Last week, “boom”, the Federal Government announced a new national carrier called Nigeria Air to commence in December. I don’t like the name but after the dizzying history the airline has gone through, there isn’t much room for maneuvering anymore; so, Nigeria Air it is. Anyway, what’s in a name? The FGN front loaded a dream to us. The announcement made in faraway oyiboland, was like announcing the birth of an unexpected child. You know, you see that the woman is gaining weight, acting erratic and finally what she did in the dark is right in front of her. Everyone has knowledge and waits for the announcement. In this case, we didn’t see the progression; we just heard about the birth. On DSTV, there is a programme called; “pregnant and didn’t know”. This sounds about right for us. I understand that elections are around the corner and everyone needs to be busy and reposition self, but the birthing of an airline is not a joke; Nigeria Air seems to be just that-air! With all that is happening now in the country and the struggle to tame two beasts: security and the economy-I’m just wondering that as we haven’t been able to get a hold on run away energy, what exactly do we have to offer investors apart from a huge market (which is good) but not enough.
History is always a good place to start. In 2004, Virgin Nigeria Airways finally replaced the defunct Nigeria Airways. Nigeria owned 51 per cent of Virgin Nigeria and 49 per cent was owned by the Virgin Group.
Richard Branson, known to take ballsy business risks, threw himself into the deep end; Nigeria was going to be no different. By 2008, a whole Richard Branson realised that the wheels had never been really on the bus and pulled out completely in 2010 that he is quoted to have said as the curtain fell, this Nigeria foray was the hardest thing he had ever done. I’m not sure if he updates his autobiography, “Losing my virginity”, he will write more than a few lines on this part of his life. He blamed our politicians for being too greedy as one of the factors that led to the demise of the business agreement. Between 2010- 2012, the airline had gone through two name changes and management. What exactly would the country be offering in terms of stability for any investor in 2018/2019? It will be interesting to see who will make up the 95 per cent, especially as there are no concrete plans front loaded except shopping for aircrafts without the investors. We have a knack for putting horses before the carts.
With small nations in comparison to us getting their aviation industry right and coming to our country to help us move people up and down-Ethiopian Airline has outclassed us, Kenya Airways, Egypt air, Air Maroc, even Rwanda Air has frequencies to fly out of Abuja because it has become our new tourist destination, they are all in Nigeria and making their country proud.
By the way, Ethiopian airline is 72 years old and 100 per cent wholly owned by government. Rwanda Air is 15 years old and the parent company is the government of Rwanda. In its 41-year history, Kenya Airways was wholly government owned until 1996 when it became privatised and government still holds 49 per cent of the shares.
However, Nigeria Airways, 45 years old (1958-2003), was wholly owned by the government of Nigeria at a time. We have wiped out literally everything that should be an institution for us by now! It is painful to hear our history and to wonder what could have been if we stayed the course. By the time the airline wound up, the reasons were; overstaffing, mismanagement, huge debt profile and the age-old ogre: corruption. Sigh.
O, Will Senator Adeleke, AKA “The Dancing Senator”, still be releasing dance videos as part of his journey to the seat and in the event that he wins the governor seat? Asking for a friend
O What about a Duke-Kwankwaso ticket? Again asking for a friend
O When is INEC going to start distributing this latest voter registration’s PVCs?
O DSTV crept like a thief in the night while we slept and increased some bouquets by N1k. The problem is I don’t get why they keep these increases when the contentpractically repeats itself! If you go off air for three months, you are most likely to not have missed anything after your brief hiatus.
O “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect Him to fulfill their words. Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken?” Ezekiel 13: 3-7 Those who know; know
#Methree: 50 Shades Of Sexual Harrassment
A couple of months ago, an audio went viral in which we heard a lecturer negotiating the number of times he would have sex with his student to upgrade her marks. It was a successful sting operation as she eventually turned down the ‘offer’. Despite the moral outrage, the issue of sex for marks is not a new problem, it has been one of those open secret campus life shenanigans; sex for marks.
