Posts Tagged ‘Arik Air’

First off, two fingers in the air for period pain if you’re a lady reading this; it’s 4.40am and I’ve been up now for close to an hour because my belly is talking to me in ways I’m sure can be nicer and definitely less painful! In fact, can I get two fingers in the air from the guys as well, for obvious reasons? Done? Thank you very much.

Now that I’m awake, I started reflecting on a lot of things and first off is my round ups should be a lot more frequent! So I’ll work on that. A quick second is that I am blessed. Like, God has really crowned my year with good things, things money can buy, and the things money cannot buy. Especially the things money cannot buy! So grateful.

My niece turned six months old yesterday, and she’s an absolute beauty. Gosh! Just watching her grow, all the developments we’ve seen and continue to see, and her smiles. Sweet baby Jesus my niece’s smile can melt ice! Thank you God for such a gorgeous, healthy, happy baby!

In other baby news, our flu has cleared! So for three weeks or more Talia and I were coughing, runny noses, etc. Like cough syrup after cough syrup, one antibiotics course after the other, the flu refused to clear. At some point it occurred to me we were probably just re-infecting ourselves, lol. Glad to announce that we’re both fine now (the devil is put to shame once again, whoop)!

At the end of July I was invited to #TechPlus2016 to speak; had been pencilled down for two panels – one on cyberbullying, internet security in the age of social media, and the other one on increasing digital literacy for women. Both panels featured very interesting panelists, and I enjoyed speaking about TechHer, things we do, lessons we’ve learned and how they intersect with the topics.

So my friend Nana was a panelist as well, and so we were in Lagos together. I’ll attempt to chronicle the trip.

First off, that morning our flight was scheduled for 9.30am, and I had a prior engagement for 7.15am on NTA (Nigerian Television Authority) to talk about social media, entrepreneurship, etc. As you can imagine I had to be up really early to pack, head to the station to say my piece, and then sped off to the airport… Found a really nice, safe, but quick cabbie to drive me, and of course we’d detailed one of our friends working at the airport to check us in.

He calls and says that our tickets were for the 22nd of August, not the 22nd of July. W-H-A-T? And so the calls began to the organizers, they called the travel agents who booked the flight, we spoke to the airline, plenty talk. From no seats on any flight that day, to none for our class of ticket, to rescheduling us to a 10am flight that got delayed till 1pm.

We went into a restaurant to wait and encountered a very rude, uncouth man. Fathers and mothers, train your sons. Some things are unacceptable, including raising your voice or trading insults. Am I perfect? No, but in the last few days I’ve met some very uncultured young men. It is shameful.

Anyway, we finally took off about 1pm, and got into Lagos safely (praise God for that). Soon as we touched down, we were in the able hands and care of the #TechPlus2016 team, and I must take a full moment to appreciate the warmth and stellar logistics ground team they had in place to cater to us.

Got to the hotel, checked in, and barely had enough time to freshen up and head to my first panel. Interesting, intimate, just the way I liked it. Was nice to bump into my brother Chude on the way in…always a joy to see that man.

Panel done, we explored the exhibition area and I was so impressed! As a child of God planning an exhibition for TechHer myself, there was so much to be impressed by! We will get there, and very soon! I copped a ring, some bangles, and some gorgeous fabric, and I can’t wait to see what my designer #NitazCouture does with it! Been a long time since a designer/seamstress/tailor excited me, and it’s so refreshing that Francesca, head honcho at #Nitaz not only knows her craft, she knows my body and what works. So great!

Next day was easy. My session was about 4pm but we went to Nana’s session at 2pm and wandered off into the exhibition area again. We attended a few other sessions, including one with Teju Ajani, Frank Donga, and a few other people. Interesting how content is so dynamic but totally reliant on the principle of relatability. Can people relate with what you’re going to put out as a producer or curator? If it’s a yes, you’re on the road to doing well!

