By Patrick O. Okigbo III.
In the famous words of George W. Bush: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”
Between 2010 and 2011, when I worked as an aide to Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja (but my family was still in Lagos), Dana was my preferred airline. Arik Air had “ariked” me a few times with long delays and cancelled flights that I chose to take my punishment with Dana. In fact, at some point back then, I would have my bookings for four weeks in a row because I knew for sure that I would be on the 07:02 flight from Lagos on Monday and the 18:18 flight from Abuja on Friday.
Then on that fateful Sunday, June 03, 2012, Dana Air Flight 992 went down in Lagos with 153 souls on board. When the passenger manifest was released, I knew a few of the souls on that flight; more importantly, I lost a dear family friend: my “sister’s” sister. It was a dark dark-period for us all. It is still dark for many of the families of the victims.
As a result, I swore off Dana. But the human mind forgets. How else can you explain that a woman would get pregnant again after the trauma of the first visit to the Labour Room? So, there have been a few times when I have found myself under the punishment of Arik or Air Peace, and have decided to chance a Dana Air flight that was ready to go. On those occasions (as with all other domestic flights), I suspend my intellectual questioning of religious doctrines, say a quick prayer, and leave the rest to God. Over time, I started convincing myself that Dana Air may not be that bad after all. In fact, I started convincing myself that they must have fixed their issues. After all, lightening can’t strike at the same spot twice.
But no. They haven’t. Lightening has, in deed, struck twice at the same spot recently.
On February 07, 2018, an exit door of a Dana Air flight fell off after the plane landed. Passengers on the flight complained that the door was unstable throughout the flight and fell off from the impact of landing. Instead of taking responsibility (which would have indicated a commitment to finding the root cause of the problem and ensuring it never happens again), management of Dana Air issued a statement claiming that a passenger tried to open the door. Hop over to February 20, 2018, another Dana Air flight overshot the runway at Port Harcourt airport. Thankfully, no lives were lost from both incidents but I am sure many have suffered long-lasting psychological trauma.
I agree with George W. Dana Air, I can’t get fooled again.
Since it appears that responsible government agencies are not able to properly sanction Dana Air to ensure they improve on their safety records, I have decided to boycott Dana Air.
I hope you do too.
I have promised myself that I will try not to forget these incidents and will try not to rationalise them away. As my people say, he who seeks the protection of the gods must also take precaution.
Let’s vote with our Naira. Boycott Dana Air. May be they will do the right thing when it starts pinching their pockets. Or may be they should just die and move on. Enough of this rubbish!