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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Yet another plane crash in Nigeria

My friend Bose is screaming down the phone…no no, no not Dr. Ola, God he is one of the good ones no no. My mentee Tayo and l are dejectedly channel surfing searching for something, anything. NTA has dark, blurry shaky pictures of the Sultan of Sokoto, leader of Nigeria’s huge Muslim population being buried. He, his son and grandson died in the crash. They have been at that for an hour, Channels TV has some pictures of disbelieving relatives. We flick to CNN, Enugu State’s expensive untruthful paid infomercial is running and then top news comes on and finally a clean clear, non committal report on the plane crash, the third of such magnitude in 12months. Almost a year to date, we killed over 60 children in the Sosoliso crash, months after the Bellview crash. We go back to NTA; the dark pictures are still on. Nothing on the full manifest, in fact even frantic relatives are getting no information. The president has declared 3 days of national mourning, he has not sacked Borisade the aviation minister his friend. Once again, Nigeria mourn in her spectacular, head grabbing, chest clutching, God outsourcing way, then she will return to status quo until the next major disaster.
Once on my show l pointed out how the systemic decay is finally catching up with everyone lowly and mighty. Did the former minister of works Gen Adisa not die on the roads he didn’t fix, flying to an emergency country (we have no ERs) because his colleagues did not fix the hospitals and unable to get qualified help from schools they have not fixed. Worse still, we let them. Not only do we let them but in many ways we either in our disconnect from Nigeria’s true reality, or ostrich in sand denial, or our complicity in the way we conduct our own affairs or just sheer refusal to speak out, match out or fight. Whatever it will take to stop the madness. When people die on the roads or collapsed building, some thank God they do not have to go by road or bus and live in such homes. When planes crash some thank God that they cant afford to fly anyway. Elites are content to live in glorified slums, swimming into their homes, which will not last 50 years due to the poor construction. They are fine as long as they can carry the channel bag, hang out at boat club, travel on holiday twice a year and never cross the 3rd mainland bridge, the poor are fine as long as there is a brother who can be counted to help once in a while.
When will we see that ours is a collective tragedy?
Back to Bose, NTA is showing some survivors being attended to in open wards, which Bose as a senior consultant can see is makeshift. She is numbly calling her other colleagues to confirm the story and confirmation comes that yes Dr Ola a senior consultant at LUTH, genial hardworking lecturer with a polio induced limp, the probably reason he chose medicine as a profession and who was flying to Sokoto to invigilate at the university was indeed dead leaving his wife and four kid, dependants and hundreds of patients who come to his Mushin hospital for care. Bose had recommended him for the position in place of herself, so it could actually have been my brilliant beautiful loyal friend Bose on that plane as indeed it could have been me or any of us living out this macabre drama.

POSTNOTE
I had promised myself l was going to stop depressing everyone and write a fun, happy story to post today, guess it’ll have to be another day as l try to piece together more information as the days go by.

20 comments:

Mona said...

may their souls rest in peace, Amen xx

Jeremy said...

Funmi I think your blog may become as important as your tv show - this way you can reach out to anywhere - the diaspora and to the many friends of Nigeria who want something better. Perhaps you could put clips of your show on YouTube and post them to your blog, to join the two worlds? I'm sure you will get many thousands of online viewers.

Your words are so incredibly important - you have widespread respect and people can only admire your passion for Nigeria. You are, dare I say it, one of the very few public intellectuals on offer. You may or may not think of yourself as such, but that is the role you are playing.

As an adopted Nigerian, I feel all messed up by today's news. I can only imagine how infuriated over a hundred million people are tonight by yet another needless loss of life. The question is: how does all this frustrated energy acquire connectivity and critical mass? How do words translate into action? How does the elite dislodge itself from its expensive-slum gated-community reality-illusion gap and become part of a change process?

Before we get to the answers stage, its important all the questions are put out on the table.

T-man said...

I dont want to call yesterday's crash a tragedy (even though I did on another blogspot already) but in fact it's an INSULT to Nigeria, a nation with a population estimated to be over 150 million.

Some twelve months ago, we heard similar worrying news and the response by the Nigerian President was to ground airlines while safety checks were carried out on them. My question is was any of these checks done genuinely or just to make the media think something was being done?

