Here’s the list of individuals who have served Nigeria as aviation minister since 1960.
Since Nigeria gained independence in 1960, the country’s aviation ministry has seen a series of individuals appointed by successive Heads of State and Presidents to — in line with the vision of the ministry — make Nigeria’s aviation sector the best in Africa.
Saddled with the responsibility of formulating safety policies, managing the sector’s facilities and regulating aviation services, these individuals have played their parts, but 63 years after independence, the state of Nigeria’s aviation industry leaves a lot to be desired.
Before Nigeria’s independence, Chief Ladoke Akintola served as a Minister of Communication and Aviation in 1957.
Although his name is not stated as one of the past aviation ministers on the website of the Ministry of Aviation, it is on record that Akintola’s stewardship in the ministry was instrumental to the establishment of Nigeria Airways in 1958.
He was said to have travelled to Holland to source for the set of aeroplanes for Nigeria’s national airlines.
So, in this piece, we take a flight through time, looking back at individuals who have served Nigeria as Ministers of Aviation since 1960.
Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe
If this name rings a bell, it’s not only because one of the popular roads in Lagos is named after the bearer but If also because Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe was a frontline politician and served the country as a Minister of Aviation in the ‘60s.
Fondly regarded as a ‘Man of timbre and calibre”, Mbadiwe midwifed the partnership of the Nigerian Airway with Pan American Airways.
The flamboyant minister, who served the ministry from 1960 to 1961, also supervised the maiden flight of the Nigerian national career from Lagos to New York accompanied by Atilogwu dancers and royal trumpeters from Kano.
Raymond Njoku was a successful lawyer and politician who served as Nigeria’s Minister of Transport and Aviation between 1962 and 1965.
Chief J. A Nwachukwu
According to the information on the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development’s website, Chief J. A Nwachukwu headed the ministry from 1965 to 1966.
Senator Joseph Sarwuan Tarka
Joseph Sarwuan Tarka was a politician from Benue State. He was appointed as Minister of Transportation and Communication in 1966 under the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon.
He resigned from the position in the early ’70s after allegations of corruption levelled against him by one Godwin Daboh were published.
Russel Aliyu Barau Dikko
Dr. Russel Aliyu Barau Dikko is said to be the first trained medical doctor/physician from the north.
After his studies at the University of Birmingham, England, Dikko returned to Nigeria to join the colonial service as a junior medical officer in 1940. In the ’70s, he was appointed as Federal Minister of Transportation by General Yakubu Gowon.
Maj. Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua
Shehu Musa Yar’adua participated in the coup that removed Yakubu Gowon as Nigeria’s Head of State. After the coup, he was appointed as Minister of Transportation during the regime of General Murtala Mohammed.
According to records, his major task as a minister was to decongest the Lagos port.
Navy Capt. Olufemi Olumide
Olufemi Olumide served as Federal Commissioner (Minister) for Transport during the General Yakubu Gowon administration in 1976.
Alhaji S. Kazaure
Kazaure headed the the ministry from 1976 to 1978 according to the information available on the ministry’s website.
Alhaji Shehu Wunti
According to the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace, Alhaji Shehu Wunti served as transportation minister from 1978 to 1979. He died in 2013 after a protracted illness in Egypt.
The information available on the Ministry of Aviation’s website states Sam Mafuyayi as Nigeria’s 10th Minister of Aviation, serving between 1979 and 1982.
Hon. J.J Kadiya
John Jatau Kadiya, a politician and administrator was Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation between 1982 and 1983.
Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi
Ahaji Ibrahim Abdullahi was a lawyer, politician and administrator. He served as Aviation minister in 1984 under the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari.
Rear Admiral Patrick Koshoni
Patrick Koshoni was a three-time minister in various military regimes. He headed the ministries of Health, Transport and Aviation, Employment, Labour and Productivity. He served as aviation minister from 1984 to 1985.
Maj. Gen. Jeremiah Useni
Between 1985 and 1987, Jeremiah Useni supervised the Ministry of Transportation which oversees the aviation industry.
AVM Anthony Okpere
Air Vice Marshal Anthony Ebehijele Okpere is a retired Nigerian Airforce Officer, who served as a Managing Director of Nigerian Airways and Minister of Aviation from 1987 to 1989 during the administration of General Ibrahim Babangida.