Sunday morning I worshipped with Pastor Ituah Ighodalo’s church, Trinity House. Amazing! It was the sixth anniversary of the church, and I remember the prayer his wife led, both in thanksgiving and committing the rest of the year into God’s hands. God is amazing I tell you. I had a great time, and I must visit again. By the way, their choir is amazing! Something the choir sang resonated with me so much, “my status is changing, no more decline, I’m on my way to better days”. In Jesus name!

Then, it was a dash back to the hotel to grab our bags and head to the airport. Airline? Arik. And that means that is a totally different article by itself. I’ll write it!

Like every other Nigerian desirous of movement between two states with airports, I bought Arik Air tickets to Asaba for the 23rd of April, paid for them online.

That morning I rang our friend at the airport to get my boarding pass only to be told the airline had issues and wouldn’t be flying at all that day. I saw in the papers later that day that they were owing airport authorities over a billion naira and so were stopped from flying. The shameful thing is they were still selling tickets, with no plans in place to cater to customers with disrupted flights apart from “we apologize for the inconveniences caused!” Why?

Anyway, since Aero unceremoniously stopped flying to Asaba about two weeks to this date (their site said no flights till the second week of May – again for no reason at all), my only option was to go by road and get a refund from Arik. Suffice to say, one full month plus after I’m still talking to Arik about this refund – it’s incredible.

Road trip abi? I haven’t done this in a loooong time so I was excited, very curious too. The entire gist about roads getting fixed, etc, I was more than eager to see. I was also curious about the rest stops on the way, like has anything about them changed from the time my main means of interstate transportation was by road? Would I sleep as soundly as I do on planes? Would I have a neighbor who wouldn’t shut up? Questions, questions, questions.

Friday morning I got to Dunamis Motors (a long distance car service) where I would have just taken a car by myself, and they said all their cars had been chartered. No surprises there at all.

I went to Delta Line, and there were only buses, the cars had left. Ok. I decided to buy up a row of seats so I would be comfortable/by myself/undisturbed. I explained to the lady selling them said she had two seats on the row I wanted and then one at the back of the bus. I explained (like the 3rd time) that I was the only one travelling so single, scattered seats all through the buses wouldn’t profit me much.

When she offered me the same two seats on a row and then one of the seats in front with the driver, I quietly paid for the two I already had and went to sit down.

When it was our turn we boarded the bus, and I made sure to tell the older gentleman beside me I paid for the two seats because I wanted space, and then I started arranging my bag to fall asleep. A loud voice (coming from a very elderly lady) totally cussing out the driver delayed the sleep; apparently she’d seen him smoking something and asked him if he was the driver. He said no. Then he gets in the driver’s seat and she proceeds to rain curses that reminded me why I should never piss off an elder. She cursed him, his generation, on and on and on till people started begging her, that the guy she was heaping all these curses on was going to drive us (including her) to Asaba. Then she chilled.

Two minutes after the door was shut, THE SAME LADY said we should “commit the journey AND THE DRIVER into the hand of Master Jeses” I started laughing. Hilarity. The same driver you just cursed out? Ahn Ahn!

No jokes o, this old lady started singing and invited us ‘children of the Most High God’ to join her in worshipping the Lord. So from ‘in the morning’, to ‘all glory glory glory’, ‘we are gathering together’, brethren in Christ, we sang. I was so amused!

Songs and prayers over, the driver drove into a petrol station, where we spent the next 50 minutes waiting to buy fuel. I nearly lost my mind. How do you pack all of us into this kind of rubbish movement? What happened to getting fuel BEFORE picking us?

It gets worse. For the hour we spent on the queue, guess how much fuel we bought? N1870. The princely sum of one thousand, eight hundred and seventy naira, including the 10-litre gallon he said he would need (which of course we ended up not needing). Kai. I haven’t been that angry in a while.

Well, we set off, finally, and I can count at least 6 times we nearly hit another car, a pole, ran into the bush, flew over a speed breaker, or some other avoidable incident. At a point I wondered if it wasn’t the curses working a little quickly.

