When the soap is dirty, what shall be
used in washing it
Nigeria is a beautiful land; that’s a
statement of fact. We take
everything and anything, in fact
sarcastically we take nothing. We go
to bed and wake, what we see, we
take, questions are not asked and
when asked, very little comes by way
of answers.
I get honestly amused at our attitude
to life and the very essence of what
makes us what we are. My admonition
this week is on a rather strange
phenomenon of ghost tales and how we
just talk, complain, display temporary
grief and move on.
The aircraft was not hired by the
family, it was not hired by the Ondo
state government, it was not hired by
me and certainly not you, maybe
Associated Airlines hired the aircraft
from themselves. The ‘craft was
carrying Agagu’s corpse, his son, a
state commissioner, boss of the
undertaking company yet it was not
hired by anyone. Ghost tales!
How many of us recall the Bellview
crash in Lisa Village, only few years
after, remember the tales of the Lisa
Village project that began, today it is
in a state of nowhere.
How about that Dike led investigation
panel that went to all the airports,
made recommendations, billions were
spent, billions still being spent, and
more air disasters.
This is a nation I have come to
appreciate because of its peculiarities,
while we are yet to understand a
phenomenon, another sets in.
Did we really forget that Sosoliso
crash and those kids, for several
hours, infact a day after the crash,
the manifest of the aircraft was yet
to be released, then the manifest was
being vetted by the State Security
Service (very awkward) as I ask what
has the SSS got to do with the
“vetting” of manifest of a plane that
virtually had only school children going
on Xmas vacation.
The Nigerian Airspace Management
Agency (NAMA) even said the then
Minister, Aborishade would release the
manifest. When the Airport fire
fighting vehicle (only one) came, it
barely had water, though the
authorities have come out to deny it,
not that we expected otherwise, most
of the dead were visibly badly burned.
Fast forward to Dana, and add
Associated Airlines, same difference,
except that the current Minister has
allegedly added that these crashes
are acts of ‘god’. Infact during Dana,
while thugs stole and scavenged,
others fought the fire with sachets of
‘pure’ water.
We have an Aviation Ministry that has
watched at times as an aircraft ran
into a herd of cows. Plane manifests
treated like WAEC expo questions.
Does it ever strike one, that as usual
again those who had earlier boarded
the same crashed aircraft had
complained that the aircraft was not
in good shape, just like the Bellview
Aircraft, just like Sosoliso, just like
Dana…Truth is a hard commodity in
not only the airline business, but most
things in Nigeria.
In times like these every Nigerian
both those that fly frequently and
those who flew last in 1976 become air
and craft experts and then as is
always the case it would be
accusations and counter accusations…
lies, and ghost tales.
In Nigeria we have a President, a
Minister for Aviation, countless
agencies, and experts and yet airlines
do “crew exchange” borrow and lend
planes like it’s a TOD (temporary over
draft) bank facility. Pilots fly for
their airlines and are borrowed to
other airlines. Aircraft due for major
routine maintenance check are left to
Big men cannot fly our airspace again,
poor men cannot travel our roads,
travel forty minutes from Jos to
Bauchi and be interrupted by bigger
boys (armed robbers), that is after
the big boys (policemen) have also
robbed the driver. Our waters if they
do not have potholes already, are the
domain of pirates, then one decides to
trek to his destination a government
official with his convey of 20 cars at
200 kilometers per hour blasting sirens
would hit the man.
If our leaders are not wicked why
would an airline over-sell its tickets I
remember the BAC I-II aircraft
belonging to EAS that crashed in Kano
on May 4, 2002 the plane was
reportedly carrying over load.
Virtually all the local airlines have
turned our airspace to Oshodi motor
park flying planes like Majekobaje (do
not let it spoil) Lagos Kabukabu with
planes quaking like some ‘e go reach’
ali chikwendu transport J5.
Ghost tales: Did you hear that ‘dead
bodi get accident story’ or that
‘Agagu’s corpse dies in crash’
reported by a prominent media (not
this one) or that gist about voodoo
and metaphysical powers of the dead
Agagu, how the coffin won’t open and
wasn’t damaged…how about the wife
died too, Obasanjo’s son and the first
casualty figure of several hundreds.
I was an observer at the last
Presidential Forum on Aviation some
years back, I concluded then that
Nigerian needs a coup de people, that
is a people inspired uprising…I wept
profusely for this nation…because I
said more will die, and yes more have
died, ask the families of the Dana
debacle and more will die.
Soon someone, some government group
or agency would organize the
gathering of the “so-called experts” a
bunch of the same people that killed
the national carrier, and planning to
float another, same people who
supervised the buying of aircrafts
that were older than our centenary.
Simply put a gathering of the problem
to solve the solve the problem with
some ghost tales.
Who has forgotten that pilots take
their simulator forms home and fill
and they are re-licensed. NCAA
officials get first class tickets to the
Bahamas with their wives, concubines,
mistress and girlfriends to go have
fun, and they in turn certify the
planes without seeing them.
If a plane is so bad that passengers
can notice through the sound and
movement and then not even the pilot
complains and even if he complains,
still flies that plane because
some oga@the top say so. We are
in trouble that all the current ad hoc
mend your trouser arrangement
cannot solve.
I love the Bible story of Noah and the
ark, very few people listened, but
rained it did and it rained and rained
and rained. The ghost tales is going to
continue, does anyone really think we
are ready as a people to stop these
tragedies–only time will tell.