Chris Najomo Might Emerge Best Indigenous Pilot For The 2nd Time, +How he claimed the award last year and the story of his Flying Career

Captain Chris……Flying and Jockeying is the two things that
makes my flight experience different
Captain Chris Najomo inside his Lagos office
Last
year when City People Media Group, the inventor of the yearly
City
People Awards for
Excellence staged their 16th
edition with a new category of “BEST INDIGENOUS PILOT OF THE YEAR” heads were
raised in the direction of several local airline companies in Nigeria with the
hope that the
Best Indigenous pilot
will emerge from one of the few players like
Aero, Dana,
Air
Nigeria
and the rest.

Captain Najomo while receiving his award last year from
Chief Tola Adeniyi at the 16th City People Awards for Excellence
But unfortunately 2012 was not particularly a
year that came favorably well with most airline companies in Nigeria especially
Dana
Air
which had a cooperate stigma of killing 117 Nigerians on Sunday
June 3
rd  2012 via the crashing
of one of her planes in the Iju Area of Lagos, South West Nigeria. The bad
press the accident generated was something that robbed the airline of any
probability of attracting a PR grace to itself. For
Air Nigeria, it was also
a messy year as the very garrulous billionaire investor Jimoh Ibrahim who
acquired the airline was on a boxing ring with his workers, a situation that
finally led to the paralysis of the airline company, making the
Igbotako, Ondo state born Money bag eat
his humble pie and agreeing that he can not run an airline business
successfully. For the likes of
Chanchangi and IRS, it was a season of
one technical problem or the other; it was either one of their plane was crash
landing at one local airport or the other or better still, one of their
aircraft is busy making horrible mid air emergency landing/return-to-base
 as a result of bad engine. It was also the
year the Canadian Technical partners pulled out of the
Aero deal as a result of
the
Oceanic
Bank
crisis that ran hard times over the Ibru family who controls
major shareholding in the airline. Majority of the local airline companies were
in one bad administrative or technical mess or the other. 
However, it was not
surprising when
Arik Air, Nigeria’s most certified best airplane delivery Aviation
Company emerged
THE BEST AIRLINE COMPNAY
OF THE YEAR
at the 16th City people Awards for Excellence and to
also put the round peg in a round hole,
Captain Chris Najomo who is one of the
star pilots of the airline company emerged
THE BEST INDIGENOUS PILOT OF THE YEAR.
For those who are familiar with the antecedents of Captain Chris Najomo, his 33
years in the Nigerian aviation industry can not be a child’s play. Fondly
called
Jolly Papa by legion of local air travelers, the Delta state,
South-South Nigeria born pilot has the rare attributes of being one of the very
few that played in the old school era and contemporary times. Starting his
career with
Okada Air in the 80s, Najomo worked through Albarka
Air PLC
, Capital Air before his new experience with the generational
planes at
ARIK AIR. He also worked at interval as an interventionist
pilot for the
Nigerian Army where he helped them flew some jets in some war
torn African nations for the sole purpose of peace keeping efforts. These were
contributions above his civil aviation pedigree. 
Captain Chris Najomo with Co-Recipient Kike Ajibade
and Chairman, UBA, Liberia, Ambassador Tuan Wleh Mayson
Captain Chris Najomo with Ambassador (Professor)
Tuan Wleh Mayson, Chairman UBA, Liberia.
When he emerged BEST
INDIGENIOUS PILOT OF THE YEAR
at the 16th edition of the
prestigious
City People Awards for Excellence, many who got to know more of
his credentials marveled at his profile while old school fans agreed that he
indeed deserved the appellation. But immediately after he was declared the BEST
INDIGENOUS PILOT of 2012 by
City People Najomo’s profile
catapulted as he was promoted to the International route schedule of
Arik
Air
where he now flies Jo’ Bourg (South Africa) New
York
(USA) and Heathrow (London). But his elevation
to the international route by his employers didn’t come cheap for his numerous
local passengers/fans in Nigeria who have elevated him in their heart to the
position of an “air god” who usually make their air experience a sweet dream.
The reason is that Najomo has dragged along a conglomerate of loyal and
committed air travelers in the last three decades of his flying experience who
religiously follow him to any airline he picks his nest pay slip. In most cases
this category of fliers will ask before flying an air bus “Is it Jolly Papa on
board?” a ‘yes’
 automatically shoots
their adrenaline up as they know the flight experience is going to be full of
fun and enjoyment from take-off to landing. But if on the contrary, it is not
Jolly Papa on board then, the reason for flying is basically for the exigency
of the trip. In a nutshell, what Najomo gives as the man in the cabin is a
combination of fun, laughter, happiness and nostalgic feeling of adventure. To
them, he is the only pilot who knows the colors of the sky like a female fans
recently put it to this blog.
“In
most cases this category of fliers will ask before flying an air bus ‘Is it
Jolly Papa on board?’ a ‘yes’ 
automatically shoots their adrenaline up as they know the flight
experience is going to be full of fun and enjoyment from take-off to landing.
But if on the contrary, it is not Jolly Papa on board then, the reason for
flying is basically for the exigency of the trip”
The
17th edition of the City People Awards for Excellence is
taking place in few weeks time in Lagos and this blog went into town here in
Nigeria last week and the feelings we got from Najomo’s resume is one thing
that make us feel that the veteran pilot might be the candidate to still take
the plaque this year even if his principal, Arik Air fails to pick
one.

