•What has my father done to deserve such gruesome death? – Daughter
By Rotimi Ojomoyela, Ado Ekiti
Her grief was infectious, evoking tears from sympathisers. She was inconsolable, firing a question to no one in particular, “Who killed my husband, my hero, small god, courageous activist and great inspiration?” The young widow of slain Comrade Bunmi Ojo, who was shot at close range by yet-to-be identified gunmen on the evening of August 10 at a public viewing centre in Adebayo area of Ado Ekiti State capital, Adeola, was a pitiable sight.
The tragic exit of Ojo had thrown Ekiti State’s chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), youths, students, and many households, who were beneficiaries of his large heart, into mourning.
Ojo, a Commissioner in the Federal Character Commission (FCC) and a former aide of erstwhile Ekiti State governor, Engr. Segun Oni, was rumoured to have been nursing an ambition to represent his people at the House of Representatives in the forthcoming (2019) polls.
He would have been 52 on November 1.
Who could have done this? What was the motive for eclipsing such a rising star? These were among the questions on everybody’s lips during his burial in his hometown, Ido-Ekiti in Ido Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State penultimate Friday.
The voice of his widow, Adeola, sounded so agonizingly loud, while asking rhetorically, “Who killed my small god, who killed my powerful comrade? Who killed my hero?”
She said while recalling her last moment with her husband, “With all I have heard, what happened was done less than 10 minutes after my husband called me to prepare something for him to eat when he returned home, which may be a little late because he was watching a football match.
“Yes, I heard football commentaries at the background and somebody talking to him at the same time at the viewing centre. My husband sounded so happy because he was doing something he loved most. The perpetrators must still have met him in that happy mood when they took his life”.
The widow went on, “This is my message to the perpetrators of this devilish act: You have not achieved anything, you have only brought down the wrath of God upon yourselves.
“My husband usually say and I quote: ‘You can only kill the messenger but not the message’.
“My Bunmi was a courageous activist, honest and easy going. He could talk; yes, he could because he was highly intelligent and had a good command of English Language. When he talked, people listened. He understood politics because he was a student of History and Political Science and, of course, God endowed him with the knowledge of these subject matters”.
In an emotion laden voice, the first daughter of the slain Ojo expressed disbelief at the killing of her father. Her words, “It seems unreal that you are gone. Thank you so much for letting your light shine on me. l will miss you; you were a caring dad who loved his family passionately and everybody around you. You were a generous man who never wanted anyone around him to lack. You were a strong pillar to our family, a great father to your children through thick and thin. You brought us up in a Godly way. I will miss your love as your beloved daughter.”
Others, who mourned and recounted the good deeds and excellent personality of the late Ojo during the activist’s burial service at the Methodist Church, Ido -Ekiti, where hundreds of sympathisers had converged to bid him farewell, included a former Deputy Governor of the state, Sikiru Tae Lawal, who said: “Bunmi Ojo was the Personal Assistant to former Governor Segun Oni, when I was Deputy Governor and we worked closely together. He was very lively, open and committed to people and he was always very ready to assist. He was a committed family man. It is unfortunate that his life was taken.
“By the special grace of God, his family will never lack. He has helped a lot of people and I want to urge relations and friends not to abandon the family. God will never repay good with bad things and so I know his family will not suffer.
“I know there have been cult activities in the state recently but the Bunmi Ojo that I knew was never a cultist and he would have nothing to do with cultism. Whoever has been responsible for his killing would earn the wrath of God. Security operatives have been doing their best but we urge them to wade in and arrest the culprits.”
An aspirant on the platform of the APC during the last governorship poll in the state and son of Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua, a former Governor of old Ondo State, Aare Muyiwa Olumilua, also had this to say about the deceased, “He was a jolly good friend. He was very approachable, nice and friendly and always willing to help.
“I think God chose him specially to be the state’s Commissioner in the Federal Character Commission because, in the little time he spent there, he employed far more people than any other Commissioner who had occupied that position.
“For someone of that level in life to still go to a public viewing centre to watch a football match shows how humble he was. He was a people-oriented person.
“It is a shame that some people cashed-in on that to cut short his life. I pray, may he rest in the Lord’s bosom”.
Mr. Jadesola Babatola is the Registrar of the Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe, Bayelsa State. He was one of the over 400 people Ojo assisted in securing Federal Government jobs. Babatola said touching words during the funeral service.
His words: “Bunmi Ojo was one of the humblest men in the position of authority that I have ever met. He was very kind hearted, a great counsellor and adviser”.
Mr. Olusegun Mayegun, Senior Special Adviser on Research and Strategy to Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, was a colleague of the late Ojo in the university.
His words about the deceased showed he was deeply hurt: “We were at the university together. Bunmi Ojo was one of the few human beings who cared about fundamental human rights. He fought for democracy and the dignity of human lives. He was a lover of democracy and fought for it. He was a committed human rights defender, very versatile, revolutionary and very brilliant”.
Emotions ran high during the funeral service as scores of aggrieved women-sympathisers removed their head ties, wept, cursed and sang dirges to express their grief.