The death of a good man

on   /   in Voice of Reason 12:00 am   /   Comments

By Denrele  Animasaun from  London
“Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.” -Mahatma Gandhi

The cold  blooded murder of the Principal Private Secretary to Edo State Governor, Mr  Olaitan Oyerinde  ran  a  cold shiver   down   the  backs  of numerous  people  in   the  country  and  far  afield.  Oyerinde was killed by unknown gunmen in the early hours of May 4, in his residence in Benin City.

He   was 44,  aMass Communications graduate of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).  He was a former student activist, he was also a former Lagos State Chairman of the Campaign for Democracy. He  was  a template  for   what  a  public  spirited  individual should  be. Olaitan  packed  a lot  in  to   his   short life and he  was  a  fine   man,  a   good   family man, a   committed  public   servant  and  a  visionary.

A former member of the defunct Nigerian Tenants Association (NTA), he began his trade unionism with the Iron and Steel Workers Union as Assistant General Secretary. He was also the executive director of the Centre for Workers’ Rights (CWR) in Lagos. He is survived by his wife, Funke, four children, two sisters and parents.

You  see,  in  the  facebook  community ,  we   are   closer  than  a  lot   people  think  and  news  travels  with  the  speed  of  light. I  happen  to  share   some  of  Olaitan’s  friends on  facebook  and   it was  heart wrenching   to   read  that  such  a  fine  man   met  his  death  in  such  a  callous  and  inhuman   fashion. As  I  scanned  through   the   tributes  left  on  his  page,  It  was  clear  that  this  man  was loved    by  so  many  people.

One said: “Laitan Oyerinde was my childhood friend. We attended the same primary school, Ideal Nursery and Primary School, Ilorin. He had a genuine and great love of people and we were already looking forward to him becoming one of the outstanding leaders of my generation as he rose through the ranks of Labour to become the personal secretary of Edo State Governor. This is a very sad day for me. This is one too many”.

The   last statement   struck an eerie cord down my spine. This  is   prophetic  and  sadly the   body  count will  continue  and  many  tributes  will   follow  that of  other Oyerindes’.

Few days before Oyerinde’s death, there was an attack on Governor Oshiomhole’s campaign convoy, allegedly targeting the governor. Three journalists in the convoy lost their lives in the attack which the governor claimed to the media was an assassination attempt on his life.

The old is killing its young. Sadly,  our  society is destroying its  future  and  they  do so with  such  impunity . There  are murmurs that the old guards ordered  the  killing.

In its reaction to the murder of Mr. Oyerinde, the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) stated: “The way the politics of Edo State is going is reminiscent of the First Republic politics in the old Western Region which led to tragic consequences for the entire country.”

Professor Wole Soyinka deplored the killing of Mr. Oyerinde, vowing, “The agents of darkness and retrogression will not triumph. In a text message on the issue, Mr. Soyinka said: “The hand of the assassin is clear as day. It reaches all the way back to the killing of Bola Ige.”

This  country is  being  crushed by  a gerontocracy of older politicians  or  elder  statesmen  who appear determined to cling to the vestiges of  power for  as long as possible and then, when they do retire, demand impossibly rich private and public pensions/allowances  that the younger generation will be forced to shoulder.

We know too many and   statistics of political assassinations in Nigeria far back as the   1990s. Contract  killings  have  become  part  of  the  underbelly of  our  brand  of  politics.

What is for sure is the fissure between young and old is deepening.We  are  squandering  our   future.

The older generations have eaten the future of the younger ones.  This is very worrying   indeed and we need to re-examine the way we live our lives. We  need  the likes  of  Oyerindes  to  heal  Nigeria and  make  Nigeria   live  up  to  its   potential.

The  figures  speak   for themselves, in  any  civilised  country ,  you   would  have  the  confidence  that they   would  solve these  murders .  No, not the case in Nigeria. The  numbers  just  stack  up  and  people  cry  and   make  noise  and  then  nothing.  We   have  become  numb   with  similar  cases   that we  expect  no  more  from  the  authorities.   We  have   become  seating  ducks, living,  oh ,  I  mean   existing   and   praying  that these nefarious  monsters   do  not  visit  us.  We  have  become  frightened   of   our  own  shadow  and  murderers  are  free  to   roam the  streets and  kill  at  will.

We  have  normalised  this   way  of  existing and  we  have  become  so  apathetic  instead  of  getting angry and  demanding that  our  leaders  provide  us  with  the  security   that  we  should  expect  and   need  to  go  by  our  daily lives.

We  have  unleashed  terror  on  our  streets  and  they   visits   us  at  home and  we   stand  by  and  do  nothing. We should   demand action and expect no less because   we deserve better. Good  people  should  not  seat  back  and  watch  bad  things  happen  because  we   feel  helpless  and   believe  things  would  not   change.  Well, it would not change unless   we  change our attitude  and do   something   to change things.

I   remember , the  Dele  Giwa   murder   and   this has  a  similar  resonance. Where   the   evil  men wish they  could   erase a  promising and  useful   life ,  they  have   failed  .  You   can  kill  the  body but,  you   cannot  kill  the ideal and  it  lives  on  in  others. These murderers ,  long    after  their  miserable  lives  have  been expunged, the  people  we  will  continue  to   remember these  fine  and enigmatic people;  through  the  lives   they have   changed  and  the way  they  have   lived their   lives.

They  will   continue to  live through  their  body  of  work  like   we  remember  the  likes  of Martin Luther  King jr, Malcolm  X, JFK jr, Anwar Sadat, Ken Saro  Wiwa , Uncle   Bola Ige and many others . We  will  remember  them , because  they  stood  up   for   what they  believed  in.

“There are two ways of living: a man may be casual and simply exist, or constructively and deliberately try to do so. The constructive idea implies a constructiveness not only about one’s own life, but about that of society, and the future possibilities of mankind.” -Sir Julian Huxley

    Print       Email