By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA —Tragedy struck in Abeokuta when a middle-aged commercial bus driver, Oluwagbeminija Rhodes, allegedly drowned in Ogun River on Sunday while trying to save his drowning son, Gbeminiyi.
Vanguard gathered that the tragedy occurred when the late driver, who was the pioneer chairman of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Shuttle Bus Association, reportedly took his bus for washing at the Ogun river bank at Lafenwa end.
It was further gathered that the deceased was accompanied by his eight-year-old son, Gbeminiyi.
The boy was reportedly playing at the river bank but suddenly missed his steps and fell inside the river, this prompted his father to jump in in ordet to rescue him.
An eye witness told our correspondent that the deceased could not rescue his son but drowned while the son was later rescued by some people living near the river bank.
The source said Gbeminiyi was rushed to the hospital where he regained consciousness.
His father’s floating corpse surfaced at Oriyanrin area, about three kilometres from the scene of the incident the following day and was recovered by fishermen contracted to search for it.
The current chairman, MAPOLY Shuttle Bus Association, Mr. Adedolapo Adekunle, yesterday, said Rhodes’ corpse could not be recovered immediately because the river was full.
He said: “We heard about the incident on Sunday and we consulted the fishermen and other experts immediately but they told us that the river was full and that they had to wait for the body to float the third day or make attempt if there was sufficient sun on Monday.
“Luckily yesterday (Monday), it was sunny and his body was later recovered at Oriyanrin. We later paid for some rituals before his body was released.”
His remains were later interred at his yet to be completed building in Ikolaba community, Olomoore, in Abeokuta North Local Government Area of the state.
The deceased was described as a complete gentleman, humble and honest who led his association for nine years.