E XACTLY eight days ago, the body of our childhood friend, Francis Ibidapo Oyewumi aka (Omo Oye) was lowered to the ground at Ibadan. The body was buried after a funeral service at the Chapel of Resurrection, University of Ibadan. Omo Oye died on 12th September 2016. Dapo was a Nigerian who had the month of September cemented to his life and times. He was born on September 20, 1945. He died on 12, September 2016 at the Teaching Hospital Ibadan. He was buried on 23, September 2016. Dapo had a very exciting life and was open minded throughout his entire life, Dapo Oyewumi was Ijesa and he was never pretentious about his Ijesa connections.
He attended Methodist High School, Ilesa for his Secondary education. He went from there to Olivet Baptist High School Oyo, in Oyo State for his higher school certificate Course. He later moved to the University of Ibadan for his University education.
He later after his University studies, went to work at the Ministry of Education old Oyo State in Ibadan where he rose to the position of a Director. Dapo Oyewumi later moved from there abroad. He was an experienced administrator.
I met Dapo Oyewumi at Ilesa in 1959 when we were very young and were cutting our teeth as Secondary School radicals. While Dapo was reading at Methodist High School, Ilesa, I was then a student at Ifaki Grammar School, in present day Ekiti State.
In 1959 a group among us decided to float a Social Club in Ilesa to protect our radical lives as secondary school students. The Club was named Young Students Society (YSS). Our first President was Akanbi Akingbade aka “AKI” while our Secretary was Joe Abiola aka “ABI JOE ATUMA”. Akanbi Akingbade after secondary school worked for many years at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lagos. “AKI” later on after retirement went to the United States of America (USA) where he has been living till today. Akingbade worked at the World Bank in U.S.A. Joe Abiola Atuma who was our first Secretary went to Ibadan Grammar School for his Higher School Certificate course and University of Lagos Akoka, Yaba for his Journalistic career. He worked for many years at the old Sketch Newspaper at Ibadan before retiring into private life. Interestingly Joe still Co-ordinates the activities of those of us who were his colleagues at the Young Students Society Club Ilesa in 1958.
When our friend, the late Ambassador Isaac Aluko Olokun died some years ago, it was Joe that Co-ordinated all the activities to celebrate his passage. Isaac Aluko Olokun was nicknamed by us as “SEKO SEKINATU”. Joe Abiola has recently performed the role when we lost Dapo Oyewumi (Omo Oye). The second President of our 1958 group is Dr. Obi Gbadebo aka “OBI DEBSON”. Dr. Obi Gbadebo has been living in America for his consistent Pan Africianist views on world matters and events.
The 1958 Young Students Society was a group of articulate youngmen whose political orientation was impressively progressive and militant. It was never a surprise when many of us of the group later turned out in life as radical politicians in Nigeria.
Dapo Oyewumi was never an exception. Dapo was a member of the Nigerian Advance Party (NAP) led by the late Uncle Tunji Braithwaite. Dapo Oyewumi later emerged a prominent member of the CPC led by President Muhammadu Buhari when the CPC merged with the ANC, the late Dapo Oyewumi was at the starting point of membership of the APC. Dapo Oyewumi spent the last days of his political life as an activist of the APC. You can always trust Dapo, he took the affairs of the APC with all seriousness. Though we never belonged to the same political party throughout his life, we never lost respect for each other until he (Dapo) passed to the world beyond.
We were a set of “high life” enthusiasts when we were at our secondary school stations in 1958 etc. I remember many of us particularly at the Young Students Society would congregate almost every night (while on holidays) at the famous recording store of the late Uncle ‘Luyi Fajuke to listen and dance to the rhythm of famous highlife musicians from Nigeria, Ghana etc. We were all specialists in the music of Victor Abinbola Olaiya, Roy Chicago, Eddy Okonta, Broadway Dance Band, Uhuru Dance Band, The Cornets led by Ted Osei, E.T Mensah and his Tempos Band, Onyina’s Guitar Band, The Black Beats Band, (all of Ghana) etc etc. This went on until many of us left for Universities for further studies and the late Uncle ‘Luyi Fayake closed the shop after joining the Action Group led by Papa Obafemi Awolowo in those days of the first republic. Dapo Oyewumi was with us during those glorious moments.
I can never forget the role my friend “Omo Oye” played in my life after my Sani Abachi years as Minister in 1998. I joined the Abacha regime as a Minister in November 1994 at a period of political tension in Nigeria.
There was no damnable name under the sun that those of us who had joined the Abacha regime (particularly from Yorubaland) was not called for serving the regime as Ministers.
Dapo Oyewumi invited me in 1996 after leaving the Abacha government to hold some meetings with a group of Yoruba activists in London. Dapo himself was at the meetings. There Dapo called for a proper understanding of my role in the Abacha government and pleaded that I should be spared of the terrible names that many of us who had served in the Abacha government was being subjected to. One of the London activists was Mr. Filani from Ikole-Ekiti. Now Dapo Oyewumi is no more. I will remember his positive interventions in my life at that time till my dying days. He was a good friend.
I sincerely commiserate with all our friends in Ijesaland who know Dapo Oyewumi very well – Agboola Seweje, Femi Osunro, Iyiola Faniyi, Bisi Oguni, Banji Ayoola, Tunde Akingbade, Joe Abiola, Mojeed Agboola Sanni, Bayo Oti (Bayus Bayus), Wole Awobiyi, Koya Dada aka “Costa Rica”, Bimbo Amodu, Mike Oluborode, Sam Bamidele, Bode Dada, Tayo Fayomi, Gunju Arowosegbe, Remi Adegbola, Obi Gbadebo “Obi Debson”, and several others.
We are all now departing the world one after the other. Dapo was at one time of his life, President of Ijesa Patriotic Club.
I mourn with the wife, children and family of Oyewumi in Ilesa.
We have missed Francis, Ibidapo Oyewumi. We hae lost a great son of Ijesaland and Nigeria. Dapo Fare-Well! May God continue to bless your memory!! “Omo Oye” Terry Bobo” Good-Bye and Good-Night!!!
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