I have been inundated by calls and cheers alike, when I surfaced on yesterday’s morning flight from Calabar enroute Abuja. I still don’t know why it made news in some quarters, but it was to show that everything isn’t politics. Don’t forget I was part of the State Exco when the decision was made.I enjoyed myself, as it wasn’t the regular small aircrafts that the Calabar air route is known for, quite humongous,and convenient to fly I must say!
While many have chided Governor Ayade on the grounds of not setting the priorities of the State aright, others who think it is a good idea, simply wish that the launch of the aircraft should have just come as “proudly Cross River” as is boldly written on the body of the air bus, without the hullabaloo of flying under the “Aero” brand, at least just like our neighbors’ own “Ibom Air”.
There is yet another set, who think that though, it is a great idea to be proud of, as Cross Riverians, the Boeing 737 maybe too bogus for the Calabar route, given the volume of passenger and cargo traffic and the existence of two other competing airlines on the same route. The bus was actually half- empty today though.
In all of the vituperations and counter attacks that have trailed the idea, one common denominator, is that we have all contributed to the final arrival of the air bus, whether as “Cally Air,” “Aero Contractors” or simply “Cally” .
Also, that “it is hundred percent Cross River,” but currently on lease on the Aero fleet. At least the Governor has explained using his Facebook handle.
One take-home from all of these, is the need to enhance and moderate a proper communication channel in the Government of Goveror Ayade. Information dissemination shouldn’t actually be all-comers affair or everyone’s business as was the case in the Cally Air project. Even non- media aides seem to be more zealous in dishing out gibberish that rather offends public perception than pushing out points to sell Government programs and projects, hence no matter how well-intended, rather than draw public patronage, was greeted with a commensurate backlash. To them, everything is politics. Information should be strategic and deliberate!
That said, at least Cross Riverians love the good things of life. No body hates good things or just wants to chide. People just wish to see things done well and not impulsively or haphazardly. Remember Cross River belongs to us all.
Finally, I have this to say; while planning a trip by air to either Lagos or Abuja, as you go online to book a ticket, two things should run through your mind as a Cross Riverian, the first is that, the airfare has been significantly subsidized to between a paltry Seventeen Thousand Naira(that is, if it stays) to Twenty Three Thousand Naira depending on how early you book, hence you save some cost.
Secondly, besides the feeling of fulfillment and sense of pride that comes with the flight experience, like “this is our own” as was with me today, the money you spend ultimately returns to our State, if not all, at least, a greater chunk of it. (Whether it will be ploughed back into other projects, is a discussion for another day).
So please, when you choose to fly, do well to use the Cross River air bus, in whatever name it comes, whither Cally, Aero or Cally Air, “our own na our own!”
By the way, I already congratulated Governor Ayade on this one!
Comrade Asu Okang, served at different times as Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development and Commissioner for Information. He writes in from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Asu Okang and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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