The book, The Last Flight: A personal journey to rediscovering values, written by Dapo Akande is a motivational book that hinges on the author’s personal encounters and worldview. Filled with anecdotes and a wide range of quotes, it has been described by some reviewers as compelling work, emanating from a non-judgmental writer.
Having spent 20 years in the UK, Akande returned to his home country to engage in a private business. He became more involved in character education advocacy which is really the focus in his book, The Last Flight.
To start with, our contemporary society presents us with unique challenges of educating the younger generation on the benefits of values. In a corruption-filled society, the emphasis shifts from the pursuit of values to materialistic drive. But the author is one of the handful of Nigerians who is keenly interested in promoting the enduring values of manners, integrity, neighbourly love and discipline. This idea of his has metamorphosed into the establishment of a non-governmental organisation named MINDS reform initiative. As suggested by the name of the NGO, the human mind is the seat of wisdom and decision-making or otherwise, depending largely on how the mind is trained.
While many still rely on parents and guardians to take the responsibility of mind-building into their hands, it is instructive to learn that remarkable benefits come from reading exciting inspirational pieces such as The Last Flight which captures the author’s real-life experiences as well as insights drawn from great writers in history.
People wonder if values such as those aforementioned are still practicable. The reality is that it is becoming harder by the day to practice neighbourly love, when all your neighbour desires is extreme privacy. Also, finding people with good manners is rare as many show good manners only when they are expecting some favour in return. A man ascends to a higher position at his office and no longer thinks it is necessary to greet his subordinates whenever he enters the office. That’s a sign of poor manners.
The author painted many scenarios wherein the values have played some pivotal roles. According to the author, neighbourly love encourages team spirit, while manners include good sportsmanship. Today, most people carry on with a huge sense of competition at work, at wheels, on the road and in general life. To cap this attitude, many cannot handle defeat.
In The Last Flight, the author points out writers who have been outspoken on the strength of human character. It is generally believed that character is what will outlive us, not material wealth. He made copious references to back up his claim citing the example of the bible character, Paul while juxtaposing it with those of the Greek philosopher, Plato. Sometimes, the references seemed like interferences to the smooth flow of the author’s personal narratives.
Perhaps, the author’s thought could have been better articulated without it looking like a compendium of quotes, still, The Last Flight is by no means short of the needed truths that only brave people care to talk about.