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UfitFly Boss, Ogunkeyede Charges FG To Invest More In Tourism, Aviation System

By Seyifunmi Odunuga

Chief Executive Officer of UfitFly Limited, Evang. Ajibola Ogunkeyede lamented the slow pace of development in the tourism and aviation sectors in Nigeria. 

Evang Ogunkeyede called on the government to reconsider its stand on investment in the sectors.

The UfitFly boss, who was one of the personalities honoured on Thursday with an award of excellence by the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) at the association’s end-of-the-year dinner, disclosed this in a brief chat with REPORTERS AT LARGE.

The UfitFly boss, who described foreign exchange as the major challenge in the Travel industry in Nigeria, noted that the Nigerian government has not tapped into the wealth inherent in the aviation and tourism industries.

“In terms of airlines, we are lagging, while we have not tapped the tourism industry at all. While countries like the UK, America, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan, among others, have continued to make good revenue from tourism and aviation sectors, Nigeria is greatly missing out, because Nigeria hasn’t explored 00.1% of the potentials of the money-spinning sectors. While Nigeria still relies on oils, all other countries don’t, even Saudi Arabia has abandoned the oil, and seriously exploring the tourism and aviation industries. Hence, they are changing most of their laws. For Instance, women can now drive, while entertainment and football activities, among others, are now increasing because they realised that oil will dry but tourism goes nowhere.”

Evang. Ogunkeyede, who commended the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo for steps he has taken so far to reposition the sector, expressed optimism that he will follow up just the strides.

“Gone are the days that airline operators will just cancel flights and there will be no penalty. The Minister has mandated the airline operators to give notice before any flight cancellation.”

The UfitFly boss then appealed to the Minister to work on making Nigeria Air function. This, he said, will become a competitor to all other destination careers.

“There are cheaper flights in Cotonou, but in Nigeria, you’ll pay triple what you pay there because. We have no airline of our own, while all those foreign airlines are  sucking us, and we call ourselves the ‘Giant of Africa.’ It is the same for us. We need to work out something as fast as possible. We can also co-partner with private airline operators like Air Peace, among others, to ensure our visibility all over the world. It will help our economy. This is not about oil or Agriculture, but Tourism,  which will positively change the economy.

Meanwhile, Evang Ogunkeyede, noted that the tourism industry cannot thrive without the help of the aviation sector. “And without the presidency working more on security and properly funding the tourism ministry, we will just be paying salary.

“Can you see the way God has used me to change the Nigeria Pilgrimage Commission? Today, it is one of the government agencies to be reckoned with because we want to ensure that every home becomes a JP. And we will achieve it in Jesus’ name.”

The UfitFly boss, who commended the NANTA Western Zone leadership and the event’s organising committee for recognising his personality and his organization, prayed that the NANTA will continue to grow higher and higher.

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