Vol. XXIX, ISSUE 3. Summer 2022 - Nigeria Security Crises; African Airlines
Table of Contents
Bernard Steiner Ifekwe: The Press and Instability in Nigeria’s 2007 General Elections
Ayo Olukotun: Insecurity - A Nation Sleepwalking in Utter Peril
Nacari Martin: The Success of African Airlines: Coast to Coast
Editorial: Professor Gloria Emeagwali
Nigerian Security Crises
The ongoing crisis of instability in Nigeria merits a systemic and regional approach, by all decision makers who genuinely seek to solve the problem - manifested in kidnappings, attacks on commuters and schools, and threats on government officials, including the President of the Republic. It warrants coordination with Mali; weapons imports from China, Russia, Turkey, and all willing, affordable sources; strategic planning with urgency; and the will to turn things around. Terrorist groups such as AQIM, ANSAR al-Din, ISIS - GS, ISWAP, MOJWA, Boko Haram - must be seen as regional, existential threats to West Africa’s sixteen countries. Illegal gold and coltan mining; funding by Qatar and Saudi Arabia; local opportunism; rivalry between ISIS-GS and ISWAP; inept politicians; double dealing by some Western countries; and local grievances- must be brought to the table in serious discussion and planning.
An original sin was U.S training of Afghan mujahidin in a war against the Soviets in the 1980s. A corps of unrelenting jihadists emerged, including the notorious Bin Laden. John Cooley’s, “Unholy Wars” (2001) stands the test of time on this. Rampant inequality within regions expanded the scope and range of jihadist foot soldiers. The collapse of Libya in 2011, created a wave of westward bound jihadists. Inept politicians continue to fuel the crisis with too much talk, and too little walk- and coordinated action. West Africa’s 423 million inhabitants must demand more. As Professor Ayo Olukotun, Director of the Oba S.K Adetona Institute for Governance Studies, Olabisi Onabanjo University so aptly summarized in his commentary entitled, “Insecurity: A Nation Sleep Walking in utter peril”- this is a moment of great danger. Sleep walking is not the answer.” This piece was first published in Punchnig.com on July 29, 2022- in response to ongoing security threats. We have included it in this issue of Africa Update pending the permission of the editor of this well- known online Newspaper.
In this issue we also include Dr. Ifekwe’s analysis of the instability accompanying Nigeria’s 2007 General Elections. The latter article is of special relevance, given Nigeria’s 2023 general elections, slated for February 25, and March 11, 2023 - for the election of President, Vice President and Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The nightmare scenario, of course, would be bouts of instability, generated by regional jihadist insurgency, and opportunistic or disaffected election candidates in that period. On a brighter note, Nacari Martin, in her contribution, provides some insights on African airlines and the importance of customer satisfaction and safety, for airline success. She reflects on South African Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Royal Air Maroc and Cabo Verde Airlines.
We thank the contributors to this issue for their intellectual input and insights.
Prof. Gloria Emeagwali
Chief Editor, Africa Update
The Press and Instability in Nigeria’s 2007 General Elections
Dr. Bernard Steiner Ife we
Department of History and International Studies
University of Uyo, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State
This essay examines from a historical perspective, the roles of Nigerian newspapers and news magazines towards the understanding of the electoral violence which trailed the 2007 polls in the country. The 2007 polls were quite significant for Nigeria with the return of civilian rule since 1999. The Fourth Republic poll was coordinated by the military with the emergence of Olusegun Obasanjo as Nigeria’s second executive President. By 2007, President Obasanjo had served out his two-term tenure as constitutionally required in Nigeria.
Against this background, the 2007 polls posed a major test to President Obasanjo’s democratic credentials which he had demonstrated while in office, leading to admiration and criticisms.1 By superintending the 2007 exercise, President Obasanjo was expected to guarantee a smooth transition to his successor. However, the conduct of the polls fell short of acceptable standards leading to violent recriminations. The extant literature on the 2007 elections in Nigeria has been explored by journalists, publicists, electoral consultants, and observers, with scant attention paid to history. This essay hopes to fill this gap.
The essay, “Reflecting on the Nigerian Media, Elections and the African Democracy,”2 by Godwin Ehiarekhian Oboh is a work of a media expert. His essay pays scant attention to the 2007 historical processes. Similarly, Tekena M. Tamuno’s magnum opus, Stakeholders at War in Nigeria: From Lord Lugard to President Goodluck, Volume one (2012), covers contemporary history of Nigeria with less emphasis on the press coverage of the 2007 polls.3 This apparent neglect in the extant works on the 2007 polls in Nigeria, is being rectified by the current writer with a focus on Nigeria’s social and political history. Consequently, press statements, reviews, editorials, and features are the main sources of this essay, in addition to memoirs of political leaders of the time and other relevant texts. Apparently, from a number of some editions of these print media consulted for this discourse, major historical events within the polity, particularly among government institutions, had direct consequences in the outcome of the 2007 polls in Nigeria.
Major Historical Antecedents to the 2007 Polls in Nigeria
There were a number of historical events which threatened the stability of the nation, prior to the 2007 polls. Those events impacted the activities of the Presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo, the opposition political parties, the security outfit, and the judiciary, before and during the polls.
President Olusegun Obasanjo while in office had advocated for credible polls in Nigeria in a number of speeches. However, the major impediment he had foreseen towards credible polls was the political elites and their shenanigans with respect to Nigeria’s electoral process. On one occasion, President Obasanjo stated that “Democracy is the option which the governed prefers, but which is often denied them by the governor, under one pretext or the other.”4
From 1999 to 2007, President Obasanjo undoubtedly was confronted with multiple challenges. to the social, ethnic, and political interests of the country’s political elites. However, while blaming these elites who were ostensibly his political opponents, President Obasanjo stoked the embers of political maneuvering when he allegedly embarked on some questionable actions.5 One of such was the much-vaunted third-term agenda. The aim was a tenure elongation for the President which invariably would have scuttled the 2007 polls. The Press and a number of President Obasanjo’s opponents protested.6 In his memoir, President Obasanjo debunked the whole idea of third-term ambition leveled against him.7 This third-term agenda was retold in Tell (December 5, 2005), particularly on the antecedents of the idea. This edition of the news magazine noted that at the twilight of his administration, President Obasanjo initiated his succession agenda which was to be in line with his reform agenda which he had pursued vigorously since 1999. At his behest, this magazine notes, President Obasanjo:
… reportedly consulted some notable Northern politicians on the issue of finding a credible and committed successor. The President was said to have mandated them to look for a northerner who could succeed him and continue the economic and political reforms begun by his administration.8
These emissaries, mainly of Northern extraction, expanded their membership to include other Nigerians from the South to give their group a national outlook. As a result, the group comprised major captains of industry, entrepreneurs, political appointees of the President and some National Assembly members. After several consultations among themselves, these Presidential emissaries deviated from their briefs, and anchored their report to the President on tenure elongation otherwise called the third-term agenda. They told President Obasanjo that “with the economic and political reforms [of his administration] on course only the President, the custodian of the vision, could successfully drive them through.”9 Their proposal to the President leaked and became a public discourse which caused an imminent crisis prior to the 2007 General Elections. First, by this development, Vice President Atiku Abubakar and other Presidential aspirants for the 2007 polls had been sidelined and their ambitions aborted. Secondly, a constitutional crisis of immense magnitude had emerged in Nigeria since the agenda was an infraction on the 1999 Constitution.
