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Remembering Kolawole Olawuyi… after 9 years

Those who love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.                                                                                                             -William Penn

In his lifetime, Kolawole Olawuyi meant different things to different people. A loving husband to his wife; a caring father to his children; a unique child to his parents; and an extra-ordinarily powerful being to listeners of his unique programmes, particularly across the south-west.

Olawuyi was an ace broadcaster who introduced a unique dimension into investigative journalism. March 4, 2007 brought a rude awakening to many who followed Iriri Aye, one of his intriguing programmes. They found it very difficult to come to terms with the fate that befell the one who exposed mysterious but true life stories every week. Amazingly, the death anniversary of this peculiar individual, who saw virtue as the hallmark of living, coincides with the birthday of a friend whom I hold in high esteem for his giant stride.

In other words, while I rejoice over the birth of this precious gift to mankind, I would still have to reminisce over the loss of a life strongly dedicated to humanity. Birth and death are markedly mandatory experiences for all mortals. They evoke different feelings. While the thought of birth makes us uncontrollably ecstatic, a reflection on death sends cool shivers down our spine. No wonder the great sage, Seneca, said, the day we fear most is but the birthday of eternity.

The concept of evil remains a mystery to mankind. In the bid to unravel this mystery and possibly extinguish it, man has turned to philosophers, astrologers, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, scientists and theologians yet there seems to be no solution. Invariably, man had no other choice than to accept the ostensible domineering nature of evil. Although Olawuyi also acknowledged that evil could not be eradicated, he resolved to expose it so as to make it less attractive and make humanity better.

Perhaps this was his greatest undoing. Aye ko oto (the world abhors truth). Undeniably, many knew that the path which he chose to tread was slippery yet his untimely demise came as a shock. Not a few got devastated upon hearing the tragic news, for every death saddens and diminishes the living but the death of a strong, dynamic and unique person causes great pain. Personally, I was downcast to the extent that I almost felt evil had triumphed over good. His death made me reconsider the validity of the age-long expression: no one is indispensable.

For time has proven that Olawuyi is irreplaceable. What can fill this vacuum? Who would take his place? Iku pa akuko, omi akuko danu. He was unique in diverse ways. His uncommon courage, uncanny ability and lion-heart were unprecedented in the genre of journalism which he practised. The way and manner he unearthed mysteries made many wonder if he was an ordinary being. His mysterious but true life stories dealt a fatal blow to perpetrators of evil.

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Hence, they could have interpreted it as standing in the way of a moving train, and what fate lies ahead of those who stand in the way of such train? Being crushed of course! Thus we ask; was Kola crushed by the forces with whom he did battle? Was he silenced because doing otherwise constituted a threat to the perpetrators of evil or was he destined to bow out when his ovation was at its peak? While this piece may be unable to provide definite answers to these questions, it no doubt lends credence to the belief that though death signifies the natural end of a person, what the deceased gave to the living lingers in their memory forever.

However, experience from this part of the world may not make one rule out the possibility that Kola was cut in his prime. That being the case, can those responsible for such dastardly act ever erase his memory from the people? Never! For his memory remains as eternal as the spirit which inhabited his body. This means that Kola is not really dead, for if he has died, his spirit would have been suppressed.

It has been established that human beings comprise internal and external parts. While the latter is mortal, the former is immortal. Immortal things are not death-bound, they are eternal. The spirit belongs to that category. It is imperishable; it is indestructible; it outlives the body. Those who might have tempered with Kola’s body should realize that they cannot demoralize those of us who espouse the ideals which he lived and died for. For when confronted with a very pressing situation Waruru Kanja, an ex Kenyan Parliamentarian said, ‘fear not those who kill the body but fear those who kill the spirit. Even if they succeed in killing the body, they cannot kill the spirit’. Life is indeed a journey from cradle to grave.

Some go through this journey as birds go through the sky without leaving any mark but Olawuyi’s case was remarkably exceptional. He touched my life much as he touched that of many others. Words will never be adequate to fittingly capture the impact he had upon humanity. This is why I share the opinion of his bereaved father who said, “Kola’s name ought to be written in gold and not on the sand because he did so much for mankind”. There is no point mourning this pathfinder because his life was well-lived.

He came, he saw and he conquered. He was an enigma of a sort. His life epitomized the triumph of human spirit over the forces of darkness. It is our own turn to comment about him, what will they say about us when we depart this ephemeral world?

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