After a series of going back and forth, the lecturer was eventually dismissed but after that then what?
However, the sex for marks is just a small piece of the problem. Outside the campus walls, sex is a tool of predatory coercion in a much larger space: the workspace, fueled by the power, economic and greed dynamic.
It is good to touch on what sexual harassment includes; because the lines have become so blurred that men make crass, inappropriate jokes or comments towards women and the women are often left cringing but having to endure it to make progress, even if it was just a conversation! This includes sexual solicitation, manipulation, coercion, abuse, advances, sex exploitation, seduction, pimping, sexual assault, unwanted touching, inappropriate touching, deliberate sexual innuendos, entrapment, stares, vulgar sexual jokes, invasion of personal space, and rape among others.
As with any sexual encounter, the power dynamic is the corner stone. Powerful men/men in position, have the keys to the kingdom and women, who catch the fancy of the men in question, are usually in economic dire straits which, if she does agree to become the sex tool of the man, her life and that of those around her can change exponentially and even if she isn’t; who doesn’t want a better life? It becomes “sex for improved life”. If, on the other hand, she turns down his amorous advances, there are consequences in most cases, including moving on to a more willing or vulnerable female. Though these stories are as old as time, it has helped to weaken our moral fiber, taint the work place and psychologically/emotionally damaged females who have found themselves caught up.
In the above case, the issue wasn’t the student’s morality, but rather, that Professor Akindele operated in a position of power and authority over Miss Osagie and as such, sexually harassed her.
In the work space generally, it is the norm for ‘oga’ to have a girlfriend and no one-neither the on-lookers, the envious, the busybodies nor the support structure -is in any doubt as to why the relationship in the first place. The office has often been turned into a bedroom, the door locked during working hours to snatch a fondle, force a kiss or even insist on a rather tight lingering hug as a hint or rather a signboard as to what is expected, all the while referring to the predator as ‘Sir’ or ‘Uncle’. Sigh.
However, times are changing. We have gotten so used to this state of affairs that the men no longer actively use the power dynamic to attract: this is how the situation has been so skewed-females have gotten themselves ready and available, seeing that it takes far less time and effort to get an improved life that the men are there for the taking and the females are now so many, that the men are having a hard time fending the women off. And so, we have sex for marks, sex for sex, sex for work, sex for career boost, sex as work. The fall out of this is that, voices of women who are sexually harassed, are being drowned out. With more and more vulnerable women, the gray line is getting grayer.
At a time when rape is still a taboo subject in our midst, despite the strides taken to encourage victims to come forward, we also have sexual harassment that causes as much damage that isn’t even understood and being addressed.
One, there needs to be increased advocacy in this area. A lot of women don’t even realise that they’ve been victims or are being groomed to be victims. There is such a fine line at times that women don’t even realise that an inappropriate crossing of the line has occurred. Education and awareness of what this looks like needs to be taught and highlighted. I dare say that 99 per cent of women would have faced or will face one form of sexual harassment at least once in her life and for the one-track minded; it had nothing to do with her dressing but the power dynamic in play.
Two, training of the first respondents (in law); the police. The police are still more interested in victim blaming and shaming instead of dealing with the reported crime. We need more work done in this space. The next is once a victim recognises the signs, there should be safe spaces where women especially, can go and report the inappropriateness of what happened or was said or done. Organisations need to set up safe spaces to allow people who feel violated, have been violated, preyed upon, etc come out and tell their story. These spaces can be used by men in position who feel they are the target!
In defending himself, the Prof alleged that Monica, the student, was the one who had made advances, sent him nude pictures, boasted about her sexual ability and prowess and so he was the one who had been sexually harassed!
Three, the law has to protect and expedite justice and make clear example. US took it to another level and started the #MeToo when the sexual harassment scandal against powerful prominent men in Hollywood broke out despite occurrences decades ago! Until we have people behind bars, the issue of sexual harassment will remain that and it will take a couple of centuries for #MeThree!
*I focused on women because the percentage of sexual harassment is still higher against the women, even though powerful women too have joined the foray.