Twenty-year-old Favour Nnaemeka Odozor was penultimate Saturday in South Africa, awarded license as a commercial pilot, making him the youngest in South Africa and Nigeria commercial pilot.
He talks about his journey to becoming a pilot and what he has planned next;
Q: How do you feel being the youngest commercial pilot in Nigeria and South Africa?
Favour Odozor: It is not a feeling out of the ordinary; it was that of a childhood dream of being a commercial pilot which finally came through and at the age of 20. That I was able to achieve this in countries advanced in aviation like Nigeria and South Africa, is equally rewarding. But I know there are many younger ones out there who do have the wherewithal to achieve this even while younger than I am now.
Q: Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am, was born in Umuoma Amucha in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State by Mr and Mrs Odozor. I attended Adimery nursery/primary Oguta, Imo state. I had my secondary education in Lagos and Enugu before proceeding to Caritas University, Enugu State where I enrolled for Computer Science and Information Technology. I deferred this in my second year to go to South Africa’s prestigious Afrika Union Aviation Academy to undergo training as a commercial pilot. This I have completed within a good time and currently licensed on a multi engine airplane with instrument rating.
Q: What were your aspirations growing up?
I’d always desired to become a pilot right from childhood. I remember always running out of the building just to catch a glimpse of an airplane on hearing its cruising sound possibly at 36 – 38 thousand feet overhead. It usually depressed me the moment it disappears. Then my mother would calm me down by saying ‘don’t worry one day God will make this a reality but focus on your studies for now in order to obtain brilliant results if you would like to be a pilot’. That motivated me a lot that I made sciences my bread and butter while at school just to achieve this dream.
Q: Could you explain what it felt like for you when you were awarded the license?
I felt very good when being awarded this license. I pursed it vigorously and competed with many other students from all over the world with some dropping from the school halfway into the training. Also the presence of Nigerian dignitaries at the graduation was very heartwarming. I’ve never been so proud, as a Nigerian achieving what I had. I felt honoured by their presence, meeting and sharing photos with them. They are very humble as against what you would read in the newspapers about them. Yet I felt very accomplished but then also realized that there is even more to do from here onwards.