Under this dispensation, the press attacked President Obasanjo and his campaigners on the third-term agenda. In an editorial entitled “Why Obasanjo Must Go in 2007” Tell (December 5, 2005) writes that:
Nothing, for Obasanjo admirers, could boost the President’s appeal than what is regarded as the success of his domestic policies, especially in the area of national economy. Economic reforms – from the privatization of terminally sick parastatals and government-owned companies to banking regulations, due process and transparency policies and oil sector reforms – have created a new business environment. It is an environment that has witnessed the throw-up of a vibrant communications and telephony sector. It is also one in which serious business and economic crimes, long a great smear on Nigeria’s image, are being noticeably fought, especially with the institution of the now dreaded Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, ICPC.10
Notwithstanding these successes credited to the President, this editorial submits that proponents of the third-term agenda should be wary of their unconstitutional political behavior.
According to this statement:
President Obasanjo may well be a great leader but the great argument of the day for democracy is not so much about the creation and sustenance in power of great, visionary, or supreme leaders. It is in the main, about a system of government and governance in which the citizen, as the voter, is sovereign in the choice of who rules.11
Moreover, other opponents of the third-term agenda included a motley of groups and personalities which called on President Obasanjo to halt the drift towards a third term scenario. Such opponents included a National Assembly outfit called the 2007 Movement led by Uche Chukwumereije, a Nigerian senator. Others were Civil Society Organizations and an Ethnic Nationalities Group, ENG, led by Muhammadu Buhari, Chukwuemeka Odogwu Ojukwu and Olu Falae. Other personalities who challenged the third-term agenda included Atiku Abubakar, Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida, and Abdulsalami Abubakar.12
In 2005, while the third-term campaign had become a thorny issue in the polity, President Obasanjo inaugurated the National Political Reform Committee, NPRC, as part of political reform within the Fourth Republic.13 Under the auspices of the NPRC, a Bill for the amendment of the 1999 constitution was proposed and debated within the two arms of the National Assembly where the third-term agenda was surreptitiously included. During the debate on the proposed Bill, the House of Representatives passed its first reading with some modifications, while the Senate rejected the Bill entirely including the third-term agenda.14 That legislative action by the Senate brought some relief to the polity.
With the rejection of the third-term agenda, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, the President’s Party, held an emergency National Executive Council, NEC, meeting where the President attempted to make amends over the cloud of uncertainty surrounding the agenda. In that forum, the President denied ever nurturing the ambition of tenure elongation.15 He sustained this denial, as noted earlier, in his presidential memoir.16 In all these claims, a news magazine which covered the PDP emergency meeting, said that President Obasanjo had lied over his unconstitutional construct.17
With the end of the third-term saga, as the press reported, the PDP asked President Obasanjo “to provide a credible candidate [for the party] for the  election.”18 Consequently with much horse trading, persuasion and coercion, other Presidential aspirants within the PDP dropped their ambitions to favor Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the President’s choice. Later, Yar’Adua emerged as the PDP candidate in the party’s presidential primaries. However, while the North had craved for power in a post- Obasanjo setting, there was cautious optimism from the region over Musa Yar’Adua’s emergence because of his worsening health status, considered to be against the regional interest.19 The Northern apprehension became valid when Yar’Adua died in office.
Prior to the emergence of Musa Yar’Adua as the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s Vice President fought a titanic battle aimed at clinching the party’s presidential ticket but lost. Abubakar opposed the third-term agenda allegedly initiated by his boss, President Obasanjo, and became politically estranged with his boss and the PDP. Accused of multiple misdemeanors, which included corruption and disloyalty, he was barred from participating in the PDP primaries, and removed from office as the Vice President through an executive fiat. He was equally suspended by the PDP as a party member. Abubakar approached various courts in the country, including the Supreme Court which restored him as the Vice President and affirmed his eligibility to contest the 2007 polls.20 Frustrated, Abubakar decamped to the Action Congress, AC, an opposition party, where he contested the 2007 presidential poll and lost to Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
The PDP limped from its previous cohesive structure in 1999, from these multiple crises to a party with questionable credentials related to credibility and constitutionality, by 2007. With these conflicts between President Obasanjo and Vice President Abubakar, the press stated that the duo had no “patriotic zeal to move the nation forward”21 but had entangled themselves for political gains. Given this political turbulence within the ruling PDP, the two major opposition parties, the All-Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, and the Action Congress, AC, whose presidential candidates were Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar could not provide a formidable opposition for the 2007 polls. Both leaders reveled in squabbles which were detrimental to their political interests. Sensing their unpreparedness to confront the PDP, there were feeble attempts made by Buhari towards the formation of what was called a “granite alliance,” among the opposition. However, when members of the opposition met at the behest of Buhari and insisted on certain criteria to participate in the alliance, Buhari, the convener of the alliance, pulled out of the merger talks given his sole ambition, namely, to contest the Presidential election.22 According to The Punch newspaper:
Things started going awry for the opposition… when the convener of the meeting, Buhari and his party, the ANPP, addressed a press conference indicating their intentions to contest the presidential poll no matter the position of the coalition. This caused cracks in the opposition camp… alleging betrayal by the Buhari camp.23
Against this background, the political atmosphere in Nigeria was already charged given these conflicting signals between the Presidency and the ranks of the opposition. When these major political parties embarked on the electioneering campaign, issues about party manifestos were relegated to mudslinging. For instance, in Borno State, while on a campaign, Atiku Abubakar called upon the electorate to shun the ANPP in the polls since it was a dying party because:
… the ANPP, which I know, is dead. Rather than growing, it is dying. As you all know, it is dead in Kebbi, Sokoto and Jigawa States. So, why should Nigerians take such a party seriously? I especially advise you, the people of Borno, against voting for the party.24
On his part, Muhammadu Buhari mocked Atiku Abubakar on his multiple travails with the Federal Government and the PDP. Buhari stated that Abubakar’s participation in the Presidential election was wasteful.25 The PDP, on its Presidential campaigns, accused the opposition parties of planning to undermine the 2007 polls anchored on a civilian -to -civilian transition programme, with unsubstantiated claims. In order to ensure his party’s victory, President Obasanjo joined Yar’Adua’s campaign train, and on one occasion, described the 2007 polls as a “do or die affair”26 during the twilight of his administration. Many Nigerians, particularly activists, social critics, the press, and civil society organizations, stated that the political elites in the country lacked ideological clarity and sound party manifestoes for effective electioneering and leadership. It was in this atmosphere of uncertainty in the political space, that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, conducted the 2007 polls.
