It has been exactly one year since Mrs. Deluwa Saleh-Bibinu lost her husband, Group captian Enny Saleh-Bibinu in the ill-fated Air Force F-7 helicopter crash in Kano. She still recalls vividly the trauma she went through after his death and how the family missed thier bread winner. Michael Oche writes.
It has been a period of pain, stress, loneliness and difficulties for the family of the late Group Captian Enny saleh-Bibinu. Since losing thier bread winner in the ill fated F-7 fighter crash of March 22, 2011, the family is yet to recover fully.
For the three kids he left behind: Enny jr, 16; Elsie, 13; and empress 9 ,the loss of thier father was more of a disaster because lossing a bread winner especially in his prime is usally a hard thing to bear, and the family of Bibinu has not fared any better.
After they got married on 2nd October, 1993, they had hoped to grow old together. But the cruel hands of death snatched the fighter pilot in his prime.
Deluwa described her husband as caring, loving and selfless. He was not just an Airforce fighter pilot, but a man who lived for others and derived satisfaction from making others happy. Bibibu died in the service of his country.
The pilot who hailed from Taraba state was born on October 2, 1966. He enlisted into the Nigerian Air Force as a member of 37 Regular Course on September 27, 1985
As if she had a premonition of what was to happen, Deluwa complained of the flight that took the life of her husband. But the husband assured her that all was well.
“It is just like yesterday” she stated. "But to say I miss my husband is an uderstatement. When he died, people thought I would die the next minute. We were so close. There was no secret between us. He never hid anything from me. People are always around me, but I still feel lonely”
She reminisced on the event before his death: “He gave me a call 10 minutes before his flight. He had so many things he wanted to do. He asked me to take my book and pen and write down new strategies on how he wanted us to raise the family.
He assured me of his love and promised to call me immediately he landed. But he noticed I was complaining about the flight. I didn't know why I complained but I complained. Little did I know that was the last conversation I would have with my husband”
As the news a came plane had crashed in town she became worried more so that her husband was yet to call. It was very unsual for him to wait that long before he called back. She was worred but she kept praying assuring herself that nothing would happen.
She says: “Usually he called me immediately after his flight. But I waited for his calls. When he didn't call, I called severally, he was not picking his calls. But I also noticed a lot of people calling me. However, once they noticed I was not aware of the crash, they change the subject of the conversation.
“Later, some Air Force Officers came to my office. and I immediately asked, ‘is my husband dead?’ They said no, that it was the officer admin HQ NAF that wanted to see me. I said for what and they said he just wanted to see me. I went with them.
From there they took me home before they told me. I passed out soon after. The shock was terrible and had to be revived.
So how has it been since the lost of her husband. Deluwa says, God has been. He has ensured that we lack nothing. The church, Air Force, friends, colleagues, state "governement never left us”
She says however, she was happy her husband prepared her for the tough times such as this. “He allowed me to continue where he stopped because I was in the know of all his movement. Perharps because he was a soldier, he prepared us for a day like this. He never allowed us to travel with a drover. He always insisted we drive ourselves”
She says further: “My husband died doing what he loved doing best. I am happy he died in the service of his country".
She also recalls the chanllenges and difficulties the family passed throuhg immediately after the death of Bibinu. “It was a period of trial, my father who was very ill just died, the next morning my first son went for major surgery in Jos.I had to hand over my son who had just had a surgery in Jos to friends so I could travel home to bury my late father. I resumed work the next Monday and by Tuesday, my husband died.
“25th August, armed robbers attacked us. Rained 36 bullets on our car, but God spared us and we survived. November 6, another calamit struck, my son took my car key while I was sleeping and had an accident. Again God spared him. About three weeks ago, my younger brother died. He was not sick. But all this challenge has made my fiath in God stronger.
She says, “widowhood is not a situation I will even want to wish my enemy. My advice for couples is for them to be open to each other. Even if people say he is a madman, you dont understand how important he is until he is no longer there”.