*My mum was coming to Lagos for my daughter’s birthday, says Feyisike, second daughter
By Dayo Johnson
AKURE — THE news of the murder of Mrs. Funke Olakunri, the 58-year-old mother of two girls and second daughter of National Leader of Pan-Yoruba Socio-Political group, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, by suspected herdsmen, was received across the country and beyond with rude shock.
She was shot along Benin/Ore/Sagamu Expressway, last Friday.
Ironically, she was travelling to Lagos for the birthday of her grandchild when life was snuffed out of her by the killers said to be no fewer than 20.
No doubt, the sad incident dealt a big blow on the family of the nonagenarian Yoruba leader, the entire Akure Kingdom and Nigeria.
It was a painful loss and indeed, a trying period for the 93-year-old politician who years back, lost a daughter, Bunmi, to the cruel arms of death.
Both the high and the low in the society, including former President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, state governors, former governors, Fasoranti’s political associates, lawmakers, serving commissioners, clergymen, and church members among others, have visited the ljapo residence of the Fasorantis to commiserate with them.
President Muhammadu Buhari had personally called Pa Fasoranti on phone to console him.
What I’ll miss most about my daughter – Fasoranti
Speaking with Vanguard, the father of the deceased, Pa Fasoranti bemoaned what he would miss about his daughter.
“Her warmth, her openness, she was friendly with everybody and she was a go-getter. She was good on her job. She was very good. She was not interested in public affairs but she was very keen on the issue of peace,” he said.
What she meant to me – Widower
Also, the deceased’s husband of over 30 years, Idowu Olakunri, on the kind of person Funke was, said: “I had a very good and beautiful wife. She was a neatness freak, kind, generous, loving, caring and selfless. My happiness is that she left a very good legacy behind because she touched so many lives irrespective of your religion – Christians, Muslims, easterners, northerners. In short, she was Nigerian personified, she will never discriminate, very hardworking woman who was very loyal to her bosses.
“She abhorred corruption; she would never touch anything dirty, she was mindful of her background. The Olakunris are well known in Nigeria, so also the Fasorantis, so it was as if she was carrying two burdens and she tried as much as possible to make sure that the names of the two families were never tarnished.
“I don’t know how to cook, I don’t know how to boil water, I don’t know how to buy things, she did everything for me. She was my mother, my sister, my confidant. What can I say? They took her away but those who did it, those who are complicit through their action or inaction, will never know peace. Since the incident happened, it has been my prayer is that those who participated or those who through their action or inaction are complicit, will never know peace.”
On her unfulfilled dreams
“Her major unfulfilled dream is her inability to bury her dad. That had always been her prayer. All the time that we were together, she was praying that God should give her long life to bury her father; it’s a dream unfulfilled. My wife was a survivor, she survived a big accident, she survived cancer, and she beat diabetes. Why I said she beat diabetes, there was a time her blood count was between 400 and 500. I am happy for her because she was able to see her grandchildren, she just came back from the USA where she went to celebrate the first birthday of her granddaughter and I am happy that she saw and held her grandchildren. Her unfulfilled dream was to see Nigeria of her dream but can we see the Nigeria of our dream in our time? That is the question that concerns all Nigerians.”
On how the family members will miss her
“Her role can never be played or her position be filled. She had this presence to change the atmosphere of a gathering the moment she entered it. She was restless, she would not take any second position, she was like a commander-in-chief on the battlefield. Her presence was electrifying; she was a good manager of people. She knew how to build relationships and nurture them, the qualities are numerous, I cannot remember all.”
Speaking on how the deceased related with her father while alive, the husband said: “She looked like her father, as you can see. She loved her father to death. It was always ‘my father, my father.’ I must tell you the relationship cannot be quantified, she loved her father.’’
On the killing
“It is shocking and it shows poor security situation in our country. For people to suddenly jump out of the bush to the road and start attacking people, it shows that Nigeria is heading towards disaster. I am not going to say that Nigeria is going to break down, but the people in charge must take responsibility for the security of the people.
“I must say the lukewarm attitude of President Muhammadu Buhari is encouraging these herdsmen. There are stories here and there that if they are arrested, there is always an instruction ‘from above’ that they should be released.
“The President must come out to say he is not in support of these killer herdsmen in any form and allow the security agencies to perform their duties and give them the maximum support that they need.
“They have killed my wife now, it is painful, I don’t care if they come after me, but the truth must be told that President Buhari by his action and inaction, is encouraging these killings and banditry.
“If Nigeria breaks up today, as far I am concerned, he should be held responsible. When you prefer an ethnic group above others, we have history, history will judge you.
“If you say you are above the law and nobody can judge you, you are a Muslim and you believe in karma, you believe in Allah, I leave you in their court, they will judge you accordingly.
“They know me. You know my address, you can direct your men to come and kill me. They have done what they could. They can’t do worse.
“This woman has a 93-year-old father; they want to see him suffer. Those who are responsible for this suffering will never know peace. They will forever suffer.
“You pray to God every day, you go to mosque every Friday, you rule a country only for people to be slaughtered like chickens and you are keeping quiet and not doing anything about that, well, I don’t care, you will never know peace.”
She was everybody’s heroine – Second daughter
Also speaking with Vanguard, the second daughter, Feyisike described her late mum as “selfless, she liked to be in everybody’s business, she was everybody’s heroine, and my children’s super heroine. Everybody loved her, she was hard working and a great woman. She didn’t deserve to go like this at all, not even this young.”
Her unfulfilled dream was that she wanted to do something with the government to make a change. My daughter was supposed to turn one soon, she was coming to Lagos to help me plan the birthday. l would you miss everything about her. I mean everything. What’s there not to miss? I speak to my mum like five times a day. She was my adviser, she was the one that always held my home together, my husband’s mother; she loved my husband so much that she made him my brother. She loved her husband so much, she was obsessed with him. My mum was a good woman and I hope her memory doesn’t die, she touched a lot of people, I am proud of her even in death, I am proud of her and will always proud of her.”