BY NICHOLAS ABE
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has come under scathing attack by his Twitter followers and other Nigerians as pictures of his newly built palatial home in Katsina, his home state, went viral online.
Sirika stoked trouble when on Tuesday, September 1, he published on his Twitter handle pictures of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, before it was reconstructed by the federal government.
The minister had tweeted: “This was Enugu Airport before our intervention. To God be all the glory. Thank you, Mr President. Thank you all for the patience.”
Even though the minister received a few commendations and subtle knocks of which he calmly addressed, it was just a matter of time before he realised that he had been ambushed and had to scurry into safety.
The conversation between Sirika, who described himself on his Twitter handle as “a Buharist 4eva”, and his followers and other commenters started with one BakonDare writing under the handle, @BakonDare2015 replying to @hadisirika,“Now that the airports are looking sparkling clean. Nigerians are saying a Capital NO to concession. Allow our airports to run under the government we voted. Ur plan for concession isn’t in d APC manifesto, pls take note.”
Sirika responded: “Respectfully sir I was the Secretary of the APC Manifesto committee under Chairmanship of Chief Audu Ogbe. I was also a member of the merger committee as well as the PMB transition committee. I am currently in the cabinet. I think I know a little. We are social democrats.”
The conversation went on smoothly with more contributors, apparently encouraged by the minister’s perceived humble mien, joining the thread, until the minister started throwing stones.
It was Doherty Oloketuyi @dolutuyi who nudged the minister to take a faulty step when the contributor irreverently queried: “What are they celebrating? That they shamefully left the runway to go this bad before carrying out the repairs with the attendant danger? I wander what governments are elected to do if they have to wait until infrastructure depreciates to this level & expects praise for fixing it.”
An obviously irritated Sirika reading political meaning into the question retorted: “Ask those who were there before us. When oil was above $100 a barrel. They were there for 16 years. In 5 years, with one third of their income, we are doing our best. Abuja, Kaduna and Enugu runways delivered on time/budget. Abuja, PHC Airports delivered. Lagos and Kano soon.”
But ‘Ben’ @uncleben042 would have none of that from the minister and then the outburst: “Why do you guys keep talking about oil. Is oil the only thing 9ja can produce? What kind of shameless leaders do we have in that s**t hole called 9ja, but you finished your Katsina home in record time, come on bro you guys should do better, nobody is taking the money to heaven.”
The conversation took a different turn from this point as the minister lost both control and interest and went mute while the heckling increased with great intensity.
“Show us the streets of this Katsina mansion before Nigerian Air landed there,” Somto Onuchukwu @chosensomto mischievously demanded, with a picture of the minister’s palatial home embedded for effect.
Obong Ekpe @Ody_johnson towed the same path: “Honorable Minister, I have seen your Palace in its completed phase, but my concern now is why have we not seen the completion phase of #NigerianAir that was lunch sometime ago.??
We embed below the minister’s handle:
This was Enugu Airport before our intervention. To God be all the glory. Thank you Mr President. Thank you all for the patience.🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬 pic.twitter.com/Z6x8Wcq5xG
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) September 1, 2020