Adzuayi Ewuga loved the sky and used every opportunity to actualise her dream of flying an airplane, until her untimely death in a crash in Cameroon. At four, it was already clear to her parents that their daughter, who was 33 years old before her demise, would become a pilot in future.
Her dream came true, but unfortunately, it was short-lived as an aircraft she was flying from Yaounde Nsimalen Airport to Belabo within the east of Cameroon lost contact with the air traffic control and crashed, killing all occupants on board.
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Adzuayi, the younger of the two daughters of Senator Solomon Ewuga, a former deputy governor of Nasarawa State, who also represented Nasarawa north senatorial district between 2011 and 2015, was said to be flying oil workers on the ill-fated mini-aircraft belonging to Caverton Aviation in Cameroon, a subsidiary of Caverton Offshore Support Group.
“She always wanted to fly since the age of four. She always had her eyes on planes and how they operated. So we knew that one day she was going to fly. It was her dream, and she did it,” Adzuayi’s sister, Mrs Akayika Yei-Dei Luraghi said.
Speaking on his late daughter, a distraught Senator Ewuga recalled her passion for aviation, confirming that from the age of four she showed interest in flying and would often march to a plane’s cockpit to see the pilot whenever they boarded a plane. “I never knew that death would come this early to snatch my 33-year-old pilot daughter,” he lamented.
Ewuga said his daughter read Marketing, with a degree in Computer Graphics at the Cleveland State University, USA. After her first degree, Adzuayi returned to Nigeria for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme and later worked in an oil and gas company as a liaison officer in Abuja. But she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a pilot and enrolled at the Phoenix East Aviation Beach, Florida in the USA. There, she underwent a 14-month training and received a commercial pilot license in 2015.
Recalling their last conversation with him, her father said they had communicated on Tuesday night, a day before the crash, and she was due to return home on June 14.
“We discussed her coming, and she wanted to renew her American visa in a drop box. We talked about the renewal, which I had started and was looking forward to her return,” he said.
He explained further that her job warranted that she worked eight weeks in and eight weeks off, so she had just finished the eight weeks and was getting ready to travel to Nigeria to reunite with the family.
Senator Ewuga further said that as the first female pilot from Nasarawa State, his daughter had made the family and the state proud.
In his condolence letter, the Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule, stated that he received the news of Adzuayi’s demise with shock.
A statement issued in Lafia by the governor’s chief press secretary, Mr Ibrahim Addra, Sule described the late pilot as a role model who lived an exemplary life.
Also, her 35-year-old only sister, Mrs Luraghi, said she was more than a sister to her. “She was my friend. Now, I look at everything in the house and it is just like I am seeing her. We were not able to see every day due to the nature of her job, but we used to talk.
“Her death has devastated me. It threw me into a state of confusion. Loosing somebody that is a part of my life has been painful,” an emotionally stricken Mrs Luraghi said.
Recalling their last conversation, she said her younger sister had asked if she could give someone her phone number to contact her and deliver some items.
She also said that Adzuayi, who had been in Cameroon for over three years, recently travelled to Canada to spend few days before her untimely death.
She further said the chairman of the airways she worked for, Mr Bilden Mason Njora, paid the family a condolence visit within the week.
“She was lovely, chatty, fun. She always wanted to engage people. Even if you wouldn’t want to talk, she would still talk to you; she would disturb you, somehow. She was also very caring. She always put people first and made sure that everyone was well treated, even when it inconvenienced her. She was disciplined, hardworking and humble. We saw all of that in her, even at work. Those were some of the things she exemplified. And everybody was happy and comfortable around her because she was friendly and easy to relate with,” Mrs Luraghi said, weeping.
For Zeni Dogun, who had been Adzuayi’s friend since the age of two, losing a friend like her has been devastating. She described her late friend as brave, independent, honest and energetic, adding that they attended kindergarten together in Jos, Plateau State; and although they went to different secondary schools, they remained close and attended the same university.
“We spent weekends, holidays and evenings together in each other’s houses while growing up. Our houses were within walking distances and we used to walk each other home for almost an hour, going back and forth and never running out of what to say. When we passed out from our respective secondary schools, we attended the same universities – Dordt College in Iowa, USA, then Cleveland State University, Ohio, also in the US, where we graduated,” she recalled.
She said her late friend made an impact wherever she went and encouraged people to embrace and enjoy one another.
“As long as I can remember, she always wanted to be a pilot. She was focused, dedicated and achieved her dream. She had the ability to light up a room. She loved flying and the view in the clouds,” she added.
Describing her friend’s dedication to work, Zeni said that throughout the COVID-19 period, Adzuayi worked tirelessly in her company, spending months away from her family and friends.
“She knew the names of all her colleagues and frequently gave to those she was in a position to help, such as drivers and cleaners. She was a beautiful soul and an impactful queen. Her name, Adzuayi, means the “pearl in my eye,” and she was truly precious and a pearl. She will be deeply missed and always loved,” Zeni concluded.