Temitope Shittu-Alamu: (Heart) Breaking News

And so today begins with fresh new worries, lies, discoveries and cover up. But in the end, there is the same and only WISE God. The one who sees all, who hears all, and the same one who would comfort Nigeria in this grieving time.

It’s 5 o’clock in the morning, and my head is still pounding from the previous night. All through my sleep, I tossed and turned. I felt like I was in a dream. A scary dream I so badly wanted to wake from.

I rummage my bed side table to find my glasses — and as I stagger out of bed, it all begins to flood back.

Yesterday, a plane on board with 146 passengers and 7 cabin crew had crash landed leaving no survivors.

I run to my TV and frantically search all the local channels when I saw an update on my phone. None was reporting anything. In a split second I thought, “Oh maybe it’s a rumour”.

I tune to CNN and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration is showing live. Then something down the screen catches my attention. It rolled past real quick but I caught the part that said 153 feared dead. Hand on my chest, I hold my breath, and “randomly” hope it’s Syria again as usual. But no, it’s not. By this time pictures are starting to emerge on BlackBerry Messenger and Twitter. I must have looked at my phone like 50 times in one minute. I was wondering who to call, thinking what to do.

AIT then breaks the silence. The sport presenter nonchalantly says, There isn’t much detail so let’s just go on with the match.”

I feel disgust start to well up inside me. It’s like Dec 10 2006 all over again. Images of children flash in my head. In the manifest are names that sound just like mine. Men, women, and children not in any way different from me. I begin to see how connected they are to me. I would later learn that I know somebody that knows somebody that died. Doesn’t matter how long the chain is, it gets more real by the minute.

My head is pounding, my heart is aching , my feet  heavy.

To think that people must have seen themselves crashing below and could do nothing about it. I know the look on my face when a plane I was in some weeks back entered turbulence. I know how I prayed. I know that people on this flight must have prayed too. I imagine the kids screaming and wondering what was going on. In one full swoop of an aircraft, the lives of Nigerians changed forever. I have never listened to safety instructions on an aircraft as instructors  are usually too far or too fast. I never imagined dying in a plane crash anyway.

It is saddening to know that we could have found survivors. I am certain we could have. It exploded 30 minutes after landing. There definitely would have been survivors. I will not begin to point fingers at fire trucks that didn’t bring water or the rescue team that was stuck in traffic. All I know is that we could have found survivors.

More saddening though is the new consensus that will emerge on the “safest” airline to fly, until the next one crashes. It’s an unending cycle of foolishness. Dana has been my favourite airline for three years now. If I have to travel tomorrow, I would perhaps still fly Dana that is if of course their license doesn’t get revoked. That would be very unlikely though. But it’s not just about Dana. How many more unchecked and unfit airlines still fly our airspace.

I once smelt smoke in an Arik airline just about when we were landing. I am certain I smelt it. I asked the lady by me but she was too tired to care. The plane was landing anyway.

Right now there are no more words to say. Tears have fallen like rain, depression has set in. All that is left is emptiness. Flags are being flown at half mast but what are grieving families supposed to be doing now? Identifying bodies would by no means be an easy task. The horror just got uglier.

People need to be held accountable. We suffer enough tragedy in this country already and a plane crashing because of someone or a group of people’s negligence should not be tolerated. Is it now a crime to go to Lagos to see our families, or attend a social function?

The pain I feel is indescribable.

I am drained by all the horror in all the different segments of our economy. I am perplexed that people would rather make side money than care about the lives of people. This corruption has to be cut from its roots. Otherwise we would tell our children with our own mouths how we destroyed our own selves. But we will fight it. For the sake of the lost ones we would. We would build Nigeria again first by believing in it and then bending our backs to ensure our belief becomes reality.

I am in a mix of emotions. Horrified, mortified, and saddled with the responsibility of moving on, as usual. There is an emptiness I can’t explain. All that is in it is a tiny flicker of hope.

And so today begins with fresh new worries, lies, discoveries and cover up. But in the end, there is the same and only WISE God. The one who sees all, who hears all, and the same one who would comfort Nigeria in this grieving time.

 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.


Temitope Shittu-Alamu, is a writer, an eclectic public speaker and master of ceremonies with a degree in History and International Relations. Passionate about the media and of a strong belief that “it is my platform to building the Nigeria of my dreams”. She hosts an annual Christmas show on television. She loves God. She loves people too.

Did she mention that she love garri? Wow, it keeps her going. She blogs at http://eclectictope.wordpress.com/


Editor’s note: 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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Comments (3)

  1. So sadden

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail