I am writing this tribute today in the memory of my brother, Dele Obadimeji. The remembrance of my brother on this Ash Wednesday 2022, 10 years after his devastating transition is to acknowledge and share both our joy in God’s gift that his life was to us, the pain that his passing brings and the hope of eternal life in Christ. Our elder brother, Dele Obadimeji born in 1956, the eldest child in the families of Obadimeji and Okegbile was gruesomely murdered on his way to a night vigil organised by his church, Christ Apostolic Church, Oke-Agbara Nla, Power House, Olodo, Ibadan.

Siblings that pass away have special meaning to us, but the brutal murder of our brother, Dele Obadimeji damaged our hearts and scarred severely. His death brings upon us as a family not just a search for meaning but evil of a society and church bedevilled by greed, murder, corruption, and lack of human value. The brutal murder of Dele Obadimeji on his way to a church vigil after being persuaded by one of the church’s pastors brings upon the church’s leadership, a search for the meaning of their true calling. The death of Dele Obadimeji, an Assistant General Manager, Human Resource with Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (PHCN), Capital Building, MKO Road, Ibadan also reveals the corruptions and evil office politics. There was a long battle with a subordinate officer in my brother’s office.

The death of my brother afforded me the sad experience to see the compromise, decay and corruption between the Nigerian SARS policemen and the company’s lawyer. The death of my brother shows the deplorable condition in our hospital. It was so difficult to behold the state of my brother’s body at the Oluyoro Hospital mortuary at Ibadan. Thanks for the help received from a family friend to take my brother’s body to the Anatomy department, University of Ibadan.

Our brother’s death bring to mind our human mortality. Our memories are what we have left and a lesson we will not forget. Indeed, ‘the time has come when time is no more and all that’s left was once before.’ My brother’s memories are so dear and true, those memories of me and you. Buoda miii, I will always remember you, brother of mine. ‘As kids, we lived together. We fought, we laughed, we cried. We did not always show the love that we both had inside. We shared our dreams and plans, and some secrets too. All the memories we share, is what bonds me now to you. We grew to find we have a love that is very strong today. It’s a love shared by our family that will never fade away. You are my brother not by choice, but by the nature of our birth I could not have chosen a better one you were the best on earth.’  It takes a special person to place everyone before themselves and lay down their life; that was my brother. My brother’s heart was so big he dedicated his life in service to others. My brother was always my hero and remains so in his death.

Buoda miii, you showed me a lot of things. I learned a lot I didn’t know, but you forgot to teach me one last thing. How to let you go. I know you didn’t mean to leave us; but for the evil human conspiracy. Oh, looking at your lifeless body 10 years ago with your faces riddle with the assassin’s gun shots, I still ‘hate that you had to endure such pain. On my mind, your saddened eyes have left a stain. I want to know what crossed your mind. Unspoken words you’ve left behind undone things we’ll never do, No sharing thoughts you never knew. A peace has fallen upon your head. A taste of sorrow we have been fed. It really is like a hole in our lives. One swiftly dug but carved out by knives. But I have hope that those sleeping will rise. The Bible says that God will open their eyes. No suffering, sickness, yes not even pain. Those who did good, eternal life they’ll gain. So… sleep on my brother, sleep tight. For now with you the sky is night. But after night will come daybreak.’

Sometimes we have no choice. I miss being your little brother, Hearing my name called by your voice, “Ayo.” In my heart I will keep you, just as your beloved wife Aunty Bola is keeping the family going, strong and caring, so we will be fine in Jesus name. Buoda mi, I still smell your familiar scent. It makes me think of all of the times we’ve spent. I know we didn’t always get along, especially when I was a teaching with my Secondary School Certificate. All you wanted for me then was my University education. My brother’s life was a testimony of God’s faithfulness and divine sponsorship through his educational ventures especially at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the University of Ibadan.

Buoda miii, we will go forward with our heads up high to keep your legacy. It might be hard, we cannot lie, especially with our aged mother. Buoda mii, in our hearts, the Obadimejis, Okegbiles, and Ayilekes you will be, moving forward, you with us. Buoda Mike, we miss you so very much, and our tears we cannot hide. Yet, within our hearts, we feel you are always by our side. Ever since your transition life has never been the same. Yet, it comforts us to know that one day we’ll meet again at Jesus’ feet.