Mr Omodunmiju Akinyose 1939-2021

Mr Dunmiju Akinyose: My Brother!
Where do I begin to talk about the recently departed Mr Omodunmiju Akinyose? To us in the Fakinlede family, he was many things. More than a Brother-in-law: A brother. He was a consummate father. He was more than a husband to our dear sister, Adunni, he was a soulmate and friend. He was deep, jovial, and relaxed.
Sister Adunni – the oldest child in the Fakinlede family was passing through her early twenties – a beautiful and desirable young woman. And I was nine years old. How did I know?
We greatly misunderstand young people and often underestimate what they know. They gather a map of the world so fast from the data they receive from adults and make an accurate, realistic judgment of the world around while adults continue to supply information by saying all sorts while they are around.
Young people can also be as vain as adults as they drink from the same wells of virtue and of vice. Add that to the fact that in our time, our father stubbornly refused to read his letters by himself – preferring to ask us to read them to him. It is interesting to note that the same man read his bible to pieces by himself! This fact made my 9–12-year-old mind – quite a knowledgeable one. I read the marriage proposals to Baba. I read the letters of discord, of broken relationships and of formal wedding contracts! I was a scribe – at age eleven!
The genesis of the relationship between my sister and Mr Akinyose was well documented in my mind. And, coming shortly after the end of another relationship, I had taken sides. And I was not on Mr Akinyose’s side! My main beef with him was that he had no car! How dare him marry my sister when he did not have a car!
Character? Who cares about such an unnecessary superfluity called character? I just wanted to see my sister driven about in a car and Akure Town seeing her in splendor! Handsome? The only handsome things were vehicles! Give me the least attractive person in a car, I was OK!
Secrets! Of course, I never shared this with anyone! I just kept it to myself! My father himself did not have more than his two bicycles, but I thought that my sister was of a higher quality – fit only for those that had pleasure cars!
I do not remember attending the wedding in 1968 but saw the several times that Sister and her new husband visited Baba at his shop near the central motor park. I still have a tape of that motorcycle and her sitting position. And in my mind, I would be thinking of her inside a car if she had made a different choice!
Then the children came! Then we visited at the School of Agriculture. After this the family grew. Then they drove their own car. Then they became more prosperous. Then they owned their own houses. Then he retired from government service. Then they lived in the village. Then he went into politics and became the Chair of the local Government. And at last, they had Segun – the only one remaining at home with sister rejoicing that, but for him, the house would have been empty!
It was always a joy to visit this family each time I passed by Ore on our way from visiting in-laws in the Delta. He was either at home or relaxing with friends – sometimes playing draughts.
We met on many family occasions. The last major of which was at Mama Talabi in Ikole (2002) where we were lodged together in this large hotel by anty Lucy.
It was that late night talk that I saw into the father’s heart of the Man, Dunmiju Akinyose. His concern that night was Nireti Oke and their early married life struggles in Warri with stability in jobs, business as they grew their family. Breaking down his children’s different situations and the worry in the mind of a father that night was a glimpse into the consummate father’s heart.
I arrived late after the Thompson’s wedding in 1996. I still remember the friendly scolding he gave me from a surprising side. “Ana mi, we kan ya duro timi die”. Why did I not come to stay a while to console him that his darling daughter was leaving! He said it half-jokingly and half seriously.
Seeing all these children grown up to the state they are today and the deep family values they share tell me two things: The end of a journey is much more than the beginning thereof. And the most important asset for growing the family is not early wealth, but early stability!
I know several other families that started stronger from a financial or social standing. The end is not fully determined by that! Mr Dunmiju Akinyose was blessed with a deeply effective family with family values and results that beat many with better starting positions.
Apart from family stability, this family also had deep religious roots and community roots. And since the burial service emphasized the religious depth, I concentrate on the community roots. These are all related values. None exists independently of the others!
Mr Akinyose did not become a local Government chair the way many politicians do: Just find a way to get a high office and enjoy the perquisites! No. He was a man connected deeply to his roots. He lived his life in the community! He did not live in Abuja or Lagos, and suddenly came to the community to establish an address for political purposes! Sister Adunni herself often surprised me in speaking – not standard Yoruba nor our Akure dialect. She spoke (and still speaks) the language of Odigboland! Even when talking to us, her siblings, her Akure is now suspect. This family trait has deep effects on the children! The language is just the visible part of the cultural depth. If the children have lost this, as I think they may have – following the trend of speaking only in another tongue to their family – they, like many modern families have not passed to their children, they cultural advantage they had! That cultural identity that can make Olu Akinyose spend so much time at home in these times and still feel connected is a deep portion of the cultural roots that propelled all of them to succeed in foreign lands! They know who they are, and they know where they come from!
We morn the loss of our dear brother, Dunmiju Akinyose. And I ask myself, what does the future hold for his widow? Sometimes you wonder if the loneliness and sense of loss that follow a successful marriage are not points to discourage it! Well, the loss is not only a loss and a lonely afterwards. It is also a time full of memories. The tape of life and memories are some of the rewards of the successful life of a relationship like Mr & Mrs Akinyose. When you now add the strength of the well-connected families of Yemi Thompson, Nireti Oke, Duti Olayinka, Olu and Segun, these well-connected families, scattered over the world and helping one another is perhaps the most desirable way for the end to come. How else would you want it?
To you, my sister, I am sending you this private note to let you see some parts of your life from your little brother’s view. Meanwhile, I commend you to the mighty grace of God; more than able to sustain you at this time and for the rest of life. May you live long and healthy to continue as a rock of reference for those that mourn the loss of Mr Akinyose. And may they continue to be worthy ambassadors of that great legacy. Amen!

