By Dr. Mike Uyi
An American literary pundit, Joseph John Campbell has archetypal veneration of heroes in all his fictional works. He does not see them as ordinary beings; but people specially endowed and who derive the true worth of existence from their peculiar and unique impacts on the universe. In a time-tested aphorism, Campbell says, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
This literary guru cannot be less accurate and persuasive in opening the eyes of the world to his recognition of the innate worth of heroes. The CEO of Air Peace, Allen Ifechukwu Onyema comes to mind, each time one reflects deeply on the concept of heroism. Even with his position in the society, The star boy from Mbosi, in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, South East region has always humbled himself to serve Nigeria.
Onyema, a core professional, super intellectual and dynamite in aviation strategies and tactics, sparks admiration because he radiates with splendour in the aviation world.
Despite his numerous achievements as an entrepreneur and conflict resolution expert, he has maintained an aura of warmth and love that can easily be felt by all who come in contact with him.
An apostle of non-violent approach to conflict resolution, Onyema could be described as a good example of ‘think of what you can do for your country and not what your country can do for you.’ As a young man, he was spending his hard earned resources.
The role he played during the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa can’t be forgotten in a hurry. On September 5, 2019, he directed the airline to evacuate as many Nigerians as possible from South Africa. The Boeing-777 successfully evacuated hundreds of victimized Nigerians from South Africa, all at his expense.
Just recently the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano inaugurated the Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport in Umueri community, Anambra East local government area of the state as the first set of flights landed at the airport.
Again, the first 2 aircraft that landed on the facility were owned by Air Peace Airlines, which had its Chairman/Chief Executive, Allen Onyema, as the first passenger.
In his usual manner of self service, during the occasion, Chief Onyema, while expressing his delight at having his planes be the first to land at the airport which has the longest runway in the country, said that this is one of the fastest airports to be approved by the federal government and it is due to the quality of work done.
He was also confident that President Muhammadu Buhari will surely approve it as an international cargo and passenger airport, with the facility offering job opportunities to millions of people and also energizing the economy of Anambra in particular and Nigeria in general.
Indeed, the story of Nigerian aviation cannot be complete without the mention of this illustrious son from Mbosi. That there are still Allen Onyema’s out there, who are more interested in sacrificing their hard earned money to serve public interest, is most encouraging. All hope is not lost judging from Chief Allen Onyema’s act of patriotism.
He has uncommon leadership traits. While most African leaders, speak before they think, Allen Onyema belongs to the exceptional breed of leaders who first grasp their thoughts on any issue before any verbal exercise. He sticks to his words like bees on honey. These leadership qualities have always distinguished him from the lot, anywhere he is entrusted to lead.
Dr. Mike Uyi is the President General Global Peace Movement International UK.