I do not know how to start this Tribute. Still, I have to do it; and it’s to Temitope Adeniran Ademakinwa who died on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. Ademakinwa died at the age of 62, leaving behind a 97-year-old mother, an elder brother and a daughter.
During his lifetime, Ademakinwa was gracefully cerebral and deeply analytical. He was meticulous, truthful and responsible. He was gentle, yet assertive. In all things, our departed brother trusted God infinitely. Even when he was passing through difficult times, he remained a distinctive voice and dependable ally. Ademakinwa wanted to make the best of life but, unfortunately, life failed him.
Towards his last days on earth, Ademakinwa went through extreme deprivation. There were days he went to bed hungry. How then would he attend to his medications? When he fell ill and was admitted to _UNIOSUN Teaching Hospital_ (UTH), Osogbo, from July 12, 2023 to August 16, 2023, and paying for his medical bills became threatening, we had to put out an SOS on _‘IleriOluwa Manifest’,_ the WhatsApp Group platform for former political functionaries in the Gboyega Oyetola-led government. Thankfully, former Governor Oyetola sent something. Former Deputy Governor Titi Laoye-Tomori, now Laoye-Ponle, in whose office Ademakinwa served as Chief Press Secretary for six years, also sent something. Niyi Idowu paid the medical bills at the hospital where the patient was initially stabilized before he was given a referral to UTH. Well, that’s all the man got. But the donations were like just a drop in the ocean. Not unsurprisingly, the big boys in the former administration simply looked unconcerned. Others only contributed prayers; and it was as if Ademakinwa worked at the altar.
_‘The fall of a yellow leaf is a warning to the green ones.’_ In sane climes, working in, or for the government presupposes a secure future! Hey, not in Nigeria! Elsewhere, patriotism pays. Here, that can only happen in an atmosphere of recompense. In this part of the country, we grew up to behold the sacrifices of our biological parents, especially mothers, who wouldn’t eat until they were sure that their children wouldn’t go to bed with empty stomachs. Talk of the protective character of our local hens – from the period of egg laying, to incubation and nurturing of the chicks – and one would also understand the drift of the gist. Here, the leaders are only bent on their personal comfort and personal security. You’re only found useful when you are needed. Your submission and loyalty mean nothing thereafter.
For those who have ears, Ademakinwa has brought up some debatable issues. What is left of man after the toil and trouble and what hopes hath he in the strength and wealth of princes? Well, there are many Tope Ademakinwas out there who are suffering and dying without any attention from their masters and those who matter in society. They beg for things as diminutive as feeding their kids, paying their kids’ school fees, even paying rents while their masters live large on the proceeds of political participation. The tragic ingredient of our democracy is that those who have at one time or the other put a muzzle on democracy are the ones reaping bountifully from it while the real heroes continue to bite their fingers.
On December 31, 1997, I took an article, which no doubt was very critical of the Sani Abacha junta, to one of Nigeria’s mainstream media houses for publication. Its Features Editor at the time angrily threw the material away, even scolded me for writing such an ‘offensive article’. _”I can’t publish it”,_ he said with an air of finality! On May 25, 2018, our paths crossed in Osogbo and I pursued the opportunity to express my disapproval of the event of 1997. But, instead of being remorseful, the former editor vowed a repeat, should the situation reoccur. He said, pointblank: _“I could even kill for Abacha, because the man was paying my bills”._ As our kind of progressive politics would have it, the said editor is currently a senior political appointee in one of the states in the Southwest, enjoying the perks of the democracy he once loathed with passion.
As the pioneer Administrative Secretary of the _Afenifere Renewal Group_ (ARG), yours sincerely participated actively in some of the major events that eventually led to the elevation of the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to the post of Acting President; and ditto for the _Development Agenda for Western Nigeria_ (DAWN) Strategy Roadmap, which gave birth to the DAWN Commission. Remember DAWN Commission spearheaded the creation of ‘ _Amotekun’._ Again, what happened or did not happen thereafter are matters for another day.
In 2010, I was on the ARG delegation to a prominent politician’s house in Osogbo and I witnessed how the Afenifere chieftain apologized to his Personal Assistant for the wrongs done to him in the past. If the inward truly moulds the outward, the concerning truth is that the personal aide’s outward appearance was a telltale bulge of neglect and psychological hurt.
Wither the progressive? Truth be told, Ademakinwa’s ordeal is an indictment on the progressive camp in Nigeria. The fear of the future is one solid reason corruption and eye-service cannot be eradicated from our system. Our beloved brother was a victim of a hardhearted, _‘kill and cry’_ and _‘kill and smile’_ world where poverty continues to serve as the testament of existence. He worked for ten years as a senior political aide to two successive administrations in Osun but left with next-to-nothing to show for his industry. No severance packages and no perks of sorts. He’s even being owed. Rauf Aregbesola’s government owed him a backlog of salary arrears while Oyetola’s administration owed him November 2022 salary which Governor Ademola Adeleke has refused to pay. Most times, Ademakinwa lived on stipends from his elder brother who as a retired soldier also survives on his monthly pension. As a matter of fact, it was the late former speechwriter to the immediate past Osun governor who introduced Kola Odepeju and me to First Bank’s Salary Advance digital lending product.
Ademakinwa has again defined the hypocrisy of the black man: he neglects the suffering but shows fake love to the dead. Political practice in this part of the world is just a platform for the bourgeoisies and the capitalists to grab power and distribute the spoils of office among them and their cronies. Ours is a democracy wherein the politicians only need the masses as tools to work with while the foot-soldiers certainly need something with which to keep body and soul together. Go out there and see how many trusty followers have become _‘reluctant beggars’_ and _‘accidental scavengers’._
Those who served as David’s followers during his persecution by King Saul were later to become notable leaders in his (David’s) government. When those referred to as the wicked and sons of Belial after the recovery of the loot from the Amalekites tried to mistreat other followers, David also exhibited the rare traits of a good and considerate leader. He passed a law that everyone should be treated equally. Ironically, our leaders only distribute benefits and proceeds of battles amongst the favoured and the violent. Here, it is as if violence pays. One only has to make sure that one gets and deploys enough of it. Once that’s done, even the state will have no option than to negotiate with the violent.
Gone but not forgotten! As Ademakinwa was preparing for the journey to eternal silence, he muttered, agonizingly: _“When the world begins to greet you casually, it’s time to leave.”_
So, what’s left of life? After all _, ‘eni tó kú ni tirè gbé!’_
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, rest the soul of the faithful departed and comfort those he left behind!
_*KOMOLAFE wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (email@example.com; 08098614418 – SMS only)_
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