Flying Officer Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile (1995-2020)


As I struggle with the morbidity that seems to have enveloped the country, I refused to engage myself on this sad news. I simply refused to read the news, analyze, engage or discuss the matter as if it would go away.

My Command Secondary School Alumni WhatsApp group was crazy with all speculations. You know how Nigerians like to weave conspiracy theories over every little thing. The argument even brought out an air force general who normally does not engage to proffer a credible explanation on the matter.

I still refused to engage because the pain would have been numbing. When her pictures emerged on my phone, seeing her so young, so beautiful with a microphone as she explained something to our President with other pictures showing her in combat gear and beside her helicopter, I just shook my head.

The official position is that she was hit by a car driven by ‘an excited’ friend. I think we should just respect this position. It is not on everything that we will be doing armchair analysis. The air force has lost a soldier and Nigeria a heroine. This could have been the first female chief of air staff. I hear she was the first female combat helicopter pilot. So this is not only a human tragedy but a national calamity. I bow my head in supplication and in deep mourning. Sleep well, my sister.