Alhaji Bunu Sheriff Musa
Alhaji Bunu Sheriff Musa served in various ministries. He moved from the Ministry of Industries under the Ibrahim Babangida regime to Mines and Power, Aviation, Water Resources and Labour.
He headed the aviation ministry from 1980 to 1990 and died in December 2021, at the age of 74.
Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas
Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas was a four-time Nigerian minister, who headed the Ministry of Aviation from 1990 to 1992. He died in an Abuja hospital in April 2022.
Engr. Olawale Ige
Engr. Olawale Ige was an engineer, who served as Minister of Aviation in 1992. He died in May 2022, at the age of 83.
Chief Oluwole Adeosun
Chief Oluwole Adeosun served as Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation following his appointment as Secretary of Transportation in the Transitional National Government of Ernest Shonekan in 1993.
Alhaji Bashiru Dalhatu
According to the information on the Ministry of Aviation’s website, Bashiru Dalhatu was the 21st Nigerian to head the ministry. Dalhatu, who married General Sani Abacha’s daughter in 1999 served in the Interim National Government of Ernest Shonekan as the Secretary of Transport and Aviation.
Alhaji Aremu Yahaya
Alhaji Aremu Yahaya served as the Minister for Transportation and Aviation during the Late Gen. Sani Abacha’s regime from 1993 to 1994.
Chief Ebenezer Babatope
Ebenezer Babatope alias Ebino Topsy was among the many individuals the late General Sani Abacha appointed to supervise the Ministry of Aviation. Babatope headed the ministry from 1994 to 1995.
Air Cmdr. Nsikak Eduok
Nsikak Eduok was appointed to lead the Ministry of Aviation by General Sani Abacha. He served the ministry from 1995 to 1996. Eduok died in January 2021 at 73.
Air Cmdr. Ita Udo-Imeh
Ita Udo-Imeh succeeded Nsikak Eduok, his kinsman from Akwa-Ibom State, as a Minister of Aviation during the regime of General Sani between 1996 and 1998.
Capt. Benoni Briggs
Benoni Briggs served as Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation under General Abdulsalami Abubakar from 1998 to 1999. He established the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in the short period of his stewardship.
Dr. Olusegun Agagu
In 1999, former President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Olusegun Agagu as his first Minister of Aviation and was replaced the following year. Agagu died in 2013.
Dr. Kema Nonyerem Chikwe
Former Obasanjo appointed Kema Nonyerem Chikwe as Agagu’s replacement. She headed the Ministry of Aviation from 2000 to 2003.
Malam Isa Yuguda
Isa Yuguda served as Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation from 2003 to 2005 under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
Prof. Babalola Borishade
After reshuffling his cabinet, Obasanjo appointed Babalola Borishade as Aviation Minister in 2005. He died in 2017 at the age of 71.
Chief Olufemi Fani-Kayode
Femi Fani-Kayode was President Obasanjo’s last appointee to head the Ministry of Aviation. He served the ministry from November 7, 2006, to May 29, 2007.
Felix Hassan Hyat
Following the expiration of Obasanjo’s administration, former President, the late Umaru Yar’adua appointed Felix Hassan Hyat to lead the ministry from 2007 to 2008.
On December 17, 2008, the late Yar’adua appointed Babatunde Omotoba as Federal Minister of Aviation. He headed the ministry from 2008 to 2010.
Fidelia Akuabata Njeze
In April 2010, following Yar’adua’s incapacitation, the acting President, Goodluck Jonathan announced a new cabinet and appointed Akuabata Njeze as Minister of Aviation. She led the ministry from 2010 to 2011.
Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah
On July 4, 2011, Jonathan deployed Stella Oduah to the Ministry of Aviation and headed the ministry for two years and seven months.
Samuel Ortom headed the Aviation Ministry for six months, from 14 February 14, 2014, to August 15, 2014. He was also an appointee of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Osita Benjamin Chidoka
Osita Chidoka served as Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and succeeded Ortom under Jonathan’s administration. He headed the ministry from 2014 to 2015.
Senator Hadi Sirika
After spending his first tenure with an aviation minister, former President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Hadi Sirika to oversee the ministry in 2019. He headed the ministry from 2019 to 2023.
Festus Keyamo currently leads the ministry. President Bola Tinubu in August 2023, appointed him as Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development.