By Taiwo Salami
Yes, it’s still like a bad dream 20 years after. But it’s started like a wild joke in the early morning of 6th November, 2000 when one of us who was at the time undergoing his Industrial attachment with the Nigerian- French Insurance Plc. suddenly returned from office around 9 am.
We asked why he returned home after less than one hour of his departure from home and he said he suspected terrible thing might have happened. We asked what he meant. He said his MD called to inform him that ‘Tunji had accident previous night and was in hospital’.
Then our next question was ‘If he was in hospital for accident injuries, why would your MD ask you to return home since you are not a doctor that will treat him?’. We must set for 136 Lewis Street immediately.
No one could say anything while inside the bus taking us to Obalende, but something happened that gave us fake assurance that nothing terrible had happened after all. We heard Cornerstone Insurance’s ‘unfailing service’ advert on radio inside the bus we joined and we have a sigh of relief. Don’t blame us that we were trying to hold on to a straw to save us from Tsunami; many things were at stake here.
We didn’t need to ask anyone any question again when we reached our destination at 136 Lewis street, Obalende since our dearest Egbon fondly called brother Akanji or Daddy Ayo’s condolence register with his portrait was conspicuously on display outside the Mega Building of Cornerstone Insurance Plc; the Insurance Company he founded and nurtured to become the leading company in the Industry.
Sincerely I couldn’t remember how we got back (whether jointly or individually) to 3/5 Ileogbo street, Ijeshatedo, Surulere, Lagos after our fake assurance failed us. When all of us later gathered in the evening, we started what I could call ‘joint wailing’.
The older people among us one could think had strong minds melt like candle on the surface of hot metal and no one could console anyone. But I picked up something and learnt a big lesson from one of us in the course of our uncontrollable agony and wailing; the person asked a rhetoric question ‘why were we not praying for him very well, maybe this would have been averted’? Let us always be praying fervently for people around us and those precious to us.
Another question is, why all this agony and wailing on Tunji Ogunkanmi’s death; na today person dey die? Actually people die every minute if not every seconds but here was a specially made man created for the upliftment of human race. He did this perfectly within the short period he spent on earth. He didn’t only give fish to people with joy and humility and without discrimination , he thought people how to catch fish and even supported people with trawlers; many of who are big men and women making waves across the globe today.
The only thing to say is to ask the Almighty God to continue protecting his children especially and people and things he left behind. May his children continue to enjoy favors of God. May Almighty God bless his children with long life and huge success in their chosen careers. May God protect us from calamity as individuals, family and town.
Continue to Rest in Peace our dearest Adetunji Akanji Ogunkanmi, esho Ikoyi omo apo’rogunjo
To Go be the glory
Taiwo Salami writes from Lagos, Nigeria