Sunday 11 August 2013

Nigeria: Advice to the Second Nigerian Astronaut

Rattling the wrong cages
I have been amused by the news of Nigeria planning to put the first man in space in 2015 with the help of the British government.
As it transpired the village-rag right-wing tabloid press represented by the Daily Wail, or rather the Daily Mail has jumbled truth with raw sentiment to beat up both the British Coalition Government and corrupt Nigerians with the idea that development aid fuels the lavish lifestyles of the unaudited sources of wealth of Nigerians who have bought up pricey real estate in London and around the globe jetting around on their private aeroplanes.
The Guardian also addressed the matter of UK immigration policy as it affects innocent Nigerians compared to corrupt but rich Nigerians who have access to all areas where money can talk in the United Kingdom before the writer lost the plot – it is becoming too hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Choosing the right person
Others have addressed the errors of those flagrantly false opinions that have allowed sensationalism to get in the way of decent informative journalism. Hey! They need the circulation figures and the advertisement revenue.
In any case, I wonder if the first Nigerian to enjoy the selection for space travel is gender neutral, there is no reason why the first person of Nigerian birth and probably training should not be a female scientist who could be as equal in ability, knowledge, prowess and opportunity as any other male – a first Nigerian can be either and it does not have to be a man.
However, as we debate amongst ourselves about who should be the first to be launched into space and that programme should begin soon if we are to make that 2015 date, I have it on good authority that Nigerian talent has reached out to global knowledge that one of us has already been to space many decades before.
Our first astronaut
In fact, he has been twice, first in 1979 on a secret Soviet mission and then in 1989 on a second mission before the Soviet Union disintegrated and this led to drastic cuts in the Russian space programme. [Nigerian Astronaut – Lost in space]
Nigerian Astronaut, Air Force Major Abacha Tunde is apparently the first Nigerian to go into orbit and unfortunately, since 1989 he remains in orbit and the only reason why we know about him is because his cousin, Dr. Bakare Tunde has been soliciting the help of foreigners to filch away the emoluments and entitlements of his marooned cousin drifting around the earth, still alive and well in orbital distress.
Setting things right
In this age of whistle-blowers, who would have thought that the supposed first Nigerian to be sent to space is in fact the second Nigerian? And we have not had the heart all this while to retrieve our dear heroic countryman from space.
It begs the question whether the next person to be sent into space will not be abandoned there too like Major Abacha Tunde.
My advice to the next Nigerian astronaut is to set up a trust that properly bequeaths all entitlements and insurance pay-outs if required to the beneficiaries they intend so no rotten heartless cousin has the temerity to corruptly enrich themselves at their expense.
More importantly, we must as a matter of urgency bring Major Abacha Tunde back home, dead or alive, and accord him full national honours for doing our great Nigeria proud.

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