Expensive: Lessons Of His Life And Death

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    By Ojo Oyewamide

    The occasional disbelief about his death finally evaporated last Friday. The disbelief disappeared into the belly of reality when his huge body was lowered into the grave, his final abode. The person whose death I am referring to above is Hon. Adedayo Omolafe. In his life, he was popularly known as Expensive.

    Expensive was the lawmaker representing Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives before he exited the stage of life. He was councillor, supervisor and chairman of Akure South local government at various times.

    He held all these positions with a sense of tomorrow. He was concerned about the judgment of posterity. His focus was an enviable place in history. That was why he used all the positions he was privileged to occupy to change the negative stories of many people. Today, Expensive is gone. But he will continue to live on the lips and in the hearts of many.

    His death was shocking, more so because it was sudden and unexpected. It shook the ancient city of Akure to its foundation. The tragic incident inflicted wounds on many hearts. Tears profusely ran down several cheeks. Hundreds of sorrowful feet thronged his house at Edo Lodge area to register their condolences.

    Sympathisers wept for different reasons. There were those whose weeping stemmed from genuine sympathy for Expensive. To them, he laboured but did not live to reap the fruits. He planted the seed of love among his people but reaped its fruits in death. Also, there were those who wept because, to them, his death represented a loss of personal benefits and privileges. And, of course, crocodile tears could not be ruled out.

    Expensive has gone forever but what lessons can the living draw from his life and death? He was known for his generosity. He would give his all and yet he would feel as if it cost him nothing. He was a good student of Winston Churchill. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” Churchill taught humanity. Expensive also took a cue from Albert Einstein who advised that “The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.”

    Today, many talk about Expensive’s enviable spirit of giving. That’s only what they could see in him. But the greatness in life and death of this man is not a function of only his free giving. It is beyond his generosity. I know some politicians in Akure who are as generous as Expensive. But beneficiaries of their generosity will ask you if the money they give to people belongs to their fathers.

    What then made Expensive totally different from the pack? It is rare to find a politician that is accessible as him. Public office holders are known for dodging people. Don’t blame them. The sense of entitlement of our people is nauseating. They overwhelm their political leaders with outrageous personal demands and they always feel it is their right to do so. That’s why some political office holders are not accessible. But Expensive knew how to handle this challenge. He was accessible to everybody with any kind of request. You would always see him in his house or at Obanla, his place of childhood.

    Another remarkable thing about him was his humility and accommodating spirit. His heart was so large that it accommodated both friends and enemies. Expensive would do everything possible to pacify his enemies and draw them to his side. Many always pretended as if they were fighting him in order to get something from him. He would not rest until he satisfied them. How many politicians can love their enemies as their friends?

    Here, our politics is adversarial. You are my enemy if you don’t belong to my political party. Even if you are in my party and you don’t belong to my group within the party, you are my enemy. You were not Expensive’s enemy if you didn’t belong to his party. He would treat you as he would do to members of his political party. Only a person with a large heart and an accommodating spirit can have that kind of attitude to life.

    We have a lot to learn from his life. So, those who want to be like Expensive should know that his greatness is beyond his generosity. He was an uncommon soul. Also, that his goodness was appreciated by naturally ungrateful human beings cannot be divorced from the grace of God he enjoyed in his life. To be like Expensive is to combine several factors. And this is rare. Mind you, I am not saying we cannot find his kind. It is only the kind of God we cannot find. But hmm!

    What can we learn from his death? Nature abhors vacuum. And human beings are part of nature. The death of Expensive has rendered his seat in the House of Representatives vacant. The moment the news of his death was announced, what must have occurred to some people was how to strategize and replace him at the National Assembly. The participation of some in his funeral was even part of their replacement strategies.

    Aspirants barely waited for his remains to be interned. The struggle for his replacement has started. It has even become intense despite the fact that the seat has not been declared vacant and the INEC has not announced a date for a by-election. The widow of Expensive is being dragged into the shark-infested water of politics. They don’t want her to have enough time to mourn the death of her husband. They think that’s their only way of compensating the dead.

    But have they given it enough thought? It has been said that the woman is not a PDP member and, therefore, she can not contest on the platform of the party. Is that only what people have said? Those pushing her will still hear things they have never heard about the woman if they succeed in sinking the ambition of replacing her husband into her head. The truth is that here, politics is an unhealthy competition for power. It is war. And, as they say, all is fair in war.

    Much as Expensive was loved by the people of Akure, his journey to the House of Representatives was a long and tedious one. It took him more than twelve years to realise the ambition. He also spent a lot of money and efforts. The love the people had for him did not prevent them from taking advantage of his ambition to get money from him. So, it is not a tea party. Someone should tell his widow. Nevertheless, I wish her well if she decides to throw her hat into the ring.

    As rightly observed by my good brother, Abire Sunday Olugbenga, Arogunmasa himself, the world doesn’t care. Yes, Expensive was loved by his people because he was good to them. But nobody decided to embark on the journey of no return with him despite their love for him. He is now lonely in his grave.

    The weeping has stopped. Markets and shops that were closed to honour his memory have since been reopened. Less than a week after his body was buried, politics is already distracting her widow from mourning his death. Different posters announcing her aspiration now flood the social media. The lesson is that life goes on after your death. So, do your best and leave the rest. The world doesn’t care.

    Ojo Oyewamide writes from Abibiri Lane, Isolo, Akure.

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