OBUDU INTERNATIONAL PASSENGER AND CARGO AIRPORT; A CRITICAL TRANSPORT INFRASTRUTURE BY AYADE LED ADMINISTRATION FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH OF CROSS RIVER STATE
The Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport which is being constructed by the Sen. Prof. Benedict Ayade led administration in Cross River State , Nigeia is a critical transportation infrastructure that would boost the economic growth of the South South State in Nigeria.
Cross River State is one of the largest states in Southern Nigeria having a total land mass of about 20,156 sq.km. From Bakassi Local Government Area in Southern Cross River to Obanliku in Northern Cross River takes an average of eight to nine hours drive by road.
Presently, the state’s only airport is located in Calabar, the state capital which is in the southern senatorial district of Cross River State and more than six hours drive to Obudu Mountain Resort which is in the northern senatorial district of Cross River State.
Transportation is a critical factor in the development of any region and besides land and water transportation, the importance of air transportation cannot be over emphasized.The development of transport infrastructure in this sub sector of the transportation sector is thus critical for economic development of Cross River State and the region.
As a renowned destination in the region, Cross River State is deserving of more transportation infrastructure especially of air transportation to boost tourism and that is another reason why the recent construction of the passenger and cargo airport is a welcome development.
At present, many of the states citizens and visitors travelling to the central and northern senatorial districts of the state from outside the state by air would rather fly into Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu than to the Margaret Ekpo International Airport and do the rest of the journey by road.
Other states north of Cross River State like Benue state will also find the new airport of great importance as it will make some sense to fly into Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport and then go by road into neighbouring towns in Benue. All of these make the project potentially viable and makes economic sense.
The potentials for cargo transportation for products of the State owned industries and Agricultural products from the state and neighbouring states to the West, East and Central Africa regions is an added advantage for the international passenger and cargo airport if well harnessed.
From groundnut oil from the groundnut oil extraction factory in Bekwarra to garments from the Cross River State Garments Factory in Calabar, to rice from the Ultramodern rice mill in Ogoja and cocoa from the Cocoa Processing Factory in Ikom, trade will drive the economy of the once civil service State as the state becomes and industrial and trade hubin the region in addition to its tourism destination status.
What better way do we have to drive this export trade to other regional economies and beyond than through cargo transport by air. The Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport thus together with the state industrialization agenda and the new Cally Air airline have the potential to take Cross River State out of economic stagnation to Eldorado.
© Emmanuel Etim
– Senior Special Assistant on Creative Economy