Goodluck Jonathan , President of the federal republic of Nigeria and some other top important government functionaries escaped what would have been a disaster as the N9billion Presidential Jet developed technical fault, while they were aboard on Saturday at Minna airport , Niger state.
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The presidential jet, Nigerian Air Force 001, had earlier conveyed Jonathan to Minna for PDP North-Central rally which held in the state. But when at the end of the rally, the President returned to the airport in company of top government officials, PDP state governors and party chiefs for a trip to Sokoto, from where he was scheduled to return to Abuja, they didn’t know that something strange was waiting for them…. Several minutes after Jonathan had bade farewell to those who accompanied him to the airport, and the door of the aircraft was shut, the aircraft failed to move.
After many attempts, crew members and engineers, for the first time, had to disembarked from the aircraft and made spirited efforts to fix the fault as armed security men took strategic positions around the place.
While this was going on, Vice-President Namadi Sambo; Senate President, David Mark; PDP governors and National Assembly and Federal Executive Council members were watching in disbelieve. They couldn’t understand why a Presidential Jet that they voted billions of Naira for its maintenance would be in such a bad shape that it couldn’t fly any more. Is it that the Ogas are pocketing the money for servicing?
When it became obvious that Nigeria’s Number One Presidential plane has been grounded, the commander of the Presidential Air Fleet, Air Vice Marshal Uko Ebong, ordered that a smaller presidential jet, which took the Vice-President to the state be brought to fly Jonathan.
President Jonathan disembarked from the faulty jet around 3.30pm and quickly moved to the smaller aircraft. All the top government officials and PDP governors who had rushed into the first plane with Jonathan all come down with long faces, with some of them sweating heavily. It was indeed a big embarrassment as many started making alternative travel arrangements.
When asked what happened to the plane, a FAAN official simply said: “The return engine refused to pick.”