#NigeriaAir, Oby Ezekwesili And The Rest Of Us -By Obajeun Jonah

Filed under: National Issues |

But for the sake of optimism, Nigeria appears doomed to oscillate between the polarities of hope and despair, a conditioning that is perhaps best illustrated by the contradictions embedded in the structural pillars of its governance system.

Such was the fictitious launch of Nigeria Air that heralded continental fanfare to the amazement of industrial giants and to what turned out to be patriotic wishes of doom for the project. While jubilants took over the highly volatile social media streets, Oby Ezekwesili spewed godly vitriol, alarming the consequences of hasty venture at the expense of productive deployment of scarce resources.


But apologists wondered how someone who was so gifted, so driven to see a prosperous Nigeria, so passionate about the country, could she, in her dealings with other humanity like Nigeria Air, prove capable of cruelties, her career of dehumanization towards her own kind, her Nigeria Air? Indeed, there is patriotic solace in what has become of the imagined airline venture.

Madam Oby became a loner in her faithful prayer of doom while warlords chanted rhetorics of unguarded patriotism, questioning the extremism in Oby’s wishes. With great panache, she waddled in the murky waters of attack that enveloped her human will. She took bullet for defending an unpopular opinion, more so for backing it with spiritual infusion. And by sheer contradiction that has defined the country in its entirety, everyone is now back to Oby’s side.

In a sense, there is a historic justification for the failure of the take-off of Nigeria Air. States are always an unfinished business, a perpetual project-in-progress, and they tend to come under intense pressure as they confront new realities of history and competing claims. Many of them wander in the process and more still undergo a qualitative transformation or mutation. There is no point embarking on a journey with no path to destination.

In a country where poverty indices are the highest, challenges for business survival are abound, infrastructural development is not looking promising, insecurity is dangerously putting the existence of the nation states to test, accounting of its revenue is still shrouded with naughty discrepancies, venturing into airline business with a take-off cost of $3b and annual subsidy injection of $500m is apparently another jester adventure to project cunning political image of sort, with no serious profitably workable objectives other than national pride. It was a sickening show of low in London. Business design had already gulped over N1b! What a failure!

The champions of Nigeria Air must have thought that the time is ripe to have a national pride without making recourse to the many national pride that have become redundant because of the inability to muster the required resources for sustained management. Some have argued that if Nigeria can give room for true fiscal federalism to thrive, it can begin to think progressively, otherwise, its past would keep dragging it.

The tragedy of modern Nigeria is the tragedy of an inglorious political class, suffering from the bankruptcy of sound judgment which is not politically, intellectually and ideologically equipped to understand and appreciate the grave dimensions of the crisis facing Nigeria and its implication for Africa and the Black person. Therein is a political class that thinks about immediate political gains and elections, nothing more.

More tragic is the unsuspecting citizenry, especially the ones that roam the streets of the internet. While they appear cosmopolitan in nature, their engagements and response to issues are nothing but a complete box of needless naivety that is being taken for a ride.

The battle for the Nigerian state has been fought under many guises, diverse fronts and different platforms. The latest, and arguably the most inevitable, is the contention for resource control cloaked in ‘restructuring.’ Such has been the partisan fury, the fierce intellectual bombardment, the emotional blackmail, that it is virtually impossible to wade through intellectual trenches without ending up as a hostage of history.

Nigeria, in the real sense of it, needs a forward thinking political class.

Obajeun Jonah writes from Lagos

@Obajeun on twitter