By Favour Nnabugwu
A Nigerian-born, Adeola Ogunmola, Sowemimo is the first Nigerian woman commercial pilot to fly with Qatar Airways.
The aviation industry is a typical example of such areas where the female gender has been under-represented in the past. However, Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo has presented herself as a true reflection of a woman who has succeeded in a profession that is dominated by the male gender.
Adeola, is the first Nigerian female Boeing 787 pilot and the first Nigerian female pilot to fly for Qatar Airways. The pilot is known for her focus and persistence which helped her rise to great heights and become a pioneer in her chosen field.
While we are still in the week of International Women’s Day, where the world celebrates women all over the globe and what they represent in the society, we take a look at the journey of Adeola Sowemimo as an inspiration for Nigerian and African females in “breaking the bias”.
Early academic career
Adeola Sowemimo hails from Oyo State. She was born on the 16th of October, 1990 in Kaduna State to the family of Ogunmola Ademola and Aweni Deborah Ogunmola as the last out of three children.
She attended four primary schools, starting out at Brighton International School Kaduna, after which she attended King International School Rigasa, Kaduna. From there, she attended First Baptist Church Primary School Kaduna.
She finished her primary education in the year 2000 at Temitope Nursery and Primary School in Ibadan after relocating due to the religious crisis in Kaduna at the time.
She started her secondary school education at Orita Mefa Baptist Model School, Ibadan, Oyo State before going back to Kaduna to finish at First Baptist Model High School Angwan Boro, Kaduna State in 2007.
Journey into aviation
After her secondary school education, she applied for a pre-degree course at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH), Oyo state, but couldn’t wrap up the course as she had to proceed to the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria Kaduna to start her standard aviation course.
She did her Standard Aviation Course from 2009 to 2010. In 2011 she concluded her standard pilot course at Sunrise Aviation Inc. Florida, USA.
After her course at Sunrise Aviation, she applied for a part-time course with LAUTECH to study Transport Management, where she has received her Bachelor’s degree
Career as a pilot
After her education, she went on to start what would become an impressive career. She joined Medview Airlines, a Nigerian airline based in Lagos in 2013 as a First Officer on Boeing 737 classic, and was later upgraded to Boeing 767-300ER.
In October 2018, she joined Qatar Airways and became the first Nigerian woman to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. She also flew the Boeing 767 Aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, and in November 2020 she started flying the new Qatar airways local Lagos to Abuja route.
She joins the league of other African history-making female pilots like Chinyere Kalu who was recorded as the first Nigerian female commercial pilot in 1978, Asli Hassan Abade of Somalia who had her first solo flight in 1976, Ghanaian Millicent Melody Danquah who flew solo for the first time in a de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk aircraft in 1964.
Adeola as a family woman
On the 22nd of April 2017, Captain Adeola got married to Seun Funmi Olamilekan Sowemimo, and she is blessed with children, making her an inspiration to women with families who also pursue their careers.
Upon being announced as a pilot for Qatar Airways she wrote on her Facebook, “It is the Lord’s doing and it’s marvelous in my sight”. She also posted a picture of her in Sunset Aviation school Florida which she captioned “Days of little beginning … God be praised #Ihavedominion”.
Her feat attracted the attention of Arunma Oteh, a former World Bank Vice-President who recognized the captain and tweeted “Congratulations Captain Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo, making Nigeria proud”
Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo is a trailblazer and an inspiration to all African women young and old alike. She has shown that regardless of race, if women work hard, they are capable of achieving incredible feats and would be recognized for their hard work and determination.