by Stanley Azuakola
Consistent with our tradition of getting those who should know address the issues that matter to Nigerians at every point in time, we engaged Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, in an insightful #YNaijaTwitterInterview. The minister, who is not known for mincing words, had a lot to say about the issues bedevilling the aviations sector and much more. He was passionate, blunt and controversial in turns. This is an interview you really should read.
The interview was conducted by Stanley Azuakola (@stanleyazuakola).
@realFFK @YNaija I do what I did for many years before joining gov. I am a lawyer and I have business interests, investments in and outside of Nigeria. I also do a lot of consultancy work for various multinational corporations. So been busy. #YNaijainterview
@realFFK @YNaija I warned them that standards were falling, that this was dangerous and that it could lead to the loss of life. There have been 13 crashes in Nigeria in the last10 years with the attendant loss of 800 lives. It is terrible. We raised the standard; worked hard, prayed hard and by the grace of God we put a stop to that cycle of crashes. Not one crash took place and not one person was killed under my watch because we insisted on the highest standards. Unfortunately after we left in 2007 standards fell again and there were 7 more crashes between then and today. #YNaijainterview
@YNaija @realFFK To put things in context, your tenure as minister was for just 5 months, so should you really be claiming credit? Oduah has served longer than u did as Aviation Minister and this was the 1st crash under her. I say this because just 4 days to the Dana crash, the president’s team also boasted that there hasn’t been and won’t be any crash under this administration cos of their reforms. #YNaijainterview
@realFFK @YNaija I was Min for 8 months and not 5. The issue is not the time we spent. The issue is the quality of work we did and the reforms that we put in place. Do your homework and go and find out what we achieved. If there were 5 crashes in one year the year before we came in and 453 died and after we came in and insisted on safety and security and those crashes suddenly stopped then I think that it shows that we did something right and we saved lives. My team and I should and do take credit for that and so should OBJ who gave us a free hand to fight the evil there. It was not just a question of luck but a matter of hard work and restoring discipline, standards and putting in far reaching reforms and checks and balances. We succeeded in all our objectives and I am v proud of and satisfied with that. If you want to know what else we did go and check my website or do your research. Our record is outstanding. Since then and up till today there have been approximately one crash per year and even more each with loss of life. If that is impressive to u then I wish u good luck. If u lost a loved one u would not say so. And now u talk about the present Min and compare her to me? Pl go and find out just how bad it is now. We saved lives. Let others do the same, including Stella Oduah. There is more to aviation than refurbishing airports. I hope you get my point. So I do take the credit for what we achieved at that time and u should give us some too. #YNaijainterview
@realFFK @YNaija regulatory agencies do their jobs properly. If they did not we would sanction them. Also grounding ALL unsafe and old planes, increasing the asset base of airlines and withdrawing the licences of airliners that were not strong and safe. We also established a new agency to investigate crashes because all previous reports of past crashes were fake. Most of these things were undone, neglected or weakened after we left and they returned to the old era of sharp practices, cutting corners, turning a blind eye, lying to the public, monumental corruption, giving the aviation mafia a free hand and “anything goes”. Very sad #YNaijainterview
@YNaija @realFFK We have heard you say in the past that you believed there was a spiritual dimension to those crashes. Tell us about that
@realFFK @YNaija I will only tell you that i choose my words carefully and do not speak lightly. I used the words “blood cult” in 2008 when i appeared before the Senate Aviation Committee. There are some people sufficiently demonised to actually believe that the shedding of innocent blood and the sacrifice of human life brings them power and wealth. This is a fact. They are in the aviation sector and have agents who allow them cut corners, cover up real cause of crash etc. I met and weeded some when i was there. Now they are back. How do you explain fact that every major crash in the last 10yrs happened on a weekend? How come no one has ever resigned or been held liable for crashes? How come not one reliable crash report was filed on all our major crashes. If you want to really know what happened in those crashes, get a copy of the NTSB report and sadly it’s a classified doc. Why’s that? Who has sth to hide? Why has the AIB been sidelined in the investigation of the Dana crash. There is so much more i can say and so many macabre dimensions. When someone tells you that they need 1,100 souls to perish from the sky in order to prolong their stay in power you know that we are living amongst vampires in this country and that some people are not just fetish sociopaths but they are also insane. Thank God that the blood of Jesus still speaks.
@YNaija @realFFK If there had been an air crash while you were the minister, would you have resigned?
@realFFK @YNaija I would definitely have resigned if any plane had crashed whilst I was Minister of Aviation. I said this to the newly appointed head of AIB during our first meeting in 2006 after Mr President appointed him. I also said this to President Obasanjo, but I can only speak for myself.
@realFFK @YNaija Ensure that there is a credible and thorough investigation. Keep the airline operators, the Min and regulatory agencies on their toes and finally insist on seeing the American NTSB report for the Dana crash and all the other plane crashes in the last 10 years. If the public really wants to know what happened in ALL of those crashes that is what they must do. U can only fix a problem when u know the cause of it. Most importantly Nigerians should demand for a much higher. And safer standard of aviation in our country and stop taking the rubbish that is fed to them and believing the lies. We must not play politics or games with the aviation sector. It is not a place to put someone who does not know God, who is not ready to be very tough and hard on everyone there and who lacks guts. It is a place where people will die if the Minister and her team do not do their job properly. May God help us. #YNaijainterview