Tears, Tributes As Veteran Journalist, Omokolade, Goes Home - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Tears, Tributes As Veteran Journalist, Omokolade, Goes Home


    •Mrs Moradeyo Olanrewaju and son;                    Boluwatife, during the wake - keep

From Babalola Gafar, 

Amid bright sky above and teaful eyes from the faces of bereaved family members, grieving professional colleagues, friends and school mates on ground, Omokolade Olanrewaju, a veteran Journalist and former aide of the Deputy Governor of Ogun State; Prince Segun Adesegun, exited the earth finally on Tuesday to be with his creator.

Omokolade's  remains were committed to the earth by noon at the Baptist Church cemetery, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, after a particularly touching dust - to - dust rites performed for the late ex - Ogun State Correspondent of The Vanguard newspaper
by his widow; Moradeyo and son; Boluwatife, at the graveside.

Tearful Boluwatife told The Daily Crucible that he would miss his father sorely, describing him as a good family man.

"I'm the only child(my father). My father was a good family man, I don't really have much to say, but I will miss him greatly."

At the Baptist Church, Ibara, where the lying in state and funneral service took place in honour of the deceased, clergies and members of the Baptist family prayed God to grant his Soul an eternal rest in Christ.

Earlier, the Church,  professional colleagues among others also gathered at the Secretariat of the Ogun State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists(NUJ), Oke - Lewo, eulogizing  Omokolade as they bade him the final farewell.
Professional colleagues, his school mates at the Methodist High School, Ibadan and co - landlords took turn to speak glowingly of Kolade, who was said to have "served and lived all his life for God."

The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Ogun Council of the NUJ, Com. Kayode Taiwo, described late kolade as a rugged person; maintaining that he was a forthright person. 

The Ogun State Correspondent of The Guardian; Charles Gyamfi  said the late journalist was a  thoroughbred professional, principled person and problem solver for friends 

"Whenever I faced some difficulties, I would go to him for advice and each advice he gives, worked for me," Gyamfi said as he battled to resist yielding to tears.

Also, Chief Kayode Odunaro, the Media aide of Senator Solomon Adeola  recalled that he met Kolade in May  1997 at a time he, Kayode,  was the Chief Press Secretary  to the Military Administrator of Ogun State at that time.

Odunaro said that until the death of Kolade last Thursday, both were close professionally and personally.

"We were quite close and did have  misunderstanding in the line of duty but we always managed to come together in the evening to relax together. 

"It a sad development we have  lost a friend who gave me security at odd hour when it mattered most. He  was around for the  naming of my children," Odunaro said amid sobs.

For Mr. Austeen Elewodalu, an ex Punch Correspondent in Ogun State, Kolade was nice to him when he was newly posted to Abeokuta, taking him round to all the newspapers and opinion moulders in the Gateway State at the time.

 Austeen said: "He took me round when I was posted to Ogun state, I didn't suffer, I'm among the few persons that last saw him before his death.

"We chatted on line in the morning of the day he died. I called to remind him about the phone  number someone I requested from him but he did not pick my calls, I also sent a whstapp message but not response. I didn't know that he had died until the evening when  the news reached me."

In his moving tribute titled: Tribute To Omokolade Oladimeji Olanrewaju (1962-2019) by 1975/80 class set of the Methodist High School, Ibadan and read by the representative of the group,  Dr. Folaju Oyebola, recalled that the deceased was always bubbling on their (WhatApps) group platform, discussing wide range of issues cutting across sports, politics and religion.

He said: "Our paths in life crossed by a twist of fate some 41yrs ago, when he joined us in 1978/79 session (precisely September 11, 1978) at Methodist High School Ibadan (MHS) from Ibadan Boys High School. His admission number was 1980. 

"He was a peaceful young boy, who maintained his peace and will not disturb the peace of others. He was focused and resilient in the pursuit of his education. He was in yellow house and participated in sports especially the game of the round leather which Methoe(as we are fondly known) was reputed for. 

"We graduated in 1980 and went our different ways in pursuit of our dreams. Contacts were lost as stream of life carried us in different directions.

"The advent of social media created an avenue for a reunion. Someone knew another's contact and gradually we were able to gather 42 out of 70 boys ( both within and outside the country) together in 2017. Then Kolade had become a well renowned journalist. 

"He was always bubbling on our group platform discussing wide range of issues cutting across sports, politics, religion, etc. He was civil in his writings and will not hurt the feeling of others. Whenever there are naughty issues and the group platform is tensed, he quickly stepped in as the peace maker.

"In June this year, he chose to host our class set (Methoe 75-80) in his residence at Abeokuta. What a reunion as boys traveled from far and near for the occasion. Some of us met him for the first time after 39yrs. He was still his peaceful self, cool and collected.

" It was a nice reunion where activities were finalised for our 40th anniversary of exiting Methoe. Boys will always be boys, it was an unusual reunion as the whole neighborhood was aware of our presence. His wife testified that, 'Kolade has not been this happy in many years.'

"We were suppose to meet on Saturday, December 14 for a friend's wedding at Abeokuta, but was informed of his demise on Thursday, December 12. Pandemonium broke out on the group platform, as messages and calls were coming in to ascertain the veracity of the news. Lo and behold, it was so.

"Life has played a fast one on all of us. We have lost a friend, brother and an associate of many years. We came here today to celebrate a life well spent though short but remarkable. We do not mourn as those who do not have hope, for we know you are resting in the bosom of the Lord."

Rev. (Dr) Samson Bankole of  Baptist Church, Ibara and the officiating clergy said the Baptist family would miss him and advised the deceased family to treat the widow left behind with love and care.

Rev. Bankole said:"We will miss him but God loves him more than any of us loves him. Just on Wednesday his wife shared the joy 23 years of marriage, he was dedicated to the church, our brother is gone, no story,  no cries can reverse it, but the matter is with Christ, the joy of this season is that God gave his son to come to the world,   at this Cross road, Christ is the light to illuminate the path and salt to cleans and purify things.

"I will advise the family to show love and reverence in relating with the widow, the love we show her this time matters, if anybody torments a widow, there is punishment for the person, it is still going to be merry Christmas and prosperous New year to you - widow."

In attendance to bid Kolade Farewell included Hon. Kunle Adeyemi who represented former Governor Olusegun Osoba, the Publicity Secretary of the Caretaker Committee of the Ogun State All Progressives Congress (APC), Tunde Oladunjoye, former NUJ Chairman in Ogun State, Chief Niyi Ogungbola, immediate past chairman of NUJ in the state, Com. Wole Shokunbi, the General Manager, OGBC, Diji Akinhanmi and scores of Journalists.

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