Friday, July 2, 2021


There is no denying the fact that I am a PR professional. PR with all sense of modesty runs in my veins and colours my perception all the time. Like the news hound or journalists who angle for news in all he sees, I am always itching for PR content in all I see or come through as I move around. 
In a nation like ours where we all seem to have habituated to serial negative news everyday around us, I have tried to recondition my mind to see sparks of positives and to muster courage to highlight such in my little space and grace when I encounter them. 
Those who know me would attest to my daily strive for integrity and self contentment, making the spin business unattractive to me as a PR man. 
Apparently,  as a fairly  frequent local traveler, this is the second time I would opt to fly Ibom Airlines which wholly belongs to the Akwa Ibom State Government since 2019 when it first hit the skies. I was initially skeptical of boarding a plane with strage brand, so my first trip was with grave skepticism and fear. More scarry was the fact that the airline was owned by a state government, against my belief about the  tardiness and nepotistic tendencies of such government institution  that could make them comprise standards in all they lay their hands on to do. But those who are conversant or have been under travel pressure  to meet a deadline could attest to how daring one could be when you need to save time by boarding any aeroplane in sight,  including those with suspicious competences. As  a "prayer warrior" I opted to pray and submit all to God, especially while in the air. I knew that was one of the disadvantages of air travel adventure, but I couldn't see any choice at in sight. Its only God that can save while up there. Amazingly, my first  experience was smoother with the airline than I thought. The plane was clean and well kept, while the hostesses scored above the usual mark I often set for such aviation professionals. They were natural in their appearance and relationship with us in speech and conduct.The landing was equally stress free in Abuja. Those who have had rough time on air and during landing would testify to the hell such experience could be, when at the mercy of a careless homicidal pilot. 
My second experience with Ibom airline was just few days ago,  on my way  coming from Abuja on an official assignment. It was indeed welcoming and prodded me to write this piece. Although the airline deferred our take off time  of 1pm to 4pm, as many of their ilk are wont to do these days, they made copious apologies through prior texts and  mails, while personal courteous calls were made to the assuage the  irate passengers. Trust Nigerians, we are a religious and forgiving people. No one even mentioned or grinned about the hours wasted when it was time to board. After all, that's the poor customer culture of airlines in this country.  The one hour flight experience quickly blighted our ire while the trip lasted. I was again quite fascinated about the travel experience as evidenced by the courtesy of the land staff and cabin crew. My delight reached a crescendo when I heard efik language being used to make  in-flight announcements. It came strange and so fascinating to me. This is a departure from.the nauseating  tongue twisting, impressionistic  grammar and fake elocution of  many airline crew members on such trips. I had wished Nigeria's botched national career was on stream with local languages deployed for in flight announcements,  particularly on international routes where you have hosts of nationalities. What greater image spin that would have been for  our national reputation.

To me, Akwa Ibom state government has done well to have conceived this initiative. Aside from buoying the economy of the state, it has also accentuated the brand in the strategic aviation sector which is an international business  platform. What the nation could not achieve Akwa ibom State has done and thriving in it. At  a time when many states are hungrily  angling for handouts from the federal government, Akwa Ibom is demonstrating independence and willingness to break off the shackles from the comity of  begging-bowl carrying states. Imagine how many citizens are employed through this business model. I was told that the company today has seven aircrafts in its kitty. Two Airbus A220 and five Bombardier CRJ 900. It  flies to five cities in Nigeria, with Uyo as the hub. 
This is no doubt a study in the much touted crave for economic independence of States within the Nigeria federation. Whilst a few states have the record of being creative, many are lay back, indolent and beggarly. Anytime I fly ibom air, I keep appreciating the initiators as I pray that the bug that stultifies and kills such lofty dreams are kept off it's coast. Barring that, it would just be a little while for Ibom Air to take over our local and international airspace as a truly Nigerian flag bearer in the skies. Mark me, it will come to pass!

By Tope Adaramola

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