We got to the rest stop (I promise I don’t remember where it was again), and I went to pee. The young girl manning the place nearly followed me inside the cubicle in the name of calling me ‘ma’. When I was leaving I tipped her, and then had to ask her to stop following me. Even if I had a child and didn’t know, SMH.

Got back outside and the bus and driver had disappeared. Hian!! At first I thought I’d taken too long and the bus had left me till I saw a cluster of the other passengers talking at the top of their voices, asking for our driver dearest. I started laughing, and checking that I had WIFI so I could tweet and ask for anyone in the area to come get me. Moved closer to the passengers and someone said the driver went to fix his brakes, that they were bad.

What!!! Bad brakes and we’d come all this way? Sigh. The things we do beggar belief walai. And he couldn’t even tell anyone, it was the lady he bought water from who told us!!

He came back, didn’t apologize to anyone (matter of fact started raking that we should be lucky he noticed the brakes were dodgy). Of course that meant I didn’t sleep from there to Asaba, we were all driving with the guy.

God being most merciful, we got into Asaba ok. A lot later than we should have, but we got in ok. And Momma came to get me from the park, so I promptly forgot the driver. Till I was searching through my bad for aspirin (naughty headache that’s refused to go away) and I saw the ticket for that trip.

And I had a good laugh. And then I chronicled the trip for you.

PS – Written on the 23rd of April.

Welcome to the end of March! Have you had a good month? I know I have!

Much earlier in the month, I was invited to Warri to facilitate at training for some officials from various organizations working in the Niger Delta. And I was excited, for a number of reasons. Since I ran a couple sessions late last year I discovered that training is something I really enjoy plus I hadn’t been in Warri since 199something and so I was really excited about the trip.

Flight was uneventful except I must mention that Arik Air thrive in the midst of confusion. It’s incredible! So my flight was for 8am, and I was at the airport before 7am. There was a rapidly lengthening queue, Arik Air officials doing what the Lord alone can explain because there wasn’t any progress.

And then of course people started jostling about and getting rowdy because their flights were getting announced. Guess what? They delayed the flight. Lol…

Anyway, we finally boarded the miniature plane, and off we went. Landed in Benin, and then did the 45+ minutes drive to Warri. I was taken to my lodgings, a place called Denaj Hotels. I was a little concerned when I saw these two signs but I said I’d be a good girl and not make a fuss about anything.

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This was at the bar.

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This was at the gate.

Have you noticed that when we say we’re not going to do something bad it seems like all the devils in hell relocate to our ends just to make us renege on that promise?

Children of God, the sheets had funny stains on them – not even going to hazard a guess around that. Then the toilet seat looked like there’s been a pissing contest for blindfolded guys.

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I was confused. There was no menu in the room either, and I was starving.

I called for someone to clean the bathroom (not change the room – remember, no fuss), and then I ordered jollof rice, plantain and chicken. Food came on a tray without cutlery, and the cleaner still hadn’t come.

So I went downstairs, and had to get cutlery myself, and pried a lady attendant from her phone and argument with the receptionist about her not being the person to clean my room. I ate (don’t ask any questions – I was starving), and then had a meeting where I complained to the heavens about the entire situation (by this time chill had departed), and then I spread my mom’s wrapper on the sheets, and slept. The evening, the morning, and it was time to prep for the first day of training.

First off, I woke up with some sort of itch on my arms and feet. There was no hot water. I’d finished my water and I didn’t even feel okay buying water. So, no shower, and I settled for gargling with my mouth wash.

Was I grumpy or what!! Hian! I mean it was lovely to meet the class, 21 bright-eyed people who I was supposed to be useful to, but I couldn’t shake the itch and it was all so disorienting, two mugs of my favorite brew didn’t help.

We were moved to Protea that evening, and guess what I did first? Phew… Thank you Jesus! I had a proper dinner as well, three-course type of business. Talmabout getting my groove back!

