Osun State government has partnered Nigerian Air Force to build Africa’s first and largest aviation city in Ido-Osun.

The initiative, according to the government, is in line with its efforts to keep the dream of having an airport in Osun alive.

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola yesterday handed over the runway and airport corridor for the commencement of the construction phase of the project.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Oladayo Amoo, who led the Nigerian Air Force delegation to Osun, lauded Oyetola for what he described as a major milestone in the state’s history, describing the partnership as another developmental stride in the State.

According to him, the aviation city follows the relocation of the Research and Development Centre of the Force from Kaduna to Osogbo in 2021.

It is in addition to the existing Nigerian Air Force Institute of Safety and a Special Operation Force Group at Ipetu-Ijesha.

Describing the components of the project, Amoo, who was represented by the Principal Director, Air Force Research and Development Centre, Air Vice Marshall Moses Onilede, said: “The project would include an aircraft manufacturing plant, a maintenance repair organisation and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle production centre, amongst others.

“It would be the first of its kind on the continent.

“The runway is, therefore, a critical requirement for these facilities. This is why this occasion today is not only a laudable one but a major milestone towards many other achievements”.

Handing over the official documents of the runway and airport corridor to the Chief of Air Staff, Governor Oyetola said his administration has taken the bull by the horns to ensure that the State keeps the dream of having an airport in Osun alive.

He added that the handover ceremony signalled the beginning of another mutually-beneficial relationship with the Nigerian Air Force to speed up the construction and accelerate the completion of the airport.

The governor said: “As a government that is desirous of diversifying the state’s economy, we realised early enough that the completion of the Osun airport would aid our economic transformation efforts.

“We, however, became helpless when confronted with the humongous amount required to make the dream a reality, especially in the face of competing demands in a depressed economy.

“As a government given to creative alternatives to meet societal needs, we embarked on a diplomatic shuttle, first by visiting the Minister of Aviation and later the Chief of Air Staff, all in the quest to develop the airport corridor.”