Captain Chris…
Flying is my second nature.
Captain Chris and his
soul mate, Martha

What you don’t know about Captain
Chris Najomo (Jolly Papa)      

Chris
Najomo (JP, CMW) aka Jolly Papa is a household name in
the Nigerian Aviation Sector where he was groomed at a very tender age  courtesy of 
the professional ambience of his late father, Sir Dele Najomo who was
himself a pioneer air traffic controller of the defunct Federal Airport
Authority (FAA) now Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
 Chris, as an early bird with uncanny
prescience appeared to have etched out his rendezvous with aviation very early
as he diligently followed his father Dele Najomo to all his working stations
across Nigeria during those blessed olden days of the 60s and 70s and the experience
soon made him develop a passion for the “Big Flying Bird” which he watched
his father control as a traffic controller in several instances, and at a very
close range. His earlier ambition to become a lawyer soon deflated as he
developed an uncanny passion for Aero Planes, thereby convincing his old man to
enroll him into an aviation school.
Born
Chris Ona Najomo in Uvwie Local Council area, Effurun, Delta State on September
17, 1959, this indefatigable pilot of a first class degree has earned himself
an enviable work experience in several segments of the aviation sector.  His educational achievement exposes him as a
complete Nigerian who is highly detribalized.
Captain
Chris started his education career at Local Authority Primary School, Ikeja, Lagos
between 1967 and 1973, and got his O’ levels Certificate at Federal Government
College, Kano in 1979. This is very significant to his aviation career as Kano
was the first city where an airplane landed in the year 1925 at the Polo
Field
.
Captain Chris and his beautiful wife, Mrs. Martha Najomo
His
colorful aviation career started at the Federal
Civil Aviation Authority Training School
, Lagos between 1980 and 1981.  He equally attended several technical and
aviation management courses at some prestigious institutions both home and
abroad. Some of them are:  the famous
Airline Training Institute,
California, USA, American eagle Aviation,
Long Beach, California, USA:  Point Airline, Orly, France.  Aerlingus, Dublin Ireland.
Shorts Brothers Aviation, Belfast,
Northern Ireland. Pegasus Aviation Training Center, Texas, USA. US Air,
Pittsburg, USA. SIM Center Miami,
Florida. Fly Safety International, Le-Bouget, Paris and a
host of other world class aviation institutions which he attended at several
intervals of his colorful career.
Between
1979 and 1981, Chris Najomo literally filled his late father’s shoes as he
became air traffic Control Assistant at the Federal Airport Authority of
Nigeria; he worked at the Ilorin, Enugu and Lagos Control Towers. He did this
simultaneously with his studies at the Federal Civil Aviation Authority
Training School which enabled him to become a pilot later in life.
At
several times, Najomo had worked and won laurels that exposed his dexterity at
what he does-flying. At some points in his career, he was a designated examiner
on various brands of aero planes for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. He
is a certified examiner for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority till date.
Chris and Martha Najomo at the City People Awards
Najomo
had his baptism of fire as an aviator in a 17 years stint with the defunct Okada Air lines and left as the
airlines’ Director of Flight Operations after holding other creative positions
of authority like Training captain on BAC 1-11 and Boeing 727 air buses. He
later joined Albarka Air Plc where
he held several positions of authority like training captain/ simulator to the
airline company before he was promoted as the Director, Flight Operations,
Albarka PLC in 2004.  By the time he left
Albarka Air Plc in 2005, another big
appointment was waiting in the wings for this seasoned pilot. He became the
Managing Director of Capital Airlines Ltd, a private
service delivery aviation company with headquarters in Lagos. He was in the
saddle for three years before he left to join Arik Air, which turned
out to be his best offer at the time among several other offers.
 At several times, Najomo worked as a contract
training captain to several airlines companies home and abroad.
In
year 2000, the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Olusegun Obasanjo
awarded him the prestigious ECOMOG Medal of Honor Award for
flying ECOMOG troops in the war torn Liberia. Between 2000 and 2003, the
Nigerian Cabin Crew Association (NCCA) consistently decorated him with the
award of Best Pilot of The year. In 2003, Najomo was decorated with the
award of Commander of the Mid West by the Mid West Hall of Fame.
Chris
Najomo has the rare experience of flying over 20,000 hours in his entire 33 years career as a pilot. His legion
of flight patrons passionately address him as Jolly Papa due to his disc-jockey proficiency while aboard which
enables him to act as both a pilot and
a Dee-Jay while on his numerous
trips locally and internationally. He is the only Nigerian pilot who
communicates all locations to his passengers across any geographical route the
aero plane is flying in the entire duration of a journey, thereby giving his
boarders the quality opportunity to be informed of geographical environments.
Najomo is not only renowned for his excellent landing and taking off skills
which is a very rare feat with most pilots, but he is much more revered for his
gift of oratory, which enables him to communicate fluently from the cockpit to
his passengers, reeling out geographical and topographical destinations, places
and locations to the travelers during the duration of flight.
Jolly Papa making a point during an interview
session with Media Executives.
Capatain Chris Najomo….
Aviation must work in the proper way in Nigeria
It
is to the eternal credit of the private research carried out by this blog that
we discovered the wide acceptability of Najomo among a legion of air patrons
who cut across ages and class. A female flight passenger and advocate of
Najomo’s flying skills
Chief Mrs. Vera Echetabu described
him as “
The Pilot who knows the color of the sky”. A male passenger
at the Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, who works with a
government agency, says this of Najomo to
asabeafrikaIt is only Najomo that I fly and I will sleep off without using medical inducement”
Chris
Najomo who presently works with Arik Air PLC has a degree and
pedigree in Aviation Management coupled with a thirty two years experience in
several brands of aero planes ranging from the BAC 1-11 technology to latest
Boeing computer plane technology. He is happily married with 5 children and 3
grand children.

It
is for his integrity, professionalism, consistency, Popularity and exemplary
contribution to the Nigerian aviation industry that Captain Chris Ona Najomo
might be voted again as the winner of City
People Awards for
Excellence’s   Best Indigenous pilot for year 2013.

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