Tribute! Remembering The Nma Ekiti 7 Who Died Along Abuja-Kaduna Road
April Twenty-Fourth! 2016. This date has stuck to my memory like it’s super glued to my frontal lobe since last year. It was a Black Sunday! Many lives were lost. Dreams cut short. Aspirations thwarted. Children became orphans and wives turn to widows. I don’t think there is nothing that can erase it as long as I live. As a survivor, scars of bodily injuries abound, emotional trauma lingers and psychological trauma persists.
The Ekiti Branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) delegates to the Annual Delegates Meeting of 2016 in Sokoto had a ghastly motor accident along Abuja-Kaduna road at about 4:30pm in the afternoon. Thirteen lives – 12 doctors and their driver wee in the bus. The rear tyre got burst, the bus somersaulted severally, and some were thrown out of the vehicle – six died on the spot and the seventh died at the hospital. A national disaster! Ekiti State and her people were downcast. Families of the deceased felt the pain most. This horror film has played in my head a million times since it happened. And this is the first time since the incidence that I could surmount courage to document it in writing. It was horrific. It was tragic. It’s unforgettable.
Moving gradually from mourning to celebrating the lives of the “Unforgettable Ones”, the heroes of our professional struggles and comradeship, these great minds deserve eulogies and honour. Rest on Dr. Tunde Aladesanmi, the most senior consultant at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti until his death and the highly favoured to become the Chief Medical Director in a couple of months before the accident. He was a refined and amiable surgeon, a wonderful teacher and a past Chairman of NMA Ekiti State. Dr. O.J Taiwo, I can never forget how you came late to the bus and you informed us that your aged mother pass away over the night and as a detailed Anatomic Pathologist you were, your lateness was as a result of seeing that her body is prepared for the mortuary. Less you and I know that you will join her in less than 24 hours of her demise. O.J Taiwo as he was fondly called, was gentle like a dove, friendly and lovely. He was the Vice Chairman I, NMA Ekiti State at the time of his death. He served in various capacities in Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) before becoming a Consultant Pathologist and also served in NMA State Chapters across the country where he has worked.
Hnmmn! Dr. Alexander Akinyele, we call you “Lexy”. I have seen very few people that are passionate about any course they believe in. You were passionate to a fault about the issues of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti (FTH). You fought enemies and even friends because of the association when it was necessary. You were an embodiment of selfless leadership. Many of your entitlements were denied of you because of your affiliation with the association. You were denied promotion and you even refused to seek employment for your wife with the hospital because of your believe that it will compromise your stand with the management. You literarily live your life for ARD, FTH Ido Ekiti. You were the face, voice and a pillar for the association. No wonder, the soul of the association died the day you died! The present state of affairs of the association is a pointer to that. Lexy! Your name Alexander was neither a misnomer nor a mistake. Your lying-in-state at the FTHIdo and the burial procession from Ido Ekiti to Efon Alaaye testified that you were “Alexander the Great”. Alexander was the Secretary of the Ekiti State NMA at the time of his death and was a two-time President of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti.
Dr. Adeniyi Bunmi James was the Secretary of the Ekiti State branch of the National Association of Government General and Medical Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) at the time of his death. He was warming up to become the next Secretary of Ekiti NMA and I had given my word to support him before his untimely death occured. The circumstance of his death was the source of the greatest emotional trauma I suffered from the incidence. Adeniyi James was the only one that did not die instantly at the scene of the accident, though he had very serious injuries. It took close to an hour before we could get ambulance to take us to the hospital and I was with him watching life leaving him gradually as he was profusely bleeding. It took another forty minutes or thereabout before we got to the hospital in Kaduna. And James died few minutes to the hospital! Who knows if he would not have died if there was timely medical attention despite his serious injuries? Only God can tell. Bunmi was hardworking, quiet and industrious evidenced by his personal achievements. May your soul continue to rest in peace. Dr. Jide Olayiwola was the President of ARD, Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) when he died. He was a humble and unassuming fella with great aspiration. He happened to be a classmate at the Ife Medical School. May God continue to keep your only daughter , who was just nine month old when she became fatherless. Dr. J.B Ogunseye was the National Secretary of NAGGMDP until he died on the 24th of April, 2016. He was a young but a bridge builder. He was a Senior Dental Officer with the Ekiti State Government. He was a jolly good fellow, respective and respectable. He, too was planning his political move of becoming the next Chairman of Ekiti NMA before his life was cut short and I had given my words to support him too. The driver of the association, Mr Ajibola Olowookee was a nice man who related with all doctors with love and humility. He was hardworking, he served the association more than as a driver and he carried out his duty with smiles always. May the souls of these departed ones continually rest in peace!
The process of healing continues for the loved ones of the deceased and even the survivors too. May God heal the emotional wounds of the families of these people and may their children never suffer. Let me use this opportunity to call on all the professional bodies these fallen heroes belong to before they died to put a lasting provision for their wives and children so as to cushion the financial constraint of losing a bread winner unexpectedly. I know we have done or bit in this last one year but we should not be weary.
Appreciation goes to the Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose, who bore the grieve with us and made himself physically available as the bodies and the survivors were brought from Kaduna. He took care of some logistics and even provided jobs for the widows of our fallen colleagues that had no job at that time. Likewise, big thank you to Senator Ahmed Sanni, who came to visit us at the hospital in Kaduna and also registered his condolence. Prof. Mike Ogirima demonstrated a glimpse of his sincere here and through leadership by staying from morning till night throughout our two days stay in the hospital in Kaduna despite contesting for the President of the NMA at the delegate meeting in Sokoto. No wonder you won the election.
Thank you sir! NMA President. All state chapters of ARD, NAGGMDP and NMA; we appreciate your calls, concerns, presence and prayer throughout this trying period. May we not repay you with such.
As a survivor of the tragic accident, I will forever remember the black Sunday of April 24th, 2016 and the memories of these unforgettable ones will continue to live in my heart. May your souls continue to rest in peace.