By THE ENCYCLOPEDIC CLUB
Until death strikes and causes a rude awakening humans labour under the illusion that life follows a neat and linear progression: a baby after spending nine months or thereabouts in the ethereal world of the womb ‘caterwauls into’ the world, baby becomes a toddler probing limited territory with faltering steps, toddler grows into a full-fledged man or woman exploring the vast world with a steady and assured gait, man with greying hair turns frail and shrunken awaiting the final call.
But death is no desideratum and except on rare occasions nobody longs for the arrival of the Grim Reaper. Not even the aged. It goes without saying that the aged, too, if they had their way would do everything and anything to stave off death indefinitely and live here forever.If the aged are loath to complete their earthly race, how much more someone in the flush of youth with a future bristling with dreams, hopes and prospects?
Though despite our earnest prayers for it, not everyone of us will enjoy longevity; the hard fact is that some people’s night will come in the noon of their lives. Their fate is to run a sprint and not a marathon.
However, let him that must die in the noon of his life do so naturally, unaided; no man deserves to be dragged to the finishing line, while still raring to run, with a lasso wielded by a person of questionable character who glories in diabolism.
To be clear, the death of a loved one often leaves us perplexed. And in our attempt to assuage our perplexity we ask flurry of probing questions: Was he sick? How did it happen and where? etc.
We’ll spare this sombre gathering the details of where our beloved brilliant friend, Adegoke Timothy, Oluwadamilare breathed his last. That’s already an open secret, anyway. The question that’s begging to be answered, what has been giving us, the deceased’s friends, nagging headaches and sleepless nights is how he died. This is why we’re calling on all and sundry to join us in demanding “Justice for Timothy”.
Timothy was raised by peasant parents who placed premium on the education of their children. He showed early sign of brilliance and his parents despite their condition scrimped and saved to send him to Ifelodun Nursery and Primary School, the best private school in Eruwa as of then.
It was in Ifelodun where they taught the impressionable but education-thirsty Oluwadamilare how to roll and turn his tongue to recite the alphabets in the English language. He learnt how to tell letter D apart from B and string them together to express his thoughts — like the rest of his mates– even though imperfectly.
If Timothy lived a rather quiet life during his primary school years, like an ambitious larva desperate to become a pupa and strut his stuff, he broke from the cocoon and exerted his presence in secondary school.
Let it be on record, too that Timothy attended Baptist Model High School, a private secondary school, whose fee was relatively prohibitive in the mid-nineties when it was established. It’s testament to his parents’ love of education and their determination to help their brilliant child’s destiny that they “deployed” their meagre income to his education and ensured he finished in the school.
At BMHS, Timothy was like a dynamo, full of energy and the will to excel academically and it didn’t take long before his performances and personality stood him out of the crowd. He was made the Labour Prefect and he became the most efficient prefect of his set.
Despite his commitment in the office, Dare was compassionate; he wielded the cane to spur lazybones and laggards among junior students into action during general cleaning exercise and not to inflict pain on them.
His fastidious care for cleanliness married to a fiery sense of duty helped him discharge his responsibilities creditably and endeared him to many teachers, particularly the principal, the late Deaconess Comfort Ibidunni Ige, who was a stickler for cleanliness and one Mr U.I Odidika, a corps member, who saw Timothy as his alter ego.
Humble and self-effacing to the point of being diffident; Timothy was a man of few words, almost taciturn. Dare was not given to loquaciousness; he spoke only when it was unavoidable to keep mute. His “taciturnity” was not due to lack of ideas but a reflection of his personality: Damilare was a pacifist who would rather concede he was wrong during heated conversation than engage his friend in needless arguments that could strain and weaken the bond of friendship.
Some laggards among junior students once mistook his placid but personable personality for weakness or cowardice and they conspired — to use their exact words– to “teach him a lesson he will never forget in his life” for being a principled and dutiful prefect.
When we got wind of the conspiracy through one of the conspirators’ classmates, my friend just laughed it off but he never betrayed fear; Timothy was never timorous. Lest I forget it was the students who later witnessed what they may likely keep in a special place in their hearts to recount to their generations yet unborn.
