IF something would be remembered about the naval helicopter that went down on Saturday with Governor Patrick Yakowa, General Andrew Owoye Azazi, former National Security Adviser, and four others, it would be how they died.
For a country that thrives on speculations, many thoughts about the accident are plausible, yet one of the most reasonable speculations is whether it would have been avoidable.
The answers would depend on who is speaking. From a technical point of view, the best maintained machine (device) can pack up at anytime. An investigation can determine what brought the helicopter down, away from all the attendant suppositions, though it is most unlikely to be made public since the incident involved a military helicopter.
As the nation mourns another air disaster, thoughts would return again to safer ways of travel for Nigerians. More pointedly, why are more Nigerians patronising air travels, even to remote villages? The regular responses about speed and savings in time are not the reasons.
The country’s development is skewed against rural Nigeria where millions of our people live, away from the provision of basic infrastructure that could enhance their contributions to the economy.
We occasionally remember them on the few instances that the exegeses of life demand that we visit. At such times, the paucity of the basics of living dawn on us, but they are momentary and one way of flying above the problems have been to make provisions that put urban Nigerians above the rest of Nigerians.
Private jets, helicopters and other such arrangements ferry those who can afford them to where they wish. Often, we do not ask how ordinary Nigerians survive in those harsh environments.
Hundreds of Nigerians in the coastal areas die from poorly constructed boats that capsized; boats that tell only a part of the stories of neglect of our people. Who bother about the deaths of these anonymous Nigerians except their immediate families? Who know better than them, that “it is a way of life”?
The deaths on Saturday drew attention again to the challenges of living in Nigeria and how our rural people need to be rescued from 18th century infrastructure they are forced to use for modern living.
Contracts for roads and bridges, usually worth billions of Naira, are awarded annually to redeem the situation. A most usual thing about these contracts is that they are hardly executed.
We pray that the families of the departed get support to go through a most trying period. Another prayer is that governments should take up the challenge of developing rural Nigeria which holds the hope of pulling the country out of the devastating poverty that stares it in the face.