A former president, Goodluck Johnathan, on Thursday wrote a tribute in memory of Nigeria’s first and only female combat helicopter pilot, who died last week.
Arotile, who hails from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, died in an auto-crash at NAF Base Kaduna on Tuesday last week.
In a tribute shared via his twitter page, Jonathan sent out condolences to the family of the late pilot, describing Arotile as a brave patriot.
“My heart goes out to the family and colleagues of late flying officer, Tolulope Arotile. She was a brave patriot who pushed her self beyond limits to demonstrate her uncommon love for our dear nation”, he wrote.
Jonathan said Arotile was a product of his administration policy that gave equal opportunities to all men and women of the armed forces, adding that it felt sad to see her die at her prime.
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He said, “In the process, she made us all proud. In 2011 when my administration introduced females into the Nigeria Defence Academy to train as combatants, for the first time, it was to give equal opportunities to all men and women of the armed forces and encourage highly driven female officers like Tolulope to excel in her chosen career, irrespective of their gender. I feel sad that such a young gallant officer would die at the prime of her life”.
Jonathan added that Arotile’s legacy will serve as inspiration for girl child in Nigeria.
“I am however encouraged by the fact that she stood out as a pleasing fulfilment of our dream of an all-embracing Nigeria armed forces devoid of discrimination.
“By dedicating her young life to protect and defend Nigeria’s strength, honour and unity, her memory and legacy will continue to serve as a great inspiration to our youth especially our girls.
May God grant her soul eternal rest”, he said.