Opinion: Waiting for the National Commission on Private Jets

by Ike Willie-Nwobu

The establishment of such an agency would be the panacea as well as the horses’ mouth that would put paid to the flying snippets of rumour regarding the link between private jet acquisition and the 2015 elections.

The feelers from almost every quarter seem to indicate a determined obstinacy for the chase, which the lure of the latest form of ostentation rather than transport, the private jet, provides. From politics, to religion, business and every other walk of human endeavour, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the mantra of owning a private jet has transcended every other priority in the rank and file of our elite class, and as a result, it will be only nice and imperative to create an agency that will seek to protect the interests as well as defend the profligacy of private jet owners. For these and many more purposes, the agency will be known and referred to as the National Commission for Private Jets, Nigeria.

Errrrrrmmm… what will be the terms of reference of such a hallowed agency? It would be to seek to check the excesses of various professionals and bodies associated with the paraphernalia of owning such luxury aircraft in the country. They may begin to salivate at the largesse they have the potential of amassing from the looming boom of private jet ownership in Nigeria. It is important such an agency is instituted, just in case the statistics of a nearly 300 per cent increase in the number of private jet owners during the four year period of 2008 to 2012 prove too tempting to resist.

The most probable initial direction of the bill for this agency would be to ascertain how, and when and where the owners came about such wealth. A private jet costs in the neighbourhood of $45m to $70m, and as such the owner should be outstanding and conspicuous enough to have a verifiable source of income and wealth. It would also be necessary to establish their taxing profile and history, as well as their details of compliance. The agency would only seek to defend law-abiding citizens, patriotic and indigenised as they come.

The demographic spread of the ownership of the items of luxury would also come in handy here, as it would afford the agency the tools of creating a policy that would be as impartial as possible in discharging its duties. This would also include the local content compliance level also, as a way of indigenising the job specialities in the enterprise like the pilot and the crew members. In the spirit of true federalism, the survey would also want to reflect the geopolitical spread of the jet ownership.

In the agency’s quest to inquire after the patriotic and philanthropic skew of the individuals, I would recommend that an audit of the poverty level of the state, local government and community which nurtured the owners be carried out. The financial and economic involvement in purchasing and maintaining a private jet is known to all, and we should expect a certain level of social responsibility from the owners of such flying toys. The interweave of wealth and lifestyle is not also new to anyone, and our area of interest would be the number of wives and concubines the owners have, as well as any other possible extra marital philandering.

The agency would want to know the political parties the owners belong. The hurricane of the oil subsidy fraud has yet to settle in the psyche of many, and we would want to inquire of any possible links with the monumental fraud being perpetuated. The agency as a corporate body would not want to run at cross purposes with governmental aims by associating with brigands. The credit rating of the owners is another area of interest. We would want to know the number of banks they each owe, as well as their current relationship status with their business partners.

Of utmost importance to the National Commission for Private Jets would be the religious inclination of the owners-whether they be Christians or Muslims. In furtherance of this quest, it would be advisable to carry out an opinion poll of the religion of the best population to know how they feel about this new craze.

Without recourse to hearsay or the unreliable ramblings of the grapevine, it would be necessary to investigate the actual running and maintenance costs of owning a private jet. The best approach to this would be to invite the needed experts. While this is being done, it should be juxtaposed with the poverty level in the land. Again, with the increasing trend of jet ownership in Nigeria, and since the population could be a match for our national and or presidential fleet, as well as the Nigerian Air Force, the possibility of partnership, collaboration and cooperation should be explored. Since it would be of utmost economic benefit to both owner and country, it would not be less than a laudable venture, not only to the Air force, but it would also be a welcome leeway out of the obvious crisis our aviation sub-sector seems to be facing at the moment.

The establishment of such an agency would be the panacea as well as the horses’ mouth that would put paid to the flying snippets of rumour regarding the link between private jet acquisition and the 2015 elections. It would also clear the air over insinuations that most jet owners are surrogate owners.

The National Commission for Private Jets will also,  among other things, demand and ensure that the 35 per cent affirmative action of the present administration is brought to bear on the ownership structure of private jets in the country, making provision for a fair spread among the genders. The bankruptcy level as well as trend of past owners would be indispensable here, as a means of guiding the current owners. While they would be duly appreciated and recognized for making jets the newest item on the fashion accessory list, an inquest into their health status would also be done. Ranging from HIV, heart disease, blood pressure to possible incontinency, they will all be tried, tested and ascertained. The agency should be interested in knowing how many of them are a part of the Ministry of Sycophancy as well as establishing around them a large haul of sycophants. To that effect, an arm of the agency would be shouldered with the responsibility of writing biographies of them.

Part of the agency’s assignment would be to find out if any of the members of the armed forces owns jets. Armed forces are part, members and facilitators and access to our national power index and intrigue, therefore, it is of extreme importance that we know how many of them own private jets, considering the ruse around them and the span of their stay in government. Whether they are surrogate or direct owners does not matter, for they represent a major interest group in Nigeria and external economic interest which determines political process. In the event they do not own, the agency would ensure that the major economic imbalance would be quickly corrected by ensuring the necessary bogus projects are created for them to access funds for their own jets.

Finally, as the chairman and chief executive of such a noble agency, the luxury and bliss of flying privately in a jet, which is the crux of the establishment of this body, would not be lost on me, naturally. I would be given a lift to any choice location for a vacation. This would afford me the first-hand experience of private jets, to make informed and educated policies, on the advancement and growth of the Agency of Private Jets in Nigeria.

 

– This piece was first published in the Punch Newspapers

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

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