By Kasie Abone
Building a successful brand whose foundation is laid in God can only make the brand tower above competition in the market place. This according to the Air Peace Nigeria boss, Dr. Allen Onyema, was the secret behind the huge success his air transport brand had recorded within a short period of three years of operation in Nigeria.
And Anglican Church of The Messiah, Okota, Lagos State agrees and rewards him for not only rooting his business in Christ but also delivering exceptional service.
An imposing banner strategically positioned in the church’s chancel announced the unmistakable presence of Air Peace Nigeria, one of the leading air transport brands in Nigeria, in the church. It was Sunday November 27, 2016. It was an annual General Thanksgiving and Bazaar of the church.
Air Peace in the church? Many wondered. But this year’s harvest and thanksgiving was different from every other year in many ways. A number of innovations were introduced in the programme by the harvest committee led by Mr. Chika Ochuwa to align with the changing times.
One of such programmes was a special Corporate Awards segment to outstanding corporate organisations who had contributed immensely towards the propagation of kingdom works especially in the church.
“The Corporate Awards is given in appreciation of its financial and material support to the church in past harvests. Your strong brand has actually contributed in taking our harvest to enviable heights. It is our prayer that this established partnership between the church and your good self will continue to be powered by Gods special anointing,” Mr. Ochuwa wrote in the harvest programme.
Air Peace happened to be one of the recipients of such unique and outstanding recognition. In what looked like an endorsement of the Air Peace brand, the vicar of the church and Archdeacon of of Okota Archdeaconry, Ven. Emeka Nwaogu said the foremost airline had redefined the business of air travel in Nigeria. Besides its huge contribution to the growth of the church, he said his experience flying the airline was awesome. He said: “When I flew the airline from Lagos to Abuja, the flight was so peaceful and on time. There was nothing like a bumpy ride. Besides, the entertainment we received on air was world class. It was indeed a peaceful and enjoyable flight.”
The overjoyed Air Peace Chairman, Chief Allen Onyema while receiving the award attributed the immense successes of his businesses and wealth to God, hence he enjoys using his material resources to serve God. Speaking further he said: “When my friend Charles (Nollywood actor, Mr. Charles Okafor who invited him to the occasion) thought he was disturbing me to attend the thanksgiving service, he thought he was disturbing me but I told him ‘No” I love the work of God. With God, there is no busy schedule for me because without God I am nobody.
Whatever that has been happening to me in the last ten years is by God. I cannot thank Him enough.”
Continuing, he said most of the time, he preoccupies himself with thoughts of how best to deploy his God-given wealth to serve God. “Sometimes I ask myself where I will be hereafter. At this time of my life, nobody can tell me to be humble. The size of my pocket or who I am doesn’t matter to me nor does it make any difference because we are equal before God. Therefore we must humble ourselves. Most importantly, we must honour God with our resources.”
Onyema also shared the secret of his business successes. According to him, the foundation on which his business successes were anchored were having a covenant with God and keeping such covenant, love your neighbour as yourself, don’t be envious of anybody, pray for your enemies and try to return good to them.
Sharing a personal experience on his encounter with God he said: “In 2003, all my businesses collapsed because God wanted to use me for something better. When you find yourself in situations that you don’t like, start thanking God. As a result of that personal encounter with God, I set aside one per cent of everything that I make for evangelism, to do Gods work. I opened a Gods account at Zenith Bank. The money in that account is used solely for doing God’s work. I admire those who have given their lives totally to doing God’s work. I wish I can be like them but the things that I do cannot allow me to be so devoted. I ask God for forgiveness. God has been so merciful and he has been blessing me.
For those who still speculate on the ownership of Air Peace Nigeria or who suggest that he is fronting for some dubious politicians he had this to say: “Air Peace is not even all I have. I am three times bigger than Air Peace. Once we continue to serve God, God Almighty will continue to answer our prayers.”
Speaking about the ambience of the church, he commended the vicar and parishioners for making the house of God beautiful. He charged other churches to emulate the church by making their place of worship conducive and comfortable for worshipers. Though all the aircraft in his fleet bear names of members of his family, most importantly, he said he gives what he has to propagate kingdom works. Afterwards, he made a generous donation to the church and the church erupted in ecstasy
Known for on time, safety first policy, the privately owned air transport brand which started business in Nigeria about three years ago has grown very big as a result of its delivery of safe and superior service. Recently, the airline added new aircrafts in its fleet in its efforts to cover more local routes and operate international flights. Air Peace Nigeria has been given approval to fly such African routes as Dakar in Senegal, Accra in Ghana, Niamey in Niger; Abidjan in Ivory Coast and Douala in Cameroun. Other international routes also designated are China, Dubai, India, and South Africa. This was even as it has increased coverage of local routes. Recently, the airline made history when it touched down at Benin airport to the excitement of air travellers from that zone.
“One of the new aircraft has the capacity to take 142 passengers, while the other can take 126 passengers. In our fleet, we now have nine Boeing and one Dornier aircraft. Some of the aircraft we will be deployed for the regional routes. We have visited the civil aviation and relevant authorities in these countries and plans are at an advanced stage. We will soon announce our commencement dates on these routes, but one thing we want to assure our passengers is that we will put in our cockpit the best of pilots.” Air Peace, he said, was ready to deepen its investment in the nation’s aviation industry as well as create more jobs for Nigerians.