2019 And Harvest Of Deaths By Tola Adeniyi

Tola Adeniyi FNGE
Readers may instinctively conclude that the piece before them is about

the horrific catalogue of the daily butchery that had become the lot
of Nigerians since the past 5 years which climaxed in the ugly Year
2019, and which unfortunately has resumed a more horrendous proportion
since the puppeteers of the programmed pogrom are emboldened with demonic impunity.


No. This article is about the personal losses that came my way in the
past year and which up until now I have not gathered sufficient
strength to write about. They came in shocking torrents; and before I
could recover from one shock another blow hit me in the groin. And to make
matters worse and more painful, these blows were sudden, devastating,
total and final.


I had just settled for dinner one fine evening when the telephone
rang. Before taking a decision whether to answer the call or ignore
it, it rang again and again. “Senior Saheed, have you heard that OGO
is dead?” it was Otunba Doyin Ogungbe’s voice on the line. I went numb.


Earlier in the year I had given Omooba Gbenga Osinowo less than 24
hours to accept an invitation to chairman the wedding reception of my
grandniece in Lagos and he had agreed without the slightest protest.
“Egbon, just tell me the location and the time you would want me to
present myself” that was the response of OGO as he was popularly
called by his teeming admirers. People called him OGO SE’NIAN meaning
OGO is complete human being, an Omoluwabi, the Yoruba word for a
perfect human being.

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Omooba Oluwagbemiga Osinowo had a very impressive career as a Customs
officer rising to the top of the ladder as Deputy Comptroller.  He
also took time to study law and became successful in the practice. He
was invited into politics by hundreds of his admirers who believed he
would make a remarkable difference in that arena given his famed
integrity, pleasant manners and accessibility.


The story of Otunba Jide Awosedo was not different. A banker turned
Real Estate entrepreneur, Awosedo also veered into politics and put in
his very best and all to clinch the governor’s coveted seat in Ogun
state. Fortune did not smile on him in that regard but the Vineyard of
the Lord rewarded him with the Asiwaju Onigbagbo title. Extremely
hardworking and generous his success also brought along stormy weather
and waters which eventually exerted serious toll on his health. He was
hospitalized in the UK while I was also battling health challenges in
Canada. We shared prayer sessions on our hospital beds several
thousands of kilometres apart. Then the bombshell came: Jide had
passed without reaping the fruits of his sweats.


Gbenga and Jide didn’t make it to 70. They both were natives of Odogbolu where a quarter of me originated from.


Sometime in May an elder, Otunba Kolawole Abdul, a former Labour
leader, politician and socialite spent close to an hour discussing
plans for his 80th birthday due July. We chatted till 4pm when I
excused myself to attend Veteran Journalists meeting at the Press
Centre in Ibadan with promise to resume our conversation in the
evening. When I called back at 6.30 pm, the voice that answered my
call was tears drowned. Your Egbon died a few minutes ago was the
mournful answer from his wife! Otunba Abdul lived a very jocund and
jolly life and smiled his way back to his Maker without illness and
without a farewell!


Late in 2017, the gentleman who I had touted as one of the pall
bearers that would lower my remains into the grave also chatted for
over an hour with me at 1 pm and by 3pm a call came from Abeokuta that
he had simply slept off on his couch in his office! Dr. Adedeji
Otunba-Payne was my College son at Ago-Iwoye premier tertiary
institution since 1961 and incredibly that ‘father-son’ relationship
was kept alive till his last day. His children call me ‘Grandpa’.


Deji, a Veterinary doctor rose to the pinnacle of his career in the
Civil Service having attained the status of Permanent Secretary and
just about a month after turning 70, he journeyed forth in the
Continuum.


2019 is a year I can never forget. Apart from the loss of very close
associates and my first cousins Jimoh Adeniyi Osinowo [76]],  Tajudeen
Adeniyi [67] and Nura Adeniyi [56], it was a year that I had a clean
shave with termination of my physical existence. My body was
virtually on the verge of expelling my Soul/Spirit from its abode. A
collapse in Lagos, a rush to Reddington Hospital in Ikeja, visits to
the University College Hospital UCH in Ibadan and thousands of
kilometres away, an emergency lift to Specialist Hospital in Canada;
it was Olodumare Who decreed that the Breath of Life must be
accommodated by the shell that gave it tenancy.


While waiting to complete this sad piece which I actually began in
February this year, the tale of the harvest of deaths got longer.
Another first cousin, Abdul Razaq Adeniyi [69] passed on. Razaq was
the immediate elder brother to Tajudeen! The Adeniyi Royal Dynasty was
compelled to arrange a session of family prayers.


Three elderly men very dear to my heart also passed on a few months ago. The
three,, one a father figure and the other two 
 Uncles in-law shed their
earthly garments and proceeded on their new journeys to Eternity.


Alhaji Dr. Adebayo Adetunji [88] a highly reputable man of many parts
was the second to answer the call. An industrialist, businessman,
investment banker, religious leader, Rotarian Paul Harris Fellow and
many more, Adebayo Adetunji was a colossus both in physical giantry
and rare entrepreneurship.


High Chief Bolanle Ajomale, [89] a Prince of Ile-Ife, lawyer, banker,
community leader and also a religious leader was every inch a perfect
gentleman who epitomized love and steadfastness by personal conduct
and discipline.


Uncle Solomon Ogundele [100] another remarkable in-law was the first to go and he left us while in his sleep. Incidentally the family gathered last year December to
celebrate him and celebrate with him. It was quite an emotional event
especially when the old man was moved to tears. ’I hope you have not
gathered together in this surprise party to bid me farewell’. And he
left three months afterwards.

 

While I lived in Surulere in the early 70s, in my hey days as
Africa’s first Newspaper Ombudsman and Aba Saheed/ Nguyen Tol Nee columnist, Uncle
Ogundele visited me several times, each time lavishing gifts and care
on me. He treated me not as an in-law but a son.

The passing of the three elderly gentlemen robbed me and my family the
counsel and affection which have for long been bestowed on us.


While 2019 went away with its tale of sorrow, tears and mourning, little did
I know that the USA and China, two crazy countries competing for the
economic and military domination of the world would envelope the
entire globe with more harvests of death and economic woes and ruin.
We are told these two super powers, this time brushing Russia, another
crazy country aside, were busy creating devastating biological weapon
in some laboratory in Wuhan and the devil in the bottle escaped,
spreading its lethal contents on planet earth.


The world has already harvested close to a million deaths, and still
counting. Curiously, the Monster code named Covid 19 is said to be in
serious romance with old people which has made people my age
scampering for safety. Now I go about whenever I am not locked down
nor locked up wearing masks like characters in Kabuki theatre of
Japan.

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