By Donu Kogbara
SINCE Independence, most Nigerian politicians and government appointees have been woeful disappointments who have been either unwilling or unable to perform adequately.
But there are, occasionally, exceptions to this rule; and I think that Stella Oduah, the Minister of Aviation, deserves some applause.
The new terminal she has erected on the old local airport site in Ikeja, Lagos, is pretty neat. I saw it with my own eyes during a recent trip to the nation’s commercial capital; and I can confidently say that she has done a good job.
Various cousins have also told me that the new airport in Imo, my mother’s home state, is really nice and like a shining paradise compared to the grim, rotting structure it replaced. Meanwhile, though the Abuja airport renovations are not yet complete, the place is already looking A LOT better than it used to.
Congrats to Madame Stella for her laudable efforts to date on the edifice front. Nobody is perfect and she has some virulent critics and I myself have expressed reservations about her handling of last year’s Dana plane crash.
But who knows what tortuous complexities she is battling with behind closed doors and whether the rest of us would have done any better in her shoes?
At any rate, I would like to think that she is trying her best and feel we should give credit where credit is due and acknowledge her as a woman of substance who is notching up some successes, within a construction context at least.
PS: Port Harcourt airport has reminded me of a dingy, overcrowded, primitive bus station since time immemorial. And I feel so depressed whenever I am compelled to travel through it…and so terribly ashamed whenever I see incoming or outgoing foreigners eyeing it with haughty disdain or weary resignation.
Port Harcourt Airport is a disgrace and in desperate need of a major facelift. And I hope that the Minister of Aviation will wave her magic wand over it soon.
Na wa for GLO!
THE other day, I received a text message from Glo. It promised to double any credits I loaded onto my phone before a certain date. This offer sounded too good to be true but hope springs eternal, so I quickly purchased N5000 credit.
Given that Nigerian telecomms companies specialise in maximizing their profits and providing their long-suffering customers with minimal benefits, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when the promised freebie failed to materialise.
I considered the possibility of storming into the nearest Glo office to lodge a bitter complaint about this deception…and point out that Glo would have been fined by the authorities if they’d pulled a stunt like that in Europe.
But I decided to take a deep breath and let the Glo thing go because I’m always allowing the multiple vagaries of our frustrating society to get under my skin. And my blood pressure often soars to dangerous levels when I am in Nigeria.
I frequently work myself up into boiling rages about power outages, inept government officials, exploitative private sector operators, etc. And many friends, relatives and doctors have assured me that I will have a heart attack and abandon my son to premature orphanhood if I don’t learn how to calm down.
So I’m trying to stop sweating the small stuff. And, let’s face it: Glo’s promo is VERY small stuff because it didn’t cost me anything in real terms.
SO, yes, I decided to let the Glo thing go. But I will forever find it extremely difficult to quietly tolerate even the most minor of injustices or inconveniences because I grew up in the United Kingdom where voters and consumers demand high standards and people expect their basic human rights to be respected.
I believe that the average Nigerian is partly responsible for the shoddy treatment that is regularly inflicted on the average citizen by powerful individuals or cabals and ill-regulated corporations and the system as a whole.
Nigerians are too prone to sighing and shrugging philosophically when things go wrong. Too many of us think and behave like defeated victims and put up with rubbish; and I reckon that we will continue to get a raw deal until we become MUCH more combative and develop a MUCH stronger sense of entitlement.
Whether we have blood pressure problems or not, we really need to fight back.