The Press on Violence in the 2007 Polls in Nigeria
The press was active in exposing the dimensions of violence which trailed the 2007 polls in Nigeria. Such press reports were extrapolated from the on-the-spot assessment by correspondents, police reports, eyewitness accounts from voters, party agents, and most importantly, from the survivors of these violent acts. The 2007 polls were conducted in two phases – April 14 (for the Gubernatorial and States Houses of Assembly); and April 21 (for the National Assembly and Presidential Polls). When both polls were conducted, there were rampant cases of rigging, snatching of thumb printed boxes, fragrant announcement of results by unauthorized persons, shootings at polling booths, or at party offices, and other related offences. These illegalities, quite rampant during the polls, were committed, in most cases, in the full glare of security personnel, the press reported.27 The PDP swept the polls at the state and national levels and became the major beneficiaries of the 2007 polls.
The PDP victory elicited reactions from Nigerians of all walks of life. Firstly, opposition party leaders, human rights groups, election observers, the Press, representatives from the international community including the United States, and the European Union, made divergent opinions on the outcome of the polls, and in most cases advocated for fresh polls.28 Secondly, in many towns and cities, many Nigerians, disenchanted with the outcome of the polls, demonstrated massively. Such demonstrations turned violent in Ondo town in Ondo State when properties of some top PDP members were torched including vehicles. In Akure, Ondo State, the press camera captured demonstrating half-clad women who opposed the re-election of the state governor, Olusegun Agagu.29 The press stated that these demonstrations in Ondo State and other cities and towns such as Osogbo, Benin, Enugu, Ekiti and Abeokuta, revealed “a plethora of stolen mandates”30 by the PDP because “those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.”31 It was an epitaph to the conduct of the 2007 polls.
Thirdly, there were incidents of electoral violence in some states selected for this essay. In Edo State, Adams Oshimhole, the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress, AC, was teargassed and later released by the security operatives after his PDP rival was declared the winner of the polls.32 In Osun State, after multiple violence the press avers that:
The Action Congress candidate… Rauf Aregbesola, was… declared wanted by his opponent and the incumbent governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola after a bloody protest in Ilesha. It took about three hours before soldiers and security aides to the governor, who had been declared returned, could dislodge violent protesters around Omira and Ita Akogun in Ilesa. About one hundred people have been arrested over a massive protest that greeted the announcement of Oyinlola as the winner.33
In Enugu State, the PDP was the ruling party during the 2007 polls. Opposition party stalwarts who were dissatisfied about the outcome of the polls and took to the streets, were horse whipped and tear gassed by security operatives.34 Consequently, reported cases of violence in the 2007 polls resulted in deaths across the country which were put at between 46 and 52, although these could be estimated figures.35 A number of reasons were advanced for the preponderance of violence during the 2007 polls. Firstly, the complicity of the ruling party, the PDP, to remain in power by all means was attributed to the impasse. For instance, when Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the state governor of Osun, declared Rauf Aregbesola wanted, following a bout of violence in the state, Aregbesola debunked the Governor’s action saying that:
It cannot be true. I left Osun State at 1.00pm yesterday (Sunday). If anything, it is stealing of the people’s voice by the PDP that led to the breakdown of law and order…. Again, it is illegal that a co-contestant would declare another wanted. PDP leaders were the ones who had been shooting and killing yet are walking around freely.36
The political ambitions of both the PDP and opposition leaders and the jostle for power in 2007 apparently exacerbated the violence. Writing on Tell (April 30, 2007), Adekunle Yusuf states that:
While the atmosphere of unrest, which was deliberately engineered by desperate public office seekers persisted, it was rigging and manipulations galore in many polling stations across the federation. Investigations showed that the rigging fete was not peculiar to dominant parties alone; it was something akin to a crime gleefully committed by all the parties. Godwin Erhabon, Edo State publicity secretary of the All-Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, captured this better in his assessment: “What was supposed to be an election was turned into a bloody war by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and AC as each tried lawlessly to out-power and “outrig” the other in an unguided gun battle that left 20 persons dead and many more wounded across the state.37
Secondly, apart from the political party’s complicity in the violence which trailed the 2007 polls, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which superintended the polls, was accused of negligence and improper display of voters’ registers, prior to the polls. Consequently, on the election days, many voters could not trace their names at the polling stations duly registered by them, thereby leading to multiple disenfranchisements of the electorate. These developments, as noted, contributed to much confusion for the electorate, and the violence which trailed the polls.38
The above reflects the dysfunctional nature of Nigeria’s electoral system where a ruling political party, the opposition parties, and the electoral empire, acted divergently to undermine the 2007 polls. Amidst this catastrophe in the electoral system contributed by the aforementioned institutions, the security architecture (the Army, Police, and the National Defense Corps), empowered to superintend the polls, were equally accused of complicity in the post-election violence despite their assurances of a hitch-free exercise. Prior to the polls, for instance, the Inspector-General of the Police, IGP, Sunday Ehindero, the press contended, promised a credible polls unparalleled in the nation’s history.39 However, this promise remained a mirage due to influences from the police hierarchy, and cases of thuggery against the police formations during the polls. A new magazine’s columnist indicted the police hierarchy for interfering in the performance of their officers and men during the polls. According to that account:
Even when police officers wanted to discharge their duty creditably, they were apparently hampered by orders above. For clamping down on hoodlums during the elections, Bala Hassan, Commissioner of Police in Edo State, reportedly got two queries in less than 48 hours.40
Moreover, the press noted same virulent attacks against the police by party thugs during the polls. In Rivers State, Jonathan Ikiofie, the Divisional Crime Officer, DCO, for Mini Okoro Police Station, alongside five senior police officers were murdered by party thugs and their office premises burnt. As the press noted:
Like harmattan fire, the news of the tragic incident travelled far around the state, demoralizing policemen so much that many abstained from their duty posts on the day of the election, while those who reported for duty looked the other way as the riggers had a field day.41
In Kano State, the press further noted, fourteen police officers, a divisional police officer, and wife were murdered by gunmen at Panshekara Police Station.42 Moreover, there were cases of excessive use of force against the electorate by the Army in States such as Borno, Kogi, Osun, Cross River, Ondo and Edo, leading to the death of many.43 In reviewing the multiple crises which trailed the 2007 polls, President Obasanjo said that “an electoral exercise cannot be perfect”44 while Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, his successor, said that: “In everything in life, nothing is perfect.”45
It was apparent, based on the above comments, that these two Nigerian leaders had witnessed fundamental unconstitutional acts such as violence, which had undermined the credibility of the 2007 polls, but subtly implored Nigerians to accept the result with equanimity. The INEC Chairman, Maurice Iwu, a professor, acknowledged the multiple challenges which confronted his Commission, prior to the polls, and took some initiatives. One of them, he said, was a proposal for the transmission of electoral results electronically, but this was turned down by the members of the National Assembly, on the grounds that “the country was not ripe for it.”46 In other words, through manual balloting and transmission of results, the system was exposed to manipulation and subsequent violence. Similarly, the INEC Chairman berated the opposition political elites for acting frivolously, prior to the 2007 polls.
