By Yemie Adeoye
By the time this piece is being read, the remains of Mrs. Olubukola Okordion, wife, mother, sister, daughter and dear friend, would have been committed to mother earth for her final journey home.
Bukky, as she was fondly called by everyone was the wife of Ozemoya Okordion of ExxonMobil Nigeria. He is a fine and selfless gentleman–one of the finest Nigeria has to offer. Bukky was his pillar, his best friend, homebuilder, economic adviser, and wardrobe and investment manager. In fact, she was his major-domo.
After the painstaking experience that was 2020, the scramble for vaccine development and production as well as the controversy that followed, I feel blessed to be alive to see that neither my close friends nor family were deleted by the raging global pandemic.
The feeling of relief when we crossed from 2020 into 2021, and when the vaccine availability was announced, was so soothing that I never imagined I would be saddled this year with the heart-wrenching obligation of writing a posthumous eulogy for someone so dear and so undeserving of the cold hands of death.
I first met Bukky in 2006 after being introduced to her by her husband. We quickly took a liking to each other, and that was quite easy because of her charming smile and very lively nature. We hail from the same part of the South-West and that sealed it. Ozemoya, her husband, immediately became my brother-in-law. We have taken these roles seriously in the last 16 years.
When Ozemoya was transferred to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, I visited them at their then Lagos residence as they were preparing to relocate. She insisted I commit to visiting the family each time I visit Abuja, and so it has been up until this day. Whenever I’m in Abuja, the Okordions would be well informed as Bukky would accept nothing less.
Between the end of April and early May 2021, I was in Abuja, and in fulfillment of this practice, I put a call through to Ozed as we fondly call him, and informed him that I was in town. He quickly informed me that Bukky was on admission and he was with her at the hospital. I told him I would visit the hospital when I’m through with my engagements.
I did arrive at the hospital and saw Bukky in her usual lively self. “Uncle Yemo” she hailed as usual with that bright, charming and customized smile of hers. She teased her husband, saying “see my brother now, looking trendy in his native attire and sneakers shoe.”
We all laughed out loud and had a conversation as if we had an unfinished discussion.
We talked about everything, especially the situation of the country and the dearth of values in our society. Our conversation also covered fashion.
Bukky never looked ill. Not in the over two hours I spent with her and the husband. Her hubby actually looked more pitiful than the supposed sick wife.
She was lively, she was engaging, she was everything but sick, hence my utter shock when I learnt of her demise just a week after her husband called to inform me that what we earlier thought was ulcer in April, was actually cancer.
When I received that call from Ozed last month, my first reaction was of disbelief because Bukky had so much life in her to last a lifetime.
When I regained consciousness, I quickly sent a message to Ozed, asking that he should not hesitate to fly her out should that become necessary as our health sector is grossly unreliable and never to be trusted, especially with serious issues such as cancer.
Three days later, I called to check on him, hoping for some positive news of hope. He neither took my call nor responded to my message. I kept on trying to no avail, until I saw a brief tribute by my friend and colleague, Mr. Adeola Yusuf, on Facebook and I was shattered.
While recovering from the shock of her demise, my mind did travel through this journey called life and all the good and sad times we had. I did remember when Bukky and Ozed accidentally lost their daughter in 2019, and when I had needed to be in Abuja in February of 2020 to host a segment of the Nigerian International Petroleum Summit. I made plans to visit the family to commiserate with them over the loss of their precious child, but that was not to be as Bukky had already sent an invite to me and two other close friends of the family, Mr. Oge Udeagha and Emeka Ugwuwanyi to come for dinner at the house. We were hosted to a sumptuous dinner, everything was on the menu, and I marveled at her energy and positive spirit even in the face of such a calamity. She ended up commiserating with me with her positive and hospitable gestures. That was the vintage description of Oluwabukola Okordion.
She is one of the many unsung heroes in our country. Those very positive everyday people doing everything right in their corner, and hoping a day will come when government shall become responsive towards the basic needs of the society.
She will be surely and sorely missed by a beautiful family, relatives, friends, church, community and well-wishers. Of special mention are her husband, children and mother. I hope the good lord comforts all these people immensely. Adieu Oluwabukola Okordion. May you find eternal rest, dear sister.
Adeoye, a journalist, writes from Houston Texas, USA.