On a Pilot’s last flight

Dateline: Monday 13th January, 2020 during a trip from Lagos to Kano by air.

Seriously occupied my minds were two things.

One; the fact that I was going to Kano at a time the ferocity of the yearly harmattan would be at its worst. Two; the impending defense of a proposal that could hasten the acceptability of yours sincerely as a ‘force’ to reckon with in the Nigerian Automotive Industry or otherwise; if not judiciously handled.

Therefore, I wasn’t interested in the Azman Air’s pilot’s engagement with travelers as soon as it was taxing in readiness for take-off.

And while cruising at about 33,000 feet above sea level for the 1 hour and 15 minutes voyage to Kano, my hatred for harmattan was my main concern.

But half-way into the journey, the Pilot announced that a plane took off from Abuja and was heading towards Kano too and that this might cause us a little delay.

From this moment, I shifted my mind to be interested in what the pilot might want to tell us.

True to his assertion, the Azman Plane approached Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, but was suspended in the air for about 20 minutes; and during which period the Pilot offered no explanation.

A new friend I made during the trip, DCC Farinloye, a Federal Road Safety Corps official that was going to Dutse in Jigawa State too was curious as I was. And we discussed this earnestly; minding the fact that you can’t lay 100 percent trust on the Nigeria Airspace Safety.

At last the Pilot announced his intention to ‘land’ the plane at Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and we became ecstatic. He announced that he was piloting a commercial plane for the last time in his 35 years of being in the air airlifting travelers across the country and beyond.

On touch-down, the velvet-voice of one of the Air-Hostesses came on board-speaker to properly announced that the pilot indeed just completed a career as a commercial pilot who began his profession with the defunct Nigeria Airways, then later moved to other airlines before finally switching to Azman Air. And that on the return trip to Lagos, the pilot would ‘fly’ as a traveler.

This announcement was welcomed with enthusiastic clapping by everybody on board and while exiting the plane, we all took time to pose for memorable pictures with the man that had lived virtually in the air successfully for 35 years without hitch; and he enjoyed every moment of our photo sessions as parting gifts for total commitment for his calling.

I’m using this column to wish him happy retirement!

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