According to Iwu:
Eighteen out of the twenty-five candidates who contested in that election did not even have a single campaign poster in the major cities of the federation: twenty of them had no single advertisement in the dailies and one of the contestants spent more time attacking the Commission than telling Nigerians why they should vote for him.47
Against this background, from the views of Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and Maurice Iwu, there were multiple crises which trailed the 2007 polls, ranging from official collaboration, and the inability of the political opposition to present a united front. The outcome was staggering thuggery, ballot snatching and violence. Under this dispensation, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, President Obasanjo’s successor, on his inauguration day, promised to establish an Electoral Reform Commission, later called the Justice Mohammed Uwais Commission, which was empowered to study Nigeria’s electoral system, and make appropriate recommendations for its improvement in subsequent polls.
This essay has interrogated the role of the print media in evaluating the 2007 polls. Drawn heavily from their editorials, features, opinions and others, the press left major landmarks on Nigeria’s electoral history. The 2007 polls were anchored on the first successful civilian-to-civilian transition, performed by a civilian administration. However, events prior to, and after the polls, revealed wanton manipulation and violence which drastically dented the image of the exercise
1For details, see John Iliffe, Obasanjo, Nigeria, and the World (Suffolk: James Currey, 2011); Olusegun Obsanjo, My Watch. Volume 2: Political and Public Affairs, (Lagos: Prestige, 2014), 94-111; Bernard Steiner Ifekwe, “The Press on President Olusegun Obasanjo’s War on Corruption in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, 1999-2007: A Historical Analysis” in The Fourth Republic in Nigeria: Politics, Elections and Civil Society, eds. Terhemba Wuam, Boumo Ezonbi and Changwak Emmanuel Jonah (London: Bahiti and Dalila Publishers, 2017), 27-39.
2See Godwin Ehiarekhian Oboh “Reflecting on the Nigerian Media, Elections and the African Democracy”, SAGE Open, 2016.
3See Tekena N. Tamuno, Stakeholders at War in Nigeria: From Lord Lugard to President Goodluck Jonathan, Volume 1 (Ibadan: Stirling-Horden Publishers, 2012), 224-229.
4Cited in Patrick Avwenagbiku, Olusegun Obasanjo, and His Footprints (Abuja: Metre Publishers, 2000), 330.
5For details, see Bernard Steiner Ifekwe “The Press on President Olusegun Obasanjo’s War on Corruption in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, 1999-2007: A Historical Analysis”, in The Fourth Republic in Nigeria: Politics, Elections and Civil Society eds. Terhemba Wuam, Boumo Ezonbi, and Changwak Emmanuel Jonah (London: Bahiti and Dalila, 2017), 27-39; Bernard Steiner Ifekwe, “Systemic Leadership Failures in Fostering Corruption and Human Rights Violations in Nigeria, 1999-2007: A Historical Analysis”, in Kaduna Journal of Historical Studies, Volume 9, Number 1, 2017, 76-95.
6For details see Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, The Accidental Public Servant
(Ibadan: Safari Books, 2013), 339-346.
7See Obasanjo, My Watch: Volume 2: Political and Public Affairs, 94-112.
8See Dayo Aiyetan, “The Third Term Choristers”, Tell (December 5, 2005), 23.
10For details, see Editorial, “Why Obasanjo Must Go in 2007” Tell (December 5, 2005), 18.
12For details, see Olu Ojewale, “Atiku Goes for Broke”, Tell (April 24, 2006), 6.
Wola Adeyemo, “A Roiling Scandal,” Tell (May 22, 2006), 18.
13See Olusegun Obasanjo, “Strengthening the Structures of Democratic
Governance in Nigeria,” Address Presented at the Inauguration of the
National Reform Conference, Abuja, February 21, 2005, 1-21.
14See Iliffe, Obasanjo, 291-292.
15See Kelechi Obasi “The President Lied,” Tell (May 29, 2006), 20-21.
16See Obasanjo, My Watch: Volume 2, 94-111.
17Obasi, “The President Lied”, 20-21.
18See Wola Adeyemo, ‘Red Card for Obasanjo,” Tell (May 22, 2006), 27.
19Wola Adeyemo “The Making of a Crown Prince”, Tell (December 25, 2006), 17-21, 58.
20For details, see Tajudeen Suleiman, “A Botched Plot”, Tell (May 22, 2006), 22-23.
21See Tajudeen Suleiman, “Sliding into Tyranny”, Tell (April 24, 2006), 14.
22Ayodele Akinkuotu, “Buhari and the Fire Brigade Alliance”, Tell (April 23, 2007), 5.
23See Victor Sam and Olakekan Adetayo, “Opposition in Disarray”,
The Punch, Lagos, April 20, 2007, 2.
24See Adekunle Yusuf “A Tug of War”, Tell (April 23, 3007), 19.
26See Paul Collier, Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous
Places (London: Vintage Books, 2010), 37.
27For details, see Adekunle Yusuf, “A Win or Rig or Die Affair”,
Tell (April 30, 2007), 18; Adekule Yusuf, “The Journey to the Villa”,
Tell (May 7, 2007), 18.
28See Idowu Akinlotan, “Incredible and Unprecedented Manipulation,”
The Nation, Lagos, April 13, 2007, 13; “Front Page Comment: Nigerians
should Retrieve their Future,” Vanguard, Lagos, April 13, 2007, 1.
Laolu Akande, “US expresses concern over flaws in Nigeria’s Polls,”
The Guardian, Lagos, April 18, 2007, 1; Oghogho Obaywana and
Lewis Asubiojo, “Local Monitors Want Polls in 10 States cancelled”,
the Guardian, Lagos, April 18, 2007, 1.
29See “Rape of Democracy: Nigerians Cry Out”, Tell, Cover Story,
April 30, 2007; Hendrix Olumogbe et al, “Polls: Outrage Across the Land,”
The Guardian, Lagos, April 17, 2007, 1.
30Ayodele Akinkuotu, “A Plethora of Stolen Mandates,” Tell, (April 30, 2007), 1.
32Olumogbe et al, Polls: Outrage Across the Land,” 1.
34Lawrence Njoku, “Soldiers Horsewhip Onoh, Teargas Onyia
Others in Enugu,” The Guardian, Lagos, April 16, 2007, 1.
35See the following: “46 killed in Election Violence,” Sunday Punch, Lagos,
April 15, 2007, 2-4; “Violence Mars Polls: 52 Killed,” Sunday Vanguard,
Lagos, April 15, 2007, 7.
36See Olumigbe et al, “Polls: Outrage Across the Land,” 1.
37See Yusuf, “A Win or Rig or Die Affair,” 20.
38See the following: “Press Release on the April 2007
Elections,” Daily Trust, Kaduna, April 9, 2007, 9; Kehinde Akintola,
“CLO, TMA, Labour, Others reject election results,” Business Day, Lagos April 17, 2007, 3.
