It was not difficult to know that the Asaniyis have lost a gem and life support.
The gloomy faces and the sober mood that pervaded their country home at Iyanuoluwa Estate, New Airport, Alakia, Ibadan say it all that the death of Flt. Lt. Taiwo Olufemi Asaniyi, the pilot who flew the crashed military aircraft last Friday, has left the family shattered.
Asaniyi was one of the pilots of the ill-fated Beechcraft 350 aircraft, which crashed near the Kaduna International Airport last Friday.
According to one of the sympathisers, who thronged the family house, it was one death that no one will not wish his worst enemy.
The family seemed uncontrollable as tears flowed freely while friends, and neighbours battled to console the aged parent and siblings.
The Guardian reporter was not spared of the outflowing emotions, especially when his 62-year-old father, Mr. Rufus Olufunsho Asaniyi, betrayed emotion and was reduced to tears as he narrated how he and his wife toiled to raise the fallen army officer.
He said: “I’m a retired headteacher. I retired in 2019. I used 32 years in the village to ensure that my children have a bright future. All we were doing was to ensure that they do well and make sure they succeed. We were looking up to him to lift up his siblings.
Taiwo rose up and went to Nigerian Defence Academy. He was the pillar that we were all looking up to. He had hoped he would lift all his siblings. That hope is dimmed. The only thing that can bring happiness is for the government to employ his siblings who are jobless.
“His siblings have no jobs. His twin sister ought to have married but she could not because she has no job. If they give me billions of Naira, it is nothing unless his siblings are given jobs”.
Also, Ebunoluwa, his 59-year-old mother, who is due for retirement next year, was also inconsolable. She corroborated what her husband said about the deceased officer.
“We expected that he would be there for us after my retirement. His twin sister has served for a very long time without a job. That is why she has not married. She said she did not want to suffer after marriage.
“Government should give jobs to his twin sister and siblings. He was the pillar of the family. We expected that he would lift up his siblings. By next February, I will retire. We had hoped that we would rely on him after retirement. Taiwo, why did you just leave us in shock,” she added.
Similarly, Taiwo’s elder sister, Oluwatoyin Olaoye, who works at the Ministry of Defence, Mokola could not control her emotion while narrating what the officer meant to the family.
Mrs. Olaoye, the first child of the family, said: “He was the pillar of the family. The breadwinner on whose shoulders the whole family relied. He is the first set of twins.
“I was at home when they called that Taiwo is dead.
“He had asked me to meet with the parents of his wife-to-be so that the necessary arrangements could be made for the wedding. He was supposed to go for a course in the UK on June 12 this year. Which had been approved. Since he was to go for that course, anytime they wanted to fly the top echelon in Nigeria, he would be the one to do that”.
When asked about the expectations of the family from the Federal Government, she said:” It is well. God will judge. I have other siblings. My pay is not enough to take care of them. I’m working with the Ministry of Defence in Mokola, Ibadan. How much is my salary? His twin sister, Kehinde does not have a job. The younger Taiwo is still at Kwara State University, where we are paying over N300, 000. The younger Kehinde graduated from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA). The late Taiwo had asked the younger Kehinde to come to Abuja for his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme so that she could stay with the deceased’s wife-to-be. He had promised to send the younger Kehinde abroad for her Master’s Degree.
Kehinde said his brother was life support in the family and lamented that the life support had gone.
“I was very close to him and most of his colleagues. None dared threaten me because they knew I had a brother as a military man. I am very close to his wife-to-be. I had to approve of it before he would date any lady”.
Another tearful moment was his botched wedding scheduled for October 2021. That dream has now been shattered.
His fiancee, Oluwadunjoye Victoria Olubunmi works at a financial institution in Lagos.
Bunmi has written an emotional tribute disclosing the awesome moments they shared together.
Tweeting through @bunmioladuntoye on Sunday, Ms. Oladuntoye said she did not regret accepting his marriage proposal.
She wrote, “Femi, I have no regrets walking this journey with you. You asked me to be your wife last year in August and I gave you a resounding yes.
“One of the last things you said to me was to keep on being humble and continue to give. You were a giver, oh you were such a giver.
Speaking in the Yoruba language, she said “Femi mi, Olowo ori mi”.
She said: “Who will hype me now when I make a new hair? Who will call me fine girl? Who will call me the most beautiful woman in the world?
“I have cried and cried and cried. People have spoken to me, James and Kamal have told me you wouldn’t want me to be sad and I know that for sure because whenever I am sad and I cry, you are not always happy?
“The world deserves to know how great you are. To Nigerians and the world at large, my fiancé, Flt Lt. T.O. Asaniyi was a great man who dedicated his life to serving this country.
“Please pray for him, pray for his family and pray for me”.
Speaking more in the Yoruba language, she said: “Adigun miiiiii, Femi miiiiii, Hot choco miiii sun re o!”
She added: “I want your blue diary so bad because you had lots of intelligent things written in there.”
Asaniyi and 10 other military officers who died in the crash were buried at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja on Saturday.
Speaking on the plane crash, a former Department of State Services (DSS) Chief, Dennis Amachree has called for an investigation into recent crashes of air force planes.
According to Amachree, “The crash is a really sad event for this country. The product of a long-awaited service chief’s change. Nigerians were expectant. Of utmost importance is the need to investigate the recent crashes of our air force planes. May their gallant souls rest in peace”.
Apart from the fiancée and aged parent, Olufemi left behind four siblings who are Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olaoye (nee Asaniyi), Miss Kehinde Oluremi Asaniyi (his twin sister), Olusola Taiwo Asaniyi and Miss Kehinde Oluwaseun Asaniyi.