This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news.
On Saturday, 2nd February 2019, a helicopter conveying Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and his crew crash-landed in Kabba, Kogi State. Laolu Akande, the media aide to the VP, confirmed to journalists that nobody was hurt.
The incident reportedly happened around 3:00 pm with at least 12 people on board. Babafemi Ojudu, a political adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari and Stephen Ocheni, Nigeria’s minister of state for labour and productivity were among those in the helicopter at the time of the crash.
Caverton helicopters, the air charter service that operated the helicopter put the reason for the crash on “unusual weather conditions”.
Residents around the site of the crash speculated that dust thrown up as the helicopter approached landing at the Kabba township stadium may have clouded the visibility of the pilot. There were also reports that one of the rotor blades detached from the mast as the helicopter crashed.
Investigations to ascertain what exactly happened have commenced.
This is Osinbajo’s second peculiar chopper incident in 8 months. On June 7, 2018, the chopper that was to move the Vice President and his crew from the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College, Abuja was forced to land a few seconds after takeoff.
While taking off, the chopper could not ascend beyond the tree level and emitted thick smoke landing on the same spot some seconds later. The VP was forced to leave the college by road.
Business as usual
Despite the crash, Osinbajo continued the campaign trail in the State, a decision that has been followed with a lot of positive comments from Nigerians and the President, Muhammadu Buhari.
“When we were all safely in the bus he insisted the assignment must go on and we drove to the palace of Obaro of Kabba. The Kabba people gave us a warm welcome and showered us with prayers. We thank them all.
“Above all God must be praised for providing us that umbrella of protection and prevented the helicopter from exploding in flames,” - Babafemi Ojudu
Nigerians of divergent political and religious affiliations have congratulated Mr Osinbajo and all others in the fated helicopter.