39See Olukorede Yishua, “Again, Dead on Arrival,” Tell (May 7, 2007), 24-27.
Yusuf “A Win or Rig or Die Affair,” 22.
40Yusuf “A Win or Rig or Die Affair,” 22.
43See Sunday Punch, “46 Killed in Election Violence”, April 15, 2007, 2-4.
44Yishua, “Again, Dead on Arrival,” 28.
45See “Short and Sharp”, Tell (May 7, 2007), 8.
47See Fola Adekeye “Divided Against Yar’Adua”, Tell (May 14, 2007), 43.
Insecurity: A Nation Sleepwalking in Utter Peril
Professor Ayo Olukotun
Oba (Dr.) S.K. Adetona Institute for Governance Studies
Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye
You cannot imagine what is going on in Abuja. I went through DSS Report.
Forty-four reports were given (to the authorities) before the attack on Kuje Prison.
Hon Idris Wase, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives,
Nigerian Tribune, Wednesday, July 27, 2022.
Shocking as the revelation quoted in the opening paragraph is, it is not the first time that the intelligence community would send distress messages to the authorities and they would either be ostentatiously ignored or sidestepped until the tragedy alluded to actually occurs. Intelligence is not just what the Department of State Services write up in their reports but includes such alerts as were raised by the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, two or so years back that Boko Haram had gained footholds in his state and had even hoisted their flag. As far as this columnist recalls, there was no official response to that information except in the Senate where some senators even shed tears, shouting their heads hoarse, that the country was fast losing the battle to terrorists. One of the concerns at that time was that Niger State is extremely close to Abuja and that this meant that Abuja was within striking distance of Boko Haram. In the same vein, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El Rufai had warned serially that Kaduna is being slowly submerged by terrorists belonging to Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and other Islamic militant groups. I do not recall that decisive action had been taken with respect to El Rufai’s heads-up.
Go farther back in time and recall that during the tenure of a former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, the Secretary to Government, a Professor, lamented that they had sent tomes upon tomes of the activities of the bandits to Abuja but had received little or no response. There are other examples but the point to be established is that there is nothing new in the successive non-response of our security bureaucracies to intelligence reports as mentioned by Wase. As they say in public administration, non-decisions are also decisions. So, those who are pretending to be surprised by this frightening trend may only be shedding crocodile tears, especially now that Abuja is increasingly besieged. To make that clearer, schools are being closed down. The recent graduation at the Nigerian Law School had to be shifted to another venue and a medium reported recently that the parents were asked not to come. It is not that alone. The recent ambush by terrorists of soldiers belonging to the Nigerian Army Presidential Guards Brigade, which came upon the heels of the waylaying of the advance party of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), is indeed an ominous sign of how uncertain matters have become. But are we just knowing that insurgency and terrorism escalate and go from bad to worse unless they are tackled with determination? If terrorists attacked the Kuje correctional facility, and there were gunshots fired for several hours with little or no resistance, are these terrorists not passing the message that they are increasingly in control?
In several articles, I had drawn attention to various aspects of terrorism in the hope that those who have the mandate to respond would do so. For several years, these strange invaders, including the Ansaru who cleverly embedded themselves into communities acting as friends and patriots, only recently showing their hands when they issued an order that electoral campaigns should be stopped in Kaduna State. Stranger than fiction, we may say, but those who have the responsibility to have acted before now may know and may need to tell the nation why they failed to do so. Similarly, I have frequently lamented that the political class is fixated on elections without first securing the minimal conditions of holding elections in a perilous season such as the country is currently in. A good chunk of the political class may be conveniently chloroformed or has chosen to be self-chloroformed, but the citizenry, thankfully, are not. One notices that in their reactions to the ultimatum given by minority leaders in the Senate to Buhari as well as threat of punishment, presidential spokespeople took turns to lambaste the senators. I hope they enjoyed writing those pieces, but is the scoring of debating points the overriding issue that Nigeria faces now?
On Wednesday, Sunrise Daily Channels Television, a security expert, Ladi Thompson, warned that the terrorists Nigeria is currently dealing with are extremely sophisticated and crafty and that we need to have our wits about us in handling them. Their sophistication, according to him, may include stirring up trouble, operating in the interstices of a corrupt and compromised country in order to gain leeway. Was anyone listening to Thompson’s warnings and admonitions? If our leaders were listening, they are yet to show the kind of acumen required to collate the facts and appropriately respond. More so, as no punitive measure had been meted concerning the ease with which the terrorists gained access to Kuje, spent at least 15 minutes in giving Quranic lectures, and shared money to the inmates (See Daily Trust, Friday 8, 2022).
In many other climes, heads would have rolled the very next day that tragedy occurred. However, in today’s Nigeria the authorities are apparently still investigating what went wrong. Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of the politicians see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. They are overly concerned to rule Nigeria, not minding what becomes of it. Have we all been reduced to morons watching this ungainly drama go from one stage to another with only few people crying foul? One recalls that during the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, who by the way was notoriously derided as “clueless”, the former President had the pluck to tell the nation that there were Boko Haram sponsors in his cabinet, at the time. These days, we do not hear anybody saying such things but we remember that the current government’s assurance that they had names of sponsors of terrorism was not followed up but apparently unceremoniously buried.
I write with passion on this subject because if matters go further awry, I would not like my children to ask me a question like, “Daddy, as a columnist, what exactly did you do or say when the nation got on these tenterhooks?” If that question would be uncomfortable for me, it ought to be extremely uncomfortable for those who we have elected to lead us. Interestingly, most of the talk and goings-on regarding official responses to insecurity appear to be coming from the legislature. True, security may not necessarily be discussed in the media but if the President, as he did in June, gave an order that the victims of the Kaduna-bound train attack should be released by force, then we can at least measure efforts by results. Needless to say, that the victims are still vegetating in the stranglehold of the terrorists.
The Success of African Airlines: From Coast to Coast
Central Connecticut State University
According to Aviation Business Journal, the aviation industry of Africa brought in a total of $55.8 billion dollars in 2019, while also providing close to six million jobs. Both numbers are said to increase through 2045. Though total GDP and employment are important, this should not be the only way we distinguish the good from the not so good, in terms of airlines. Some deciphering factors that should be included are overall customer experience, airline safety, and last, but not least, pilot training.
From Coast to Coast
First, we will investigate some of the airlines Africa has to offer. We start by focusing on each coast, as the continent has well over three hundred commercially1 flown airlines. In eastern Africa, Ethiopia Airlines will be examined and, in the south, South African Airways. In the north, Royal Air Maroc, also known as “RAM,” and lastly, in the west, Cabo Verde Airlines. One thing almost all the airlines listed above have in common is they are all under ICAO or International Civil Aviation Organization2, with the exception of Cabo Verde Airlines, which is under the International Air Transport Association (IATA)3. Why these specific airlines? Each of these airlines were selected to represent each coast. They also have a good amount of data to compare. According to websites like Skytrax and United.com, three of the four listed airlines were ranked the top five airlines in Africa in 2021. Ethiopian Airlines at number one, South African Airways at number two, and Royal Air Maroc at number four. Though Cabo Verde Airlines did not make the list, its data are also rich and useful.
