by Uche Chuta
It’s easy for us to be heroes from the comfort of our homes and behind our computers and gadgets. We can sound noble, patriotic, abuse our leaders and organize all sorts of e-protests.
It’s a total different thing when you literally put your life for your nation to defend it and it’s institutions such as democracy as exemplified by Late Flight Lieutenant Akweke Junior Nwakile (Friday, March 22, 1985 – Monday, July 21, 2014). He was a young man (29) but his brevity of years did not mean he hadn’t done a whole lot for his family and nation.
He was born in Kano and had his primary and secondary education there. In September 2003, he was admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA). He completed his cadet military training 4 years later with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Physics. He was the best graduating student Physics and best graduating Air Force cadet of NDA Regular Course 55. He was consequently commissioned a Pilot Officer in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on the Saturday, September 29, 2007. In 2008 he was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer and in 2012 was made a Flight Lieutenant.
He underwent a series of flying training in Nigeria, US and the UK which resulted in him being a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). He ws a squadron pilot at 3-5 Flying Training School Enugu and SOF Special Operations Group Port Harcourt where he served as an Instructor Pilot. He also participated in the African Led Intervention Force in Mali (AFISMA) as a squadron pilot and later in the Joint Task Force Operation Zaman Lafiya in North-Eastern Nigeria until his death on Monday, July 21, 2014.
He leaves behind his mother, his siblings and many friends who miss him dearly. Nigeria has lost a jewel (as his first name translates into). He gave his all and made the ultimate sacrifice for Nigeria.
It was an honour for me to pay my last respects to you and like the old hymn says which we sung today “…only remembered by what we have done; Thus would we pass from the earth and its tolling only remembered by what we have done.”
(Photos: Defence Information Directorate, DHQ)
Uche Chuta is an IT professional and tweets from @nnabros.