By Patrick Omorodion
The sun was really scorching on Wednesday April 20, 20011 when Saturday Vanguard visited the home of the Adefemis in Ikorodu, Lagos State to find out how they were taking the untimely death of their promising son and brother, Olubayo Adefemi, two days earlier in an auto accident in far away Greece where he plied his football trade.

Bayo's mother, Mrs Esther Titilayo Adefemi.

Nothing on Palm Avenue on Majidun area of the town suggested that such a player, who made his name with the 2005 Flying Eagles squad before graduating into the U-23 team that lost narrowly  to Argentina at the football event of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, had just died.

Even the family home, a modest bungalow, suggested no such mood until this reporter went through the gate to be confronted by a large photograph of the player in his national team colours placed on a table with a condolence register for sympathisers who trooped there to commiserate with them.

A few family members and friends gathered around in the compound with no blood shot eyes as a result of wailing at the news of Olubayo’s demise but the long look to nowhere on their faces showed something terrible had hit them.

A lady in her late twenties who turned out to be his immediate elder sister, Mrs Bukola Adeite, was the first member of the family a group of journalists met. She engaged the group in a discussion, first by disclosing that their aged mother, Mrs Esther Titilayo Adefemi, in her late 60s, was asleep.

As she opened up to say how she got to hear about her brother’s death, her voice quaked and  tears began to swell in her eyes but the journalists consoled her, patted her on the shoulder with a prayer that God might give the family the strength to bear the loss.

“Some people called me on Monday morning and asked when last I heard from Bayo and I said he called me yesterday (Sunday April 17, 2011). I wanted to know  why they were asking and they told me my brother had an accident. At that point I said, if it’s an accident, he would be okay but I never knew he was already dead,” she said.

She then switched on the television and came the news flash that Olubayo Adefemi, her brother and Super Eagles player had died in a car accident in Greece. “I didn’t believe it was true, so I picked my phone and called his line to find out the truth. The phone rang but it was a white man who picked it and was speaking French. I told him to give it to somebody who could speak English.”

“Bayo was my life, my everything. Bayo is part of me, with his death, one part of me is gone. We were very close, I was closer to him than my mother.”

Her closeness may be a result of their position in the family of five, two boys and three girls. Mrs Adeite is the third child and second girl while Bayo was the fourth child and second boy. Their other siblings are Abiodun, the first child (male); Kemi, the second daughter; and Bunmi, the ‘baby’ of the house who is a fourth year Psychology student of the University of Ibadan.

Because Mrs Adeite and Bayo were close, they were almost always at each others’ throat, quarrelling but making up almost immediately. She told a story of how their soldier father, late Warrant Officer 11 Ezekiel Rantiola Adefemi (he died in December 2000) got furious one morning when they were ready to go to school.

“He called us back and told us to pull off our uniform and then asked us to fight since we loved fighting. After the fight, we put on our uniform and he asked us to proceed to school,” she said. Asked who won the fight her answer: “I won of course.”

She said the last time Bayo was home for the Nations Cup qualifier against Ethiopia, “he didn’t come to Lagos. He left for his base from Abuja after the match but we spoke to him on phone.”

Even before the news that her brother’s remains would be brought back home on Monday April 25, 2011 broke, Mrs Adeite said the family was already considering to inter him at his building site, somewhere at Ijede in Ikorodu.

After a long pause, she said when Bayo called her on Sunday, “He told me to go to the market to buy him some clothes he would use for Easter. I was supposed to go to the market that Monday he died.”

Describing her brother as a jovial person who loved cracking jokes, she said “He even called my husband that he was going to surprise us and that he shouldn’t tell anyone he was coming. This is the surprise now,” she said and burst into tears.

“He told my husband he wanted to come home and begin plans for his wedding. His fiancee is Shade Adesina. The marriage introduction was to have been held early next week. He also wanted to know if it was possible to plan a wedding within one month. He just wanted a low keyed wedding. My husband told him there was nothing that was not possible if one sets his mind to do it. And now he is dead.

The ‘baby’ of the house, Miss Bunmi Adefemi, a 400 level Psychology undergraduate at the University of Ibadan, the news of her brother’s death was not only shocking but devastating because she was making plans to join him in Greece.

“I was processing my papers to join him in Greece. He spoke with me on Sunday. I was on my to Abeokuta to pick my international passport on Monday but before I could board a bus, I got a call telling me that Bayo said I should head to Lagos and shouldn’t bother about the passport anymore.

I told the person that when Bayo spoke with me the previous day (a day before the accident), he didn’t tell me that.” She proceeded to Lagos from Ibadan to hear of the heartbreaking news.

Their mother later woke up and the journalists were ushered into her room. She had some family members and friends with her, ostensibly to comfort her. She looked strong and clung to her Holy Bible.

Speaking in Yoruba, she said she got to know of her son’s death from people who were discussing it. She said that as a Christian, she doesn’t believe anyone was behind it and has left everything to God who knows best why it happened.

“I am going to miss him dearly. He was fun to be with. As a barrack boy, he was always in a hurry. He would call me and tell me, mama I’m coming home o, prepare rice for me’. Once he came he would tell me he would stay for three or four days but the next day he could just wake up and say mama I’m going back now and he would leave.

That was his life. I take consolation in this Bible (lifts it up) as a Christian. I don’t believe anyone is responsible for his death.”

She added that she was yet to see Bayo’s fiancee, Miss Adesina but believes she must have spoken to one of her children.


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