Dana Air Crash Victim, Ayoola Somolu, died exactly three months to her wedding along with eight of her family membersNational Politics, Top Stories Thursday, June 7th, 2012
By Bose Adelaja, Prisca Sam-Duru & Vera Samuel Anyagafu
LAGOS—THE Somolu family in Lekki area of Lagos and the authorities of a private school in Mafoluku, Laureates College and Kiddies’ Kingdom Private School, are in deep mourning and inconsolable.
Last Sunday’s Dana Airplane crash in Iju-Ishaga, Lagos, which claimed over 150 lives dealt them a devastating blow. Ms Oluwakemi Ayoola Somolu, their only daughter and one of the most successful members of the family, died in that crash with nine of her friends who were returning from Abuja after attending the wedding of one of their friends. She died exactly three months to her own wedding.
Before the tragedy, all was set for her wed lock billed for the first Saturday of September, 2012; the wedding gown had been imported alongside the costume, expenses for the bridal train had been taken care off, the hall and the catering have been paid for and plans were in top gear for the honey moon.
Being the last born in the family of three, the bride’s family, the Somolus, who reside in Lekki was looking forward to this day of joy and was planning it in a big way before the tragedy struck and Ms Oluwakemi Somolu, an alumni of Queens College, met her untimely death.
Though she resided overseas, Ayoola had arrived Nigeria penultimate Friday for a friend’s wedding which took place in Abuja on Saturday June 2 and was in the company of her nine other friends on that day when the unexpected happened. The 10 friends left Abuja on that fateful day and were in the Dana aircraft. Unfortunately, they all lost their lives in the air mishap.
Vanguard gathered that her 80-year old mother and proprietress of Laureates College and Kiddies’ Kingdom Private School, had wished her daughter had stayed at home on that weekend but Ayoola pleaded with her and promised to come back the following day not knowing that that would be the last meeting with her aged mother.
The aged mother told her relations that ‘my daughter arrived from overseas to attend her friend’s wedding but she is no longer alive to witness her day of joy. The Somolus have been planning the deceased’s wedding in an exclusive way but see how the whole thing has gone, it is a big blow to the family. Who will wear her wedding gown now?” she cried
A close friend to the family, Mrs Bridget Anayo, said Ayoola was the favourite child of her aged mother and was to take over the running of the school as both parents are advanced in age but this was never to be.
When Vanguard visited the school at 3/5 Olayinka Adenubi Street, Aviation Estate, Mafoluku last Thursday, all the teachers had just arrived from a trip to Lekki where they paid a condolence visit to their aged proprietor and all of them were in pensive mood.
Some staff of the school and parents of students told Vanguard that the deceased had left a big vacuum that would be difficult to fill. “The heroine of the Somolus has fallen, who are we to question the creator of Heaven and Earth? May God grant her eternal rest in His bosom,” said Mr. Okolie Ramond.
The Head teacher of the 26-year old school, Mrs Iwuchukwu F.E, said Ayoola’s demise was a big blow to the Somolus. “Everbody who came in contact with her usually had a story to tell. She transformed many lives and was working hard to make many people great. We have lost a benefactor, a motivator and a bread winner to many. She died at a time many needed her most, who can question God? He knows why He did this and nobody can question His authority,” she said.
I fainted when I learnt of Levi’s death — Brother
Like the Somolus, the mood at the residence of Chief Emmanuel Ajuonuma, the eldest son of the Ajuonuma family, who was still in a state of shock over the death of his younger brother, Dr Levi Ajuonuma, was sorrowful. Chief Ajuonuma who laboured to grant an interview to Vanguard Newspapers, was still confused about the whole incident and has continued to ponder why it had to be his ever lively Levi, whom he described as the love of the family, being the last child of their parents, and was until his untimely death, the heartthrob of the Ajuonumas.
He is yet to come to terms with the demise of his brother and has continued to question why Levi had to be on that ill-fated flight. “God knows everything, it has happened and that is it. He knows why He allowed the crash to occur and there is nothing anyone can do to bring the dead back” he sorrowfully stated.”
Continuing he said: “When I first heard the news of the Dana plane crash I wept bitterly for Nigeria not knowing that my own brother was among the victims. It was indeed a terrible occurrence and when finally I was told that Levi had died in that plane, it was so shocking that I fainted”.
He added that “Levi was full of life, we were neither expecting him to die soon nor was he, someone who had no need for Paracetamol and all of a sudden, we heard he was dead, it is really heart breaking.”
He disclosed that the family had been asked to visit the morgue for his corpse today, hopefully, burial arrangements according to him, would be announced later.
Some of his relatives, who are still shocked about the loss of their beloved brother have resigned to fate as they preached that the daunting challenges facing the nation were signs of the end. They called on Nigerians to establish a personal relationship with God to be able to go through the difficult times.
The mood is same in Owerri where people have continued to visit some of Levi’s relatives to sympathize with them. Speaking from Owerri, Imo State, a relative who sounded dazed by the untimely demise of her brother in-law lamented that death had dealt the worst blow on her.
Also, a close colleague of the deceased NNPC spokesman said that Dr Levi’s demise was a monumental loss to both the organization and his family.
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