The murder of Fahim Saleh

FOR those lucky to have met or done business with Fahim Saleh, Chief Executive Officer of Gokada, the self-described “largest mile courier delivery service in Nigeria,” accepting the reality that he is dead and will no longer be seen must be very difficult indeed. So, too, must be the manner in which he departed this world- immobilized with a taser, and then hacked into pieces by an assailant suspected by the New York Police Department (NYPD) to be his former executive assistant, 21-year old Tyrese Devon Haspil. Mr. Haspil has since been charged with second-degree murder.

Born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents who would eventually immigrate to New York, USA, Mr. Saleh, a young 33 at the time of his death on July 14, 2020, was a precocious kid who taught himself computer programming at a young age. A graduate of Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, Mr. Saleh was a born entrepreneur, getting involved in a variety of ventures before co-founding (with fellow techies Hussain Elius and Shifat Adnan) the ride company, Pathao, in Bangladesh in 2015. In 2018, he co-founded the popular motorbike hailing service, Gokada, with the Cornell University-trained Deji Oduntan.

Partnering with a Nigerian to establish a pioneering motorbike hailing confirms what everyone who knew Mr. Saleh recognised instantly: he was a genius at finding opportunity and looking for ways in which technology can help alleviate people’s everyday discomfort. Yet, his partnership with Mr. Oduntan could very well have been one of those things written in the stars, for everything about Mr. Saleh suggested that he could have been a Nigerian himself: he had a smile so wide you could walk right through it, an interactive and disarming personality, and warmth that could melt a stony heart.

At 33, Mr. Saleh had accumulated a lifetime’s worth of achievements, and it was not for nothing that his friends called him “the Elon Musk of the developing world.” He had a rare can-do spirit, the type you associate with intrepid explorers, and like all explorers, he extended the frontiers of the possible. For young people, the lesson from Mr. Saleh’s life, brutally terminated all too soon, is that the only barriers are those that exist in one’s head.

We extend our most sincere condolences to his family, friends, and co-workers, and look forward to justice being done in the trial of his suspected killer.

 

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