Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi

Lekan Fatodu
There is no doubt that Nigerians are some of the most complex creatures on planet earth. No matter how some of us tend to feign otherwise, many of us belong to that handful type that sees trouble in collective triumph. And largely because of this complex make-up, often, what we cannot change, we despise, or even make attempts to decimat

Our history is replete with details of events that elaborately point to how our difficult tendencies and proclivities for fanning embers in cold coal have stalled Nigeria’s laborious strides towards better socio-economic advancement and shared prosperity. And quite unfortunately, by the way, same valuable lessons from history which have helped, and continue to shape many nations for greatness have ceased to exist in our found ational academic curriculum. And to know why, questions are better directed to the custodians of academic curricula and policymakers, who always assume they know more than the rest of us, on the dangerous decision or omission.

That is why from the onset I have remained with those who, though are in favour of positive change in the system that will usher in a fresh air of progress, are deeply concerned on a method through which variables that have been sitting at the root of our advancement as a nation can be sufficiently addressed.

So my view, which has actually been reinvigorated since this present administration, has been that since we all crave for a better alternative; and all of us have just been moved into the change vehicle, either by choice or by chance, we should not be left without no change. And this position must be well guided such that when the government and its agencies are toiling on activities and ideas to transform the nation, the citizenry are active in checking the government as well as themselves in what is seen as a mutually beneficial development process.

It is on this necessary point of holistic checks in building a strong nation that I have found a matter in Nigeria’s aviation sub-sector worthy of discussion here.

Under this new government, I am aware that some agencies of the government have been overwhelmed by demands for better performance and high expectations from the public, which is a must any way, and I suppose that must be a good test of their mettle particularly of their capacity to rid the system of appalling, obnoxious and difficult anti-innovation and development acts that some Nigerians have turned themselves into.
And this is where I will expect the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) headed by Engr.Saleh Dunoma to bare its fangs.

Following the show of shame that was put up and the terror unleashed by some members of the so-called Abuja Car Hire Association of Nigeria (ACHAN) on the 19th day of February, 2016 which was witnessed by a number of air travellers, including yours truly, one would by now have thought that some of the guys and their leadership would have been shinning their noses against iron rods of security cells or taking pleas in the court of law.

That day, members of this nebulous group went on rampage over their sheer inability to withstand healthy competition and embrace innovation in increasing patronage and driving their business to profitability.

They chose to blame, hate and seek to take the life of an entity which has chosen to add value to the aviation sub-sector. What better way could they have chosen to display their hate than to lynch the brain behind the entity? Never mind that such would lead to chaos in the symbolic peaceful atmosphere that usually characterises the Abuja airport.

VIKO car hire services, a privately-owned car hire operator also at Abuja airport, incurred the wrath of the rampaging group just because the organisation introduced innovations, comfortable cars at relatively affordable cost to convey air travellers to and from the airport.

Anyone who is familiar with this space will remember that I have previously spoken about VIKO’s unique operational strategy while also admonishing them to clear any grey area in their business template. For I know that in this age, the big prize goes to the most creative and decent service provider. Something that I suppose the company has taken in to emerge top on the track but which has become a big threat to the life of its owner as seen by many travellers at the airport on that fateful Friday.

Mr. Chidi Kanu the CEO of VIKO Nigeria only escaped death by a whisker in the hands of his attackers numbering over 50. His offence? He dared to be a creative employer of  labour, and a smarter car hire service operator.

How being innovative, especially in a way that brings benefit to others, could constitute an offence totally beats my imagination. It becomes even more disgusting when one situates that unfortunate incident within the socio-economic state of the nation. Such public display of hatred, born of envy, which obviously is the last thing Nigeria needs at the moment, should not be condoned in any way, and the reason is not far-fetched.

Such an act is not just a threat to Kanu, it’s also a threat to other creative and innovative minds who desire to contribute to the wave of change that is sweeping across the country. And needless to say, it must be curtailed.

There are however other allegations of impropriety in the aviation industry and its sub-sector that are under the purview of FAAN. They must also be confronted with vigour and seriousness.

Nigeria’s Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, whose ministry oversees the aviation industry must also look into all these matters, and the circumstances surrounding that awful incident such that entrepreneurial endeavours which will help move the country forward can be well encouraged.