ALLEN ONYEMA: NIGERIA’S CULLINAN ONE
Acts of kindness are treasures, but the thoughts behind them are priceless…Ena E. Orugbo
Spontaneity is a trait of great minds but the decision to float an airline requires caution and in-depth analysis. Especially in Nigeria where the list of failed airlines has grown exponentially. An abridged list of defunct airlines in Nigeria includes Albarka, Al-Dawood, Chanchangi, Dasab, Earth, Kabo, Okada and Pan African. It is not all bad news. A few airlines such as Arik Air and Aero Contractors have weathered the storms. Unfortunately, they are either inundated by huge loans, high operating costs or taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). Considering the above, what was Mr Allen Onyema thinking when he floated Air Peace?
After singlehandedly airlifting about 520 Nigerians from Xenophobia-loving South Africa, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Peace, Allen Onyema had this to say: “I did not do it spontaneously nor did I do it for publicity, I had to mortgage my landing right in South Africa, because I just got the landing right before the crisis. I did not give a damn, I never did, because I know that I will not go to heaven with any dime”. Proverbs 23:7a is letter-perfect, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”. The crux of the matter is not the alignment of Onyema’s thoughts, words, and actions. It hovers around what Jesus echoed in Luke 10:37. The parable of the Good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise”!
The world is begging for answers to her barrage of complex and unexplainable problems. However, it is pertinent to note that embedded within every challenge is a golden opportunity. An opportunity to love and most definitely, the founder of Air Peace has peace. The farmers-herdsmen conflict has defiled all logic and the worst hit was Benue State. Guess what? Allen Onyema just successfully facilitated a peace meeting between the leadership of Miyetti Allah and the Benue State government. As a priceless takeaway, Saleh Alhassan, the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah “apologised over the attacks and killings of people of Benue state by herdsmen”.
Forbes Magazine reports that the Cullinan Diamond at 3,106 carats is the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found. It was named after Thomas Cullinan, owner of the South African mine where it was discovered. On the same subject, the “Cullinan I or Star of Africa” at 530 carats, was the largest cutting from the Cullinan Diamond and is the largest cut fine-quality colorless diamond in the world. It was Napoleon Hill who said, “more gold has been mined from the hearts of men than from the ground”. In a bid to modestly decorate the founder of Air Peace, Allen Onyema for his exploits and well-intentioned acts of kindness (service). He shall now be known as Nigeria’s Cullinan I.
The value of the Cullinan Diamond remains a mystery ($4 million to $100 million). Air Peace and her CEO have conquered on all fronts. It takes guts and the likes of Richard Branson to establish a presence in Nigeria’s aviation industry. Nigeria has recently climbed 15 places on the World Bank global Ease of Doing Business rankings. As President Muhammadu Buhari-led government relishes this feat, emphasis should also be directed towards celebrating great Nigerian minds. This will birth more Good Samaritans and stir nationalistic instincts. South Africa successfully developed iconic infrastructure but left the development of South African minds to Xenophobia.
Dr. Enameguolo Orugbo,