Oluwadamilare passed his WASSCE in a sitting and proceeded to the Polytechnic of Ibadan to study Accountancy. At this stage he had started fending for himself to relieve his hard-working parents of the burden of taking care of his siblings. He pulled himself up by his own bootstraps and became a chartered accountant at the age of 24! He completed his Higher National Diploma in 2008, the same year he qualified as a chartered accountant.
In our circle of friends, Dare was the first person to secure a relatively lucrative job but the development didn’t alienate him from his childhood friends.
Timothy’s change of status, perhaps fortune too, did not cause him to mount a high horse cantering and riding roughshod over his struggling friends. He remained calm, cool-headed and compassionate encouraging us to push more and keep believing.
Damilare kept reaching out to friends, he was solicitous. His “can-do” spirit and dedication, apart from from his brilliance which was never in doubt, must have been responsible for his rise through the ladder of his profession. Our darling friend became Director of Finance of one of the biggest organisations in Nigeria at the age of 37!
This achievement did not slake his thirst for excellence or make him sit on his laurels. He applied for MBA programme in the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University and it was in the course of trying to add another feather to his cap that he met his untimely death.
Everything about Timothy evinced simplicity. His outlook on life was simple. He used homespun expressions during conversations. Though you would never find him dirty or unkempt, Dare was not particularly a fop. Timothy’s wardrobe, in his lifetime, was neither extensive nor lavish, it boasted no couture clothes. He would rather spend a fortune on education, knowledge acquisition and advancement of a noble cause than buying classy clothes. He preferred a well-furnished library in his home to a classy wardrobe.
This does not mean he didn’t like the good things of life. He definitely did. Damilare was only averse to putting the cart before the horse. He firmly believed that unearned rest is labour deferred. He knew rest is sweet after dignified labour. And he planned to enjoy life with
No doubt, Timothy is (we have advisedly used the word “IS) a glorious child because even in death his name keeps ringing across the length and breadth of the nation. For the first time, the people of Ibarapaland, from North to Central to the East are demanding same thing with a strident voice that has refused to be silenced despite the tainted clout of the person that purportedly orchestrated his untimely exit from the surface of the earth: Justice for Timothy.
Not that alone, Timo’s death has unified the high and mighty in Ibarapaland as a whole and Eruwa in particular. Those who used to be adversaries before the unfortunate incident have sheathed their swords and buried the hatchet to ensure that our darling friend’s killers are brought to book. This is a testament to the kind of spirit the deceased had while alive. He was a bridge-builder and lover of all.
But now, some wolves in sheep’s clothing have foisted darkness on us; they have denied a promising flower the deserved bloom. What shall we preach to Timothy’s mother who has grown gaunt from years of toil and sacrifice? How do we console his father who incurred calloused palms from back-breaking farming whose proceeds sponsored our friend’s education? They both thought they’d survived their years of misery and their moments of rest had come. They thought their sacrifices had paid off. They were thankful to God for blessing them with Timothy and “prideful” of their illustrious son’s achievements. Suddenly, a merchant of death and his minions struck and turned celebration into dirge.
We’re blindsided by this sad development. Dare, your death is one too many. The range of this tragedy is immense and immesurable. To whom shall we farm those responsibilities you used to shoulder gladly while alive? Has hope not turned into a mirage? Your siblings had started basking in the reflected glory of having their blood brother as DOF of a reputable company. What would mitigate this grief and make your siblings see beyond this bleakness?
Timothy, for how long shall we keep weaving stories to keep your kids in the dark about your painful death? How do we mend the shattered world of Bolatito, your darling friend and supportive wife? Who will fill the vacuum you left in our circle of friends?
Our dear friend, you’ve now shed corporeality and turned into a ghost. We believe, with this development, that you are now more powerful than those of us still inhabiting this terrestrial plane. Please join us in the cause.
Let your killers know they have murdered sleep as well. Haunt their homes. Pursue them from mountain to valley and from valley to plain land. Stalk them in their wakeful moments, torment them in their slumber.
This is a trying time for us. We enjoin everyone present here to keep praying for Timothy’s wife, Bolatito, his children, the aged parents and siblings.
May Oluwadamilare’s soul rest in peace after serving his killers the just deserts. Amen!