So what did I teach the class? We did an introduction to social media, tools and platforms, what their organizations might need (or not), and the personal vs corporate communication. We also learned about keeping ourselves safe online, hyperlinks, infographics, blogging, and developing articles for their organizations. Of course there were lots of things we tried our hands at (internet permitting), and I ended up creating a WordPress blog for one organization, a Facebook page for another, and personal Twitter and LinkedIn accounts for members of the class.

I also met Samson Idoko, a very brilliant young man and co-facilitator who taught Microsoft Office in a way I’ve never seen/heard it taught before. Tips, shortcuts, tricks across Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint, and it was a free class for me!! I learned so much!

There was also Frank, a staff of the organization who ensured we were always overfed! God bless him, one afternoon I said I wanted fish and a salad for lunch, and here’s the fish I got! I shared mine with Samson and we gave his out – walai I would have dozed if I ate that alone!

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There was James who drove us around, and had this hilarious bad eye he would give other people who were driving dangerously. Thank you for making me smile everyday!

And the icing on the cake? The feedback from the class! I grabbed a bit of it, and then there was the email from one of the attendees, which was the sweetest thing I’ve read in a while. Sweetest.

I learned lessons about myself, about people, and about social media on this trip. Start from confirming that Lagos, Abuja are on one level with social media, and the rest of the country on a totally different level. Totally different ladies and gentlemen. It might not mean much till you juxtapose that with political communication, numbers and expectations for these elections.

And now for a shameless plug: want a social media trainer for your organization? Get in touch, already!

Warri was great, I love the class, and it was my privilege to share my skill/knowledge; massive thanks to the organizers and technical adviser for the opportunity, and for ensuring that we were comfortable. Let’s do it again!

I am excited!! When I sent him a message on Twitter asking if he would join this project, to be honest I didn’t quite think I was going to get a yes. But I did, and with such ease I wondered why I worried in the first place!

I met Pa Ikhide first in March at Excuse Me London, an event celebrating him, Nkem Ivara, Victor Ehikamenor, and a few others. He was so warm, so alive, so down to earth, it was an absolute pleasure!

I present, Ikhide Ikheloa! *cycles away slowly*

The Internet lives

My name is Ikhide. I am a Nigerian. I am an American. I live on the Internet. Every day, new tribes are formed. The Internet is the new nation. That is one thing that dawned on me this year; the Internet lives. Ignore it at your peril.

On the Internet, compassion knows no boundaries even as pain and hurt seep through fences to maim the brave. It is often said that there is a digital divide. That is certainly one way of looking at a world that can seem to offer only a half-empty glass most days.

A counterintuitive approach is to see a digital bridge, a web even, that connects the weak to the powerful, that offers robust voice to the yearnings and aspirations of those who have no voices. Yes, the Internet is the new nation of tribes of thinkers and doers.

On the Internet, words are powerful and they zip around on merry wings. This year was exceptionally expensive for me. Time and accidents conspired to strip my family of the vitality and life of loved ones. In addition to the physical touch and solace of loved ones, the Internet was the town crier of choice, moving buckets of comfort to and from Babylon. And the Internet was the bank of choice helping to ferry resources to those in need.

On Father’s Day, this year, my dad fell very ill.  It has been a challenging season, trying to rescue him from the clutches of a debilitating illness in Nigeria where a “specialist hospital” is usually a large hall filled with desperate patients and not much else in terms of resources. I was touched by the kindness and generosity of many, the vast majority of whom I had never met in person. This essay would be an exercise in despair if not for these wonderful people who came into my life thanks to the Internet. I salute all of them.

Finally, for me, the Internet, as a community of communities, came alive at the recently concluded Ake Arts & Book Festival in Abeokuta. As writers and artists we all came together from all over the world, and in this little place, people, most of whom had only met on the Internet, laughed and loved like long-lost siblings. The atmosphere was electric, perhaps the best celebration of arts and living I have ever been involved in.

And this brings me to my final point. None of this would be possible without the Internet. The Internet is fast shaping up to be the community of choice for writers of African extraction, the best publishing house for our stories, a place that struts our stories as the sum of our lived lives, not as a single story. The Internet lives.

