The Sun News

2016, terrible year I lost a son, 4 pals & 2 nice vips

The departed dear ones I am writing about include my beloved son, Babatunde Adesina Olanrewaju Adedipe (Jr., whom at times I called Sina Adedipe the 2nd), my foremost and longest – lasting friend, Major Abiodun Doherty (rtd), an Ife prince and Ghanian – born Charlotte Dadah, the female back – up vocalist of the defunct Uhuru Dance Band of Ghana in the 1960s & 70s and whose demise in 2015 I learned of last year. The others are Ido Faboro – Ekiti – born Professor Stephen Kolawole Layokun of the Department of Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile – Ife and Ife – born Honourable Justice (Mrs.) Gladys Olubunmi Olateru – Olagbegi (nee Omitowoju) PhD Law, a former Chief Judge of Ondo State, who were my mates at Christ’s School, Ado – Ekiti (1957 – 61 WASC set) and Ibadan Grammar School (1963 – 64 HSC class) respectively. The two dignitaries  are former Inspector – General of Police, Chief Etim Okon Inyang (1985 – 87) and Chief Rasheed Abiodun Gbadamosi, Minister of National Planning in the Federal Government administration of General Abdulsalami Abubakar from June 1998  – May 28, 1999.
Of course, the passage of Tunde, the elder and only surviving of my two sons, who would have been 30 next month, on Saturday, February 18 is naturally the most shattering for me. But since the Heavenly Father who created us knows how long each human being will live on earth before they are born, I readily accepted my fate. Especially having read what the Lord told Prophet Ezekiel a day before his wife died: “With one blow I am going to take away the person you love most. You are not to complain, cry or shed tears and do not let your sobbing be heard,” (Ezekiel 24: 15 – 18).
There is also the story of Job who lost all his property and the ten children he had and that of Prophet Isaiah whom the Ancient of Days made to go around in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel for three years naked and barefooted. So, from the examples of the three great men of Biblical times I have learnt to be strong in any situation I find myself and maintain my faith in the Lord.
And above all that I have to be grateful and thank Him that I still have my two older daughters alive. Given the fact that there have been parents who lost three, four or more of their children in their lifetime and families where the father, mother and all their offspring in multiple numbers perished together in plane crashes or road accidents. It is therefore my ardent prayer that no parent reading this will ever lose any of the children.
The next most agonizing and touching of my losses is that of Major Doherty, a friend of about 60 years and who since November 2015 had been the only one alive with me, among the twelve of us who were very close pals in our boyhood years on Lagos Island. His death on Monday, October 31 was particularly devastating for me because he was not ill when we spoke in the night of the previous day. It was further traumatic coming only eleven months and twenty days after the demise of High Chief Anthony Abiola Johnson, the Apesinola of Lagos (1987 – 2015) and the last of the ten of our friends who went to glory before him.
I have greatly missed him and Major Doherty, through whom we met when they visited me at home in Joseph Street, Lagos Island in 1965, because they were ideal and role model friends from whom lessons should be learned. When some people are in public office where they can be of help to their childhood or boyhood friends they turn their backs to them, let alone give assistance to the ones they met in adulthood. They may even refuse to have their long – time pals admitted into their office or home again or tell them come today, come tomorrow until they leave or retire from office. But it is not so with the friends I am paying tribute to.
When he was the General Manager of the Nigerian Ports Plc in the late 1980s through 95 or so, it was Major Doherty who phoned one day to tell me to see him for a supply contract award. Chief Johnson, who was the son of Chief Joseph Modupe Johnson (JMJ), Federal Minister of Labour and Sports (1954 – 64) in the First Republic government of Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, did the same thing. Like Doherty he was the one who phoned me to come for contract award when he was Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation (1999 – 2000) and Commerce and Industries (2001 – 2002) in the administration of Governor Bola Tinubu.
An exceptionally generous and detribalized person who lived in Government Reservation Area in Apapa, from 1985 until his death in 2015, a period of 30 years, he gave free accommodation to two friends, one his fellow Lagosian and the other from Anambra State. It was a three bedroom flat for each one in one of the houses he owned in the Kirikiri area of Lagos. I won’t be surprised if he left them to them in his will.
Next Week: The stories of Justice (Mrs.) Olateru-Olagbegi, Professor Layokun and Charlotte Dadah.


2 other history–making juju bandleaders

I am happy that I realized the omission of the contribution of women to juju music before the series on 8 history – making juju bandleaders ended. Otherwise, it would have been seen as gender discrimination as there have been female juju musicians since the 1970s.
Not writing about Lady Oladunni Decency would have given the younger generations the impression that one of the women they have seen or heard playing juju music in the last 10 – 15 years is the first member of the fair sex to do so. Whereas Lady Decency of blessed memory who did so over 40 years ago was the pioneer. She was not only the first woman guitarist and band leader in the country but also had a group whose members were 90 per cent female, with the exception of the two drummers playing the main set and the talking drum.
As a woman Oladunni Decency chose to have the prefix of Lady before her name to underscore that she was a female juju musician. This gave rise to those who came later calling themselves Lady Ayo Balogun, Lady Titi Oguntoyinbo, Lady Folake, Lady Juliet etc.
To be continued next week

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