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AVIATION IN THE EYES OF HADI SIRIKA BY KEEM ABDUL

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Born in Dusti, a Local Government in Dutsi in Kaduna state Nigeria, Hadi Sirika graduated from the Petroleum Helicopters Institution in the United States of America. He also passed through Flight Safety International, United States of America and Delta Aeronautics.
Before going into politics, Hadi Sirika worked and gained experience as a pilot. His venture into politics began in 2003 when he was elected into the Federal House of Representatives. He left office in 2007, but in 2011 under the flag of the Congress for Progressive Change CPC, he was elected as the representative of Katsina North in the Nigerian Senate.
During his tenure in the Nigerian Senate, he was the Vice-Chairman of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) committee set up by the Senate.

In the early months of 2015, Sirika became a member of All Progressives Congress (APC). In the same year, he announced that President Muhammadu Buhari had been convinced to run for the presidency in the 2015 general elections under the flag of the All Progressives People’s party (APC). In the same year, after Muhammadu Buhari became the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hadi Sirika was appointed as the Minister of Aviation, he was reappointed again in 2019 when President Muhammadu Buhari won his second-term bid.
As a former pilot and former member of the Senate committee on aviation, Hadi Sirika’s appointment and reappointment as the Minister of Aviation cannot be questioned. He is an opinionated man who is not ashamed to raise his voice on issues affecting the aviation sector. One of the outstanding issues he has spoken about is owning private planes through illegal means.
Speaking in an exclusive interview on ‘Leadership Weekend’ with Ruth Choji and Soni Daniel, he talked extensively about how to move the aviation sector forward, emphasising how credible, reliable, and responsive leadership can help rebuild the aviation industry in a positive light.

In 2020, the Chairman and CEO of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, commended Hadi Sirika for his positive contribution to the development of the aviation sector, especially on the Federal Government’s decision on the issue of reciprocity in granting airline permissions to resume operation in Nigeria.
One of Hadi Sirika’s noted achievements was the swift action of getting stranded Nigerians out of China in partnership with Air Peace in 2020.
Sirika recently announced that Nigeria Air is expected to take off in April 2022. He made the announcement in Abuja while briefing State House Correspondents at the close of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
Sirika further stated that the government would only own five per cent of the national carrier while Nigerian entrepreneurs would own forty-six per cent.
While many Nigerians are happy with this announcement about a National Carrier, some have expressed their displeasure and have likened Nigerian Air to Virgin Airways, saying that a national carrier is not what Nigeria needs now.

In an online article written by Rufai Oseni and published in ThisDayLive, the writer stated that:
“If Mr Sirika truly loves Nigeria, he should get investors in partnership with the federal government to invest in aircraft building factories in Nigeria. This, I believe, would create empowerment for the citizenry.”
Even with concerns raised by some Nigerians, without doubt, if Nigeria Air takes off successfully, it would be added to the list of incredible achievements by Senator Hadi Sirika.
Speaking of the achievements of Sirika in the aviation industry.  As the Minister for Aviation, there has been construction and commissioning of new terminals in different airports across the country, payments of gratuities and pension for retired aviation workers of the defunct national carrier that had otherwise gone unpaid for many years. There has also been the acquisition of navigation aids.
Even though it sounds as if he is blowing his own trumpet, Senator Hadi Sirika is not afraid to speak of his achievements as a two term minister. When asked during an interview with Vanguard, he stated: One of the major achievements of this administration is the sustenance of safety, which has been phenomenal. It is on record that since this administration came on board, there has not been an accident to commercial airlines and this has further boosted and restored the confidence of the flying public. However, this achievement would not have been attained without the strong regulatory function of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). Under this present administration, the countrys air travel has enjoyed a huge safety record, which is tremendous.”

Hadi Sirika is a long-standing ally of President Muhammadu Buhari. He has never hidden the fact, but that does not undermine his appointments twice as the Minister for Aviation. His educational background, extensive experience as a pilot, and achievements as the Minister of Aviation have proven time and time again that he is worthy of his position. While it remains to be seen how well a new national carrier under the name Nigerian Air would play out both economically and socially, it can still be regarded as an active and well-intended move by the minister.

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