The Dana Drama By Stella Damasus
I had planned to write about a different topic this week but something stronger happened and it hurts so much that I just felt I should share it with you.
I’m sure that by now you must have heard that Dana Air has been given permission to fly again, just a few months after the crash that took the lives of so many men, women and children.
It is very shocking and unbelievable that after what happened, after everything that was said and promised, as usual we have come back to square one, where things would happen and the government would go ahead and plan things, make decisions and then unleash unfavourable policies on us. Then we get angry, we protest and talk but after a while the steam goes down, everything goes cold and then we finally accept what they have planned to do. Then we keep asking ourselves: “Nigeria, when will it be good?”
I strongly believe that the leaders of this country can never outnumber the people that they are ruling, the people that are being oppressed, the people that are being maltreated. They can never outnumber the masses.
We always complain that our country is being destroyed by greedy men but we sit down and lament, say the same things to our friends, our family, our neighbours. We write about it (just as I am doing) but is this really enough?
A lot of us do not really feel much pain because they do not actually feel the full effect of that crash. It still hurts me because I put myself in the shoes of the families that lost their loved ones in that crash. It is sad that up till now there is still no reasonable answer to the questions that we have been asking. The truth is the air crash was an avoidable incident; it could have been averted.
I’m hurting because I was supposed to be on that same flight to Lagos because contrary to what you might think, Dana was my favourite airline when it came to local flights.
I have friends working with Dana Airline, so please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the airline. But my question is, how can it start operating just a few months after taking the lives of so many people without giving concrete explanations, genuine reasons, or finding lasting solutions to the problems the airline claimed it was facing and with no regard to human feelings or lives?
Were Nigerians informed before the airline was permitted to resume operations? No! The decision was already made, people have discussed, people have had private meetings, monies have been paid, the airline has been given back its licence and as usual, life goes on. Trust me, after the first flight takes off successfully, Nigerians will move on as if nothing ever happened, especially for those that didn’t lose any close friend or relative.
Typically, we will build back our confidence on Dana, we will get on the flight and start flying again and all will be forgotten. We will leave those who are mourning to mourn and we will move on with our lives, right? Well, it’s a pity because this is what we all do. So why am I even talking about it? I really can’t answer that question because I cannot even explain my state of mind.
But something tells me that I shouldn’t stop talking about this, something tells me that whenever I see things go wrong with the little voice I have, I should continue to remind people that something can be done, that we cannot lose hope because if we do, then we are a hopeless nation. We cannot just fold our hands and continue to only lament in our homes.
What is the solution? I might not be able to give you an answer right now but I believe the airline should not be given the permission to fly now. I’m not saying they should never fly because they provide employment and I’m happy about that, but not now.
It is a slap on our faces because what it means is that if anyone of us had lost someone on that flight, this is the same way we would have been treated. It means that if anyone reading this now had died in that crash, life would go on like nothing ever happened and as usual, everybody goes about their business; is that how life is?
Then you wonder, what’s the point? You wonder why you should even bother to stay in this country where they don’t care about you, your family and children, they don’t care about your welfare.
After a few weeks of mourning, is that all we can do? Life goes on because our country doesn’t care even when the cause of death could have been avoided, but here we are.
We came out to fight for our rights to stop the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government early this year. We tried to make our voices heard, appealed to legislators, did the best that we could do, but what happened afterwards? We went back to our homes, but the government did not rescind its decision and there is still hike in fuel prices. What did we do? Didn’t we continue to pay? As Nigerians of course we would accept it.
Now, I have just been informed that over N40 billion would be spent on printing the N5000 notes. I was so angry, still hoping it’s just a joke. You spend so much money to print notes that we know deep down might end up devaluing our currency. I can’t remember the last time I saw a N10 note and even N20 or N50 notes. I only see N100, N200, N500 and N1000 notes around; so by the time N5000 notes are printed, trust me, even those N100 and N200 notes will not be in circulation again. They will become antiques that you will keep to show your children and grand children.
But the truth is, if the N5000 notes are printed against our disapproval, we will talk, fight and argue again, but what will happen? After a while, we will get tired of shouting and play along. They will do what they want to do .
So, I will not keep my mouth shut when things like the plane crash happen. When they started passing the link around for us to sign a petition against this Dana Air resumption, I signed and wrote my name boldly. I know the attacks and insults I got from people. Some people just told me off, saying what’s the point in signing, Stella? Why should the airline not fly? “It’s business, they have to move on with their lives” “Oh, Stella why would you put your name behind the petition?” But I said why not? What if it was my father that was on that plane? What if it was me?
No! I would fight for people because we are all one. I would fight for them because I know that if anything happens to anyone that is close to me, God knows I would ask people to fight for me. If you cannot support and put your weight behind things like that, then what’s the point?
I have thought about a lot of things and realised that no matter what I say now, they will all still go ahead and do what they want. But I will not stop speaking the truth that I know regardless of the outcome. I believe that someday because of our persistence someone will hear my voice and yours too.
Let us intensify prayers for our families because we need God’s intervention now more than ever before. We are scared of bomb blasts, kidnapping, armed robbery, child molestation, domestic violence, dehumanising practices in some churches and so many other things that you cannot even imagine. Who do we think will solve all of these? The government? I am sorry to announce to you that this has gone beyond them.
My people, please, let us beg God to raise people that will clean out the dirt that has been heaped on our country.(stella damasus)