*’His failed bid for assistance from Gov. Amosun’
By Daud Olatunji
His story was pathetic. Death snatched him on the verge of help!
Penultimate week, Sunday Vanguard published a story of auto parts dealer, Qassim Balogun, a father of two, who was down with heart disease that was threatening his life. Unfortunately, before the story was published, Balogun succumbed to the cold hands of death.
Balogun died Friday, January 23, two days before his story was published, soliciting help over the N1.5 million he needed for surgery to correct his heart problem.
Balogun had cardiovascular disease which led to the blockage of his blood vessels prompting the swelling of his body.
The news of his death was broken by his wife who betrayed emotion when our reporter called the victim’s mobile phone, apparently to tell him his ‘save our soul’ story had been published, but a feminine voice was heard saying, “Thank you sir, but, my husband died on Friday night”. Visiting a-four-room bungalow of the deceased located at Olosun Street, Mile Two, along Rounder in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, the widow was seen being consoled by sympathizers.
The widow, Mrs Iyabo Balogun, 32, said her husband died of heart problems. She lamented that the 37-year-old husband lost his life because he could not get financial assistance from Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, his wife and other prominent personalities in the state.
She said: “My husband had managed to visit Governor Amosun in his house during the Eid-el-Kabir festival with the aim of getting his attention on the N1.5m he needed for the treatment of his heart ailment, but could not see the governor.
“We wrote many letters to the governor and his wife, but nothing was done. We went to so many places to get the money, all to no avail. He died penultimate Friday.
“If we had got the money, he would not have died because we were told that a surgery on the heart was needed before he could be well . And we made several attempts to get the money, but it was not possible”.
While explaining the genesis of the ailment, Mrs Balogun said the problem started, many years ago, with cough, leading to cardiovascular problem.
“We went to Lantoro Hospital to treat tuberculosis. From there, we were referred to the State Hospital from where we were asked to go to the Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta. At the FMC, it was discovered that the problem was not tuberculosis but cardiovascular problem. We where were later referred to Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
“At LUTH, we were asked to provide N1.5 million for surgery; they said the surgery would be done in China. We looked for the money .We begged people including politicians, religious people and government officials. The little money we got was from my husband’s colleagues at work place and some individuals as well as his mosque.
“We were spending N10,000 every week and every month we spent N30,000 at LUTH whenever he had blockage of blood veins which made his body to swell.
“But, on that Friday, his body was swollen and i asked him to let us go back to LUTH. He said he could not get up and we did not have a car to take him to the hospital.
“He died in the night. We have buried him and we look for help from people..
“I am a trader. I sell provisions at home. I sustain the family through what I realise”.
When asked how she will cope after the demise of her husband, Iyabo said she was faced with the task of fending for her two children, aged 11 and five years.
She explained that her first born, Abdulahi, 11, is in Junior Secondary School at a private school in the area while the last born is in primary five at another private school .
According to her, she needs about N100,000 for school fees for the two children every session .
“I need help from government and people to cater for my children. I don’t know how to cope without my husband”.