Ghanaian UK-based gospel artiste Sonnie Badu has stated that Ghana will never know peace until the Kotoka International Airport is changed to Kwame Nkrumah International Airport.
According to the multiple award-winning artiste, Kotoka is sitting at the gateway of Ghana and that is doing the country more harm than good thus the government should not hesitate in changing the name of the airport else peace will elude Ghana, GhanaWeb monitored.
“And he is sitting at the gateway to Ghana … well, you just solved the problem.. until the name is changed Ghana will never have their peace… The one who got us independence should have his name at the airport,” the artiste wrote on Instagram.
In the same vein, musician, Kwame A-plus described Gen. Kotoka as ‘Ghana’s main problem since independence’ and called Ghanaians ‘ungrateful’ for naming the airport after him.
He shared a photo of Kwame Nkrumah and Kotoka with the caption: “Ghana’s main problem since independence is this guy, general EK Kotoka, the guy who led the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah… I wonder why our airport is still named after him… It shows that we don’t know what we lost or appreciate what Nkrumah did for us. Ungrateful people.”
‘Lapaz Toyota’ hitmaker, Guru earlier on, called on the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to swiftly drop the name Kotoka and replace it with Nkrumah to serve as a monumental honour.
The vociferous artiste wrote on Twitter that; “Kwame Nkrumah International Airport… drop the Kotoka name.”
History of Kotoka International Airport
Kotoka International Airport was originally a military airport used by the British Royal Air Force during World War II in 1946. The facility was handed over to civilian authority after a successful pull-out by the military. In response to globalization and the growing demand for air travel at the time, a development project was launched to reconfigure the structure into a terminal building in 1956.
The completion of the project set the stage for Ghana Airways to use the airport as its base in 1958. The airport was originally designed and commissioned to accommodate a maximum of five hundred thousand (500,000) passengers annually. In 1969, the Accra International Airport was renamed Kotoka International Airport.
The airport has since witnessed significant improvements in infrastructure and facilities to meet the growing demand.
In the year 1990, a phased programme to develop the Kotoka International Airport was launched. The first phase began from 1991 -1993 and included the rehabilitation and asphalting of the runway, refurbishment of passenger terminal and control tower block, construction of Arrivals/Immigration Hall, construction of Transit Hall, construction of dedicated freight terminal and installation of new navigational aids and updating of the Master plan for KIA.
The second phase began from 1997-2005 and involved the expansion and refurbishment of the arrivals/baggage reclaim hall, extension of the freight terminal by 60% capacity, remodelling of duty – free shops to international standards, extension of runway by 550 metres, construction of a dedicated apron for freight aircraft, refurbishment and expansion of the departure check-in area, installation of baggage handling & screening system, improvement of departure/immigration area, construction of terminal forecourt (now Airport Square) to separate arrival and departure areas (different levels) and provide a sheltered facility for meeters and greeters/general public.
In November 2004, a new civil aviation law, the Civil Aviation Act, 2004 (Act 678) was enacted. The law mandated the separation of the airports management functions of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to a new entity. The Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) was eventually set up for that purpose. The objective was for GCAA to focus on its role as the Regulator of the air transport industry and provider of air navigation services. In line with the Act, GACL was incorporated in January 2006 but commenced operations in January 2007 with the responsibility for planning, developing, managing and maintaining all airports in Ghana.
After the decoupling of the GCAA, GACL continued with the development programme for Kotoka International Airport. In 2009, the third phase commenced and included the rehabilitation of taxiways, main passenger apron, drainage systems, runway 21 touch down zone, rehabilitation and extension of fuel mains, installation of aeronautical ground lighting systems, provision of pavement management systems and the construction of a fire station.
Until the last quarter of 2010, Kotoka International Airport (KIA) had only two boarding gates. GACL in partnership with the United Airlines and Star Alliance constructed three additional boarding gates to improve facilitation. Three more gates have subsequently been constructed bringing to eight (8) the number of boarding gates at KIA.
Why the airport was named after Kotoka
The Late Lt. General Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka was the first coup maker in Ghana whose National Liberation Council (NLM) overthrew Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on February 24, 1966.
Subsequently, he was killed a year after the coup at the forecourt of the country’s Airport, which informed the naming of the national airport after him.