It is extremely important that airlines keep the customer satisfied. Social media and internet communication play a large role in this. Social media can heavily make or break a company because reviews are almost always public. This means that one bad review can spoil the reputation of an entire company! The customer’s experience should be a very high priority in terms of satisfaction if these airlines want to be considered successful. Customer experience should also be taken very seriously.
South African Airways Overall Customer Reviews
There are no scholarly websites that include the customer service reviews for airline, thus, we will use data from the top traveler websites5. These are yelp.com, and tripavdisor.com. On tripadvisor.com, the customer reviews for South African Airlines include a total 5008 reviews. The airlines overall rating on the website is a 3.5/5.0. Of these 5008, the ratings range from excellent, very good, average, poor, and terrible. About 24% of travelers rated their trip excellent, 33.1% said very good, 20.4% said their experience was average, and 22.5% reported poor/terrible. Trip advisors give the customer an option to first do an overall rating, then it goes into sub-categories: leg room, seat comfort, in-flight entertainment, onboard experience, customer service, value for money, cleanliness, check-in/boarding, and lastly food and beverage. These are all very useful categories, as it covers the entire experience with the airline from booking to landing! Of the 24% of customers that rated their trip with South African Airlines excellent, many have good things to say about the airline. One customer, Talha Moolla, said her flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Accra, Ghana in June 2020 was “much better than expected”, continuing to say “I was expecting a bad flight, but I was surprised, the flight was good, the seats were comfortable, the food leaving JHB6 was great, the crew were friendly, the flight was very smooth. Flew on the A330….” She continued “…the overall experience was much better than another big-name airline.” This review had nothing but good things to say! The next customer rated the airline a “very good” rating, this is just shy of the “excellent category.” B. Elmarie who traveled from Johannesburg, South Africa to Mahebourg, Mauritius in 2021 wrote “A(n) airline to be proud of! Always a pleasure flying with South African airways. Staff is friendly, service is excellent. A smooth flight from the airport to our destination. When I can always try and fly this airline.” What a compliment! This same customer gave the airline a 3.0/5.0 for cleanliness and inflight entertainment as well. This is most likely why the airline did not get an “excellent rating”.
Though South African Airways has many good reviews, the bad ones are also very present. Around 42% of customers rated the airline “average”, “poor”, or “terrible”. This is almost half the reviews! Many report the main reason for this rating is due to South African Airways not giving back refunds or flight vouchers. One customer, D. Chifarai, who traveled with the airline from Harare, Zimbabwe to Johannesburg, South Africa, said “horrible service when it comes to refunds.” The customer explains that he made some errors on the ticket during booking (incorrect surname). They were then told to cancel and rebook, which he did, and still did not receive a refund! This occurrence happened in November 2021 and the review is dated to February 2022! Though this airline holds somewhat of a good customer review, its recent review about refunds raises a red flag. Not returning the money the customers paid will promote bad business representation. These cons may just outweigh the pros!
Royal Air Maroc Overall Customer Reviews
The next airline that will be reviewed is Royal Air Maroc. Its major hub is located in Morocco, Africa. According to its home website, royalairmaroc.com, it is the largest airline in the country.7 The airline offers flights to several Egypt, Liberia, Senegal, Ghana, Guinea, France, Tunisia, Hungary, and several states on the eastern coast of the United States like New York, NY and Boston, MA. The home website, royalairmaroc.com, is very self-explanatory. Though the graphics are slightly off, the webpage has a nice design and can be easily read by future and past customers. They also offer a “make a claim or complaint” section like South African Airline. This is in the “contact us” section. Here, customers can also request special services, ask questions, check on the traffic or service alerts for the airlines, and access the “Frequently Asked Questions” page. Lastly, the airlines homepage has a COVID-19 segment as well.
Though the site may give you the impression that this airline is exquisite, the customer reviews project the opposite. Tripadvisor.com customers have rated this airline a 2.5/5.0! The airline received the lowest score in onboard experience and in-flight entertainment, while all other categories like leg room and seat comfort were rated at 3.0/5.0. Of the 4899 reviews, 17.25% rated the airline “excellent”, 22.5% rated “very good”, and 60.3% said it was either “average”, “poor”, or “terrible”. Complaints were about flight cancelation, lack of refunds, and incompetence. Some headings for the reviews say “RAM is terrible. Do Not Use,” “Never flying Royal Air Maroc again.” and “very bad experience.” This is very alarming, as the customer should always be satisfied to properly maintain their loyalty to the airline. Though a hefty 60.3% were unsatisfied, 39.7% said they had a “very good’ or “excellent” experience. J. Hassan, who flew from Monrovia, Liberia to Entebbe, Uganda said “timely and well-organized airline, above all while waiting you are given lunch or breakfast while on ground.” Another person with the account name RMDEUS, commented saying “It was not my first time flying with Royal (Air Maroc). The seats were a little bit old; the screen was not working properly but flight service was amazing. Top class. Lots of room for the legs, good food and proper old-style service.” This review was written in April of 2017. The reviews from recent years unfortunately do not express this same positivity.
Yelp.com, another well used and trusted review website, has given the airline a 1.5/5.0. Though the site only has nine reviews for RAM, this data is important to include. Many of the reviews are recent. Ariel B. gave the company one star and stated: “What I want to tell prospective travelers on this airline is to consider whether you can trust the safety of an airline that is incapable of even getting a decent phone system.” She continued, “personally, I’ve decided that an airline like this may not be the safest to fly on, and I have decided not to travel with this airline, not just because of poor customer service, but of concern over my safety.”8 This customer makes an extremely good point. Not only is the customer’s experience important, but their safety should be a number one priority. Based on the reviews, the airline seems to be unorganized, and this is a recipe for a major airline disaster in terms of safety. In 2019, Raquel R. flew RAM from Dulles, VA to Paris, France. This customer explained their flight was not only delayed, but it caused him to miss a connecting flight in Casablanca, Morocco. He was then informed after landing that his bags had been lost and he would need to write a claim to try and locate them. Several days later one of the two bags was recovered. Raquel B. then stated “the customer service for this airline has been nothing short of miserable with no resolutions or actions on their part a week after our arrival. Worst experience we have had, and we have been flying internationally for 20 years!” He also provided a photo of the baggage claim ticket and the conversation he had with the airline. The conversation shows the Royal Air Maroc answering the customers questions with questions and the airline repeatedly saying, “Can you say that again?” “What was that?”, “I didn’t get that. Can you repeat?”9 Taking this all into account, their customer satisfaction is at an all-time low.
