Aviation safety is of global concern. This book is about one person's experience as a non-hypocritical safety regulator in a challenging environment. The author has found her amazing career experience interesting to share. The hazards of playing politics and being hypocritical with safety regulation are clearly reflected in this book. From the human angle, it shows the ugly face of office politics and power play and their detrimental effects on those at the receiving end. The rather slow pace of progress in the aviation regulatory entity since the author's ordeal and her subsequent forceful retirement is a lesson in why responsible authorities shouldn't be cutting their noses to spite their faces.
During the period that I was rounding up one of the final drafts of these memoirs, I was entertaining a guest one evening when I received a call. The caller, a fellow patriot, asked if I was aware of a plane crash that had just occurred somewhere in Lagos. I had not, but I promised to tune in to one of the television channels. I soon did, and the sad news was confirmed. The plane – on a DANA Airlines commercial flight from Abuja – had crashed into some houses. As I watched the news, I could see the fire raging and the crowd surging. Things seemed uncontrollable. The people at the scene seemed to be mainly local people. The first question I asked aloud was, “What has happened to our aviation Search and Rescue system?” From the same news broadcast, we learned that another accident had happened the previous day – Saturday, 2 June 2012. It involved a Nigerian-registered cargo aircraft belonging to Allied Air. It had rammed into an air shuttle bus after landing in a pool of water. Ten persons were reported dead and several injured. This had happened in Ghana, a neighbouring West African country. The DANA aircraft had some 154 persons on board – all were presumed dead, while the casualty figures for the houses hit were yet unknown. After some time, I became very depressed and said so before switching off the television a couple of minutes later.
Born on the 9th June 1953 into the Saba Chieftaincy family of Lagos Island, Nigeria, Folasade Odutola had as paternal grandmother, a gifted woman from the house of Gbonka, the renowned Ife warrior. Her maternal great, great, grandmother was a daughter of King Dosunmu of Lagos. Her father was a banker who had previously had a go at boxing, law enforcement duties and tutoring, even if only for a brief period of time. With a teacher-cum-seamstress as mother, education was and remains a most valued commodity in the family. After enjoying the free good-quality primary education available in her time, her academic performance made it possible for her to obtain scholarships for further studies up to undergraduate level. In 1977, she obtained a first-class BSc (honours) degree in aeronautical engineering from Glasgow University, Scotland, UK. Her professional career began with a one-year compulsory national youth service, which she performed in the Development Section, Engineering and Technical Services Department of Nigeria Airways, the defunct national-flag air carrier. Her post-graduate education was later sponsored by her employer, the Federal Ministry of Aviation (FMA), which she joined in August 1978 as a pupil airworthiness surveyor. She obtained an MSc in air transport engineering from Cranfield Institute of Technology (now a university), Cranfield, England, UK. She served the FMA and its parastatals for over two decades, performing regulatory duties covering safety and economic aspects of aviation, with more than 80% of her years in service spent on safety matters. She rose to the post of Director, Airworthiness and Operations Standards at the inception of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, which she was forced to leave in July 2001. In January 2004, she was appointed to the post of Rector/CEO of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology in Zaria, Kaduna State. She left this post in May 2007 to take up an appointment (on secondment) as Director, Air Transport Bureau at the International Civil Aviation Organization Headquarters in Montreal, Canada. Her secondment from the Federal Civil Service came to an end in November 2011.
The author has stylishly held a mirror for Nigerians to view the face of Nigeria. Breaking the mirror will not change anything we hate in the face. let's rather improve on the look of the face.Knowing the author's penchant for standards and uprightness,and as a Librarian in NCAT Zaria where Odutola was Rector/CE, I cannot expect anything less from her.This book will make a good reading any day.
Emmanuel Gandu ksm