This piece was done immediately the news of the passage of my dear friend, Akinkunmi Salami broke on December 14, 2011. I celebrate my friend as a year ticks after his passage.
AND AKINKUNMI SALAMI GOES HOME…TOO SOON
The inevitability of death makes it one phenomenon that still is beyond human comprehension. It just creeps in silently, taking away folks we love and appreciate; it forces its way in and robs us of people we value. We want to ask questions in such cases but who do we face with the questions-the maker of man or the creator of death itself? We just sob and cry, weep and wail for the dead one, powerless us.
“…can’t believe he’s gone, death”, was the post by Akinade Taiwo, the mutual friend through whom we met. By the time I saw the comment thread, my heart skipped many beats at the same time. I could not just comprehend what was going on. What happened to Akin Sabo, as myself and some friends chose to call this very jovial fellow.
I picked up the phone to confirm the information on the wall. I knew it had happened but the optimist in me would still expect Akinade to say there was a mix-up somewhere. Lo and behold, the news was broken to me, Akinkunmi Salami had passed away. I sunk in despair, tears streamed down my eyes. I had lost a pal in very bizarre circumstances.
Memories of our last meeting on November 7th flooded me immediately. We were all hanging together at a friend’s place celebrating the Sallah festivities together. That was in company of his elder brother and a few other pals. I was accusing him of not ‘flexing me’ to ‘wash’ his new car and he promised to do that when we meet for the yuletide, a meeting that never was, and never will be. Akinkunmi is no more.
The first contact I had with this very interesting personality was during our undergraduate days. I remember that it was a bit of confrontational one as we felt he was always making our friend, Akinade, leave us behind all the time. He lived in Sabo area of Ogbomoso, hence the tag Akin Sabo. He just answered in a very mild way that got us all laughing. I will always remember Akinkunmi Salami.
Little by little, we got closer to the extent that I could effectively call him my friend. He was ever willing to help sort out any knotty issue. In our final year, a friend had a problem with a course in his department. Akinkunmi literally carried the load on his head and tried his best to connect us with the right person. Of course, we had a solution. To me, he was very very nice and reliable.
He had this funny way of referring to me. He called me “Seye oree mi” (Seye my friend) while I called him Alfa Aliu, adding the appellation Alfa to his Islamic name. That was what I still called him the day we last saw. I said in my local language that if Alfa Aliu would not walk me, no one should bother doing so. We all laughed it over with the others saying Akinkunmi was no Alfa.
I remember a lot of days that we had fun. I remember them with a lot of happiness now tainted with the sadness of Akinkunmi’s departure. Like Westlife said in their song, it was seasons in the sun. Kokoro o je ka gbadun obi to gbo kaka. I waited eagerly for December festivities when we would have met up once again to have some more fun but you have gone to meet your maker.
Akinkunmi, I saw my convocation pictures some days after your passage and saw you smiling at me. I’ll keep the smiles with me forever. Alfa Aliu, I choose to celebrate your short but very impactful life not by crying or weeping again. I will celebrate all that I know you stood for. My friend and brother, your memory lingers. I will always remember the times in LAUTECH, the few times in your then Sabo house, in Gaa Masifa and even our post graduation days.
Akinkunmi ore mi atata, o digba o, awa ti e daro re o. I liked and loved you; and will not stop doing that just yet. I will channel the love where I know it will be valued and appreciated. I have cleaned the sweat from my brows yet again, sweating without doing anything apart from typing. I will always remember you, there was only one of your kind, you alone. You’ll be sorely missed.
Alfa Aliu, o daaro o; Akin Sabo, o dabo; Akinkunmi oree mi atata, o digba o; Akinkunmi Salami, sun re o…