Book title: The Last Flight: A Personal Journey to Rediscovering Values
Author: Dapo Akande
Publisher: Ceenai Multimedia Ltd, Gbagada, Lagos
Year of publication: 2017
Reviewer: Maureen Ihonor
he Last Flight” is a book that touches on many cogent issues bedeviling the Nigerian society. It is replete with numerous anecdotes and analogies while it ekes out critical lessons learned from personal experiences.
The book implicitly questions the human, nay, African tendency to conjure up complicated solutions to problems when simple ones will do just fine. Manners, Integrity, Neighbourly love, Discipline and a common good approach to Success( M.I.N.D.S); all are as simple as they come and if rediscovered, embraced, widely and faithfully adopted, could do wonders to the mindset of our people and ultimately lead to the much needed rejuvenation of our society; the progress and wellbeing of our society.
With hints of an autobiography, ‘The Last Flight’, notes the author, betrays the unmistakable influence a 20-year sojourn in the United Kingdom would expectedly have on the outlook of the author even if he did return to his motherland over two decades ago.
This book sets out to subtly coerce the reader to self-examine, reflect and assess his own set of values. It has something for everyone as I believe anyone who reads it will discover something in it that speaks their mind.
The Last Flight unapologetically preoccupies itself with the Biblical notion of Good Success while great attempt is made to contrast the self centred nature of Success (so prevalent in these climes) and the more common good complexion of Good Success. Great pains is also taken to trace a strong link between the pursuit of the common good, the fulfillment of one’s purpose and the notion of Good Success.
As the book draws to a close, it gradually comes to the conclusion that all the best intentions, grand political and socioeconomic solutions, may eventually fail to provide the apparently desired result if we as individuals don’t demonstrate genuine love for the other. No matter how grandiose the development plan, if a solid foundation of love for our fellow man is not set, the plans will fall flat like the proverbial pack of cards. Love produces Character and Character develops a society.
Though ‘The Last Flight’ “shies away from categorically expressing an opinion on whether it’s a little late in the day to significantly change the mindset of the older generation; it does however, repeatedly and with much hope express the strongest belief that it’s not too late for the younger generation, if only we start now by inculcating in them time tested values inherent in MINDS. MINDS, an abbreviation of my recently registered NGO, MINDS Reform Initiative, has the sole aim of propagating these simple, long lost ideals.”
The scriptural verse which says a child who’s shown the way to go will not depart from that path when he grows up has never sounded truer. The soul, the spirit and the very essence of ‘The Last Flight’ wholeheartedly aligns with that revered English author, William Wordsworth, who once said, the child is the father of the man.
Just the right edge of keen sports imagery thrown in as dessert. The chapters are both short and fast and all stories are interspersed with just the right amount of quotations. The inclusion of extensive quotations from other publications, the Holy Bible and from world renowned scholars fully demonstrate to the reader that the author’s vision enjoys worldwide and historical foundations as some have been successfully utilised to improve past and present societies round the globe.
Oladapo is eager to demonstrate that a change in personal mindset is not only possible but is actually the only way for each citizen to move towards the long awaited “new Nigeria”. His style is non-judgmental and rich with personal experiences of authority figures in his life from childhood; people who have and continue to affect him tremendously.
“The Last Flight” is a compelling work. I could not put it down. It is not only a theoretical analysis as each idea expounded in one chapter is fully given a practical review in the subsequent one. It will be difficult not to like Oladapo’s unpretentious style. His work provides a window of opportunity for change in present day Nigeria, a change that can only come about when each citizen develops his mind by following the steps provided.
I would recommend the book to everyone – young and old, who wants to witness some positive change in our community and country. Oladapo’s invitation to all of us is to hasten to board the flight as it may be our last opportunity.
After spending 20 years in the UK where he graduated with a BA (Hons) in English and Classical Studies from the University of Surrey, the author, Dapo Akande, returned to his motherland where he engaged in private business for over two decades. His unbridled passion to impart knowledge and values to the younger generation soon got the better of him hence his subsequent berth as an ardent Character Education advocate. In his quest to further acquire knowledge himself, he’s currently pursuing a Masters program in Professional Ethics at the University of Lagos. He is married with children.
Mrs. Ihonor is the founder of Cedar Multilingual School.