I am a sad man today. Sad because my friend of ages Afolabi David a.k.a “:KINSHASHA KINSHASA” is no more. He now belongs to the ages.
On Sunday 19th March, just as I was about to write on the deaths of the Generals – Adeyinka Adebayo and Samuel Osagbovo Ogbemudia, I received a call from my friend at Ibadan, Joe Abiola a.k.a “JOE ATUMA.” Joe had said, “Ebino, I have bad news for you. Atuma what is the bad news, I had responded. Joe said: Ebino, Afolabi David “KinshashaKinshasa” is dead. He died yesterday (Saturday) 18th March). I was silent, unable to give a reply. When I talked, it was to tell him “Joe, so Afolabi is gone? “Yes”, Joe replied.
Afolabi David was our friend, our close friend. He was a most loyal and dependable friend. At my age, when anyone tells me of bad news, I know what to expect. Afolabi was a reliable friend. He was nice to his friends to the very last days of his life.
We met years ago during our university days. While Afolabi was an active student leader at the University of Ibadan, I was also very active in students’ unionism at Unilag. Afolabi contested against my friend and fellow townsman, the late Leye Ajayi, at U.I as President of the Students’ Union of U.I. Leye Ajayi defeated him in a tough contest, which led to the characterization of the electoral battle as war between the OmoEkos (those from Lagos) and the Ogefilas (those from the upland Yorubaland as Ijesas and Ekitis). The Ogefilas won the war but Afolabi David did not lose his respect. Afolabi David was honourable to the very end.
When we finished our university student days, our paths crossed in Lagos State when we emerged as leaders of the Lagos State Post Primary School Teachers Association. I was the Chairman of the association while Afolabi David was Secretary. The association had declared a trade war on the Lagos State Government, then led by “Egbon” Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson, with the late Papa Adeniran Ogunsanya as his Commissioner of Education.
The Association of Lagos State Post Primary School Teachers went on strike, the moment Lagos State government cancelled our housing allowance. Both myself and Afolabi were elected leaders of the association. It was a helluva fight. Afolabi David’s wife, Joke a.k.a “Mother of Revolution” was then working at the Lagos State Government House. It was she who helped us type all the documents we used to prosecute the “battle”. Those were the days Papa Adeniran Ogunsanya was gracious enough to bow to the teachers’ demands and we were given our housing allowances back. The then Chairman of the Lagos State NUT, the late Chief Kukoyi and his General Secretary, Mr. Badejo, a.k.a “Bob Terror” (who was a famous boxer inhis youthful days in Lagos) ensured that the Lagos State Post Primary School Teachers Association had all we needed to successfully prosecute the struggle. Our friend, Mr. M.A Obasa, who later took over the leadership of the NUT, was equally there to support us.
With the struggle against the Lagos State Government over, I joined the University of Lagos Administration as Assistant Registrar while my dear friend Afolabi David went to enlist in the Army.
I visited Afolabi David at wherever the Military had posted him, be it Ilorin, Benin and Ibadan. My friend, Afolabi David, never denied our friendship after the Military regime, then led by General Yakubu Gowon, had declared me a security risk with my involvement in struggles against Militarism in Nigeria. Afolabi David was there for me at all times.
We called him several names Afoshnkokos, Afo, KinshashaKinshasa. He was a member of the Pyrates Confraternity founded by Bros Kongi (Egbon Wole Soyinka) at U.I. while I had founded the Panama Pyrates Confraternity at Unilag in 1967. While Afolabi’s Pyrate name was KinshashaKinshasa, my Pyrate name at Unilag was Pinco Babarossa, (Commander of the Howling Archipelago). Afolabi David’s other friends at U.I. Pyrates Club include Femi Odekunle, Obi Gbadebo. I believe Femi Odekunle’s Pyrate name was “JofiloJobate”. As KinshashaKinshasa, Afolabi David did pay his dues to society. “No friend, no foe,” the Pyrates will say. The permanent friends of Afolabi David as a Pyrate remained the common people of Nigeria. He was a socialist thorough and thorough. Afolabi was then very close to the late Paul Epuh, a radical socialist Trade Unionist who was very Pro Chinese Socialism. It was from Afolabi David that we all read the revolutionary Chinese left wing literature titled “Long Live Victory of Peoples War” written by Lin Piao.
Afolabi never changed his socialist idealogical apparel until he died. His socialist ideology was the base of his support for the late Papa Obafemi Awolowo’s politics. Though in the Military, Afolabi never waivered in his support for the politics of Papa Awo.
Afolabi was very correct in his political collections. I do hope his son, Afolabi David junior and his other children (Deola and Henry), will be able to assemble all Afolabi’s collections on men, matters and events of world politics.
We all loved AfoKinshasha! You just cannot hate him!! Yemi Sofoluwe, a former Military Head of the Nigerian Youth Service Corps was so close to him. So was General Taju Olarewaju, a.k.a. “Jasper,” this writer and Joe Abiola (Joe Atuma), Adewale Baloguna.k.a ‘Ray Bally’ and Sina Adedipe remained confidants of our Afolabi David until his transition to eternity; Dayo Abatan will miss him too. I have lost friends the last two years. It will pain me for the rest of my life that I was only able to pay Afolabi one visit after being told of his bad health. I can however conveniently say that my own old age dilemma started our two years ago. I am sure Afolabi will forgive me in his grave. When Bode Sowunmi died, I was consoled with the fact that very soon, matters will fall into their right places. With Afolabi’s death matters have deteriorated to square one. Death is a price all of us will eventually pay. Afolabi David is gone! May his soul rest in peace!!
God will bless the memory of Afo KinshashaKinshasa!
EBINO TOPSY – 0805-500-1735
THE DEATHS OF THE GENERALS
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