By Denrele Animasaun
The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land; You may almost hear the beating of his wings.
“John Bright in House of Commons speech, 1855.
TWo weeks ago, well- known Nigerians were buried in Abeokuta amidst tears and encomiums. They were natives of Abeokuta who had many things in common- very highly educated; urban and they served town and country.
Both were noted in Gbagura, Ake and had the highest chieftaincies possible. One was the Osi Egba and the other was the Seriki of Egba among the other chieftaincies. One was the Balogun of Ojoo the other was the Baba Adinni of Egba . They were not just chiefs; they worked for their communities and their country.
Oluwole Adeosun was a qualified accountant and economist and among many other things, he was managing director of NAL Merchant Bank and he went on to become the managing director of the First Bank Plc. He was also a minister of the Real in Nigeria when he became the secretary for transport. He was many other things beside.
Oluwole and I met at the Abeokuta Grammar school and until his demise he was an active member of the AGSOBA Old Boys Association. In fact, he paid for the club’s rent in Lagos till the end of this year. As to be expected, he had number of friends, relations and business friends who will miss him.
Adegbite was equally respected in the Nigerian society. He was a lawyer of many years standing. He was also known for the brief period he was dragged into politics as a commissioner in Western Region. He also was very influential in Egba circles where he pulled punches but without throwing any. He was an influential member of the Alake cabinet, but nothing compares with his role as a member of the Muslim Ummah.
As the secretary of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). He was an affective voice for sanity. And the Sultan, the president of the organisation demonstrated he would miss him when he joined the funeral in Abeokuta barely hours on the announcement of the death. Adegbite was a quiet worker.
His friends among whom were Olusegun Obasanjo, Ernest Shonekan, Oluwole Rotimi, were also there and so was the Governor of Ogun State Amosun, Governor Fashola of Lagos State were also there. So were Osoba, journalist and former governor of Ogun State and his predecessor Gbenga Daniel paid their respects.
I remember Dr. Adegbite visited my home very early December 1999, when I had my accident near Ogbomosho. I had a fractured tibia and was laid low for some months. It was hard for him to find his way. He abandoned his car and with his driver, he laboriously found me and that has been his way.
And of course, that has been the way of some of my elders and my friends. My brother, Prince Bola Ajibiola visited me many times and so was the legend himself, Alade Odunewu; My brother Taju Olanrewaju and my boss Sam Amuka. Remi Olowude, that time, did not visit me but he sent messages to me and 10 years after during my last ailment, flew from somewhere in East Africa where he was on business to see me.
These are Nigerian great. And that reminds me of the man who set an all-time record: in humanity and compassion. M.K.O and did not live that long-not as Oluwole who lived for 74years or Abdur-Lateef who lived for 79.
I get this from my archive and I want to share this with you. M.K.O build 63 secondary schools; 121 mosques/churches ; 41 libraries and 21 water projects in 24 States. He gave zakat throughout the land; he was grand patron to 149 associations and had 197 titles from 68 communities in Nigeria. “May the soul of the departed rest in peace”.
Baba Adinni of Gbagura, Abeokuta.