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‘Mummy, what’s our future without daddy?’

Posted by By KAYODE FAYEMI on 2005/12/18 | Views: 1073 |

‘Mummy, what’s our future without daddy?’

“Mummy, what will happen to us now that daddy is no more?” With these words, one of the kids of Captain Benjamin Adekunle Adebayo, pilot of the ill-fated Sosoliso plane that crashed December 10 at the Port Harcourt International Airport, stirred emotions at the burial of their late dad last Thursday.

“Mummy, what will happen to us now that daddy is no more?” With these words, one of the kids of Captain Benjamin Adekunle Adebayo, pilot of the ill-fated Sosoliso plane that crashed December 10 at the Port Harcourt International Airport, stirred emotions at the burial of their late dad last Thursday.

In fact, as the 16-year-old girl asked the question, her mom fought back tears even as other sympathizers fetched their handkerchiefs to wipe tears from their eyes.
The girl asked their mum pointedly in Lagos as a crowd of sympathizers accompanied the bereaved family to the graveside where her father’s remains were interred at Agbado, Ogun State.
Captain Adebayo died in the Sosoliso plane crash that also claimed the lives of 106 persons.

But the girl’s question, in the opinion of some observers, was borne out of the experience of other lads who lost their breadwinners in similar tragedies and how the state failed to provide for them.
The girl that posed the million-dollar question was said to be the first daughter of the late pilot.

Though her mum gestured to reassure her that their future was not in total jeopardy, the poor girl, looking equally forlorn as her younger twin siblings, appeared to have appreciated the stark realities that lie ahead of them when the crowd of sympathizers finally disperse. For instance, as she continued to sulk, it was indicative that she realised that the affection that their father used to shower on them was gone. Least of all their living standard.

And for the twins, Taiwo and Kehinde, the whole scenario was like a dream to them.
Though they sobbed intermittently, following other family members, at 11, they did not betray a proper understanding of the situation – that they would not see their daddy anymore.
However, the tears came rolling down uncontrollably when the remains of the late airman were being lowered into the grave.

Widow, Funmilayo wails
At the grave side, Funmilayo, Capt Adebayo’s widow further stirred emotions of the mourners as she repeatedly asked:
“Why, Kunle why? We did not plan it this way,” lamenting the unfulfilled dreams of her hubby.
“I drove you to work, you promised to return soon but you never came back, why? You are my brother, my husband, my life,” she kept asking while performing the dust-to-dust rites.
Unrelenting, she asked further: “Why did you leave me alone suddenly? We never planned it this way o,” she said, with the late pilot’s cap in her hand. She was flanked by the late pilot’s three children, including a set of identical twins.

Capt Sokunbi
Captain Kola Sokunbi is a colleague of the late Adebayo at Sosoliso Airline. On that tragic Saturday, the pilot said he received over 20 calls from concerned frinds and relatives who feared that he could have been on board the ill-fated aircraft. But beyond that, Sokunbi, Adebayo’s confidant said when he heard of the crash, the first question he asked was “who flew the aircraft? I was told it was Capt. Adebayo. Since I was told that day up till now I’ve not been myself. The aircraft was a fine machine and I did my base training on it on the 19th of November. It was a marvelous airplane. I joined them two months ago because Sosoliso has a good record of maintenance and one of the reasons I joined was that they keep good maintenance on their airplanes.

Adebayo and I have been friends for over 15 years and it was a great loss to us in the aviation industry. He was a good colleague and we used to call him Ade 1.”
He continued: “ The aircraft, I’m sure has radar. With the radar equipment you can see and avoid what you call thunderstorm. How come Adebayo came in to land the aircraft in a storm? Wel…The aircraft can take off or land when it’s raining, but not in heavy storm. If it’s raining it doesn’t mean it is stormy. In fact it may mean the storm is breaking.

It wasn’t a heavy storm in Port Harcourt that day but I wasn’t there and I don’t know the intensity of the storm. But it must have been safe enough for Adebayo to attempt to land. Every crash as they say is 99.9% human error because aircraft were not built to crash but the human element of it that made it crash. Would I still continue flying? Of course! I have been flying for 25 years and will continue to do so. Although many of my colleagues have died in aircrashes like Lambert Imasuen of Bellview, Shuaib Ali in Kaduna and so on, it’s just like having an accident while driving or you see vehicles involved in accidents. Tell me, will you quit driving or does that stop you from riding vehicles?”

Sherifatu Ademoye (Adebayo’s first cousin)
“ I headed for the toilet when I heard about the crash. I heard the shocking news of his death on TV. I headed straight for the toilet when I heard he was dead. Initially when the news broke, I tried to call him and when I couldn’t get through, I called his wife but someone else picked up the phone. The person that picked the handset told me she couldn’t talk to me because she was in shock. Shock? I asked as if I did not hear well. That was when I began to confirm my fears. I was then told that it was my cousin that flew the crashed Sosoliso aircraft in Port Harcourt and that he was dead. Then I rushed into the toilet. Don’t ask me what I went there to do.

“I saw him last about two weeks back. We spoke at length and he assured me that things would be fine. He said I shouldn’t worry and that I would really enjoy him henceforth. He said I should be patient and after the Yuletide celebration, he said he would invite me to his house because he had big plans for me. I was with him and his wife discussing till about 11p.m that night before I went to sleep. He was in high spirits and he kept hugging me. I left the next morning and he offered me a lift but I declined. He escorted me to Jaffa and that was the last time I set eyes on him. I’ve been here since the news broke on Sunday and I’ve not gone home.”

Shina Loremikan(CDHR)
Fiery Human Rights Activist, Shina Loremikan said of the crash: “I do not rule out sabotage. Capt. Adebayo was my neighbour at Giwa Junction, Oke-Aro. Before then I knew little or nothing about him. I knew him through my child. After I moved in at Oke-Aro, I discovered an “unholy” friendship between him and my son who is barely two years old. I said unholy because I kept wondering what a two-year-old kid could have fancied in an older person like him. So I kept a watch on them. Then, Captain Adebayo used to drive one old Volkswagen car. If that Volkswagen honks at the gate, my son knows Captain is back. You could always feel the excitement in him as he rushes out shouting, ‘I’m going to see my friend.’

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Comments (6)

Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...


Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.

Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding