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Op-Ed

Destination 2020 – Year of the Pandemic and Plane Crashes3 minutes read

Like parked vehicles, aircraft engines need around-the-clock maintenance – from regular engine run, lubrication, engine parameter checks, to covering drains among others. Running the engine burns away water that might have been trapped in oiled parts of the aircraft. Also, the interior requires cleaning. Checking each plane takes between 4-5hours.

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Destination 2020: Year of the pandemic and plane crashes

A helicopter Bell 206 crashed on Thursday 28, August 2020 in Lagos, killing two of the passengers on board. This year, Africa’s aviation sector has been dogged by fatal and near-fatal incidents including crashes and runway incidences.  The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 an aviation nightmare for many.

The pandemic’s devastating effect on air travel represents the biggest strategic shock and logistics burden to the global aviation system since international air travel began.

While it is first and foremost a human tragedy that has impacted trade, jobs, travel, investment,tourism, economy, sports, food security, to mention a few. A critical component of air travel is the safety and maintenance of aircraft. 

The International Air Transport Association’s latest projection shows that 2020 passenger revenues could fall by $252 billion. Revenues in major travel destinations in Africa have tanked by 80-90% with over $200million losses recorded in the second quarter of 2020.

While many are kept in the airports, due to constraints of space, for instance thousands of aircrafts are parked in open deserts. The Arizona desert has about 500 aircrafts in storage. Technicians must maintain periodic checks because servicing is critical for idling engines.

Like parked vehicles, aircraft engines need around-the-clock maintenance – from regular engine run, lubrication, engine parameter checks, to covering drains among others. Running the engine burns away water that might have been trapped in oiled parts of the aircraft. Also, the interior requires cleaning. Checking each plane takes between 4-5hours.

Inclement weather may propel very strong wind and thunderstorms that are able to shift aircraft, thereby causing accidents and costly damage. They will have to be supported with stabiliser-weights, tactically placed in order to keep them in check and not disrupt the centre of gravity of the aircraft.

If vaccines are tested and disseminated in good time, sparring possibilities of a second-wave of the coronavirus outbreaks, projections suggest it is unlikely to recover to pre-covid realities until 2022.

With the easing of lockdowns, many airports applying up-to-date disinfection technologies like intelligent sterilisation robots, and health checks, the pandemic has changed the way we travel. We should expect fewer flight delays and cancellations, increase in bag fees.

Yet with the reopening of airports, international travel is expected to remain sluggish, flights are likely to be more affordable with fewer nonstop flights and destinations.

credit: Shangai Daily

In spite of the record number of flight mishaps across Africa, operators trying to mitigate losses will have to restore customer confidence, and create a balance between boosting revenues, increasing traffic while keeping everyone safe.

It is also pertinent to pause and reflect on the future of post-pandemic travel; when will it be totally safe to travel?

Op-Ed

Why Our News Matters

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By March when the Nigerian government locked everyone and everything down, our newsroom had been locked 4 weeks prior. News was shot down.

Locked in for all the reasons news shouldn’t be held down. News coverage and dissemination suffered greatly at a time when everyone was turning to news outlets for updates, information, background knowledge, steps to prevent virus infection and more.

The entire news system suffered. Make no mistakes about this, as often as we all say we are passionate about our jobs, no one will underestimate the power of money in daily operations and the lives of the people who make news matter.

It kept my mind churning often about sustainable funding systems for our kind of journalism. 

At News Central, our kind of journalism is the kind that looks to tell Africa’s stories from the African perspective to the entire world.

It is World News Day today and I’ll tell you briefly why news matters to us at News Central.

If television’s promise was to give us all a window to the world, News Central gives you a window on Africa. 

Journalist or yes, we all have a keen realization that the many cases of hidden in plain sight truths about the African continent, the blunted counter-attacks from local media when Kenya was adjudged a terror-hotbed by CNN, and conveniently glossed over retreats each time the BBC made a convenient error in description of Africans have not worked. 

Serving as a credible source of information in business, politics, the environment, sports, entertainment and much more, News Central news isn’t news that helps you pass time as a viewer, it is news that helps you decide how to spend your time. 

Our news matters because we are able to initiate news stories from trends on social media, from an idea or from knowing some piece of information which is worth spending some time and resources to cover.

Our news is generative because we reframe the challenges based on new insights gained.

News is so important to us at News Central that it makes up 70% of our content. We have a strong determination to transform lackluster news delivery into a formidable one; to challenge news reportage because news is not about who breaks news first but about who takes the risks to present balanced, well researched reports, steadiness under immense breaking news pressure. This has remained our biggest asset.

By summarizing the big facts of a story in a concise way, the most important take away for the viewer has become our objective.

#WorldNewsDay #JournalismMatters

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Op-Ed

How Journalism Has Impacted Me

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Journalism impact

I remember being a young girl, growing up in the southern part of the US. Watching the news, the images of Nigeria that I saw were always filled with doom and gloom. It was really all bad news. As I grew older and had family visit from Nigeria, I questioned the images that were constantly put out to represent Nigeria and indeed the African continent. 