And so this year, as a reader who writes, I am most grateful to the Internet for helping me connect with soul mates and for helping to put even more meaning into my restless life. What would I do differently? I don’t know really, I don’t allow regrets to live rent-free in my head. I live and live well. The Internet lives.

Why does he have two photos up? Well because he asked me to choose, and I couldn't make up my mind between these two!

Why does he have two photos up? Well because he asked me to choose, and I couldn’t make up my mind between these two!

Always excited, sometimes I just go to read the 'chronicles' that accompany his photos on Facebook to get a good laugh!

Always excited, sometimes I just go to read the ‘chronicles’ that accompany his photos on Facebook to get a good laugh!

Did you watch ‘Mind Your Language’ when it aired? I did! A bit of a testament to my age but hey, who said I was hiding it? Anyways, MYL is set in a classroom that could pass for a United Nations General Assembly. There were people from different countries/continents in the class, and watching their interactions is the most hilarious bit of my day! Plus there’s always a lesson or the other to learn, however subtle.

I’m playing on that title as I endure two ladies beside me talking about a couple playing with their daughter who can’t be more than 6. They are not Nigerian, matter of fact they look and sound British. One of the ladies says to the other in vernacular “ I’m sure that mother did not breastfeed that girl”.

Haaaaay! How can you tell just by looking at the child whether or not they were breastfed? Is there a squint in their eye, spring (or not) in their step, or isn’t it a clear case of idle minds taken over by gossip?

Anyway, was going to board the flight when I saw I had my sister’s house keys in my bag. To be honest I didn’t even notice; she rang just as I was boarding. Fortunately I found a staff who agreed to take it and pass on to her; by the time I touch down I’ll know if that happened or not.

Let’s come back to an age-old errr…’problem’, for lack of a better word to describe it. Why don’t people like to switch their phones, even when they have been told to? Come to think of it, without being told wouldn’t an adult know when to switch them off? Why wait for the airline staff to come talk to you then you give them the evil eye like you’ve just been apprised that they are behind all your woes? Sigh.

The lady sitting in the row beside mine, after doing a mini photo shoot on her seat Booski and I had a major laugh about (I so blame Instagram), and bullying the hostesses into giving her a full bottle of water (and anyone who knows Arik knows they only do those disposable cups) Madam refused to switch off her phone o. cabin crew had run through the safety procedures, the plane was taxiing, she’d been told by two hostesses (who she all but rolled her eyes at), and she still didn’t switch it off. Then the male attendant came to tell her. She smiled like he’d just told her she’d won the lottery, and then she switched it off. Finally. Shaking my head. Why are females so…never mind.

Before I forget, who was behind the bright idea to cut down all the trees on the way to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport?  Are we completely deaf to all the ‘save the trees/earth’, ‘plant a tree’, ‘climate change’ campaigns everywhere? What was the aim? Definitely not to beautify the place I hope because sparse and empty as it looks, it can only be likened to the wasteland in the brain of the person who authorized this. Haba!

I would talk about the incessant repairs and additions to the road leading to the airport but I don’t want to annoy myself. Another day abeg.

P:S – This post was written on the 4th of August (one month today), while on board the flight.

P: S1 – thank God for a safe, uneventful trip.

P: S2 – Madam refused to switch off her iPad when it was time to land. Again, she had to be told. I just can’t with some people!

Don’t know if I prefer Jay Z and Kanye West’s version of the ‘Otis‘ song better than the original – some of the bars are interesting, but there’s something very ‘feel goodish’ about the old school version.

Try a little tenderness‘ is the focus of my chronicle today. It’s easy for us to be nasty when we feel we’re in a higher position than the next man – we act like we are bestowing favors when we manage to be courteous to people who appear to have less favourable circumstances than we do. Why do we think kindness/courteousness/chivalry should be alien to employees, servicemen, and people in general? It’s shameful, and the reason why, respect her work as I do, this article by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani disgusted me to no end.