Professor Babatunde Ayodeji Ogunnaike 1956-2022

It is tempting, as one sees the flood of tributes that naturally follow the news of Tunde’s departure, to feel complacent and assume there may be no need to say anything. Afterall, Tunde Ogunnaike is the closest we get to a polymath. His life influenced people in several seemingly unrelated ways. That brings in friends from a wide variety of human interests that, on the surface, look incompatible: Hockey and Statistics, Drumming and Chemical Engineering, Chess and Bible Study, Calligraphy and Differential Equations, Fine Art and Control Systems, Football coaching and PhD Supervision! If you can navigate the connections between things like these, then you are beginning to know Tunde Ogunnaike.
Other tributes have delved into this, I shall therefore stay in my personal space.
The last time I visited Tunde and Anna in Delaware was in 2017 – shortly after the loss of my own wife. That visit was eventful only in the fact that it was, perhaps, the only time we spent such a considerable time together without concluding it with a game of chess! Anna, knowing how he longed for chess was always so happy I was playing him! The last time he visited me in Lagos was 2020 when he came to Unilag as a visiting scholar. We had Ogbono soup for a meal since he would not take carbohydrates. I knew he was being careful about health. But Tunde sometimes takes decisions that discomfit; for example, eating the white and forgoing the yolk of an egg! I suspected no serious problems.
As we entered Unilag together at the same age in 1973 and he graduating a year earlier than me, we maintained a friendship that climaxed at the time we went through the most consequential decisions in life: Marriage and work. And we talked several hours into the night on each of these! I know the struggles with living at Oshodi and the effects of a harder Nigeria on his young family. The gradual pauperization of Nigerian people that started in the 1980s and its effects. I know he tried all that was humanly possible to give back to Nigeria.
What did Tunde not do? Many know that he authored books. How many know that the first one, written at the Chemical Engineering Department at Unilag was hand-written? That is an example of the extent Tunde would go if he wanted to do something. He never was the one to take “no” for an answer! Of course, he had a good handwriting and was an artist so he could do all the illustrations, he did these because he had no better choice. The book must come out! No excuses! And, came out it did while he was in Nigeria. As he went back to the US, many of the publishers could not accept the work as original until they had no choice, but to do so! This time, it got properly published.
In the past 24 hours, knowing that Tunde leaves us, a little over a month before a birthday, my mind is on overdrive, trying to make sense out of it all. This dynamite package of a human being, quietly influencing things around him, had to go. He was on loan to us for a set time. That time is over! Easy for me to say, mighty hard to bear for those who know and love him best. To Anna and children with young families, only the mighty grace of God can comfort and thoroughly console. Even that has to have the cooperation of Father Time.
The last major thing Tunde and I did together was to connect the work going on at the University of Delaware on Covid response to the University of Lagos and the Nigeria Academy of Engineering. The personal funds that Tunde expended on this project is perhaps only known, on this side, to Professor Tokunbo Denloye and me. Despite his calm demeanor, Tunde was a warrior! And warriors always go with a battle salute! Farewell my brother and friend, Tunde Ogunnaike, you have fought a good fight!