Sadly, we never met throughout your short, but very impactful, pacesetting and memorable lifetime, yet the news of your death was as shocking as it was devastating. The news of your demise filtered in like some mere social media rumour which later turned out to be true, following an official statement from the Nigerian Air Force confirming your tragic death.
Like several other mourners within Nigeria and beyond, I didn’t know you beyond what the media wrote or said about your impressively phenomenal strides; beginning from your formative years in secondary school, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and as a commissioned Airforce personnnel.
I read tons of stories about your exploits within and outside the classroom. Like the star that you were, you shone brightly and displayed exceptional academic wizardry, creative sophistry and pure talent in your quest to actualize your childhood dream of becoming a pilot.
The icing on the cake and your moment of global reckoning was your celebrated decoration as the first female combat helicopter pilot in Nigeria. This singular feat stood you out among your contemporaries and brought honour to your family, womanhood and humanity in general.
You defied all odds to break into and became very exceptional in a career largley dominated by the male folks. You were a huge source of inspiration to the girl child and the youths. Dear sister, you had all the excusable reasons to limit yourself to certain sections of the military exclusively designed for female officers, but you chose the path less travelled and never looked back.
Your feats as a courageous, brilliant and brave officer made you the cynosure of all eyes and earned you the sobriquet of a celebrity in 2019. Even President Muhammadu Buhari was visibly excited by your story. Every right thinking person who appreciates excellence should. The Nigerian military, the Nigerian Air Force to be precise had high hopes in you. No one had the slightest inkling that you would depart for eternity anytime soon.
Dear sister, this is all I owe your beautiful soul -a beautiful recollection of your stories of triumphs, victories, impacts and professional accomplishments. I should have said this to you in flesh and blood, but flesh failed me, and coupled with the fact that I never knew that the grim reaper was lurking around. Oh, poor me!
Tolu, you were extraordinary as you were outstanding in your engagements throughout your lifetime. By human assessment and understanding you shouldn’t have left at this time, given your age and what you had to offer mankind. In just 24 years you’ve attained heights that some wouldn’t be privileged to attain even if they live for 200 years. God brought you for a purpose and took you away at a time it pleases Him.
Our biggest consolation lies in the fact that you lived a purposeful, disciplined, focused and meaningful life. You were a source of inspiration to many, especially the youths.The loads of beautiful testimonies still pouring in since you breathed your last attest to the obvious fact that you were loved and appreciated by many.
May our good Lord comfort your grieving parents, siblings and loved ones. May God almighty be pleased with your soul and welcome you into His kingdom. Rest in peace, my beloved baby sister, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile. It is well.