I’ve spent the last two weeks in the Eastern part of Nigeria, and suffice to say I’ve had a great time with my family (chronicle on that will be ready soon) and I’ve gotten a lot of stuff done that I’m happy with.

Went to the airport with Momma this morning, checked in, and when my flight was announced, kissed Momma and went to board.

Walking towards my seat at the rear and there was this guy trying to fit a large hand luggage piece into the overhead locker. Even a two-year old could tell the box wouldn’t fit so I don’t get why he kept at it.

Now, the plane is a DASH 8 Q400, so it’s one of the much smaller planes, with a capacity for just over a hundred people (if I counted the seats right). Plus, it has the tiniest conveniences ever! I’m five feet six or so and I was almost literally bending over! If you’re taller than I am and you’re flying … to any of the less popular destinations, chances are you’ll have a tiny plane too so do your business before you board. And thank me later.

Back to the guy with the luggage. There was an air hostess beside him (trying to get through to her station), and unknown to him in trying to fit in his luggage he was hitting her head with it.

She told him he wouldn’t be able to fit his stuff in (since his brain didn’t register it) and told him to take the luggage out so it could be tagged and stowed. To my surprise and utter irritation he starting shouting at her! He said stuff like she shouldn’t hurry him, he’s doing her job, etc.

She tried to explain that his hand luggage was his responsibility and it really wasn’t going to fit but he wasn’t having none of it, preferring to raise his voice and talk down at her. When she mentioned she needed to get through and the box was hitting her head, he called her names and continued with the ‘if you had done your job right my luggage would be stowed already’ line.

At this point she turned and walked away, and returned with a supervisor who told the ma to take his luggage out for it to be tagged. Guess what? He did! So what was all the ruckus about earlier? Did he have to raise his voice, or call her names? No.

I would have been totally embarrassed if  I knew this fellow so you can imagine the look on my face when he said hello to me later and asked my name. Shaking my head! This type will easily hit a woman. Baby animal, lol.

To my mind, it’s a lot easier to be nice, to be courteous, and worst case scenario, to be civil. I made a conscious decision immediately to be nicer to everyone I meet; do you think you could do that too?

Hugs, and welcome to a new month!

P:S – written on the 25th of March 2013.

This is the beginning of a series capturing my trip to Edo State to monitor elections via social media. Trip was made under the auspices of Enough is Enough Nigeria, and funded by the World Bank. I’ll capture the trip to, the events in Benin, and the trip back. Ready?

Right. The date for the trip? Friday the 13th, famous for people who believe in superstition. Funnily, I saw a black cat the day before, but I’m sure it doesn’t count. Again, I slept very well the night before (very unusual if you know how I get before trips).

I had a few things to sort out that morning, and my flight was for 1pm; was worried because apart from waking up late, the ache in my lower back that started on Wednesday was manifesting with an intensity that was scary. I collected the ekpang nkwukwo (traditional Cross Riverian dish made from cocoyam, pumpkin/green leaves and lots of different meats) I had ordered the day before, went to renew my Starcomms subscription, and then went to play with my nephew.

I hitched a ride to the airport with Mercy Abang, my friend and colleague, and the first sign of trouble was the long queue of cars as we entered the airport; that turned out to be child’s play compared to the people waiting to check in. Let’s digress; I think it is very unfortunate that there is only one airline operating out of the International Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Arik Air. We all know about the disaster with Dana, and Air Nigeria has not only been suspended, four of the planes in their fleet have been repossessed. Again, I think that Arik Air is under a lot of pressure to satisfy customers that have almost trebled with the misfortunes of the other airlines. Have they increased their fleet? No. Employed more staff? No. Instead their pilots are ignoring weather forecast warnings, and putting people in danger!

