It seems I always have moments of clarity whenever I am at the airport. Arriving at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport today and experiencing the chaos that was disembarking from the aircraft, going through immigration and collecting luggage left me asking so many questions.
1. Why is our INTERNATIONAL airport worse than a standard domestic airport? When it was being constructed, did they not take into consideration that we would need multiple conveyor belts, ample space between arrival docks, immigration lanes, trolley ports, waiting areas and more importantly exits? If there was a fire outbreak I’m pretty certain it would consume everyone and everything in there.
Last time I checked the master plan of the international airport is nothing like the structure that stands before us today. The international airport is supposed to span across numerous hectares of land with just as many buildings/terminals. Why is nobody asking questions?
I then thought about the airport in Dubai which has gone from being a mere desert landing strip to the busiest airport in the world and felt extremely ashamed of my country. As the “Giants of Africa” are we not supposed to put in place structures that support this title of ours? Forget Dubai, even Kenya has a better airport than we do! An airport is the first impression a visitor or potential investor has of a country. Is the message we are trying to send across that of chaos, corruption and classism? Why are the foreign nationals being hustled for money before their passports are stamped? Why are non-diplomatic officials jumping immigration queues? Skipping customs? Have we ever considered “goods to declare” and “nothing to declare” exits? Do our leaders ever think of ways to lessen our burden rather than solutions that only put more money in their pockets?
2. Speaking of domestic airports, whatever happened to the one in Abuja? Why are domestic flights now departing from the international wing? Because the people who own private jets now deserve an entire wing of a national airport all to themselves? Do we actually have any leader that is genuinely passionate about Nigeria? It’s unfortunate that I can’t say that we do. They all seem to be in it for themselves. They travel to the West and admire its beauty; its development, but never do they say my country must be like this. Instead they ask to go to the poshest parts of town so they can buy themselves houses and have a safe haven when Nigeria is no more.
3. Why is corruption so rife in our society? Our leaders have failed us and the evidence is before our very eyes at the airport of all places! The elections are coming up, despite going to pick up my PVC on 3 different occasions, I have been told it’s not ready. INEC has refused me my right to vote… I cannot elect the man I feel can bring this said change to my beloved country. I’m not interested in a leader that is marrying off his daughters when over 200 girls have been kidnapped and are still yet to be found. Neither am I interested in a leader who could not tackle Boko Haram in 6 years but all of a sudden is making “progress” in 6 weeks. A leader who can spend millions of dollars on exquisite parties yet only boast of “101 scholarships” in a country of over 100 million people is not good enough! It’s time to put an end to the mediocrity and local minded politics. We need someone who looks at the bigger picture, has a global mindset and genuinely cares about a better Nigeria for you and I.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Kadettmann