By Habiba Mahmood
One has only to look at a matter independently, broadly, and uninfluenced by common-place ideas and truth will look back at him. Such is the approach to be adopted in the recent outcry over vehicles supposedly purchased by the Ministry of Aviation. One has to even set aside fundamental truths that the aviation ministry comfortably maintains the well-deserved position of Transformation Ambassadors in the present administration.
It is no longer a surprise when Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah gets above her share of well-deserved media attention. Of course this is expected as her achievement in the past and current period as well isn’t news anymore. What is slightly new however is the approach ‘economic detractors’ have adopted, in what can be religiously referred to as, ‘a shameless and tenacious persistence to do harm to one already anointed.’
What else could be truer than that? The purchase orders for the said bullet proof BMWs did not bear the minister’s name, neither did the bank papers. The cars were not parked at the aviation minister’s residence, or in the parking lot allocated to her at the ministry. There is no official document that links the aviation minister directly to the purchase from either First Bank, or Coscharis Motors or any of the fine public serving institutions these allegations has sought to ridicule. To go a bit further, even if there was, wouldn’t that simply be suspicious? Isn’t it even remotely possible that the said figures were self-generated?
The reckless series of self-serving actions to capitalize on the sentiments in millions, of people already betrayed through spreading half-truths and quarter-lies will surely come to end.
The attempts of recent development detractors, some under the false guise of ‘experts’ to mindlessly feed off the negative emotions of innocent Nigerians already marred by a series of failed administrations by putting a knife on our differences in cultures, ethnicity, religion, world views and ways of life will also come to an end.
They will come to know that Nigerians have grown weary at believing in change from the lips of those once granted the opportunity and who failed to even point at the ‘promise land’, let alone of reaching it.
Although what gives strength to these false figure blabbers is that they understand that we as a people have become disarrayed at the actions of previous administrations and that our common problem has become an inability to see the problem as it is. That we fail to act when it becomes necessary, fail to recognize, pin point and identify our common enemies (they), masquerading in various forms. So they constantly attempt to deceive us each time. What else can make activists out of former ministers, or deliver righteousness to one who isn’t even God-fearing.
It is of no surprise therefore that the capacity of the aviation minister to do so much in so little time, has gained her so many social ‘distractions’. It is simply the mutual worry that some interests are no longer being represented and the actions now set in motion is one that will redefine the political machinery.
In truth, we are no longer angry at the figures we see, or the names we hear or the actions that have been taken by those in office. We are no longer angry at being neglected, at being forgotten, at automatically being unimportant, or left out of the political machinery. In less than a week, it will be a miracle if a larger amount of mis-appropriated funds does not cloud the loudly talked about vehicles.
We are not angry at Princess Stella Oduah. How can we be? She is a model of all the things we haven’t had in a long while, a physical manifestation of the power of the ‘Nigerian Woman’, an enigma to the aviation industry and the Nigerian government, an idea of consistent and creative development, an ideal that our current state of affairs forces us to seek and violently oppose.
We are not angry at the aviation minister. We may be angry at our legislators, at our governors and local government chairpersons, but surely not at an ‘angel of good tidings’’.
Or perhaps we really are angry that we have been left in such a deplorable state that we can no longer recognize truth from lies. That the organs we depended on to deliver to us the gains of a democratically elected government, as well as manage our God given natural and human resources failed us to such an extent that we can no longer distinctly separate successes from failures, or technocrats from criminals. No, I doubt that.
One simply has to forget that the aviation industry is the most vibrant, committed and dedicated sector to the national transformation philosophy of the Goodluck Jonathan Administration. One simply has to forget the shiny new airport terminals spread from the North to the East, or the marvelous road-map put in place to welcome foreign investors from far and wide to Nigeria.
To put quite simply, one has to forget the Super Eagles flying back home safely, clutching victory in their hands after an odyssey of failed attempts. We are not angry at the aviation minister.