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“Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.”
Death is a mystery. 24-year-old Air Force pilot, Tolulope Arotile is dead. It’s a very sad, bitter and gnashing moment of loss for her family, friends and nation at large. Being a lady pilot, one would have thought that she would die in service or suffer grave and life threatening injuries if at all she’s destined to die prematurely but we were all dribbled by death. She survived all the dangerous traps involved in training, occupational hazards and even flew military jets to the ‘dens of bandits and Boko Haram insurgents’ and made life miserable for them. She escaped all these traps, rigorous and life threatening trainings only to be killed by an excited but careless old friend as revealed by the Nigeria Airforce.
Death is a necessary end, it will always come at the appropriate time. She did not die prematurely because she was an Air Force pilot. She died because her time has elapsed. As painful as Tolulope’s death was, she died honorably. At 24, a lot of Nigerian youths within her age bracket are either struggling illegally through internet fraud or circumnavigating their vagrant thoughts of extravagant lifestyles but her case was different. Tolulope dedicated her life to service and protection of the country at a time the fears of bandits, insurgents and militants have made people to forcefully become aliens of the military.
Tolulope had many choices. There are many ladies in her age who hustle with their bodies, making a living out of immoralities and indulging in social practices that are clearly against African moral values. We also have ladies in her age who stay at home washing plates, looking for white collar jobs or selling clothes and shoes like an average Nigerian girl while some are probably experiencing tough times in their respective tertiary institutions. If Tolulope decided to fit in any of these choices, nobody would have questioned her choice but her love for service and country was greater.
Despite the alarming rate of banditry and incessant attacks owing to terrorism, Tolulope gave her life to service. She went through all the stress men sometimes run away from, passed out with flying colors and she was celebrated. God did not only promise his chosen ones longlife but he also promised that he will always take them away to his blessed side before their days of everlasting evils.
Like Kolade Johnson, son of a lone mother who was shot dead by a police officer and the young skillful football player who was murdered by a careless SARS officer, Tolulope Arotile has joined the host of resourceful and purposeful youths of this country in heaven. The only difference between the trio is two were killed by security operatives while the other was killed on the soil of one of our security agencies.
As we mourn our heroine, Tolulope Arotile and other victims of assault and intimidation, we owe our dear nation a duty of constant agitation for the protection of rights and introduction of meaningful policies that would tackle unemployment and strengthen institutions to be more responsible.
May God in his infinite majesty gives the families and friends of the deceased the fortitude to bear the loss and may the gentle but brave soul of our heroine, Tolulope Arotile, the first female Air Force pilot rest in perfect peace.
Death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come. If death comes today, where will you be?
Lawal Sodiq Adewale (Apagunpote Olayimika Chocomilo)