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Nigerian becomes first non-British flying officer in the RAF

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JOEL Ele-ójo Adams, a native of Abejukolo in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State, north-central Nigeria, has become the first non-citizen to be commissioned the rank of Flying Officer, as an AeroSystems Specialist Engineer, in the British Royal Air Force.

Her Majesty, Elizabeth II, also gave him a highly respected and prestigious honour in the United Kingdom for his outstanding contributions and research work and granted him citizenship.

The first-class graduate in Electrical Engineering from the Niger Delta University in Bayelsa State and recipient of the coveted Presidential Scholarship for Innovation and Development (PRESSID), appreciated his instructors, family and friends whom he acknowledged were part of the process that has totally transformed him, even as he expressed readiness to take on the responsibilities ahead.

In a Facebook post, @Joel Ele-ójo Adams said: “Being entrusted with the responsibility to defend the skies of Britain, its interest, and allies is a huge demand -but I am willing! Being in a position of command to double both as a military leader and a technical manager is a tough task – but I am ready! The journey ahead will, by all means, present formidable challenges – but I look forward to it!”

He added, “Oh Lord my God, I pray thee to grant me every wisdom, strength, courage (both physical and moral), and the enablement to fulfil this current assignment. Amen!”

Adams began his career at Ford Motors in the UK as the BOM Lead Project Analyst for Battery Electric Vehicles. With the great potential of his research work for military application, he was enlisted and shortly after awarded the Queen’s Commission as an Officer in the British Royal Air Force and took the pledge to defend Great Britain’s skies on the 15th March 2020.

Speaking about his journey, he admits that the last six months at the Royal Air Force Officers Training Academy, at Cranwell, were the most challenging, yet the most rewarding experience of his life and that the transition from civilian to service life tested his courage in every way possible.

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“I made tough decisions! I was audacious to dare what people of my colour and background don’t! There were days I felt so alone, but somehow I kept going! There were times I got tired and questioned everything. Then I remember the purpose is bigger than me, and I persevered,” said.

Academically, Adams continues to outdo himself. He bagged a Masters degree in Control Systems from the Imperial College, London and proceeded to obtain a Doctorate in Industrial Systems and Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Cambridge.

Nigerians in the diaspora continue to do the country proud by excelling in different facets of their new society and contributing to their host countries’ development.

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