The incredible story of the Chilean Miners who survived underground for 69 days, while people worked frantically to get them out, will remain with us forever. It will surely be a significant part of Chilean history. The engineering genius that went into the rescue makes me wish I had studied engineering…uhm, well, almost. Anyhow, their survival underground and the rescue efforts are to be admired.
Now, what do you think would have happened if 33 Nigerian miners were trapped underground? Here’s what I think: The media carries the story of how the mine unexpectedly collapses on 33 hardworking miners, covering the site of the tragedy. Some newspapers may publish the names of the unfortunate men and their widows are rounded up, ready for a solidarity visit from the president and his wife. They are in mourning, assuming that the men are already dead. Meanwhile, the trapped miners rot and wilt away the days, slowly and painfully.
If by some miracle authorities realize that the miners are still alive, the miners will rot and wilt away the days, slowly and painfully, anyway. First, there will likely be a struggle finding the ‘right friendly’ contractor for the job. Then it will be an excruciatingly long time before the money is approved and seen. Definitely, drilling and capsule construction will be ready way after the deadline. Meanwhile, ministers, governors, and traditional rulers will be paying curtsey visits to the president thanking him for a ‘job well done’.
The sad fact is that Nigeria is totally unprepared to handle any kind of unexpected crises, on any kind of scale- government simply cannot mobilize itself with any kind of efficiency or effectiveness. I cringe to think about it. I imagine any rescue effort we carry out will look like we’re a bunch of cavemen carrying sticks and ropes instead of FENIX capsules and complicated levers. Tragic!
Photo Credit: The Storque