This is the story of a young boy, Captain Wells Idahosa Okunbo also known as Captain Hosa, who shattered all stereotypes to reach for the skies in what we call “7,000 hours of greatness”.
The name ‘Cappi’, as he was fondly called, stems from his array of illustrious achievements in the global aviation sector. Whoever bears that name is one whose adventures deserve to be captured. Cappi meritoriously earned the title.
Born to a distinguished clergyman, teacher and community leader, Cappi discovered nobility early and demonstrated it by nursing a childhood passion for becoming a pilot. Where the circumstantial vicissitudes of life would veer many children off their childhood ambitions, Captain Hosa was a horse of another colour. He lived his dreams from start to finish.
This journey kicked off when he was admitted to study at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Centre, Kaduna. As a student, he was regarded as charismatic, well-rounded, and focused. This was particularly evident when he graduated from the academy at 21, a remarkably young age for a student to ever graduate from an Aviation Academy in the 70s. This brought him to the limelight, as people from various walks of life became interested in the young achiever’s career trajectory.
Capp’s fast-paced graduation was the first of many achievements, as he was soon admitted to the prestigious ACME School of Aeronautics, Fort Worth Texas in 1983.
He learnt from the best minds in aeronautics and obtained the Airline Transport Pilot License – the highest achievement of pilot certification requiring 1500 hours of total flight time at age 25. At that point, he became a Captain. This gave him full access to the skies as a commercial pilot.
He flew unrestricted across various world borders, with each flight unveiling a new lesson, a new success, and a new experience. At this point, no turbulence was stopping him from accomplishing his dream; no sea too vast enough for him to cross, and no cloud stopping him from flying high.
By 30, he had logged in over 7,000 hours of incident-free flying time as a commercial pilot with Intercontinental Airlines and Okada Airlines, a staggering record revered by all who admired how possible it was to have achieved that at his age. This was the birth of the nickname “Cappi”, which soon became a favorite among his family and close friends.
When asked about the source of his latter entrepreneurial achievements, Cappi said “As a pilot, you are always taking critical decisions. You are constantly engaged in risk analysis. There’s no room for prevarication or indecision when you are in the cockpit. One fatal error, everyone goes down. That critical thinking – risk assessment has come in handy in my business.”
At the funeral service held in his honour on October 8 in Benin Edo State, one of his schoolmates, Captain Mike Williams, recounted that he invented a flying technique known as “Washing legs” during his undergraduate days at the Nigerian Aviation Academy.
This technique entailed him allowing the undercarriage/gears to touch the tip of the water when flying over a river. For a technique that is delicate to be performed, Williams narrated that “This technique requires precision and a high level of expertise to do that. Any minute error could lead to something possibly fatal.”
An observer can discern Cappi’s level of determination. According to Captain Mike Williams, Cappi “Probed the frontiers of what was possible and impossible. Perfection was his goal all along.”
As his name blared across quarters for all the uncommon records that he had set for himself, it became a time to leave when the ovation was at its loudest for him. He took a bow from the skies to establish a chain of businesses in the Energy, maritime, security, hospitality, real estate and agriculture sectors amongst others.
Today, we celebrate the indelible achievements of Captain Hosa as he takes a final flight through an “Ascension to Glory”. Rest on, Captain, we wish you a safe landing to the great beyond!