OPINION: Life, death, and Mourning: Finding Meaning in a Complex World. By Abdulmumin Yinka Ajia

Date: 2016-01-27
"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee" - John Donne, Meditation XVII - Meditation 17

When the news of Atiku Adebayo Ajia frittered to me on the plains of North America, I was saddened but then I realized that Atiku Adebayo lived larger than life and what happened to him on the 18th of January, 2016 was a tragic end to a larger than life personality. Bayu as many knows him, means different things to different people. To me, he was a brother and a friend -that does not mean that I condone or accept some of his non conformist behaviour that he exhibited in the past. No, I do not. And while he was alive, he knew my position. The prison years sort of changed him and he came out a better person than when he went in. That the ghosts of his actions 12 years earlier would haunt him and lead to his demise is for the law enforcement to investigate. So Atiku Adebayo was the first news that I received.

Unbeknownst to me, there is another Adebayo, another brother and friend that equally died same day. Mustapha Adebayo Folorunsho was a well groomed young man. Responsible, ethical, and cultured. I met Mustapha Adebayo Folorunsho during the course of my work as a Special Assistant to a former Acting National Chairman of the Peoples' Democratic Party. He, like many young Nigerians in search of a job had come seeking the assistance of the former Acting National Chairman, eventually, his case was transferred to me to handle. For every lead that Mustapha Adebayo Folorunsho had in terms of a possible employment opportunity, I would follow him there and work to ensure he was given a fair chance at securing the job opportunity. We traversed the length and breadth of Abuja with Mustapha Adebayo Folorunsho but we were unsuccessful.

Mustapha could see the efforts that we put in and he remained grateful and became one of my most loyal younger brother, friend and confidant. Two years after our unsuccessful attempt to help Mustapha Adebayo Folorunsho secure a job, Professor Shuaib Oba AbdulRaheem eventually facilitated Bayo's appointment into the Nigeria Identity Management Commission. When Bayo informed me about this development, I was ecstatic and full of praises to the lord and grateful to Professor Oba for his selflessness. Bayo in between had moved on with his life, he went into merchandising and also got married to the beautiful Ms Olaitan Idris as she then was and the good lord blessed their union with three beautiful kids. A set of which are twins. We thought in our humanely way that everything has finally come together. Bayo ended up being employed with the NIMC, the wife is equally employed and there are three beautiful children. A perfect fairy tale that couldn't have happened to anyone better.

These are two people fiercely committed to themselves, their sacred union, their kids and their larger Ilorin family.

But nature struck on the 18th of January, 2016 and took Mustapha Adebayo Folorunsho, a promising young Nigerian away from us. Bayo will be sorely missed by anyone that had the good fortune to know him.

Though Bayo's death shook the very foundations of our own mortality, I believe that because of the life that Bayo led while he was here, he wouldn't want us to be down with gloom, he would want us to continue to find meaning in our lives and in this complex world. He would want us to continue to be kind, compassionate and be a good neighbor as he was. Above all, the most significant reason why we must find solace are the three little kids Bayo left behind, those of us that knew Bayo must be there for those kids and help his widow to bring them into adulthood. In order to honour Bayo's memory, this is what we must do.

This is one of the most difficult essays that I have ever written; it is difficult to refer to Mustapha Adebayo Folorunsho in the past tense. With tears in my eyes, I bid the two Bayos good bye and pray that their soul find comfort with the Lord.



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