Good evening your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen. I would like to start by offering sympathy to the Olorundare Ojo family of Araromi Ugbesi . Words cannot describe how much of a loss this is to all of us. I would also like to commiesrate with HE Erelu Bisi Adeleye Fayemi, the HAG, Olawale Fapohunda, the Ministry of Justice Ekiti State, FIDA Nigeria, the NBA family particularly NBA Ikere where Seyi was the pioneer Vice Chair. My deepest condolences to Febisola and Dr Kenny Adekeye. A lot of people do not know this, but Dr Adekeye and I go way back. He is a dear friend and brother. He was the head boy at our primary school, University of Ilorin Staff School, Ilorin, in the late 80s.
Permit me to go down memory lane when I talk about Seyi. I recall with nostalgia working with my Boss Ibrahim Olanrewaju, as he then was, (NOW Rt Hon I. K Olarewaju representing the good people of Ekiti North Federal Constituency II at the National Assembly) as legal assistant when he was the S.A. Legal to HE. Dr John Kayode Fayemi during the period now popularly referred to as JKF1. Part of my duty was to watch a brief for the office of HE Erelu Bisi Fayemi, which Seyi was prosecuting for the State. It was a rape case. Needless to say she got a guilty verdict and the rapist was sentenced. This was how Seyi and I reconnected in Ekiti after having parted ways at the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan.
Shortly thereafter, Ekiti State had the privilege of hosting the quarterly NEC meeting of NBA in Ado Ekiti. Our Oga Dayo Apata SAN, was responsible for putting together a State dinner for the NEC members on behalf of the State Government. Naturally, I was tasked by my Boss, Hon Olarewaju, to work with the then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice Dayo Apata SAN, to execute the event. One of the highlights of that NEC meeting was the dedication of the NBA, Ikere Bar Center, built and donated by Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN.
I was invited to the handing over ceremony a few days after the NEC meeting. The ONLY person I recognised at the event was Seyi Ojo. While we were talking after the handing over ceremony, she said to me, I hope you will join us and become a part of NBA Ikere. I chuckled and said Seyi you know I don’t want wahala. To cut the long story short, Seyi took it upon herself to not ONLY remind me of meeting days, she personally picked me up and drove me to Ikere and brought me back to Ado so I could attend every meeting and fully integrate in the NBA Ikere family. This she did for 2 years unwavering. Today, I stand before you as Chair, NBA Ikere because of the sacrifice and commitment of Seyi Ojo.
I think the poem written by Henry Scott-Holland (1847-1918) aptly captures my thoughts about Seyi”s passing. He says, Death is Nothing At All.
Death is Nothing At All
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
Death is Nothing at all.
Adieu Seyi till we meet again.
Chair, NBA Ikere Ekiti Branch