Plane Crash: What’s God Got To Do With It?

by Fola Ojo

“We do not pray for accidents but it is inevitable. But all

we do is to do everything to ensure that we do not have accidents. But is an

act of God…!”

Stella Odua, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation (October 7, 2013,


In defense of the pus, rut and mess pervading the

Aviation Industry in Nigeria, Aviation Minister Stella Odua has come out

swinging. It is an acknowledged fact that much of the problem hitting the Aviation

marketplace probably started before the minister was born. Against this

backdrop, it will be unfair if I, through this medium unleash condemnation and

criticism on the honorable minister who had not probably been conceived in the

womb of her mother before Nigeria’s myriad problems were delivered in the

birth-bath of Lord Lugard. On the other hand, however, if tragedies and

disasters occur under the watch of an aviation team-leader, it is only

understandable why many may opine that the leader’s hands are dripping and glossed

up with blood spilled through a plethora of slaughter scenarios that are

recorded to date in avoidable plane crashes.

The irksomeness I am expressing in this piece

borders on the statement that the Minister made on Monday in Abuja. Mrs. Odua

said that plane crashes are both inevitable and “an act of God”. I disagree on both ends. In many nations of

the world where human lives are perceived as precious, and where greed and

gluttony are not commonplace, air crashes are not inevitable. In a nation where

it is country first and counting gold later, air crashes are not inevitable. That is why in these nations we have flight

delays and cancellations. That is why maintenance is up-and-up and

accountability is not compromised. That is why staffs are paid on time and

benefits are released to them promptly. A pilot who has not been paid by his

employer for three months, and an engineer who has not been remunerated for a

while will jump on any opportunity to make money even if it means flying a

crippled plane for 40 minutes. That is the kind of risk people take with their

lives and living in a nation where nothing seems to be wrong with violation of both

workers and human rights.

Leadership is tough, so I am hesitant to throw all

garbage at the doorsteps of Stella because I don’t have all the facts about

Aviation in Nigeria. But I can, with some kind of authority, challenge what she

said about the accident being “an act of God”.

What has God got to do with this? This is not an act of God, madam Minister;

this is a culmination of gross and grave acts of men killing other men, women and children,

and submerging the nation in a subterfuge of grief and sorrow. Is it an act of

God to have a gaping hole on the runway and not fixed for years? Is it an act

of God to have electricity shut off at the airport while planes are landing or

taking off? Is it an act of God to have

half-baked pilots who are proficient only in theories but deficient in hands-on

maneuvering? Is it an act of God to have an aircraft maintenance company that

cannot maintain? Is it an act of God to

extort Airline Operators making them pay for parking at the gate and hangars

more than their counterparts all over the world? Is it an act of God to look the other way when

a warning light flashes indicating an engine problem in an airplane, and yet

still fly? Is it an act of God to have

corrupt people by the steering wheels of aviation administration? Is it an act

of God for government officials to receive bribe and then look the other way

regarding abiding by the required aircraft standards? These are all grievous

acts of deliberately careless and

ignorant men. In Nigeria we are too much

God-talking but our hearts are far away from Him. Can we for God’s sake just

leave God out of this gaping hole of disasters and tragedies hitting us from

all angles, and focus on what man ought to do?

What Nigerians clamor for at this time is a bear-hug

of the truth. And unfortunately, typical

of Nigerian politicians, embracing the truth is not their vade mecum. Whether it is Dana aircraft crash, or

Associated plane accident, our problems are beyond these occurrences. Our

problems are systemic! The systemic destructive viral attack has led to the

pandemic bloodletting. Those crashes are just manifestations and revelations of

age-long ailment that has bedeviled the system. We all know what is ailing Nigeria, and we

also know who and what brought the ailments. If we sidestep what is really

ailing and throw the faults and blames on the broad shoulders of a merciful and

faithful God when tragedies happen, it is a clear indication that we are not

ready for a change.

Schizophrenic love of money, bare-face, bold-face

banditry and catatonic-cum-cataleptic corrupt mindset of “get-all-you-can and

can-all-you-get” is our key problem in Nigeria. That is why we are

stuck in the rut. Nothing is moving, all things have stopped working. Any nation that has professors of pillage and

plunder running the ship of government will always be stuck in the rut. Any

nation that has blatant bandits, terrorizing thieves, and Goliaths of shamelessness

and heartlessness leading any form of government

will always be stuck in the rut. Any nation that has cunning cohorts of coalesced

country-club criminals carrying the banner of government will always be stuck

in the rut. Any nation that has egregious gangsters and graduates of the academy

of greed and gluttony controlling vital organs of government will always be

stuck in the rut. Any nation that has essential services of government run by

marauding gerrymandering geeks grounded in the theatrics of grabbing and

grubbing will always be stuck in the rut.

So when I hear this bombastic barbarous babbling of

“act of God” that has become a lingua franca in our nation, it belittles the big God we serve and depicts

Him as a mean, machete-wielding,

sword-swinging, blood-thirsty God who cares nothing at all about the

royal priesthood, peculiar people and holy nation that He created. God’s got

nothing to do with these anomalies in Nigeria; man has to clean up his acts.

God will not maintain your planes, load your luggage, hire capable pilots, and

rid the system of corruption and the corrupted. God has done what He will do-He gave us resources that we

cannot manage, he gave us intelligent men and women that we kill and abuse, he gave us capable men and women that

will never run for office because of fear, and he gave us a nation that we

don’t seem to love enough. That’s all He will do. It is time to work out our

own salvation with fear and trembling and forget about all this expected

spoon-feeding from God who still continues to rule in the affairs of men.

It is both sheepish and a cheap-shot to call for the

head of Stella Odua, (a woman I have never met in my life), because of the

current cascades of catastrophes. A change in personnel in Nigeria will not

make any difference, but a change in personhood. A change in how every

individual Nigerian thinks, a change in how we can truly be our brother’s

keepers, a change in how we perceive money and its importance, and a change in

how we pursue gold and get gain are all what will keep us afloat stormy seasons

and waters of affliction. At the end of

the day, if as a Nigerian you hold an American passport, a British landing

card, an European travel document, or a Russian Green Card, we all have only

one country to always go back to. You know where that is.


You may also like

Leave a Comment