By Bisi Amagada FNGE
Until about 20thJuly ,2020,her names ‘ rang’ a Fair to Moderate Bell,most probably loudest in Military circles after her family and close circle of friends. But suddenly,her story changed in two direct opposites.
She was in the morning of that fateful. day at work as Tolulope Arotile obviously in her uniform l guess and she had a chat on phone with her father as he was reported to have told people around the family perhaps not too long after the telephone chat.
Suddenly there was a traumatic ,’Breaking News’. which sent deep shock and total disbelief round our beloved country as Headlines like this echoed in the Electronic Media Airways and in publications that could accommodate late News: “Nigeria’s First Female Combat Helicopter Pilot killed in an accident in Kaduna” .
Apparently, she was in her office (Nigeria Airforce Base Premises) when the tragedy occured.The story continued with details of the tragedy.The most painful part was that she sighted an old school classmate who drove into the Airport,her friend (the one driving) also saw her friend,the Pilot and she put her car gear on reverse “so she could go and greet her friend”,she was quoted to have said.
Somehow,the greeting never took place because ,the friend’s car hit Pilot Tolulope, leaving terrible injury on her head and she died! The effect on the country,especially with her Family,Collagues and Women generally has been devastating to put it mildly.
The other painful part of it was that she didn’t die in a crash in the course of her duty,but on ground and probably in a situation that could have been avoided.Millitary Sources was quoted to have said that…”The killer driver had no valid licence.
Many other comments were aired by people from different walks of life.If it is true that her friend who drove the car that killed Tolulope had no valid License and yet she also had passengers in her car,that is a most unfortunate part of the tragedy.
lf only she had packed the car, came down ,she and her friend would have met ,hugged and the tragedy would never have occured.There are calls for investigations from interested parties to confirm what actually happened.The matter is now with the Police .
What a sad, sad end to a brilliant career for one of our up-coming Young Women .Her courageous father was quoted to have said,” at least ,she was able to achieve her childhood ambition…”Even in his agonizing heart,he paid tribute to his daughter! PaPa and MaMa Tolu,our prayers are with you and God in His Mercy will give your entire family,peace and comfort at this painful time.
Tolu did not die in vain,she has written her name in gold and posterity will recognize that Nigeria had a Heroine who at Age 25, did her Family, Womanhood and the Nation proud as the First Nigerian Female, to be a Combat Helicopter Pilot.As you join the Saints triumphant today,rest peacefully in the bossom if your creator.