The Last Flight

// News | General | The Last Flight
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font


Daily Independent (Lagos)

Chief Anayo Goddy Uwa- zurike

3 July 2010


book review

The book, The Last Flight, has more than 100 photographs. The foreword is written by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Paul Dike CFR . The Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the defunct state of Biafra, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumuegwu Ojukwu, wrote the introduction. It is significant that this book is coming 40 years after the end of the civil war.

The book is written in a free flowing easy to follow narrative. The human nature of the dramatis personae is made explicit. The reader is easily absorbed into the accounts beginning from the author's training as a pilot under Stanley of Canada Airfora and ending with the air battle of Captain Allwell Brown and company.

Chapters 2-9 dwell on the making and the progress of the author. It was not all work and no play for the author and his colleagues such as Lt. Danyinma Ato, Usman Jibrim (who later became the Governor of Kaduna State), George Jebak, Tony Makpo and Bob Aleyideino. They enjoyed their lives to the fullest. They partied, rode in their sports cars and had their brush with the Royal Canadian Mounted police for their youthful exuberance.

Chapters 10 and 11 give graphic details of the author's further training, the development of the Nigerian Air Force and the involvement of the United State Air Force. The frosty relationship with the German Air Force NCO on a training mission was highlighted with the example of Klaus, a non-commissioned person trying to use the colour of his skin to intimidate the Nigerian officers. The author promptly put him in his place.

Chapters 12, 13 and 14 give the reader the step-by-step development of the Nigerian Air Force and the often mutual suspicion between the various officers. Major U.J Esuene harassed the author for allowing his beard to grow. Esuene became the first military Governor of Cross River State.

Most of these officers were to become major players in the destiny of this country and the decision that ended his military calling. The author also gave a narrative of his Government College Umuahia Old Boys in the military in page 178 as follows: Major General Alexander Madiebo, Brigadier George Kurubo (late), Brigadier Tony Eze, Brigadier Pat Anwuna, Brigadier E.Udeaja, Brigadier Tim Onwuatuegwu (late), Colonel Pat Anakwe (late), Colonel Ifeanyi N.C. Aniebo, Major Emelifonwu (late), Captain P. Okoye (late), Captain P. Ibik (late), Major Ben Iloabachie, Squadron Leader August Okpe, Colonel Emma Iheanacho, Colonel Inyang and Major Aloysius Akpuaka.

He described Onwuatuegwu in the following terms in page 179:

"Onwuatuegwu was a good choice considering that he was contemporaneous with me as far as the Umuahian time frame was concerned. A bold officer, who was usually a good speaker, he used to tease me as to how awful it was for me to be the only Umuahian that was a pilot and, for that matter, alone in the Air Force. When I went to see him, he received me with his usual expansiveness and bonhomie. He could instil confidence in a condemned man! The important thing was that he expressed his willingness to be a defending officer and, in fact, gave me additional briefing on what is usually expected after which he advised that we meet again on the 11th of January for a rehearsal. He had carefully taken notes on what happened with regard to the flight and the German interest after which I left him the transcripts to study."

Chapters 15 and 16 give the details of the 1966 coups and the deadly lack of trust among the officers that led to the Nigeria - Biafra war.

Chapters 18 - 22 give details of the circumstances that led to the exit of the author and the officers and men from the various parts of Nigeria to the then Eastern Region. The commencement or the formation of the flight activities in the Eastern Region are clearly documented.

The hijacking of a Nigerian Airways plane by a group that included the indomitable university students leader, Mark Odu (now Prof. Nze Mark Odu) from Benin Airport to Enugu Airport is narrated here. This very aircraft will be used six months later for an attack in Lagos that earned Mark Odu detention in Nigeria until the end of the war.

Chapter 23 and 24 give an account of the teething problems after the declaration of the Easter Region as the Republic of Biafra by the then Governor of the Region Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. The author at this time also married his heartthrob Patsy Mgbafor and he was expected to settle down to a normal married life but his military spirit continued to soar.

This narrative in page 250 gives a lucid account of how pilots toast their babies.

"I was not insensitive nor indifferent to those tested and proven words of my wise teachers, but in an extra-curricular bias, especially after bomb practice runs with Correa, I discovered that I had also perfected flying extremely dangerously low and fast over a particular house- Mr. Godwin Okpalor's at Obiagu Road near the Hotel Presidential. I had nothing against Mr. Okpalor, but I was interested in his daughter Patsy, and my stunt flying or barnstorming over that house was my noisy and flamboyant was of informing her that I was back from a mission and that she was being invited over to join me for dinner. And, maybe, I was also trying to pressure and harass her father into letting her go. I, nonetheless, stopped this silly escapade that was threatening to destroy (by way of an unplanned contact or an inadvertent bomb drop) the Okpalor house, not to talk of the potential danger to my person, when on the 20th of June 1967, the old man, well let me marry her."

Chapters 25 - 46 give a meticulous account of the Biafra war, the losses, the gains, the deaths and the harrowing experience of the survivors. War is indeed an evil wind that blows no one any good. A young poet, the inimitable Chris Okigbo died quit early in the war.

Chapters 47 - 50 give an account of the despicable role of some countries that led to the death of many people, the selfishness of some leaders, the saving grace of relief agencies and some dedicated individuals. The Red Cross, the Caritas International, e.t.c. Count Von Rosen etc are mentioned for their good deeds.

