In the last few weeks, three persons I was acquainted with died in subsequence. They are a man I call the doyen of Nigerian journalism, Gbolabo Ogunsanwo; former Sketch newspaper journalist and ex-Shooting Stars Football Club Chairman, Gbolagade Busari and AIC founder, Ibadan-born Chief Harry Akande. They each deserve heartfelt tributes from me.
Ogunsanwo, I met only once about 20 years ago but that encounter and the words he spoke are still fresh in my memory. A national newspaper columnist based in Lagos had taken me on a visit to Marina in Lagos, to the home of a big shot, who was his boss. He promptly “deposited” me inside the big man’s living room. There sat Ogunsanwo regally. When the columnist introduced us, the veteran journalist decorated me with beatific comments that still haven’t evaporated in my mind. I told him of the piece of his that I still remembered with admiration, entitled The Babangida in all of us. He was happy I loved the piece. Then he went into panegyrics for the writer. Whenever he read commentaries like ours, he said, he was gratified that someday when he translated mortality for immortality, there would be a “back” to bequeath. Now, the great weaver of words has become one who shares dinner with gnomes.
Busari, better known as Buso, was my colleague, with whom I served in the Oyo State government, from 2011 and 2015. Personable and adorable, Buso died the second day he arrived from the United States of America. The lesson I picked from his life was his devotion to his children and the course of humanity.
Chief Akande I knew, both in his Ibadan and Lagos homes. Always finicky about his appearance but not a fop and cutting the picture of one who loved life, our relationship was further cemented when we found out we were both beholden to his cousin, now also late, called Uncle Charles Ariyibi. Chief Akande and I last spoke a few years ago when he sent some people to me to intervene in a matter.
I am crestfallen at the departure of these icons and can only pray that the souls of Baba Ogunsanwo, Buso and Chief Akande receive acceptance in the hands of their Creator.
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