Mr Ademilola Odujinrin, a Nigerian, and the first African pilot in history to fly solo around the world, using a cirrus SR22, a single engine aircraft has revealed the real reasons he undertook the trip.
He stated that it would have been an honour to start and end the trip in Nigeria, but for financial constraints.
Speaking with Ripples Nigeria, Ademilola who included himself in the list of 114 co-record breakers to have accomplished the feat said the main objective was to have the African continent represented in the record.
“The first objective was to have an African fly around the world safely and successfully. I try to inspire the masses, to change the African narrative, to put Nigeria on the map, to see Nigeria on that list of nations adding positive impact to the World, to prove to kids that they can always chase their dreams as long as they know they have the commitments to see it through”.
The navigation, which spanned 300 hours, covering 5 continents, 25 countries, and 35 stops for a period of nine months, according to Ademilola gave rise to the mantra “against all odds”.
Although, the journey which started from Washington DC would not have been, Ademilola said the honour would have been greater if the Nigerian aviation industry braced up to the occasion.
“It would have been the greatest honour to have started and finished from Nigeria. We had serious financial constraint so we started from Washington DC, with stops at New York, Canada, Iceland, Scotland, London, Valencia, Malta, Rome, Greece, Egypt, Djibouti, Oman, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Port-villa, Christmas Island, Hawaii, California, Texas and back to Washington DC”.
Ademilola did not fail to mention the challenges, ranging from funds, to staying focused on the objectives.
“Despite all the challenges, we are fast loosing grasp of many great things we do not observe from tiny ideas into the reality. What I learnt in this journey, I could never have learnt it on a PhD course. I learnt tenacity and focus; the first time I gave up was the last time I gave up on this trip”.
He further advised that enabling environment should be created for more landmark achievements to be attributed to Nigeria and the African continent. “Africa should provide the enabling environment for things like this to happen, a lot of countries like to talk about Nigeria in a negative light. This is going to change the African narrative and it’s about time we get our names in the history books for the right reasons”.
Concerning the state of the aviation sector in Nigeria, Ademilola suggests that the Government should invest more to create jobs for the people; he also opined that an economically vibrant state should have “at least, two airports, this will bring about an internationally competitive aviation industry where pilots can put their trainings gathered into good use”.
Ademilola is currently enjoying the euphoria of completing the task and is being acknowledged by the Country’s flag he flew during the 8-months navigation around the world.
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