• Hit-and-run driver sends The Guardian Sunday editor’s first son to early grave
By Tope Templer Olaiya,
Assistant Lagos City Editor
TEN days ago, precisely November 17, sudden death took away 30-year-old Emokiniovo Anthony Ogbodo, first son of the editor of The Guardian on Sunday, Abraham Ogbodo.
It has been 10 days of anguish and numbness for the Ogbodo clan and it would take a couple of days, weeks, or maybe months more before life is restarted from where it was paused two Mondays ago.
The young man had traveled from Delta State that fateful Monday, arrived Lagos and put a call through to his mother. “I am already in Lagos and am coming home,” were the last words Mrs. Ogbodo will eternally recall whenever she thinks of Emokiniovo.
Painfully, fate had other plans, as it dealt a fatal blow that snuffed life out of the young man five minutes away from getting home. He had crossed the busy Isheri-LASU highway to board a tricycle at Governor’s road to his father’s house in a nearby street in the area.
From that point on, he had less than an hour to live after a hit-and-run vehicle knocked him from behind. With his bag flung out of his grip, he fell headlong, hitting his head on the tarred road.
As blood trickled from his head, nose and mouth, he was left alone to bear his acute pain by bystanders and passersby for over 30 minutes until a Good Samaritan stopped, braved the hurdle of a police inquiry that had held back hundreds of onlookers, and evacuated the dying man to the nearest private facility, Unital Hospital. After a quick glance at his call log, the Ogbodos were contacted and given the tragic news.
Okpamwa Omovigho, the deceased’s uncle, who was by his side when Emokiniovo breathed his last, said it is one nightmare he is yet to wake up from. “It’s still very shocking, I can’t believe it. He was very kind; he loves his relatives and siblings dearly. He wasn’t given to things wild boys do, a very easygoing young man.”
Omovigho told The Guardian he was left on the scene because of fear of the hospital asking for police report. “He had a fatal head injury, it was that serious. We were asked to make a deposit of N30,000 before rescue effort could commence. For about 30 minutes, they were working on him seriously as blood was gushing from his nose. He lost a lot of blood in the process from the head and nose.
“At a time, they were trying to fix oxygen on him, but it didn’t work because blood was flowing into the pipe. When they couldn’t manage him again, they referred us to Igando General Hospital. As we were conveying him there, I noticed that he had given up but I was thinking maybe he fainted and he would be revived when we get to the general hospital.
“It was really painful there were no stretchers available to take him to the emergency ward in his condition. He was confirmed dead by the doctor that first saw him. We were directed to make a statement at the police station and policemen followed us back to the mortuary since the corpse was still with us. It was when we secured the police report that he was allowed into the mortuary.”
Things would never be the same again for the Ogbodos with the demise of the man known in the family circles as the grand organizer. He was the Go-To man, the Mr. Fix It. While many of the sympathizers believed if help had come his way and got an emergency care, the story might have been different, most people chorused that if God had not permitted it, it would not have happened at all.
In the words of the chief mourner, Mr. Abraham Ogbodo, “the boy was an exceptionally good spirit. As a father, I was anxious, I thought he was not moving fast enough, but he has his own way of doing things. He would never come to a place and will not be loved by all because of the kindheartedness he exhibited.
“I cannot recall any incident that he fought with anybody, not even his brother. He was an apostle of non-violence. He was so selfless and what I saw in him was leadership. He was my grand organizer. If he were around, he would be the one to fix things in the house or call the people to get things done and send me the bill if he cannot handle it alone. He would be the last person to sleep to ensure everything is in place and in order and the first to wake. That was his life. He would deny himself to make others happy.
“He was the one that would pack clothes and give to our domestic staff and neighbours. I had him when I was very young; in the year I entered university. Because I didn’t believe in people pushing their CVs around and wasting their productive years, I had advised him that after school, he should start looking for a business to do. He came back to me and said he wants to venture into events management and was already undergoing a Postgraduate skills to fully equip himself for the business.
“The last time I saw this boy was in September during my vacation. I had gone to deliver a lecture at English and Literary department of Delta State University, he came and we spoke. That was the last time, I never saw him again and I didn’t have the courage to look at the body before he was buried.”
Baby of the house and the deceased’s sister, Lucia Ogbodo, said she would miss her brother’s hospitality. “He was a nice person and a free giver. Once he had, he tried to help others. I will miss him dearly. I just heard the news on Thursday. They actually didn’t tell me from school until when I was asked to come home. While in school though, I was informed he had an accident.”
She added that in the few days since coming to terms with the news of Anthony’s death, a lot has changed. “It’s a whole lot. I just feel something is missing in my life; something has been taken away. I feel incomplete without him being around.”
As it was with late Dimgba Igwe, former Vice Chairman of the Sun Newspaper, so it was with Emokiniovo Ogbodo. The unending incidence of hit-and-run victims underscores the failings of governance. If there were CCTV cameras fitted round Lagos, that killer-driver would not have gone unnoticed.
At 30, Emokiniovo’s flame has been snuffed out. Suddenly! Yet all his grand parents (maternal and paternal) are still alive and kicking. The pain of Emokiniovo’s father is the speed with which everything was concluded. It was so fast. It was like a high-movie tragedy.
“It was so breathtaking that I didn’t even have time to intervene as the father. I had just left the office when I was first informed of the accident and by the time I was close to home, I was advised not to come to the general hospital again. At that point, I knew the end had come for my boy.
“It was not a case of finance being an issue and we needed to mobilize funds if need be to take him out of the country in an air ambulance for intensive care. It wasn’t a case of that. It is so sad that an opportunity was not given to intervene. It was clinically concluded, but we have attributed it to God because if God didn’t want it to happen, He would have created some channels of intervention to save the boy.
“As human beings, we cannot know everything, it is only God that knows the end from the beginning. You can only get to know the implications of certain things that happen to you in the fullness of time. The irony is that nobody lives till the fullness of time. Could it be that in time to come, this boy could be so much of a burden to himself and the family or community that you will wish he is dead?
“But you cannot say now because you cannot get to know that unless you have a special privilege like John the Beloved, who God showed a revelation of the end time. If God plays the video of the life cycle of the boy that just died, and we saw the reason God took him, that is when one will be consoled but because you may not get to know that, you will just feel pained as humans. The statement by Paul to the Romans that in all things, we give thanks to God is, however, sufficient for me,” Abraham concluded.