Wednesday, 6 June 2012

She Weeps

Evening of Sunday 3 June 2012,  I wake up to a bombardment of missed calls. Prefix all commence with +44 so I have reason to believe something major has taken place. *Phone Rings* It's my younger sister. Her tone unsettled, she enquires about my welfare. I respond positively – she does the same before switching to a dismissive tone as if she was being hurried along. I ask what happened. She informed me a plane crashed in Lagos that afternoon. To make it worse a friend of her friend was scheduled to be on it.  Her concern understandably switched to confirming if her fears were true – she hangs up. At this point any lingering clasps of sleep have fully cleared from my eyes. I had to confirm what I'd just heard.

Fears Confirmed

153 people on board the Dana flight from Abuja lost their lives when the plane crash landed in a residential area in Agege. At least 10 others were killed on the ground and with allegations of faulty gear and engine equipment aboard the ageing liner (22 years) all I can say is why (again?)

For long I've raked on about Nigeria's lacklustre maintenance culture. We seem to believe once we build a new road or acquire a new bus the job is done. I'm accustomed to cussing out the UK's Highway Agency with all their roadworks - tarmacking terrain they serviced only weeks before. But here…pah. It's as if maintenance is a chore, a financial hindrance of sorts to appease the gods. So when I hear said plane was over 20 years old, one shudders. 

Our new roads rivert back to their old state within months - have you wondering if renovation ever took place. Our schools and offices, roads and aviation sectors act as dumping grounds for old, haggard computer equipment, black smog-bellowing Mack trucks and dated, second hand planes from abroad we seem more than happy to accept. Nigeria reminds me of the guy who can just about purchase a Range Rover failing to account for the after sale expenses of fuel, servicing and insurance. 

Now we as a nation sit with forlorn faces asking ourselves why for the um-teen time and we'll continue to do so until we get the fundamentals right. I'm not even pointing at the Government this time – it's becoming a cliched gesture. I'm pointing at the private companies acquiring sub-standard equipment with selfish gain taking priority over the safety and well-being of our people. I'm pointing at the 'we'll manage it' culture where instead of replacing a decrepit machine we opt to cope in order to save or even pocket a little extra Naira. And the saying goes he who points the finger has three pointing back at him - so I'm pointing at myself for sitting back and expecting things to change eventually – and if it doesn't – as long as it doesn't affect me and my immediate folk I'm largely unperturbed.

In fact I'm tired of complaining. My NYSC Community Development group were badgered to raise N550K for our project reconstructing a borehole and 12 toilets for a local school. A valiant endeavour yes but maintenance work that should be carried out by the local government is conveniently shifted over to Corpers who are accused of not serving their country if they murmur. 

But as I said, I'm done complaining, just waiting patiently for someone or something to place that final straw on my nations back - then we'll see - until then she'll continue weeping.

1 comment:

BushBabeUK said...

:( Thank you for bringing this to our attention and sharing your thoughts. The mentality can be very destructive as we can clearly see and yet sometimes we correctly pat ourselves on the back for not being wasteful and celebrate our frugal ways - we have to get the balance right. Until then we shall continue to pray and wait expectantly. Keep it up. x