The mood was blood-chilling and the aura so pathetic at the Iyanu Oluwa Estate, Chicago Paara Inu Ewe Airport area of Ibadan. That was where residence of the parents of Ft Lt. Taiwo Olufemi Ashaniyi, who died in the NAF Aircraft on Friday were located.
The 29-year old pilot, who flew the aircraft in which the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim and nine others were died, had his marriage introduction last March and was planning for his wedding to his heartthrob to hold in October when the unfortunate incident that shook the country took place on Friday.
His remains were laid to rest along with the others at Abuja yesterday. But the bereaved father, Mr Rufus (a retired Headmaster) and the mother: Mrs Racheal Ebunoluwa (a teacher) were so stunned and it was weeping galore.
The late pilot, Taiwo, is the second born and first son of the family of five.
Speaking on behalf of the family, the first born, Mrs Toyin Olaoye, (a teacher), relived her pitiable engagement with her brother, who fate has just cut off from them.
She said: “I saw my younger brother, Taiwo last on March 20, 2021, when he had his wedding introduction. My last moment with him was three days ago, Thursday. “We spoke on the phone in preparation for his wedding coming up in October this year. He called me and told me to go home and commence preparation because we no longer have time on our side. I told him I could not leave my place in Eleyele in Ibadan on Friday but that I would come over the weekend and meet with Daddy and Mummy. He asked me to do the assessment of estimate for the engagement list already sent to us from the bride-to-be’s family. He asked me to let him know how much he will be contributing so that he could be sending it in installments.
He said he had also spoken with Daddy and Mummy to expedite action on the programme because he would be travelling soon and might be away for about three weeks to a month. I had told Mummy that I would be coming home this weekend not knowing that it was his death that I will be witnessing.
“We are five in number; I am the first born of the family. Our parents have two set of twins after me. Taiwo is the breadwinner of the family. The glorious child has gone like that. Anytime we spoke, he would say that if we are going to spend about N150,000 for example, he would say Aunty, you can get N30,000 and I will add the remaining N120,000. Where do I start now? Our last born is in Kwara State University going to 400 Level and his school fee is N300,000. When the admission was secured, I told my brother how we could cope with N300,000 every year, but he said it would be done. He however told me not to trouble Dad and Mum. Now that he has gone, I don’t know what we can do.”
On the wedding preparation, he had told Dad not to worry himself unnecessary. He said that God would do it. But I always told him not to stress himself too much, but to plan for his future, believing that we would enjoy him later. Now, our hopes have been dashed. Our Mummy will always pray for us, asking us to hold on to our Bible and have faith in God. We have always been doing this, praying fervently. But see what the devil has done to us. My Dad said he has been fatally dealt with by Taiwo’s death. He is so traumatized. This is an everlasting weeping for us in the family.
“Dad once said he yearned to be a soldier and a superior officer for that matter but he could not make it. When Taiwo was at the LAUTECH, he told Dad he wanted to go to the Nigeria Defence Academy. His demand was supported by Dad. He got admission and went. Out of five of them that got admission from Oyo State, he was the only one that completed the five-year course in 2015. After the training, he was sent to the UK for further course. Anytime any of his colleagues was sent out of the training, he would call Dad and Dad would assure him that God would see him through successfully. He did not die during the trainings, but now see.
“He was full of spirit such that he was always said to be guiding his colleagues on whatever he believed they should not do and where not to go. It beats my imagination why he did not see the calamity that happened yesterday (Friday). It is however clear to God why he should die like that. Whoever has thrown us into this calamity shall by God’s grace taste the same,” she cursed.
Ft. Lt. Taiwo’s younger sister, Kehinde, who is awaiting his Youth Service programme, in her remarks also said thus: “Brother Taiwo is my closest friend. Out of all my siblings, he is my best friend. He is even much closer to me than to his twin sister. I am very close to him more than to my twin brother. He once told me that he would not marry any lady unless I approved of her. He eventually told the lady he did introduction with that he decided to marry her because I approved of her. And since then, the two of us have been very good friends. She even called me yesterday (Friday) and also spoke with our parents.
“She told me that my brother had paid half of the N950,000 they had engaged a hall for their wedding and had paid the N600,000 for the hall meant for engagement. It was shortly after the long talk with us that we heard of the plane crash in which my brother died,” the Applied Geology graduate from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) regrettably recalled.