It's a shame that the value of the lives of victim are merely weighed in terms of how highly placed they are in the society. I also think it is an embarrasement that the President does not think the tragic news is important enough for him to make statement himself, hence a press release was done by Remi Oyo.

May the country learn something tangible from all these disasters. My sorrow goes out to all families that might have lost close ones to this once again avoidable disaster.

Akin said...

I don't if my memory serves me well enough about remembering your name at NTA, I have been away from Nigeria for almost 20 years, I just read about you from NaijaBlog.

I think you have expressed the truth as a critical bitter pill to the cure.

Those ministers and mandarins put in charge of our infrastructure that fail to despatch their duties of creation, maintenance and improvement might soon become victims of their failures.

Then beyond that, how is it that premier news channel in Nigeria can only obtain jerky blurry pictures of such an important personality as the Sultan.

There is no greater tragedy that can befall one as to see 3 generations snuffed out like that - if Borisade cannot take responsibility and resign, he should be sacked and there should be means and ways of involving those officials on a charge of culpable homicide.

Finally, when I blogged on this, I did wonder if certain influential passengers might have overruled the expert judgement of professionals in getting the plane to fly, when it should not have taken-off.

The Sultan on a plane surely would not have been put on one with a broken wing - haba!

cutie said...

Na wa oh! All I can say is when is this going to stop. What is going to follow is another stakeholder's meeting, where long agendas are drawn up and impeccable english is spoken, and before u know it another crash occurs. Everybody just folds their hands and wishes they are not onboard the next plane to crash. So much noise now which will eventually die down in few weeks time, while we await yet another tragedy. It's so painful that hundred's of us perish because some people at the helm of affairs particularly the aviation sector, who should be meticulous about their job have become so unserious or do I say incapable of handling such sensitive positions. Who will make a difference?

Anonymous said...

FI, great blog! I didnt know you now had a blog, a friend of mine just gave me the link and i was supposed to come read your article on Beyonce and ThisDay.

Right now, i'm just so angry about this latest crash. I have always beleived even with evidence to the contrary that Nigeria will get better but things only seem to be getting worse. For how long will this continue?

an angry young man said...

ok its tactics time. Here's how we kick out Borisade (ok its not a solution, but its the very beginning of one - and a sacrifice and admission of utter incompetence is needed right now) - this is exactly the strategy that would see him out on his arse elsewhere:

1. you need to get anonymous 'sources' close to the Govt (and bigwigs in banking the media etc) to say (anonymously) that he must go.
2. A whispering campaign builds up momentum, and the guy starts to feel real heat.
3. At the moment there is widespread support and hundreds/thousands of us have signed up, the story breaks the surface and he has no choice but to walk the plank.

Peeps - we're all upset and angry just now. We have to get off our backsides. Remember, the grieving mothers who got teargassed after Sosoliso? We have to say never again will these incompetent old men and their henchmen brutalise us into submission.

Funmi Iyanda said...

@ mona. Amen to that but l think their souls and the souls of everyone who's died in the past year in the air and on the roads due to negligence of all concerned must come back and haunt all such to eternity and beyond. Amen.

@ Jeremy. Thanks l am working on making the show more interactive. You cannot imagine the obstacles but l thrive in adversity. The answer to those questions you raised is the holy grail for Nigeria. L,d like to find it if one of he 6 million ways to senselessy die in nigeria doesnt get me before my time.

@t-man. l feel you man when the man finally decides to say something, he puts everything firmly on the doorstep of God. That imbecilic Nigeria refrain of God knows best. Didnt the bible say God is a God of order and arrangement, even the most powerful christain in modern world does not lie down and leave it all to God after 9/11. He gets up and fights a holy senseless undefinable war! He does something.

@Akin. NTA is a dynosaur, an able representation of what has become of most of our public life. Private proffessional life is only different in the veneer of psuedo sohistication it wears oft it is still patronage and substandard biz as usual. l,m on NTA as a matter of necessity, the story of my continued existence there will make a tragi-comedy someday. As regards the cohesion factor, who knows? seem far fetched just the sort of thing that an happen here.

