Sunday, February 2, 2020 5:39 pm
By Babafemi Ojudu
I fly quite often. While in the air looking forward to having my feet on the ground again I love to read or write. Being in the air affords me the deepest of concentration. My brain, at this moment , can process and break down any writing no matter how dense and difficult it may seem.
When in the air ,and I write, I am at my best. It serves as a mechanism for me not to think of the dangers lurking in air travel and also to shorten time. I am transported to another level, a trance- like level that almost takes my immediate environment away from me.
Watch video of the crash here
On the morning of February 2, 2019 ,our party led by the nation’s Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo took off in a Presidential jet and left Lagos for Abuja. In Abuja we disembarked and boarded a copter to take us to Kabba in Kogi State where we were to commence our Presidential campaign that morning. Soon as we belted ourselves and the engine roar into action I got busy on my iPhone penning away a piece . I didn’t even know we were descending. I only suddenly heard loud bang and the shout and screaming of those on the ground who came to welcome us . As we hit the ground there was disarray inside the helicopter.
The blade had twisted and the helicopter landed and rolled over until it laid still on its side, the side where the Vice President sat. Sitting next to him was the Minister of State for Labour from Kogi State. Up there hanging with the belt was I. My phone flew off my hand and somehow I kept shouting calm down, calm down to everyone . I searched for the door handle inside ,which was by where I sat, and opened the door. In a twinkle of an eye gallant security men on the ground led by the Chief Detail Fasasi of the DSS climbed on top of the copter and started bringing us out. With the aid of the ADC to the VP, as well as the Security Officer we were able to lift up the VP and get him out and safe .
One after the other each and everyone of us made our way out of the crashed helicopter. I was the last to leave. I searched ,confidently so , without any apprehension of danger, for and picked my phones and the VP’s cap which had fallen off. I also took with me a headphone and ear protector as a souvenir.
I have had near death encounters in life, all in the course of my eventful life , this however was the closest I have had.
Since I began traveling by air many decades ago I have always had a premonition of being involved in a crash and walking out of it without a scratch. It was a miracle.
Thank God for the sit belts which held us all still as well as the parched ground which voraciously drank the fuel as it poured from the helicopter thus preventing it from exploding into a ball of fire.
We were saved, all the twelve of us. No one sustained an injury . It was a miracle.
For hours and days after, the incident appeared to me like a joke , a movie scene until I started reflecting on what could have been. What could have been to us individually as fathers, husbands, brothers , sons, uncles etc.
What could have been even to our nation, our communities. Conspiracy theorists would have been abroard with stories that we were brought down by some enemies who didn’t want the VP to return as VP. Who knows , it could have resulted into ethnic , political and religious crisis which could have consumed our nation or changed the course of the election? The opposition could have been blamed by some for sabotaging our helicopter. Everything else could have been We have an example in history.
I woke up this morning and joked with my wife that if the untoward had happened today would have been set aside for the remembrance. She said God forbid.
I have come to see that in life anything is possible and at anytime . What happened to us that we left the scene, shaken and continued with our campaign is what happened to Kobe Bryant and his party and never to be seen again.
‘May we not journey the day The Road is famished’ is the common prayer by my people whenever they come by accidents that took life. Let us thank God for his protection as we continue to rededicate our lives to the service of humanity.”
Knowing Mrs Ojudu she will give testimony today in her church.
-Senator Babafemi Ojudu is Special Adviser, Political Matters at the Presidency