Book: Nigeria Aviation Development: All you Need to Know
Author: Engineer Francis Adebo Adegoke
Publisher: Nigeria Aviation Family Foundation
Year of Publication: 2023
As I began drafting my review of ‘Nigeria Aviation Development: All you need to know’, I encountered a hurdle: what title would be most fitting for a book written by Nigeria’s first flight engineer and covering the entire history of the country’s aviation industry? To say I was struck by the wealth of information contained within the pages of the book would be an understatement, hence after much contemplation, I settled on the title ‘From Pioneers to Progress: A Review of the Book Titled Nigeria Aviation Development: All You Need to Know’.
Born in Ghana in 1942, Engineer Francis Adebo Adegoke is the first Nigerian flight engineer. He joined Nigeria Airways in 1964 and underwent training in Scotland before returning to work for the airline. Engr Adegoke trained with reputable airlines and logged over 11,000 hours flying Boeing 707, DC10, and Boeing 747 Jumbo jet. He retired in 1999 as Chief Flight Engineer of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways, and has since written books on diverse subjects, receiving several awards for his service. Among the awards and honours received by the author are: Officer of Order of Africa of the Republic of Liberia, the 1999 “Who is Who in Nigeria” listing, Osun State of Nigeria Government Award for Community Service, Fatima College, Ikire National Old Boys Association Award of Excellence, and Oyan Parapo Merit Award of Excellence.
Engineer Francis Adegoke is married with four daughters, among whom is Engr (Mrs) Adenike Macaulay, Chief Executive Officer of Wakanow.com, the first Nigerian online air travel agency. Engr Adegoke may for long be retired from the Nigeria Airways, but he has remained active in his intellectual endeavours. In fact, he has continued to channel his knowledge and experience into authoring intellectually stimulating materials that have contributed significantly to the discourse around aviation. His latest book, ‘Nigeria Aviation Development: All you need to know’, is a welcome addition to this collection of works. At a time when the aviation industry is undergoing rapid changes, this book serves as a timely reminder of the rich history and enduring importance of aviation in Nigeria. As a reviewer, my task is to evaluate the content and presentation of this book and to offer my perspective on its significance. With the title taken care of, please read through to the end of the article as you join me in exploring the fascinating story of the Nigerian aviation industry as chronicled in this book.
Organisation of the Book
In ‘Nigeria Aviation Development: All you need to know’, Engr Adegoke takes readers on a fascinating journey through the history of aviation, tracing its evolution from early experiments with flight to the modern-day industry we know today. The book is structured into four parts, tagged “Book” each delving into different aspects of Nigeria’s aviation industry. Each book is divided into chapters that provide detailed information on specific topics.
In Book 1, titled ‘Historical Background’, the author delves into the principles of flight, aviation regulations, and the wide range of career options available in the industry. Even for readers with limited knowledge of aviation, beyond boarding procedures and in-flight announcements, the first section of the book provides a wealth of information and insight. To aid readers’ understanding, the author provides practical demonstrations of events described in the first part of the book as he takes the readers on an imaginary flight from Lagos to London.
Book 2, “The Advent of Nigeria Aviation” is a captivating journey through the history of aviation in Nigeria. Engr Adegoke does a wonderful job as he details the earliest days of aviation in the country, including the first planes to touch down on Nigerian soil, the birth of commercial air travel in the country, and the country’s infrastructural and human resources development efforts. For anyone seeking a comprehensive understanding of the history of aviation in Nigeria, this section of the book is an indispensable resource.
The third part (Book 3) – Airlines and Travel Agency Industries, is a sobering reflection on the challenges faced by the Nigerian aviation industry. In it, Engr Adegoke provides a thorough analysis of the factors that contributed to the eventual downfall of Nigeria Airways and the rise of private airlines in Nigeria, including charter and cargo airlines. The author also delves into the safety concerns surrounding the deregulation of Nigeria’s aviation industry. He highlights the decline in professionalism and safety standards that have led to several plane crashes in recent years. Despite these challenges, the author reminds readers that air travel remains the safest mode of transportation in Nigeria, and highlights government efforts to regulate and improve safety within the industry.
In the last part (Book 4) of the book, titled “The Nigeria Aviation Developers” Engr Adegoke highlights the contributions of prominent individuals who played key roles in the development of Nigeria’s aviation industry. The author takes readers on a journey through the biographies of these aviation personalities and categorises them into five groups: the great developers, the pioneers, the trailblazers, the unforgettable, and the deceased. While acknowledging the impact of technological advancements in the aviation industry, Engr Adegoke emphasises that the contributions of these individuals and certain organisations were instrumental to the growth and progress of the Nigerian aviation sector.
Many writers avoid writing history books because of the potential for inaccuracies and misrepresentations.
However, the author of this book took these concerns seriously and sought to mitigate them by consulting extensively with prominent individuals, both within and outside of the aviation industry.
These experts not only provided valuable resources, but also offered insights that were incorporated into the book. To ensure factual accuracy, the book was proofread by aviation professionals, including the former Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Airways, Captain Jonathan Ibrahim, Captain Justus Eka and Captain Jayeola Adeola.
Other notable contributors to the book’s development include Captain Robert Hayes, the first Nigerian Pilot, Captain Sola Balogun, a leading figure in Nigeria’s air cargo industry, Captain Paul Nwaoze, one of the first pilot students at the Nigeria Civil Aviation Training Centre, and Engr. Adenike Macaulay, an accomplished authority in the tech air industry.
The book titled ‘Nigeria Aviation Development: All you Need to Know’ was published by the Nigeria Aviation Family Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation established in 2021 to provide financial support to aviation professionals who require medical attention and to the widows and children of deceased aviators. Over the course of its nearly two-year existence, the Foundation has raised approximately thirteen million Naira (N13,000,000), which has been used to assist sick aviation professionals and the families of deceased aviators.
Final Thoughts on the Book
The book ‘Nigeria Aviation Development: All you Need to Know’ is a remarkable masterpiece that offers readers a comprehensive and detailed account of Nigeria’s aviation industry. It delves into the challenges that have faced the industry, including the rise and fall of Nigeria Airways, the impact of deregulation, and the decline in safety standards that resulted in plane crashes. The book also celebrates the contributions of key individuals and organisations that have shaped the aviation industry in Nigeria.
While the author has made every effort to present authentic accounts of Nigeria’s aviation industry, it is important to acknowledge that like any historical piece, there may be limitations to the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information provided in the book. The author himself recognizes this, stating that “no history book can be all that comprehensive and exhaustive” (p. xiii).
Therefore, Engr Adegoke invites other researchers and aviators to build upon his work and contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of Nigeria’s aviation history.
Nonetheless, the author skilfully avoids the potential pitfalls of a dry history piece by using simple and fluid language to explain complex terms and concepts. Even high school students can easily understand the author’s engaging delivery. This book is an essential resource for readers interested in the aviation industry and professionals, policymakers, historians, and anyone interested in Nigeria’s economic and social history. It is an all-in-one instructional material, manual, history book, and memoir, making it a valuable addition to any bookshelf.
If you are an aviator/aviation professional who wishes to collaborate with the Nigeria Aviation Family Foundation in providing aid to those in need, please reach out to the Foundation. You can contact them directly via WhatsApp at either 080162828909 or 0802353660.
The book review was written by Khadijat Adedeji-Olona, Ph.D., a researcher, qualitative data analyst, and consultant based in Lagos, Nigeria. If you have questions or feedback on the review, Dr Adedeji-Olona can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org