@ cutie. yep, they set p another yeye panel of inquiry and Borisade who moderated the final embalment of Nigeria public edudation and has been the cheif grave digger in the unending aiation funeral is still in charge.

@ Annoymymous if you called me FI tou must be close to base. common show face, who you be? (-:

@ all before now, l,ll post an email l sent some friends of mine so you know why l had not been responsive to your comments.

Funmi Iyanda said...

@ mona. Amen to that but l think their souls and the souls of everyone who's died in the past year in the air and on the roads due to negligence of all concerned must come back and haunt all such to eternity and beyond. Amen.

@ Jeremy. Thanks l am working on making the show more interactive. You cannot imagine the obstacles but l thrive in adversity. The answer to those questions you raised is the holy grail for Nigeria. L,d like to find it if one of he 6 million ways to senselessy die in nigeria doesnt get me before my time.

@t-man. l feel you man when the man finally decides to say something, he puts everything firmly on the doorstep of God. That imbecilic Nigeria refrain of God knows best. Didnt the bible say God is a God of order and arrangement, even the most powerful christain in modern world does not lie down and leave it all to God after 9/11. He gets up and fights a holy senseless undefinable war! He does something.

@Akin. NTA is a dynosaur, an able representation of what has become of most of our public life. Private proffessional life is only different in the veneer of psuedo sohistication it wears oft it is still patronage and substandard biz as usual. l,m on NTA as a matter of necessity, the story of my continued existence there will make a tragi-comedy someday. As regards the cohesion factor, who knows? seem far fetched just the sort of thing that an happen here.

@ cutie. yep, they set p another yeye panel of inquiry and Borisade who moderated the final embalment of Nigeria public edudation and has been the cheif grave digger in the unending aiation funeral is still in charge.

@ Annoymymous if you called me FI tou must be close to base. common show face, who you be? (-:

@ all before now, l,ll post an email l sent some friends of mine so you know why l had not been responsive to your comments.

Funmi Iyanda said...

@ mona. Amen to that but l think their souls and the souls of everyone who's died in the past year in the air and on the roads due to negligence of all concerned must come back and haunt all such to eternity and beyond. Amen.

@ Jeremy. Thanks l am working on making the show more interactive. You cannot imagine the obstacles but l thrive in adversity. The answer to those questions you raised is the holy grail for Nigeria. L,d like to find it if one of he 6 million ways to senselessy die in nigeria doesnt get me before my time.

@t-man. l feel you man when the man finally decides to say something, he puts everything firmly on the doorstep of God. That imbecilic Nigeria refrain of God knows best. Didnt the bible say God is a God of order and arrangement, even the most powerful christain in modern world does not lie down and leave it all to God after 9/11. He gets up and fights a holy senseless undefinable war! He does something.

@Akin. NTA is a dynosaur, an able representation of what has become of most of our public life. Private proffessional life is only different in the veneer of psuedo sohistication it wears oft it is still patronage and substandard biz as usual. l,m on NTA as a matter of necessity, the story of my continued existence there will make a tragi-comedy someday. As regards the cohesion factor, who knows? seem far fetched just the sort of thing that an happen here.

@ cutie. yep, they set p another yeye panel of inquiry and Borisade who moderated the final embalment of Nigeria public edudation and has been the cheif grave digger in the unending aiation funeral is still in charge.

@ Annoymymous if you called me FI tou must be close to base. common show face, who you be? (-:

@ all before now, l,ll post an email l sent some friends of mine so you know why l had not been responsive to your comments.

naijagal said...

Funmi I enjoy reading your blog. Once again another plane crash. When would it stop! I have friend who want to come back home in the next 2 to 3 years but with the turn of events why would they?
I know of someone whose dad flew on the same flight friday! Now are people going to travel? By road? yeah right Benin LAGOS road takes 8 hours now so i hear! I guess everyone would have to sit at home. I cry for Nigeria. I cry because it hurts that things are left to rot. There is no maintenance culture. What would it cost to have at least 3 equipped firetrucks within 5miles of every airport?? Why should people or children burn to death when the plane is on ground?
Why can't the roads from LAGOS TO BENIN AND TO THE EAST get tarred!
These are questions I think about each and every day.
Any thoughts?
by the way I love your show your website needs updating though;)

Gbeborun of Lagos said...