Our 1pm flight was called at 1.15pm, by which time I was doubled over in pain and trying to convince myself to still go on the trip. We went through the boarding gate (which was a corridor with a guy signing our boarding passes) and then we got in the bus on the tarmac to take us to the plane. Typical cramped six sitting, three hundred standing  scenario (yes I’m exaggerating but you get the idea), and now I had sights, sounds, and smells to contend with. I watched a flight wait for one guy; they re-opened the doors when the guy (and his military aide) got to the plane. I miss England…. British Airways wait for you? Try yourself!!

Time check? 1.50pm; we had been standing by the plane for about 20 minutes, under the sun. Then we were told that there was no fuel. What!! Why do we do things that are unheard of everywhere else? I had tears in my eyes. Why take us out of the lounge at all if there was no fuel? We milled into the bus, and ended up in the lounge that barely had space to stand.  Plastic bottles of mineral sold for N300.  We got some, and then some heavily made up lady, color blocked to the teeth bought a can of Guinness extra smooth, wrapped it in nylon, opened it, and then sipped with a straw. Amused me to no end.

Then we heard, ‘final boarding call for Arik flight xyz to Benin’. What!! Final boarding call? Thought you just told us there was no fuel! We pushed our way through the crowd to the plane, I didn’t even bother with the bus again. Can I say security at the airport is below zero? I boarded the flight with my pack of ekpang, and juice at the bottom of my handbag; the security scanners didn’t pick it. Most importantly, when we went to board the second time, we weren’t checked so ANYONE could have taken ANYTHING on board.  You can imagine my exasperation when one of the people who check your boarding pass at the bottom of the plane (never understood their function) saw me drinking my Mountain Dew and said I couldn’t take it on board. Just in case I constructed a liquid bomb with it while walking the flight of stairs into the plane abi? I was too drained to even argue.

Drunk sounding pilot gave a one line apology about the 1 hour 40 minutes delay, said they had ‘fueling issues’; I remember tweeting ‘Jesus take the wheel‘. Then there was the lady sat beside Mercy and I who wouldn’t stop singing above the noise from her already loud earphones.*sigh*

Smooth take off, not ashamed to say I had my heart in my hand throughout, and I’m not looking forward to the trip back.

Part two? Benin. Edo Decides.

“Father give me the grace not to commit fraud: in my walk with you, at work, school, with my spouse, and in my relationship with others, amen”. Did you say amen to that prayer? Or are you among the silly group that think that it’s only fraud when it’s in billions of naira and perpetuated by a Nigerian government official?

According to ‘Open Heavens’ (daily devotional from Daddy Adeboye) dated 4th March 2012, fraud is simply not doing things you are supposed to do. He gave an example of a man who sent in a proposal for a contract quoting prices for high quality cables. He was awarded the contract but to make extra profits used substandard cables. That’s fraud.

Fraud is denying your spouse of their conjugal rights, whether you are pissed off at them or not. Fraud is a child disobeying his/her parents. Fraud is ‘tipping’ that police officer because you’re in the wrong and you don’t want to get booked for it. Fraud is using that person’s work as yours without acknowledging them, no matter how cleverly you mask it.  Fraud is taking something that isn’t yours without their permission, no matter how little.

Fraud is telling lies, whether to man, or to God. Acts 5: 1- 11 tells the story of Ananias and Sapphira who on the surface started out doing a good deed. Peter called for an offering in their church. Ananias and Sapphira of their own freewill sold their land and then brought half the money and gave to Peter. At the time the brethren would sell their possessions, and bring the money which would then be shared to the needy among them.

Peter asked Ananias if he brought all the money, and he said yes. Peter perceived by the Spirit of God that he was lying and said (vs 4-5)  “While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.”

Ananias heard those words and died. Three hours later his wife Sapphira came in. Peter asked her the same question and probably because she had agreed with her husband, she lied too. She died as well.

Thought for the week? Flee every appearance of evil. We know when we’re about to do wrong, but the truth is we can walk away; because we can. So do it, walk away. And have yourselves a pleasant week, devoid of fraud of any kind!

