Early on the morning of February 22nd, I got on the Arik airline flight from Abuja heading to Ibadan. Checking in for my flight took a while but not even that could dampen my spirits. I was in quite a good mood you see – I have been away from home for months for the mandatory National Youth Service Corps program but I decided this weekend was the perfect time to pay a surprise visit to my parents. Under the guidance of a cheery captain who encouraged us, “I hope you brought your parachutes!”, forty or so minutes later we touchdown in Ibadan. I was home in another 20 minutes.

As expected, my parents were quite happy relieved to see that their daughter is still alive and well. My younger sister was also around. In typical Yoruba fashion, she asked how the journey went to which I replied

“My flight was smooth”.

I could see surprise building up on her face. She pressed further in her interrogation.

“Did you take a flight to Lagos first ni?”, she asked.

“No Dami, It was direct”, i replied.

Then it hit me.

You see, my 19-year-old sister who’s spent basically the entirety of her life here in Ibadan did not even know there is a functioning airport in the city. I wasn't entirely surprised myself. This is somewhat consistent with how Ibadan as a city is treated these days. The culture of inferiority is being promoted left right and center so much that even residents are made to think they lack services they actually have.

I mean I don’t know if this is just me its exhausting when people ask if there is an airport in Ibadan or act surprised when told there is which is why i have decided to pen this quick clear-the-air talks. Call this an unsolicited public service announcement for the our branch of the aviation department if you will and you wouldn't be far off the mark.

So, newsflash. Yes! We have an airport! A functioning one.

Quick history here for you. The first airport was constructed in 1940, back when Ibadan used to be the nerve center of the West. Our economy then was quite vibrant thanks a thriving economy built on the backbone of agriculture and the exportation of cocoa, rubber and other food/cash crops. Ultimately an airport was mooted, then constructed where the Trans Amusement Park today stands. It was there until 1988 when a new airport was proposed largely due to the anticipation of an increase in traffic. Unfortunately, due to proximity to Lagos, the airport never hit full stride and was abandoned until the mid 2000s when it resumed service even till this very day.

The airport which is owned by Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) recently had a facelift and the place looks a whole lot better for it. The airport has one runway which measures at 2400m and it is 725 feet above sea level. The airport arrangement is simple. There is an administrative building, restaurants around incase you get hungry, a magazine stand for readers and a very wide parking lot. It is the nearest airport to Douala and Yaoundé in Cameroon. Airlines currently operational at the airport Arik Air and Overland Airways.

 

Editor's Remark: Flights here are not daily. Call ahead to know the week's schedule before you make your bookings and arrangements.

 

Comments and Reviews