In my previous post, I expressed my opinion that although I wholeheartedly support the ongoing petition and plans to boycott Brutish Airways for its inhumane and disrespectful treatment of Nigerians passengers, I believe that a more long term approach is necessary to prevent the re-occurrence of such behavior. Consequently, I advanced a few specific actions - a boycott by Nigerians and other like minded individuals/groups of Brutish Airways, its 9 One World partners and its 3 other airline affiliates (one of which operates in southern Africa), a boycott of British Airways interests such as the London Eye and a call for the exit of Brutish Airways head, Willie Walsh.
Although these suggestions are a few of many that Nigerians can take to decisively address this most recent incident, there remains additional issues that all Nigerians must consider. These considerations are crucial to ensuring that Nigerians do not continue to be abused and repeatedly disrespected by foreign conglomerates and even by our own fellow Nigerians.
WHERE IS YARDY'S RESPONSE?
The intolerable actions of Brutish Airways against the over 130 Nigerian passengers occurred on March 27th. Since that day, the silence from official representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to this issue has been deafening. However, as I was about to publish this article, Nigeria's President, Umar Yar'Adua, finally ordered an investigation of the incident. Other than this recent development, I have not read or heard a clear reaction or response from other individuals such as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ojo Madueke, or even the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.K., Dozie Nwanna. It is also saddening that the National Assembly's most verbose member, Patrick Obahiagbon, is not on record on this matter. I hope that this changes very soon.
This delayed reaction from the current administration or even elected officials is disappointing, but unfortunately, expected. Many have repeatedly challenged and pleaded with the Yar'Adua administration to communicate with the people it represents - the Nigerian citizenry. Time and time again, such calls have been ignored. Yardy continues to react slowly to situations thus garnering the name "yawn adua" or even "sof'ly sof'ly Yardy". For instance, Yardy hardly reacted to Ribadu's removal from the EFCC. Again, for the third time, I repeat, as president, Yardy does not have the luxury to not react when Nigerians are maltreated by anyone.
Yardy has asked the Minister of Aviation, Felix Hyatt, to investigate this Brutish Airways incident, and I will admit that I am underwhelmed. This is presumably the same Minister of Aviation under whose watch a The Mystery of the Missing Aircraft came to be when a Beechcraft airplane went missing over a month ago. It is yet to be found. I sincerely hope this investigation by the Ministry of Aviation will not be the only reaction to this matter from tardy. If so, that would be a shame, to say the least, because this incident offered Yar'Adua the perfect opportunity to boost his goodwill amongst the citizenry and appear to be a man that represents the people.
Nevertheless, this failure to acknowledge, comment, react, or respond by Yardy's administration and other officials simply reinforces a view I increasingly have. Nigerians cannot wait for their government to get the change we need. We, Nigerian individuals acting together, must find ways to circumvent the minority of Nigerians who support, benefit from and protect the status quo to our greater detriment. We must through diligence, hard work, discipline, perseverance and faith strive to transform Nigeria and the psychology of Nigerians. We must all understand that with or without the help of the government, Nigerians are powerful and can achieve anything we commit ourselves to.
LET US TURN OUR SIGHTS ON NIGERIA...
Nigerians are very passionate about this recent Brutish Airways incident and have used it as a galvanizing force. That is a good thing. But just as Nigerians have focused their frustration on Brutish Airways, it is important for us to take that same passion on focus it on Nigeria. Far too often, Nigerians avoid, with incredible skill, dealing with the hectic issues that surround our country. So many Nigerians are too busy with their hectic lives to pay too much attention to what has been done or not done by those entrusted with steering the national ship. As Nigerians make demands of brutish Airways, we must also remind our leaders that we expect better treatment and support change that will benefit the majority of our nation's people.
Nigerians must also take this opportunity to focus on their fellow Nigerians. This same amount of energy or more must be poured into individual efforts to stop the irresponsible few from ruining our collective reputation. That means applying effort into stopping those who are involved in fraudulent activities, supporting those who work hard and discouraging immoral behavior at any every level. To that extent, I will commend the Yar'Adua administration for creating an environment in Nigeria where people actually have hope that the corrupt will receive punishment. But, much more is needed to protect the interests of Nigeria and its people at home and abroad.
Brutish Airways spent 8.6 billion to build its new Terminal 5 and since it's opening, the place and the airline has been beset with negative press. This most recent incident involving over 130 Nigerians is just another situation that Brutish Airways does not need. As such, if there was ever a time to implement a long-term plan on how to demand respect from the airline, it is most definitely now. Brutish Airways cannot afford to lose market share, particularly on one of its most profitable routes - London to Lagos (West Africa). Nigerians must realize that applying the strategies that I mentioned in the first part of this article and taking small steps like informing competitor airlines that you are buying their tickets because you are boycotting Brutish Airways and its affiliates will have an immediate and drastic impact. It will force Brutish Airways to acknowledge that Nigerians will not tolerate maltreatment or disrespect and will put the entire world on alert, Nigerian government included, that Nigerians are an empowered people and intend to defend our own and our interests.
Go to the petition at Nigerian Village Square
Go to respectnigerians.com and learn additional steps you can take to respond to the incident.
Read Nigerians, 'Brutish Airways' & Respect Pt. 1
UPDATE: It appears that the British Airlines Stewards & Stewardesses Association (a union) is looking at this site quite frequently over the last few hours. If you came to this site via BASSA and would like to comment, please, feel free to do so. You can even be anonymous, so feel free to share your opinions.
UPDATE (APRIL 25): The Nigerian government has stepped up its response to the incident and I have equally responded to the BASSA member who took the time to reach out and offer their thoughts on this matter. Read all about it here.