overbilling, corruption, fraud and collusive practices.
This contravenes section 2.2.7(c and d) of the RFQ and section 1.1.11 (c and d) of the RFP for the concession program. Who is pushing this conjoined twins of corruption to take over MMI?
During the opening of the technical bid submissions, it was alleged that TAV came with cash of $10,000 to pay for bid documents. There were no bank accounts stated to pay for this in the RFP document but bidders were advised to prepare evidence of this payment in their submissions in form of draft or remital receipt but TAV chose to bring cash of $10,000 to where we were doing bid opening, meaning they actually did not put any evidence of payment in their submissions.
A deliberate behaviour to incite ethical misconducts and to further institutionalize corruption from which attempt is being made to rescue our aviation industry.
Sifax/Changi Consortium, like every other prospective company submitted their RFP documents which clearly states their designated principal contact and alternate contacts. It is rather disturbing that the most qualified indigenous company didn’t get called up by the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the NACP to come for the financial bid opening! What a rude shock!
They were called in the morning of the very day the financial bid will be opened. A call to Sifax confirmed they were not sent any email nor did they receive any call at least a few days ahead of time to get them prepared to travel from Lagos to Abuja to witness the financial bid opening.
Consequently the financial bid of their consortium was opened behind them in the absence of any witness with a mandate from them, in defiance of THE BEST GLOBAL PRACTICE to which the Minister of Aviation referred during his meeting with Journalists. It is left to the Government of Muhammadu Buhari to add a befitting MMI to the list of the legacies of his tenure as the 15th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or allow appointees and civil servants ruin his image in their connivance with a global integrity bankrupt group!
Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi, is a Nation Builder, with apostolic mandate to set in order the things that are wanting. Convener, Apostolic Round Table, ART.