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Daniel Ohikhena Remembering the stowaway boy

In 2013, a boy hid in the wheel well of a Lagos-bound flight from Benin

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Daniel Ricky Ohikhena, 15, became famous when he was caught hiding in the wheel well of an Arik plane from Benin to Lagos on Saturday August 24, 2013.

After that incident, Governor Adams Oshiomhole reached out to him and placed him on a full scholarship.

Today, Daniel is a boarding student in one of the most prestigious secondary schools in Edo and enjoying all the facilities available as the governor’s son.

Sunday Vanguard interviewed Daniel who is currently on break from school and he recounted the events that made him popular

“I feel stupid and ashamed of myself remembering what I did. That thing could have led me to jail or even death. My life has changed since then and I thank God for that. I was even scared then that the Comrade Governor was going to put me in jail but he saved my life”.I have been telling any person who cares to listen not to try that thing I did, it was too risky. I was shocked to have survived. If not for God I would have died”.

 When asked what motivated him to do it, he said, 

“I don’t know what actually entered my mind really, but all I knew was that I had the courage that I could fly in the plane. I just believed I will not die in that trip, that rather something good was going to happen to me. I celebrated my birthday in school in April, I thank God I am now 15 years. I thank God for my life”.

Discussing life in school, particularly when he was bitten by a snake, Daniel also relieved the horrible experience of being bitten by a snake in school .

 “When I had the snake bite, I was rushed to our clinic in school before my mum came and took me to a Specialist Hospital where I spent three days.
I told my mum to help me tell the Comrade Governor but she said she tried but could not because it was not easy to see the governor. Governor Oshiomhole is my father and I will always remain grateful to him because he sent me back to school. When the stowaway incident happened, I was scared of what he will do but he invited my mum and I and asked me what I will like to become and encouraged me to go to school.

Daniel who has not see the governor since that incident said 

Let me use this opportunity to appeal to him that he should still remember me. I am the same Daniel that he put in school. I am forever grateful to him for the scholarship he gave me. I want to beg him to help my mum on her business. Infact, my mother was trying to do that but she spent the money paying hospital bill after the snake bite.

Speaking on his father,he said

My father left us even before that aircraft incident and it is only my mum that is taking care of four of us. It has not been easy; we need help. One of my sisters wants to enter the university to read medicine now, and you know it is expensive. We know the Comrade Governor cannot do everything but he can help my mother reopen her business so that she can take care of us. And that is why I wanted to see him to beg him.

Daniel’s mother, Evelyn, expressed her gratitude to Oshiomhole, noting that the future of Daniel may have been in jeopardy if not for the intervention of the Comrade Governor. Her words:

 “I want to first of all thank Governor Oshiomhole for the assistance he rendered to us by giving my son scholarship. But my son has been worried that he has not been able to see the governor since he was registered in school so that he can tell him how he is doing.

I remember that period, people thought the governor gave us money and they were all disturbing me. I told them that my interest was not money but to take care of my son. All I am begging now is for him to assist me open my shop again so that I can take care of Daniel and others. My shop got burnt and he promised me then to help reopen the shop again for me. I want to use this opportunity to thank him and to also tell him not to forget Daniel”.
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