This section also gives a philosophical view of war and what drives some people to become soldiers of fortune and others who deal with both sides. The role of the Biafra Babies (special military aircraft) and their brave crew was graphically narrated.

The exploits of the pilots such as the author Adindu Njoku, Obinwa, John Chukwu, Ifeka Onuora Allwell Brown, Ukeje, Johnnie Carson, Hagland, Norgren, Willy Bruce, Sgt Ex Coffin Nwagbara and Agbafuna are well documented throughout this book. So is the departure of Kurubo from Biafra. At the end of the war, the cream of the Biafran soldiers was not re-absorbed.

Nigeria lost a chance to integrate battle-tested pilots who would have replaced the Egyptian and Eastern European pilots who operated the NAF Mig jets. Most of the Biafran pilots converted to commercial air liners. The mercenaries moved on to other areas of conflict, such as Congo.

Be the first to Write a Comment!

Today's Featured News
Business/Techonology News
More News on allAfrica.com


Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Boko Haram - 'Chibok girls would surely be released on Monday'

Self acclaimed secretary General of Boko Haram, Mallam Danladi Ahmadu have said that the group’s cases fire agreement with the Federal Government is very much ...

Adebambo Adetunji, Pastor In Ilorin Arrested For Snatching Cars At Gunpoint

A district pastor of a church in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, has been remanded by a Lagos Magistrate’s Court sitting in Ikeja. The 37-year-old pastor, ... Full story

Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi Says Corruption In Nigeria Is Uncontrollable

Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has described the level of corruption in Nigeria at the moment as uncontrollable. Amaechi, who is also the Chairman, Nigerian ...

Boko Haram frees 45 women recently abducted

There are reports that the Islamic violent group, Boko Haram has reportedly freed about 45 women recently abducted from Waga Mangoro and Madagali villages between ...

Boko Haram Kidnaps 40 More Young Girls

Fresh reports filtering in from Adamawa State has it that another set of 40 girls have been abducted by the outlawed Islamic sect, Boko Haram. The ...

Nigerian Dominic Adesanya Arrested After He Jumped the White House fence and ran onto the North Lawn

A Maryland man jumped the White House fence and ran onto the North Lawn before being subdued Wednesday night. Dominic Adesanya, 23, stood on the North ... Full story

Jealous Boyfriend Warns President Obama - Video

A voter standing beside President Barack Obama as he was casting his early ballot for the 2014 midterm elections in Chicago warned the Commander-in-Chief: 'Don't ... Full story

Father abandons his three children in boarding school for eight years

Three children abandoned in a boarding school in Abule-Iroko in the Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State are longing to meet their parents ... Full story

University Students Storm Lagos Club To Strip Dance For Money

Cave night club could have passed for any other club but it is not like any other in Nigeria. It is a strip club where ... Full story

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 5 years in prison for the manslaughter of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

There was almost complete silence in the courtroom as Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in jail for the manslaughter of his girlfriend Reeva ...

Popular Musician Feyisayo Mojisola Oyetade Dies On Child Naming Ceremony Day

A popular hip-hop singer has died on the naming day of her 8-day-old baby boy. The singer, Feyisayo Mojisola Oyetade, who is a popular singer in ... Full story

Comment on: The Last Flight

Rate this article

0

Featured author

Paula Obiewkwe

Breaking News

Regina Askia Volunteers To Take Care Of Ebola Patients In New York

Ace Nollywood actress/ beauty queen who is now a nurse, Regina Askia has made a brave and touching move to work at a US Ebola ...

Photo Journalist Attacks Actress, Adunni Ade AND Tonto Dikeh on Red Carpet

Do you have a story/gist for publication? Please email it to story@nigeriafilms.com FITHENA | 10/24/2014 5:49:06 PM REMOVE THIS r*****h NEWS AWAY U DONT KNOW WHAT TO ...

Obiwon Shares New Family Pictures As They Celebrate Their Anniversary

Nigerian music artiste and former Banker, Obiora Agu popularly known as Obiwon, two days ago celebrated his 3rd wedding anniversary.The now gospel artiste, released adorable ...

I Met Niyola In A Bathroom- Banky W

Music artiste and EME records boss, Banky W for the first time gushed about his first lady, Niyola. Niyola who is EME records first lady ...

Chita Agwu Set To Wed Her Malaysia Based Fiance Tomorrow

Nollywood beau, Chita Agwu, who started acting in 2009 and has so far worked her way up to the top of the ladder with more ...

Why I Respect Denrele Above Others………Chika Ike

Nollywood actress, Chika Ike, has described TV host, Denrele Edun, as one of the people that has brought life to the entertainment industry in Nigeria.This ...

Between Men and Women, Who is Favouring who.....Actress, Dayo Amusa Ask

Dayo Amusa is one of the big fishes in the waters of the Yoruba Movie industry. She tops the list of the roll call of ...

Waiting To Hear My Wedding Date Will Be Impossible…….Omawwunmi

Do you have a story/gist for publication? Please email it to story@nigeriafilms.com d | 10/24/2014 4:01:11 PM [b] M. T N is in trouble...hey guys here is ...

17 ships berth in Lagos with palm oil, rice

The Nigerian Ports Authority has stated that 17 ships, carrying crude palm oil, rice, frozen fish and other food items, will berth at Lagos ports ...

I Don’t Care What Anybody Says About My Thickness and Extra Body Bits…Sound City Vj, Moet Abebe

One TV station that stands out so well because of its strive in promoting Nigerian and African music videos, no doubt is sound city. If ...