Ethiopian Airline Overall Customer Review
Ethiopian Airline’s major hub is located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In accordance with its home webpage, corporate.ethiopianairlines.com, their major hub is the busiest airport in East Africa and has more than twenty-two million international and domestic passengers each year.10 The website is very visually pleasing and is easy to navigate. It not only includes an “about” page, a “responsibilities” page, and a “ground services” page, but it also promotes its Cargo Aviation Academy as well. The website also proudly previews its “Best Airline in Africa for 4 Years in a Row” award, presented by SKYTRAX11. Ethiopia Airlines has about twenty domestic destinations and over eighty international destinations including but not limited to Europe, Asia, and both North and South America. Ethiopian Airlines has a rating of 3.5/5.0 on tripadvisor.com and a 1.8/5.0 on yelp.com. On tripadvisor.com, there are about 5800 reviews in total. 22.2% of customers rated this airline excellent, 32.6% said “very good,” and 45.2% said it was either “average,” “poor,” or “terrible.” H. Gebre-Meskel, who flew in February 2022 from Asmara, Eritrea to London, United Kingdom said “thank you Ethiopian airlines. I would very much like to thank the staff and crew of Ethiopian airlines for their co-operation, hospitality, and care during my flight on 31st, December 2021 and early hours of the new year 2022. I was so late at the international airport in Asmara but the superman manager there, Mr. Alemu Dubiesa Hieya, made it possible for me to catch the plane.” This is a wonderful review to start with. The company is clearly showing concern for their customers satisfaction and made this evident during this interaction. Another customer wrote “Good service, but long flights.” We flew from Stockholm, Sweden to Accra, Ghana in June 2021. He continues to say “Everything quite good and the service good but long flight to Ghana. At arrival in Addis Ababa… Well, it is a small airport.”12 He rated the legroom, check-in and boarding, seat comfort, and food/beverage all at a 3.0/5.0 while the value for money, customer service, and cleanliness were all 4.0/5.0. As for the” terrible” reviews, many customers claimed the flight host treated different people in different ways. One client says “nasty attitudes from hostesses! Different rules for different people!”13
Cabo Verde Airlines Overall Customer Review
Cabo Verde Airlines, whose hub is in Cape Verde services flights to Boston, MA, Lisbon, Portugal, and Paris, France to name a few. The website caboverdeairlines.com is another that is very visually pleasing. The site seems to be easily navigated through, but unlike the other airlines listed, Cabo Verde Airline does not have a “complaint or comment” button. The airline has a 2.5/5.0 rating on tripadvisor.com and only one review on yelp.com. Of the 644 reviews, the inflight entertainment seems to be what is bringing down this airline’s averages, ranking only a 2.0/5.0. Just about 12% of customers believe the airline service was “excellent” while 18.5% believe the service was “very good”, and 69.6% think the overall customer experience is “average”, “poor”, or “terrible”. Alena, who flew from Fortaleza, Cape Verde to Paris, France said “amazing quality for value. My travel was really fast and I didn't find any problems. The staff were nice and helpful!” While another said “almost no issue… my only remark is that trying to reschedule our canceled flight we could not contact Cabo Verde airlines by phone or email. We had to personally visit their office at the airport and spend couple of hours there.” Many others have different opinions about the airline. Some say they never received a refund while others claim, “Worst Airline EVER!” The numbers alone bring this airline to the bottom of the list when comparing the best customer service of all four airlines.
Though the reviews of the customers are a large part of what makes an airline successful, airline safety is a major factor as well. If an airline is not following safety protocols, this can be truly fatal to not only the passengers onboard, but it can also be detrimental to the reputation of the airline. We will now investigate how many incidents each airline has experienced to deem who is most successful in the safety category.
The ICAO or International Civil Aviation Organization “supports the continued evolution of a proactive strategy to improve safety performance.”14 The foundation says these safety measures and precautions are implemented by the State Safety Programme (SSP). The SSP is also responsible for addressing all safety risks in a systemic manner. Some other things that should be considered as far as safety are COVID-19 measures and how they are implementing them. Though COVID-19 has calmed down in the more recent months, flying in an insulated cabin with people in proximity from boarding to landing is high risk.
South Africa Airways Airline Safety
Though SAnews.gov.za claims that South Africa has had no major fatalities15 in its eighty-seven years of service, several news outlets like apnnews.com16 and nytimes.com17, state otherwise. NYtimes.com goes on to discuss the plane crash that had taken place on March 13th, 1967. The plane caught fire while enroute for a routine refueling stop and crashed. All 159 souls were lost in this accident. Though this is the only plane crash that occurred, it is alarming that the original website would put false information about the airline not having any crashes online.
As far as covid protocol, all passengers must show a COVID-19 vaccination certificate18passenger has been given both shots at least fourteen days before departure and a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to departure. All children aged 11 years old and under do not need a test or vaccination.19 Lastly, the plane not only uses special Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved disinfectants after every flight, but they also have both ground staff and in-flight crew screened daily before boarding the plane to ensure they are properly combating COVID-1920.
Royal Air Maroc Airline Safety Protocol
According to the Aviation Safety Network or the ASN, Royal Air Maroc has had a total of fifteen accidents which have resulted in 221 fatalities21. These crashes have all ranged from the year 1958 with the last being in 2018. This is a large number and though fatalities are low, the fifteen flights that did not end well are all documented and available for the public to openly dissect. Covid-19 protocol amongst this airline is of high importance. According to its homepage website, flyingairmaroc.com, the company requires all travelers to have their temperature taken upon boarding the flight as well as facemasks. On-board services like serving food and beverages have not been eliminated, but instead minimized to help customers and the flight crew avoid unnecessary touch. All distancing rules for this airline are enforced as soon as customers board and are taken. To conclude the COVID-19 safety protocol, the airline maintains clean air through the cabin by using a special recirculation system that uses High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA)twenty-two.
Ethiopian Airlines Safety Protocol
In accordance with aviation-safety.net Ethiopian Airlines has had a total of thirty-four flight accidents ranging from the years 1941 to 2021 with 256 lives lost amongst the total incidents.23 The accident that received heavy news coverage was flight ET302, operated by Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This accident was on March 10th, 2019. A total of 157 souls were taken due to this horrific crash. The plane that departed from Addis Ababa-Bole Airport (ADD/HAAB) flying to Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya crashed shortly after take-off. Boeing.
In February 2022, a documentary with references to Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, entitled “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing” was released by Netflix. The COVID-19 precautions for this airline seems to be taken very seriously. On the homepage, ethiopianairlines.com, the company has a very easy to understand COVID-10 section that includes travel alerts. The travel alert explain face masks are required while boarding the flight, even if you are fully vaccinated. It also gives a list of approved COVID-19 testing laboratories that are used. The section ends with information about how to get a refund if you decide you do not want to follow this protocol.
Cabo Verde Airlines
Cabo Verde Airlines has only had three accidents according to aviation-safety.net. This low number is also supported by the relatively low number of 19 fatalities during flights in 1998 and 1999.24 The airline’s last accident is dated back to 2005, though this crash did not have any deaths. The data show that this thirty-six-year-old airline seems to be on the right track in terms of safety, as its accidents and fatalities are both very low. Cabo Verde Airline’s covid precautions are discussed over the website’s home page, caboverdeairlines.com. The website says all passengers must wear masks during all flights. It also states a negative PCR test is required to board the plane or you need to be tested at least 24 hours before the flight via PCR. This airline also talks about how they often disinfect the planes and the high touch areas.