Funmi,
I'm not sure people are really looking forward to some happy post on your blog. For me, i come here everyday to hear someone with a voice say the truth, no matter how unpopular it is.

About the crash.
First heard it on CNN but the newscaster said they didnt have much info yet so i flipped to them naija channels. You know what i found? Nothing. they were busy doing all other programs for the next 1hr or so without at least a scroll bar to break the news.

Also, further on what Jeremy said, maybe you should do something with the many of us that like reading your blog. write on something and devise an action plan that some of us can follow-up on. I for one would love to volounteer to teach some under priviledge persons about the internet and starting petty businesses. We just want your leadership. If you lead us, I'm sure many of us will follow.

Anonymous said...

Yet another plane crash, yet another 97 lives gone, another 3-days of mourning, and probably 1 month suspension of all ADC flights...
Then WHAT...life goes on, OBJ travels to another country and minister of aviation is still in office(probably does not remember the incident),people are still travelling on these death-traps- the so-called thoroughly checked planes...
And them BOOM!!...the same thing happens again and the cycle continues all over again...

WHEN ARE WE GOING TO STOP ACCEPTING LESS THAN WE DESERVE? OR ARE WE JUST OBLIVIOUS OF HOW BAD OUR TRANSPORT SYSTEMS ARE, HENCE THE REASON WHY WE ARE NONCHALANT?

Anonymous said...

@ Gbeborun of Lagos

I couldnt believe how useless the African channels are (especially the so-called BEN TV). I was expecting them to have some news about the disaster and I kept fliping my remote over and over again but guess what they had no new to share. I ended up relying on updates on BBC, CNN and Sky News.

I think the time has come for someone more serios with 'branding' to represent Nigeria TV in diaspora - as much as our culture can be projected, we can as well update citizens in time of serious events like that of yesterday.

bee said...

it is so sad..this whole plane carsh..when ae we going to learn our lesson and stop toying with peoples lives..Dr.Ola happened to be my friends dad and i still saw this friend on saturday..Funmi do u know my friend Esther was on board and she survived it...right no i am just praising God for her life..i had cried my eyes out when i thot she had died.na NYSC carry am go Sokoto o..
The minister of aviation should stop saying the pilot was warned not to fly..It takes many people to decide to fly a plane or not and the pilot alone cannot make the dcision.now he is dead and he cannot defend himself and people are saying he did not heed to the warning.That is not the issue.Government needs to look int o the avaiation industry and find a solution..Please funmi thank god for my friend o..You need to get her on your show to recount her experiencs.ANywayz today is my birthday and i am not even celebrating i am thanking God for the gift of life

Anonymous said...

a friend who is a staunch follower of ur show. she is even in the group pic with the renouned prof.wole soyinka introduced me to this site,which led me here. it is worth the trial.i mean i am very impressed. on the topic, a friend said something like see what nemesis can do. our senators
dont do what is important. on the aviation bill, nothing has been done. now that it has happened to one of theirs, they will look at it.

Anonymous said...

a friend who is a staunch follower of ur show. she is even in the group pic with the renouned prof.wole soyinka introduced me to this site,which led me here. it is worth the trial.i mean i am very impressed. on the topic, a friend said something like see what nemesis can do. our senators
dont do what is important. on the aviation bill, nothing has been done. now that it has happened to one of theirs, they will look at it.

Anonymous said...

Must aborishade be aviation minister by force.Three times the president forced him on the senate and on nigeria,now he has turned to being an "orisha" feeding on the blood of anyone that dear fly.I promise not to fly until this man is out of where he does not obviously belong.

Joel said...

Great blog, Funmi!

The ever increasing air mishap in Nigeria is nothing more than a ripple effect of a deep seated and long standing issues borne by complacency, which to me, is the result of our ineptitude and perverted value system.

Funmi Iyanda said...

@ gbeborun of lagos. l like your idea. will take you up on teaching the kids. We can only do our bit for now but continue to buld a large connected virtual community that can be organized for change. lets keep going.

@ bee. sorry about yor friend esther. please celebrate your own life, its a gift.