Debo Adejugbe: Nigeria and the exclusivity to ‘Acts of God’ (Y! Politico)

by Debo Adejugbe

Debo Adejugbe Y! Politico 2

Planes upon planes are falling from our skies and yet, the question of who to blame arises each time it happens. Does it mean that we can’t get it right? How come, with the shoddy way DanaCrash inquest was handled, Stella Oduah remains firmly in place?….

For acts of God that specifically claim thousands of lives, Nigeria’s data sits high above the universal average. Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, reiterated our general disdain for logic and decorum just four days after the tragic crash that involved an Associated Airline plane which killed 14 of those on board. Now known as the “Agagu Crash”, the plane crashed less than a minute after take-off and it has prompted a lot of angry reactions from Nigerians who are still recovering from the grief, confusion and emergency-response shoddiness that accompanied the Dana Air Crash of June 3, 2012.

Reacting to questions on the crash, Stella Oduah had carpeted those who feel the Aviation sector and the much-talked about reforms were not yielding desired fruits. She added that “We do not pray for accidents but they are inevitable. But we will continue to do everything to ensure that we do not have accidents. But an accident is an act of God.”

Buoyed by the general nonsense accepted by the cabinet she serves on, she inundated us further, with figures about ICAO’s vote of confidence on our airspace: “And what saddens me really is that ICAO said just last week that Nigeria was way above the global average. We actually scored 65 per cent. Secondly, ICAO said Nigeria was the 12th most safe aviation globally. And then when you hear bad comments; people making comments that have zero bearing on reality. It is very annoying.”

On the one area that really matters –public perception-, our airspace score less than satisfactory marks, so the excoriation is deserved. What does ICAO’s vote of confidence have to do with what we have witnessed in just over a year? Kabo Airline cargo plane crashed in Ghana on June 2nd, 2012; Dana Airline Crashed on June 3rd, 2012 claiming several lives; Danbaba Suntai’s plane crashed in 0ctober 2012; The Bayelsa Helicopter crash that happened in December, 2012 claimed its own set of lives, while the recent “Agagu Crash” and the almost-crashed Kabo Airline in Sokoto made nonsense of whatever ratings or good scores anyone gives our aviation sector, but they keep touting these statistics.

Planes upon planes are falling from our skies and yet, the question of who to blame arises each time it happens. Does it mean that we can’t get it right? How come, with the shoddy way DanaCrash inquest was handled, Stella Oduah remains firmly in place? She acknowledges the professional nature of the Aviation sector but she, a professional amateur, is continuously holding sway in the ministry. Could someone with a better experience of how the Aviation sector should work, encouraged a better maintenance regime? We would never know until we return to filling the right holes with the right pegs.

To further understand Stella Oduah’s thinking, I decided to look at some other “Acts of God” that has eaten deep into our national fabric. According to the Stella Oduah school of thought, accidents are acts of God; we can safely conclude that this nation is bedeviled by her own brand of “Acts of God” in every sector of our national life. Acts of God such as bad roads, air crashes, lack of pipe borne water, lack of qualitative education, perpetually striking lecturers, chronic unemployment, inexplicable illiteracy level and the legislooting going on in the National Assembly are few of those that have made life unbearable for Nigerians.

It wouldn’t be right if we fail to acknowledge other serious and damaging “Acts of God” that have consistently made its way into our lexicon of ridiculousness. Boko Haram remains an act of God many Nigerians are praying to him to rescind while citizens dying from stray bullets also fit squarely into Stella Oduah’s interpretation. More ridiculously, one can affirm that the American government shutdown was an act of God; as well as our subsidy-theft regime, the Nigeria civil war where millions died of gunshots and starvation, the road accident that paralyzed the late literary icon Chinua Achebe and finally, the election of 2015 would be an act of God. Why bother with a government?

It wouldn’t matter to our Aviation Minister that the legal dictionary and Cornell University Law School defines Act of God as: An event that directly and exclusively results from the occurrence of natural causes that could not have been prevented by the exercise of foresight or caution; an inevitable accident.

Even without checking a dictionary, how ridiculous and insensitive can someone be to pronounce an accident whose investigation is still pending –according to her- as an act of God? While people were still dealing with their losses, you utter such senseless gutter-conclusions and keep a straight face? Same way that ALUU4 murders and the massacre of innocent students in Yobe and the northern parts of the country has been treated as an act of God? Oh, Please!

In all of these, the PDP in its wisdom felt the time to pass a vote of confidence on Stella Oduah is after the loss of precious lives from an air mishap that happened under her watch as Aviation Minister. If the present renovations and facelifts that some airports are enjoying –which is a good thing in itself- have relegated proper checks, maintenance and the general safety required of aircrafts to the background; who then are we renovating and face-lifting for?

Now that we have established that “Acts of God” rather than plausible and intelligent reasons are responsible for our overall mishap as a nation; why then do we need a government? Isn’t it funny that the downward trend that has been witnessed in the Aviation sector (since the eighties) coincided with total decay in all other sectors, marshaled by education and a dearth of infrastructural development? Isn’t it true that since corruption finally built its headquarter in Nigeria, we have practically failed in almost all sectors of the economy? Now that “Acts of God” has come to exclusively explain away all our national anomalies, we can all go back to sleep. Outrageous!

We don’t particularly subscribe to Nigeria’s exclusivity to “Acts of God” that claims innocent lives? We surely won’t wait long to keep piling up avoidable and unnecessary deaths while the government sits idly; ascribing inefficiency and incompetence to God. The line has to be drawn somewhere. That somewhere has to be the purchase of two bulletproof BMWs at an outrageous and out-of-the-world price of N255Million in prevention of an ‘act of God’ on Stella Oduah’s life. This is one ‘act of God’ that shouldn’t just lay low; it needs a reply in the form of an ‘act of man’ to flush all these nonsense out, once and for all.

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Debo Adejugbe is a trained Telecommunications/Electronics Engineer and a certified IT professional living in Lagos. Dad to amazing Hailey and an advocate against Sexual and Domestic Abuses. Debo has political sympathy for the Labour Party. He tweets from @deboadejugbe

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (2)

  1. Apt! this is why I am always uncomfortable with ‘ratings’ and ‘performance indices’ because in truth, they hardly reflect the truth on ground…that is why the local phrase ‘does that affect the price of fish in the market?’ means so much.. Law people would say ‘Res Ipsa Loquitor’ The fact speaks for itself..

  2. I think this article explains exactly why we cannot afford to let the #OduahGate just go like that. We need an act of a godly man…

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