by Segun Odeleye
Former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, refused to take the current minister’s advise to hide his head in shame, but has instead decided not just to reveal the head but publicly use it in debating with “the aviation minister in person, no aide, no special adviser, no special assistant, just one-on-one with her to let her know that she is not doing something right.” And who knows, she might even accept if she finds time to think about something other than her head scarf.
On Friday he left tweeting and essay writing and arrived at Channels Television because he just cannot “shy away from letting them (aviation authorities) know that they may not be doing things rightly.”
Fani-Kayode continued to express indignation, just like the majority of Nigerians, with the minister’s statement declaring the inevitability of plane crashes. In his opinion, “If you say it is just an act of God, you don’t give confidence to Nigerian flyers. You are saying, I just don’t care and that is not right. We need militant attitude on the job because there must be no half-measures in the sector.”
Fani-Kayode’s great boast is about how his tenure as aviation minister never recorded any plane crash, not minding of course that he spent the grand total of seven months in charge. His charge to Oduah was that she should emulate him, because during his tenure “every agency was working at 100 per cent with military precision; not 90 per cent or 99 per cent but 100. Then, people were confident of flying, but three months after my departure, there was another crash.” That example was not his only reference to the military as he related the calls for the aviation ministry to be scrapped with “saying because the Army has a command regime, they should not have a GOC.” He found that ridiculous.
He emphasised on the need to put the institution safety mechanisms across the nation’s airspace ahead of the ongoing expansion of terminals and remodeling of airports. “I’ll rather prefer an ugly airport with a safe sky than a beautiful airport with killing skies,” he said.
The former minister berated the ministry officials for their inconsistency in awarding Dana Air as the best in the country soon after restoring its suspended license. The airline had been grounded following the Dana Air Flight 992 crash in June, 2012 which saw the death of all 153 passengers on board.
“When I was Minister, I grounded more planes than any other Minister in the country, including airlines of my very close friends- such as (Buba) Marwa and Jimoh Ibrahim- because their airlines could not meet up with the industries capital base and their airplanes were too old. Sosoliso and ADC have never flown again after their crashes because we grounded them after their crash,” he said.