It’s common in communities in the South to ascribe a person’s death to human machinations, as in “the enemy having done their worst”, without which this final end of the process of life would not occur.
The unfortunate death of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile in a freak accident has provided Afenifere, the Yoruba World Council (YWC) and sundry Yoruba groups with another casus beli in their project of incitement against another Nigerian ethnic group. Even the otherwise sober advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has found cause to call “on the international community to investigate the circumstances surrounding it.”
These expressions of suspicion by powerful groups and persons appear to have encouraged Flying Officer Arotile’s family to embrace the belief that her death is no accident but a planned thing.
A tragedy that will tug at the heart of any person who hears of it has however been weaponised by the Yoruba political establishment, with a Lagos politician calling her “a frontline Yoruba pilot” whose death “smelled.”
Evidence of this is in the vacuous but virulent statement issued by Apapo O’odua Koya (AOKOYA), the newest irredentist group which affirmed that Arotile’s death was a homicide committed by “the Fulani hegemony” who “hated bright officers of Southern origin.” AOKOYA then went on to outline “a history” of deliberate elimination of top Yoruba military personnel all the way to the death of then Chief of Air Staff Col Shittu Alao in 1969 – presumably because they were bright.
Those who appropriated this tragedy manufactured a fake furore which had the federal government scrambling to catch up, whereas NAF authorities are already competently and sympathetically handling it.
Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile was a combatant in the fight against banditry, most recently in Niger State. Though her death was not combat-related, it is right for the country to mourn her passing and honour her passion. As befits recent fallen officers and men in Damboa and Jibia and, indeed, the many who preceded them to eternity in the service of the Motherland.
Mohammed Tukur Usman, email@example.com