Remembering Captain Jerry Agbeyegbe, 18 years after
By Mae Agbeyegbe
It’s by your Grace Almighty Father, that one survives after the elimination of a loved one. Its been a harrowng eighteen (18) years since the elimination of your dear son, Skipper Jerry Agbeyegbe. Although long gone, his memories are still as fresh as the morning dew, with his beautiful visage, permanently tattooed in all the hearts of his loved ones.
Captain Agbeyegbe was a man like no other. He wore many caps. He was a man in uniform and a quintessential gentleman to the core. Most times, he gave it all up for others to survive and thrive. As a Pilot and Flight Instructor, with full instructors ratings, he helped shape the lives of many aspiring pilots both in Nigeria and in far away, Miami USA, through due dilligence and hard labour of love. Some of these pilots have become excellent professionals in their own rights. He even tutored one of his bosses. Captain Jerry was always the fall guy, who is left all alone to roast in the scorching sun by those he put his neck on the line for. I am going to enumerate some of the harrowing situations he went through in service of humanity.
Dateline Lagos Flying Club (LFC): Captain Agbeyegbe’s large heart saw him abdicating his position as the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) of the prestigious Lagos Flying Club (LFC), for late Captain Y.S., who didn’t have a job and begged Jerry for same. After securing another job, Capt. Y.S. left the CFI position without telling Jerry which action left all the students hanging without a CFI. He put Jerry in a very tight corner.
Dateline Aero Contractors: Indigenous pilots were agitating for better pay and services as the expatriate pilots who were earning more pay were not better qualified than their Nigerian counterparts. While the pilots were engaging the management in serious consultations, with hope for amicable resolution of the impasse, management did a turn around and terminated the appointment of not all the aggrieved pilots, but only, then first officer, Jerry Agbeyegbe. He was made the fall guy. He simply moved on.
Dateline Okada Air: This young man was twenty four years old. He was a Pilot and Operations Manager of Okada Air. One fateful day, he came back from a flight operation and discovered that Chief G.O. Igbinedion the Operator of the Airline had relieved five Nigerian Pilots of their duties. Without batting an eye lid, Jerry resigned in solidarity. These young men went to Chief Igbinedion’s house in Ikoyi behind Jerry’s back to plead their cause. The Chief forgave term and reinstated them, only for these guys amongst whom are Captains, J.O., C. O., J.A. (who incidentally was Jerry’s student at the LFC), to shamelessly come back, asking Jerry to go and beg the Chief. Of course, he refused and moved on with his life. There were other incidences where Jerry was stabbed in the back, but the mother if it all, was his dismissal from his job at the Federal Ministry of Aviation.
Dateline Federal Ministry of Aviation: Here, Captain Jerry, Pilot and Flight Inspector, due hard work and diligence, rose from the ranks to become the De Facto Head of The Flight Calibration Unit (FCU). Calibration is a Quality Control Service, A Safety Audit to guarantee that Signals in Space are true and correct. As a Flight Instructor he was busy training manpower for this all important job before he was unceremoniously relieved of his duties due to trumped up charges of having written an anonymous letter. He was dismissed without following due process in the Civil Service. He was not queried. He was not reported to the Civil Service Commission, which body would have investigated the charges and sanctioned him appropriately. Instead of dismissing redundant staff, the ministry fired a vibrant and young progressive who still had many years of active service life ahead of him. He was dismissed via the obnoxious Decree 17. of course, we all know that you were handed a verdict of “Decree 17” when nothing can be established against you.
Dateline Abuja: Captain Jerry who was the President of the National Assiciation of Aircraft Pilots and Enginerrs, (NAAPE), was on the last lap of promotion to the next level in the Federal Civil Service of Nigeria. He had been evading the promotion exercise so he could continue his tenure as NAAPE president, because once he attained that level, he could no longer hold any elective position. On this fateful day, he got an invitation from the Ministry to go to Abuja, so he thoughtt to himself, this promotion thing again?, but off he went from Lagos to Abuja. Upon arrival this young man was ushered into a waiting room with the then Minister of Aviation, Commodore Ita Udoh Imeh and nine (9) Directors, including one of his immediate bosses Rtd. Col. Y., in attendance. This meeting turned out to be an inquisition, which ended in his suspension from his job without pay until he could prove his innocence which he tried to. In fairness to his immediate boss, the man stood up in defense of Jerry to no avail. Jerry eventually lost his job via “The Obnoxious Decree 17” due to trumped up charges of having written an “Anoynymous Letter”.
Captain Agbeyegbe moved on with his life and embraced his Aviation Safety Activities with all the strength, diligence, patriotism and zeal he could muster until some trigger happy assassins aborted his journey on Mother earth.
You are loved and highly appreciated Skipper Jerry Agbeyegbe. You were an enigma, a colossus in the Nigerian Aviation Industry. Your indelible legacies on the Sands of Aviation Times, live after you. God bless your kind and dear soul, Skippo, in Jesus Christ Precious Name, Amen 🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️
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