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Minna Airport: Controversy sparks over renaming after Tinubu

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minna airport renamed tinubu
Minna Airport was renamed after President Ahmed Bola Tinubu

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu travels to Niger State, in North Central Nigeria, for a one-day official visit where he will commission the remodelled international airport in Minna, which the state government has renamed after him.

Tinubu will also inaugurate the Niger State Agricultural Revolution Project and lay the foundation for the new Hajj terminal at the Minna airport.

However, it is the renaming of the airport that is sparking discussions and criticism from various quarters, as people question why the state government wants to change the airport’s name.

The former name of the airport was ‘Dr Abubakar Imam Kagara International Airport’, named after a prominent writer and journalist who was the pioneer of the first Hausa language newspaper, ‘Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo’, in 1939.

“Abubakar Imam is one of the greatest literary icons in Northern Nigeria. His contribution to the growth and development of the Hausa language is enormous. So why do they want to remove his name from the airport like that?” one political analyst, who requested anonymity, told BBC Pidgin in a phone interview on Monday.

“If I were President Tinubu, I would not even accept the name change.”

Niger State Governor, Mohammed Umaru Bago, said the renaming is to recognize President Tinubu’s contributions and sacrifices to the development of Niger State, Nigeria, and Africa.

However, the political analyst speaking to BBC Pidgin said, “If the governor really wants to recognize President Tinubu, what’s stopping him from constructing another landmark monument and naming it after the president? Or have projects run out?” he asked.

Two name changes in less than a year for Minna Airport
It has not been up to a year since they renamed the Minna Airport after Abubakar Imam.
It has not been up to a year since they renamed the Minna Airport after Abubakar Imam.

Just less than one year ago, precisely on June 1, 2023, the Federal Ministry of Aviation issued a statement renaming the Minna International Airport along with 14 other airports in Nigeria.

In that statement, they renamed the Maiduguri Airport after Muhammadu Buhari, the airport in Ebonyi State – in the South East Region – after former Senate President Chuba Okadigbo, and the Minna airport after Mallam Abubakar Imam, among others.

However, the Niger State government clarified that they had already renamed the State Polytechnic in Zungeru after Dr. Imam, which they deemed more fitting due to his renowned literary and scholarly contributions.

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