By Oloye Lekan Alabi
Twenty-five years ago today, exactly on 18th March,1994, my beloved father, Pa AbdulRaheem Oladosu Alabi, alias “RIGHT TIME”, passed on. He was aged, 74. May his kind soul continue to rest in peace in Aljannah Fridaous. Amen.
He started off, as a driver/salesman, in the 1940’s with the British cocoa processing company, Rowntree and later with the Daily Times of Nigeria Limited(DTN) at Kakawa Street, Lagos.
He was posted to Ibadan and worked under the then Regional Editor of the Daily Times, the late doyen of Nigerian journalism, Alhaji Ishmael Babatunde Jose and his successor, Chief Laban Omowale Namme. Both men later became Chairman/Managing Diector of DTN at different times.
In 1956, my father bought a DTN’s (company) car with registration no LA 9,with which he started his commercial public transport business. He later bought a Morris lorry with registration no WA 1348 in addition, and from that point his public transport business started to bloom. The lorries routes were Ibadan-Oyo-Yauri-Sokoto-Kainji-Wawa-Oyo-Ibadan. When the Nigeria Civil War broke out in 1967, he changed the routes to Ibadan-Kainji-Lokoja-Shintaku-Ankpa-Enugu-Ankpa-Shintaku-Lokoja-Kainji-Ibadan.
My father was pious, honest, adventurous, hardworking, liberal, dainty and full of humour. A true aristocrat, he lived and dressed very well. Little wonder his (older) friend, the sakara music icon, the late Yusufu Olatunji, alias”Baba l’Egba” played at my naming ceremony at our family compound in Ibadan, on Friday, 3rd November1950. The late financier/patron of the 3SC FC (Shooting Stars of Ibadan) Chief ‘Lekan Salami and his close politician/businessman friend, the late Alhaji Alimi Adesokan were the Masters of Ceremonies at my naming party.
Father took life as it came, and we cannot now remember him picking a quarrel with anyone, even when he was provoked or cheated in business! His responses always were his disarming smiles. It’s not out of place to say that he had winning ways with pious, hardworking, beautiful, cultured and neat women.
Even if I am still deficient in that (femine) area (I still cannot till date look ladies in the eyes!), no one can derisively say,”O ko jo Baba re”(You are not a chip of the old block), because in other areas of life, I, and my siblings, score high marks, like our dear father – in piety, humility, integrity, charity, beauty, creativity, etc.
In adventure and patriotism, we are trying our best to match his records.
Baba “Right Time”, was a scion of the Oyetunji Olundegun Chieftaincy Family of Ile Oye, SW2/486, Ita Aregbe-Omo, Isale ‘Jebu, Ibadan and the Ekerin Ajengbe Chieftaincy Family of SW1/131, Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria respectively. His father was the late Baba AbdulSalam Adegbola Alabi, alias “Alabi Owoniwon”(The hands are the measures) He was the famous cocoa farmer/financier of Onigambari Village, Ibadan. His mother was the Woman Leader of the now-defunct NCNC in Ibadan, under the late Alhaji (Hon.) Adegoke Adelabu, alias “Penkelemesi”. She was a textile trader at Lalupon, Ibadan.
My father worked and lived, at different times between 1948 and 1974, in Lagos (Moloney Street), Osogbo (European Quarters, now Government Reservation Area),Yauri, Sokoto State, Azare, Bauchi State, Shintaku, a town by the River Niger, Kogi State and at 36, Owerri Road, Asata, Enugu.
He moved us there, in 1969,immeadiately the town was liberated by the Federal troops during the Nigeria Civil War (1967 to 15th January, 1970). Two of my younger sisters attended the Queen’s College, Enugu, Enugu State.
They were the late Alhaja Medina Bizinilahi (renamed Martina by the school and Sariyu Moronke (also renamed Elizabeth).She is married to retired Colonel Lekan Oyelese.
My father bought me a Panasonic transistor radio set in 1963,when I was appointed the Senior Prefect of the Seventh-Day Adventist Primary School, Oke-Foko, Ibadan, after being class captain from Primary Two to Primary Four and the School Mailboy in Primary Five (1962).
He was loving and gentle.
May his noble soul continue to rest in peace. Amen.