Many people automatically assume that plane crashes are most likely caused by the plane malfunctioning, when, it is a proven fact that almost 80% of all fatal plane crashes are due to human error.25 Though mishaps do happen, an airline must always make sure to have safety as a priority. This begins with choosing a good pilot-in-command who has a good an extensive background along with hours. South African Airways has many requirements for pilot training to begin. You must be a legal citizen or legally permitted to work in South Africa along with being over the age of 18. The airline requires proficiency in English, though being multi-lingual is a plus, and be able to obtain security clearance, and meet several medical standards as well. You also cannot be affiliated with any other airlines.26 The airline also needs pilots to provide proof of all ICAO licenses, have a “C” or higher in all compulsory subjects, obtain a valid South African air transport license with a multi-engine instrument rating. 27 Royal Air Maroc requires each pilot to have all valid ICAO licenses (level four or above), a valid first-class medical license, ATPL Frozen or ATPL. They also require to be drug tested, be at least 18 years of age, and have some flight experience with the aircraft they will be using during flight.29 This airline has flight training for its pilots via the website, ethiopianairlines.com. This is a great additive, as it shows they are dedicated to training their pilots exactly under company policies and conditions, unlike other airlines. The company is also accredited for the Commercial Pilot License, Instrument License, Multi-engine, and Multi-crew Pilot License30. It takes about three years to complete all the licenses and become a pilot for this airline. Aviationfly.com says Cape Verde does not have any flight schools based in the country and a future pilot’s only option is to “take pilot training abroad.” No information as far as pilot requirements were found. In comparison to all the other airlines mentioned, Cabo Verde Airline is the highest paying.31
This research is relevant due to the fact that the public should know which airline provides the best customer care, safety, and quality training for pilots. Though there are several websites that discuss how many awards an airline has won or how much money they make in a year, it is important to explore other variables that may lead them to the top. Customer reviews are significant in terms of finding the most successful airline because the customers are what keep the company alive.
*Nacari Martin is a Graduate in International Studies at Central Connecticut State University
 “Commercial” - flights that run on a regular schedule, and people or groups can buy seats on that flight.
2ICAO acts as an intergovernmental association- supporting diplomacy and cooperation between countries as they relate to air transport
3“About Cabo Verde Airlines” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://caboverdeairlines.com/about-cabo-verde-airlines/
4 Star Alliance - The world’s largest global airline alliance. 195 countries total.
5 (January 2020) Abramyk, Heidi. [Blog Post] Retrieved from (https://www.vendasta.com/blog/top-10-customer-review-websites/
6 Johannesburg, South Africa
7“Frequently Asked Question” [Website]. Retrieved from Royalairmaroc.com
8 R. Raquel (June 2019) “Photo for Royal Air Maroc” [Blog Post]. Retrieved from (https://www.yelp.com/biz/royal-air-maroc-paris
9 R. Raquel (June 2019) “Photo for Royal Air Maroc” [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.yelp.com/biz/royal-air-maroc-paris
10 “About Ethiopian” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://corporate.ethiopianairlines.com/AboutEthiopian/Overview
11(November 2017) “Ethiopian Airlines Group Awarded 4 Star Ranking by SKYTRAX Addis Ababa” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://corporate.ethiopianairlines.com/Press-release-open-page/ethiopian-airlines-group-awarded-4-star-ranking-by-skytrax-addis-ababa-november-9-2017
12 “Ethiopian Airlines” [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.tripadvisor.com/Airline_Review-d8729073-Reviews-Ethiopian-Airlines.html#REVIEWS
13 ‘Ethiopian Airlines” [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.tripadvisor.com/Airline_Review-d8729073-Reviews-or5-Ethiopian-Airlines.html#REVIEWS
14 “Safety Management” [Intergovernmental Organization]. Retrieved from https://www.icao.int/safety/safetymanagement/Pages/default.aspx
15 (October 2019) “SA Airlines Safety Record Lauded” [South African Government Website]. Retrieved from https://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/sa-airlines-safety-record-lauded#:~:text=South%20Africa%20has%20a%20zero,says%20Transport%20Minister%20Fikile%20Mbalula.
16 (November 1987) “South African Airways Office Releases Passenger List With AM-South Africa-Plane, Bit” [AP News Website]. Retrieved from https://apnews.com/article/44058db3c2823babd7c42f6be349deaa
17(December 1987) “Five Bodies Found After Jet Crash” [New York Times]. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/1987/11/30/world/five-bodies-found-after-jet-crash.html
18. These rules have been suspended.
19“Travel Restrictions” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwi_94Ou0tv3AhUClIkEHRo8BVoQFnoECBUQAw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.flysaa.com%2Ftravel-restrictions&usg=AOvVaw0Kd6mUg3GMp9cwEllNTM8H
20“SAA’s Response to Coronavirus” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi_94Ou0tv3AhUClIkEHRo8BVoQFnoECBQQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.flysaa.com%2Fmanage-fly%2Fbefore-flying%2Fhealth%2Fnovel-coronavirus&usg=AOvVaw3SSzvk0WWDm6vTpdZ7N-_x
21“ASN Aviation Safety Database: Royal Air Maroc” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://aviation-safety.net/database/dblist.php?sorteer=datekey_desc&kind=%&cat=%&page=1&field=Operatorkey&var=5492
22 “Sanitary Measure” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://www.royalairmaroc.com/us-en/on-board
23“ASN Aviation Safety Database: Ethiopian Airlines” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://aviation-safety.net/database/dblist.php?Country=ET
24 “ASN Aviation Safety Database: Dornier 228” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19990807-0
25 “Media Investigation Process” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/articles/qtr_2_07/article_03_2.html
26 (May 2022) “South African Airways Pilot Job 2022: South African Airways Careers Pilot” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved fromhttps://airlinescareer.org/south-african-airways-pilot-jobs-careers/
27Multi-engine Instrument rating-
28 (March 2022) “How Much Does an Airline Pilot Make in South Africa” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/south-africa-airline-pilot-salary-SRCH_IL.0,12_IN211_KO13,26.htm
29 “B737 First Officers Required” [Magazine Website] Retrieved from https://pilotsdb.brookfieldav.com/job?00307
30“Overview Programs: Pilot Training School” [Website Homepage] Retrieved from https://corporate.ethiopianairlines.com/eaa/training-schools/pilot-training
31 “Pilot Average Salary in Cape Verde 2022” [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://www.salaryexplorer.com/salary-survey.php?loc=39&loctype=1&job=80&jobtype=3; “About Cabo Verde Airlines” [Website Homepage]. Retrieved from https://caboverdeairlines.com/about-cabo-verde-airlines/
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