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A copy of his address, made public by James Odaudu, Deputy Press Director of the Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, showed that Sirika was keen on youth inclusion in decision-making.
The statement quotes him as saying: “We will engage the youths of Nigeria because we do believe in the ‘Not Too Young to Run’.”
He further revealed that in coming up with the name “Nigeria Air”, the Ministry sifted through the suggestions of 400,000 young Nigerians.
“We engaged them in the campaign to name this airline,” Sirika said. “We engaged 400,000 Nigerian youths to arrive at the name of the airline. All of their ideas were taken and digested and we came up with what is an average.”
The ICIR can confirm that a window was truly opened in June for the Nigerian youths to contribute ideas towards giving the proposed carrier a befitting name. This specific project was, however, not incorporated into the ministry’s official online platform, and an entirely separate website was created for the purpose.
An announcement, which is still available on the ministry’s website, states: “Under the auspices of the Ministry of Transportation (Aviation), we are inviting Nigerian youth and students to contribute their ideas and creativity in the naming of the new Nigerian flag carrier.
“We have launched a participation programme www.nameyourairlinenigeria.com and welcome all ideas by 25th June – 12 midday. The first 1,000 entries will be given consideration in the creative process.”
The Name Your Airline website, which now says no more submissions are welcome, contains no more than 70 words and a page. It invited “Nigerian youths and students to contribute their ideas and creativity in developing the new Nigerian Flag carrier”.
It also disclosed that platform was launched by the Task Force “responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the new Nigerian airline, under the auspices of the Ministry of Transportation (Aviation)”.
The website, according to an online tool Whois Lookup, was created on Wednesday, 13th of June, 2013, and the domain will expire after a year — though the portal was closed 13 days after its creation. A Facebook page, Name Your Airline Nigeria, was likewise created on the same day for the purpose of publicity.
Some of the names suggested by Nigerians on the Facebook page include Naija Airline, Air Wazobia, Awo Airline, and Air Eagle. Others were, however, more amusing: Wakanda Airline, Jaga-jaga Airways, Herdsmen Airlines, Lazy Youth Airways, among others.