I also remember American classmates asking me if I lived in a city, if we had electricity and running water, I remember them asking how my father got his tribal marks. In the back of my mind somewhere I realized that the Nigeria I knew was not the Nigeria they had been shown.

Journalism has impacted me by giving me the platform to challenge the dominating narratives that are put out about Nigeria and Africa. Journalism has impacted me by raising my questioning quotient. Through several years on both radio and television platforms, I’ve realized that the job of being a journalist is central to ensuring that Nigeria progresses.

Journalism has given me the opportunity to educate myself and other Nigerians on issues of governance and on what kind of social contract we, as citizens, have with our government.

Journalism has made me a teacher. During the time I hosted a week day, 5 hour intense political radio show, I had to educate myself in order to educate my audience. That time in particular made me a better researcher, a better interviewer because I had to deal with guests who were not always forthcoming.

Journalism has helped me see the dots that need to be connected from day to day, story to story. Journalism has helped me work on my interpersonal skills. My radio show was a call-in program. That time really taught me patience and how to help people work through their thoughts and arguments.

Journalism has also taught me how to look for different sides to every story. It is often a balancing act in presenting different perspectives and in reaching some form of a consensus. 

Journalism has given me a voice, a voice that I have used to share the stories of those who have felt voiceless and powerless. Journalism empowered me to be a more active, participatory citizen and in turn encourage others to do the same. Journalism has impacted me by constantly educating me. Through the course of my work I have learned so many things that I most likely would not have learned without deliberately seeking them out. From discussions about the environment, how it links to security, how that links to education, to discussions on ending female genital mutilation, and ending widowhood practices, journalism has educated me. 

Journalism has impacted me by giving me a livelihood, not just a job. It is something that you simply don’t switch off. The way I look at stories and situations is different because I’m somehow applying my journalistic eye.

I’m constantly looking for the why in many stories because that helps in understanding so much about where a story starts and where it may end.

Journalism is something that has become such an ingrained part of who I have evolved into becoming. 

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Op-Ed

Africa, Tip This Scale Already!

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Africa

In Africa, it seems like colonization never left. It is as though the last vestiges of colonization we tried to shake off got stuck using magnetic buttons and left neo colonization in its wake. One even wonders if we ever took off the cloaks of colonialism in the first place.

The French clearly, as clear as the United nations can see, have a firm grip on the banking system of ex-colonial states. All francophone currencies are domiciled in France and the countries still pay about $500 billion every year, as colonial tax.

14 african countries are obliged by France, through a colonial pact, to put 85% of their foreign reserve into France Central Bank under the control of  French Minister of Finance.

The African former colonies impacted by these colonial taxes include Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger Republic, Senegal, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, and Gabon

Through “a colonial pact,” France arm-twisted these countries to “put 85 per cent of their foreign reserve into France Central Bank,” under the control of the French minister of finance, journalist Mawuna Koutonin wrote in 2014.

When French President Macron hosted his French-African conference in France, I asked what genuine support and love he has for Africa. Now, don’t be deceived, no foreign leader truly loves Africa, or Africans. They all play the script of their national ideology and illusionary superiority as pointed by Chimamanda Adichie.

I think it is high time Africans told France to preach the Gospel within their borders and let the economies of Francophone countries be. There have been only brickbats since the French came with their boats filled with French military skirmish units to trade and pilfer resources in West Africa, after conniving with the British at the conference in 1890 to share West Africa.

It has been a medley of grabbing and plundering. Following in their steps and perhaps to earn their favours, when African leaders steal they take the loot to France.

To each his own. African history will never forget that President Felix Houphouet-Boigny robbed Côte d’Ivoire blind and built massive mansions in Paris without France asking questions. To recent times now, President Paul Biya, of Cameroon has been living in a Geneva hotel for 3 years. These nefarious acts have become so common place that speaking up against them now seems like breaking the law or upsetting a fraudulent ecosystem.

Africa’s famous resources which stretch way beyond material resources have remained been the attractive commodities. In the 1800s it was palm oil, used in the production of lubricants in Europe; then the hunger moved to crude oil, and then copper, and then bauxite and the list is endless.

It is appalling that Africa finds it quite difficult to do anything grand for itself with its gifted resources. Its citizens continue to suffer and the waste by governments continue.

With the recent increase in international loans receipt, viz-a-viz governments borrowing to fund projects, neo-colonization buries its roots deeper through loans. Guinea recently received a loan twice the size of its 10billion dollar GDP. With a 20 billion dollar loan, your guess is as good as mine.

Same foreign loans choked the Zambian government, as their ports and other infrastructure became foreign “take-over” simply because they could not repay their loans.

Ironically, the current African Union building was built as a greek gift, to curry favour for in-roads into Africa. Equally vexing is the fact thatAfrican countries do not seek loans from other African nation states.

Africa, the time to tip the scale is now.

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