I’m Totally Devastated, Engineer Akintude Arotile Father Of Late First Female Combatant Pilot, Tolulope Arotile Speaks-
Accept my sincere sympathy for the tragic death of your daughter, the first female combatant pilot, Tolulope Arotile.
Thank you very much
Tell us briefly about yourself
Ans:My name is Engineer Akintude Arotile,a senior citizen and,I worked with Transition Company of Nigeria,I retired last year as a power Engineer.
You must have been devastated by the unfortunate loss of your darling daughter,
Cuts in That is an understatement. From day one she has not just been brilliant but wonderful.
I was in Kaduna then,she did all her educational career from kindergarten to nursery at the Airforce base and Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna,one day when she was very small,she pointed to one small aircraft, packed on the field and said,Dad,one day I am going to fly that aircraft and I said Amen .So from that day she started working towards that,she got admission to the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna,she had a Bachelor degree in Mathematics,she became and Airforce Cadet, from there she was sent on several courses abroad and became a pilot,I just thank God that she was able to achieve her dreams as a baby before her death.
What was her position in the family?
She was no 4
She had been described in several fora as an award winning pilot and in fact the first on the country to become a female combat pilot
Cuts in: Oh God! Right from day one she had been very very intelligent, sometimes,I wonder what type of IQ she had,she also combined intelligence with hard-work.
In fact if you had been here when her bosses from Enugu came,you would think she was their daughter, the way the were eulogising her and being proud of her achievements.
When was your last encounter with her?
Just yesterday, at about 1 pm, I called her because she just came back from an operation against the bandits in Katsina,they gave them one week to rest and so she was sleeping and told me she was in bed resting,she said she will later go out to make some photocopies and I told her not to be long and to return home on time because she was staying with my first daughter in Kaduna. Around 5.30 pm, somebody Called me and asked if I had called her today and I said yes,then the person told me to call her which I did,but no response, so I called her colleagues, and they were all crying on phone,I asked what happened ,they were just crying,so i called one of her bosses who told me that she is in the mortuary an I said what! Somebody I spoke with 4 hours ago and by 5 pm she was in the mortuary, I had to drive to Lokoja from Abuja to enable me inform her mother physically because I could not brake such news on phone, but when I came she had gone to the prayer mountain.she came back around 8.30 and I told her this is what I heard but that I had not confirmed.
What had been the reactions of the Airforce authority since the incident happened?
I must say that I am really impressed by the outpouring of sympathy and support. There have been several visits from her bosses from all over the country including here in Lokoja, Abuja, Kaduna, Enugu and every where,the support have been overwhelming,they even gave a token and promised that later they would do something,they have even promised to give a choice of where to bury her,but her commandant suggested that she should be buried at the National Cemetery, Abuja because of the number of people that will attend the funeral and due to the feat she had achieved as the first female combatant pilot in Nigeria.