Much as I am pained by the unfortunate incident of the Dana Air Crash that claimed at least 153 lives, much as I am moved by the realization that I my preferred airline has been Dana and I have flown it more than 30 times this year, I sincerely am bothered by the hypocrisy surrounding so many comments I’m seeing all over the place. I’m sure you are wondering what’s this all about, please be patient, don’t judge the book until you have read its content.
Bad news sells, I guess, otherwise I don’t understand why we are gradually making an industry out of the ill fate of others. The newspapers brandish the faces of the deceased via the air crash, they eagerly produce the manifest and show the names of those who met with their untimely death. In all this, we all quite easily overlook how many people died at that very same sight that were either at home on their beds, or in church in service after service. We talk about the 153, and we subtly ignore the 25! What exactly is the noise about?
I got an sms, purportedly from a church, about how not to pay lip service to the people that died on the plane crash. How a certain pastor had spent sleepless nights the previous nights worried about a solution to the family of the deceased, and how there is a plan to get people to contribute money together to sponsor a widow, sponsor a child or sponsor a family bereaved. While all these are noble, they do not allay my worry – “What about the scores who died from the 26 car explosions on Lagos-Ibadan express way the previous day? What about those who died in the bomb blast in Bauchi, while in church the same morning?
All of a sudden, I see people waxing lyrical and being touched by the fate of those alive, and the “choicelessness” of those about to die. I see people all of a sudden seeing a reason to witness, or just a reason to hook up lyrics to mourn the dead. These are great, don’t get me wrong, but what about those who crashed on the same day without celebrity effects? What about those whose crash was motivated by malaria, or those inspired by typhoid, what of those driven by childbirth or ordained by bad roads? How many do we want to count of good teeth in a rotten mouth? Why don’t we leave the leaves and together face the roots of our problems? Do you know that as number 4 on the highest death rate list in the world, at 16.06 per 1000, we actually have approximately 7,031 people who die in Nigeria daily? At 153 per plane, that’s over 45 Dana crash equivalents per day! Unfortunately, on most of those days, we don’t paint black, we don’t make a show out of their demise, nor do we get creative about the families of the departed, or the fate of those gone. We simply move on!
Am I writing so that we move on? No, I’m saying let’s stop patronizing the current issue and appearing hypocritical. Let’s ask ourselves the tough questions and face the answers, “What is the root of all these mishaps?”. I have thought about it, and if you have, I believe you will agree with me. At the heart of our issues is the fact that as a nation, we are led by wicked and incompetent leaders. Their wickedness is not really in what they do at night or behind the scenes, their strongest credential for wickedness is their incompetence. When the wicked rule, the people are destined to mourn, it is the reign of those who do right and are competent that leads to joy. If 153 flight class people’s death can create so much connection among Nigerians, what do you think will happen if we decide to really pay attention to the 7,031 daily deaths?
Every time I arrive at the Nigerian airport, I am reminded of the fact I had come to discover, “That until we fix our nation from the top, we would continue to get shame from the things that are ours collectively”. We are a nation at risk! Our doctors cannot guarantee that our drugs are safe and authentic, journeying on our roads are aptly described by a senator as a macabre dance. In the air, we are unsure, at home, uncertain, even in our places of worship, we are screened for bombs, indicating no guarantees. When we cross the roads, we look left, look right, look down and also have to look up. We make light our predicaments, by paying fairly for the services of jesters, we sing away our sorrows, drown our worries in alcohol and move on in 3 days like nothing happened.
Here is a call to keep our eyes on the ball. For as long as we do not participate actively in the call to ensure proper leadership in our country, for as long as we do not step up from voting to participating, for as long as our only contribution to society is reactive, for as long as we do not engage the services of our mind and resources to dislodge incompetence from public offices, we would remain like hen in a pen, waiting for our day to come!