P:S – in other news, did you hear of the baggage handlers (working for Arik Air) at Ibom International Airport who were arrested for pilfering about N2million from the luggage belonging to the entourage of the Akwa Ibom State Governor? Apparently the Governor’s protocol officials had about N8million in the box. *no comment*

I was on a plane from Lagos on Friday morning, about 7.02am and I wished I was married. Why, you might ask. Well, it was blinking cold, what with the rains, the air conditioning in the plane, and yours truly who was feeling sexy in a sequined tunic that looked fabulous but at that point would definitely be the death of me!

We all know the drill, ‘this is a non smoking flight, the lavatories have been equipped with smoke detectors blah blah blah, please switch off your phones, etc. the captain (a white guy surnamed Williams) sounded like he knew what he was doing when he welcomed us on board et al. 7.10, 7.15, 7.17, “oga lets go now”, I said to myself, cursing whatever made me not fly the night before. I was going to ask one of the cabin crew ki lo de when the captain’s voice resounded, ‘since you’ve refused to switch off your phones, I’ll just wait for you to finish your calls. So go ahead, speak to your friends and family, I’ll wait’. Can you beat that? As in, seriously, did he just address us like that? Two emotions immediately coursed through my mind.

  • I was impressed that somehow from the control tower they could detect that a phone was still on! (Even though a colleague at work has been up in the air and her phone rang – still don’t believe that happened sha but -……..and nothing happened. Don’t try it o, you didn’t hear it from me)!
  • Secondly I was angry. Very angry. Who in God’s name doesn’t understand ‘switch off your phone’, considering how many times it had been announced on the flight.

And so brethren, we waited. By 7.27am, (I was fuming now) a phone (belonging to a lady seated two rows behind me) rang. “Ah! Pele o, e ma bi nu”, she said, with all the drama and genuflections associated with speech by people from her part of Nigeria; “I thought I switched it off, I didn’t know I just locked the keypad”. She wasn’t mobbed or anything (even though with all the glares and hisses she got I wouldn’t wish my enemy to be her), her husband just helped her switch it off.

Once again, I was impressed because almost immediately, the captain thanked us for wasting our own time and announced we had been cleared to take off. I’ll spare you his exact words but I didn’t feel bad or anything, as a matter of fact I was wondering what I’d have said if I was the pilot!

Smooth take off, very smooth (by now I figured that the pilot’s cockiness came from a thorough knowledge of his job). Breakfast, yes, most definitely. Tea? Two cups of steaming coffee (so the cold wouldn’t congeal my lungs – remember that movie by Osuofia)?

Can I say that the weather was terrible, there were so many bumps, turbulence was mad but I was calm, and for a number of reasons. One, the Fairy Godfather was aware I was on the flight, two, have you forgotten I’m a fairy? It’s the mortals on the flight I was worried for. And three, the pilot announced that the weather was bad and everything but he also said (and I quote), ‘it’s nothing I haven’t seen before so we’ll be fine’. Who said confidence isn’t sexy? But I digress.

Err, not this type of turbulence sha...

So the pilot knew what he was doing but the turbulence wasn’t a joke o! It’s the type that’s not recommended for children or people with weak hearts. Even I, fairy and all, felt my heart flutter after a while (I was just scared for the mortals remember)? It got so bad that the hostesses couldn’t serve the refreshments (the high point of any flight for me) but believe me, today I didn’t care! And no, at this point I had stopped noticing how cold it was!

I am a firm believer in information being a strong weapon against fear. Once again I doffed my hat for the pilot because he explained to us the reason for the turbulence (which I don’t remember now) but said he was ‘on top of it’ and just needed us to remain buckled in our seats. Even in my mortification, his cockiness made me smile.

God was merciful and we got in ok, and with tears in my eyes, and hunger in my belly, I managed a smile at the hostess and got off the plane. Next stop? Wading through the traffic and composing a good enough excuse to give my Line Manager for missing a meeting I had convened. If I survived that, a thanksgiving meal would definitely be in order!

*Written on the 16th of June 2010.*