On Friday this week, the feet of all Akure sons and daughters, as well as their friends’, will take languid walks to Akure, Ondo State. No, not to celebrate the yearly Ulefunta Festival with the Deji of Akure. They will be in the Ondo State capital to commit our brother, my fan and President of Ooye Development Initiative (ODI) to mother earth. Olumuyiwa Esho is dead. Boda Muyiwa will return to the city of his birth in a hearse, ramrod stiff and still, his hands clad to his waist as if in a military salute to Asodeboyede, the progenitor of Akure Kingdom. Boda Muyiwa is dead. Dead to a thousand dirges and invocations of his noble assignment here on earth.
Since that Sunday morning of January 24, 2021 when the ears-shattering message that he passed on that morning in Lagos sieved into my ears, recovery has been very hard. So have virtually all who knew him. We had met in Akure on December 28, 2020 in his palatial house in Alagbaka. He was our brand new President at ODI and had gathered us all to deliberate on his new assignment. Face masks that we stuck to our faces literally and apparently blinded us from seeing that it was a modest funeral Esho organized in his own memory.
A few days earlier, we had unanimously proclaimed him President in absentia. Muyiwa Esho loved Akure. This was obvious in the way he ‘blew’ the dialect at random. He gave all he had for the wellness of the land and good of its people. At his valediction that we erroneously thought was a meeting to project his presidency, as if deliberately telling me, he narrated the story of a young girl he chose to train to the university, among others, all of whom he didn’t have physical dealings with but funneled their finance through his uncle. People lifted him to where he was too, he announced and thus, he believed in raising humanity from their knees.
Boda Muyiwa, erroneously believing I had decades to live with you, I always forgot to ask you this question: Did you love Ayinla Omowura that profoundly or it was your brother who authored his biography that you loved? The tenacity with which you demanded an autographed copy of the late Yoruba musician’s biography was jaws dropping, especially for a top oil sector top shot like you. When you eventually got a copy, the optics of the physical thumb-up you gave me will forever be evergreen in my memory.
On Friday, Akure will inter Boda Muyiwa, our own beautiful peacock, with its adorable plumage. We will fight back tears as we behold the good man who loved to do good for the collective, locked up in a lonely casket.
As highly as the Deji adored you, Boda Muyiwa, he cannot be at your funeral because he cannot behold the dead. Rest in power, icon of Akure Kingdom, Omo Owa, Omo Ekun.
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