When I heard the news of Deacon Samuel Akee Aremu Ologbin’s death, the first statement that came to my lips was, “He died 10 days to the remembrance of his brother, Joseph Owolabi Folaranmi Irantiola Ologbin, who passed on the 22nd of January, 2000.” Historically, the age difference of the duo was 10 years. This is quite significant for me. However, I do not know the import. We fondly called Dn Akee, Baba Kekere, this was what our parents called him and my grandfather, Joseph Irantiola, Baba Alaso, a successful cloth merchant.

My grandfather and his younger brother were one of a kind. These are Siamese siblings that were together from birth till the death of my grandfather and he did everything to ensure that he kept the legacies of his elder brother alive when he had the ability. Prior to the death of my grandfather, all the grandchildren that were available then gathered at Apata, Agbowo, Ibadan, at my aunt’s residence, Matron Christiana Jadesola Ogunranti, we asked all the questions that we could ask about our ancestry. Unfortunate for us, Baba Alaso had lost strength; Baba Kekere told us all about the family. Appreciation goes to the videographer who could not produce the historical video for us till date.

After the demise of Baba Alaso, we had the opportunity of going to Okeho and it was time to ask him more questions. The joy of Baba Kekere was full but in a bid to get us to the traditional mainstream from the urban Yoruba culture of Lagos and Ibadan; he told us to tell us our names over again. I vividly remember, “E wa so oriki yin, e o si pari re pelu Ojo, to pe Ojo lawa ni bi.” meaning, you would tell me your praise name and end it with Ojo because that is the cognomen for the family. We did this and it struck to my brain since then.

There are some fascinating stories that I heard about these brothers. It behooves us to pick some lessons:

Baba Alaso made up his mind to start his business in Okeho while his brother, Baba Kekere wanted to move on to other locations. The elder brother appealed to his sibling to stay with him and earn a living in Okeho. The younger yielded to this advice; this was the beginning of the lifelong partnership.

I am not qualified to say this but I can affirm that they informed one another whenever they want to give birth to children. Within a stretch of three to six months, there are usually three new babies in the family house: two children for my grandfather and one for him. So, every child has a resident age-grade. As a challenge to this present generation of ours, the children of both Babas mixed up and strangers cannot separate their children. My father was called “Omo Akee” by a lot of people and for this reason, they both disciple their children together.
For those who were there at the bedside of Baba Alaso, when he was dying, all he kept saying was “Samu, bawo ni yoo ti ri lara omo yii? Ko dagbe ri” meaning how would Samuel live; he has not been alone all his life. This utterance was humoured but the truth in the statement for me is that their mutual bond was inseparable.

There are certain heights in today’s world that siblings bar one another from attaining. Contrarily to this, they were both members of all societies; ranging from church societies to economic societies and also to professional societies.

This is assertion might be controversial but it is obvious to many people that their investments are together. As such, it became almost impossible to share their properties since year 2000 when the elder brother died until now that he just passed on. I can vouch that the children of the duo hardly know all about their fathers; which they both know about themselves.

After Baba Alaso’s demise, many more grandchildren got married. There was a statement of thanks from Baba Kekere, he said, “Ki ba ti dun to ki Egbon mi wa laye, awon Baba ti wa o ni irun anfanni yii, sugbon a dupe” meaning, how beautiful it would have been if my elder brother was alive to see all these marriages, our parents did not have the opportunity to witness the wedding of their grandchildren but in all we give thanks. He was not concerned about the wealth at his disposal but the joy of his departed brother.

I can see the bond that existed while in death between these brothers. A book was published, Who is Who in Okeho, after Baba Alaso’s demise. Baba Akee added his brother’s profile to the book. Baba Kekere has passed on now but he kept the legacy alive.

Baba Akee was a grassroot peacemaker and that is the legacy that he had bequeathed to his world. He was ordained in 1984 as a Deacon at Araromi Baptist Church, Oke-Ogun, Okeho. He is the Patron, Council of Deacons, Kajola Local Government and Patron, Araromi Baptist Church societies. In recognition of his immense contributions to Okeho, he was given an award in 2004 during the Okeho Day celebration.

The family lineage being that of Ologbin from Ogbin-Ile, that pre-dated the war. It was said that the Ologbin of Okeho went with the bridle of the horse of the Ologbin. The death of Baba Kekere is a centrifugal homecoming for the Ologbin clan from all Yoruba nations. In addition, his death is also a call to the Ona-Isokun royal clan of Oyo Alaafin, his maternal home, to sing his praise further in celebration of his demise.

If people meet in the world yonder, I am imagining Baba Alaso asking his Samu again, “Samu, kilo n wa nibi? Majesin ni e meaning, Samuel, what are you doing here? You are so young. It is disheartening to say goodbye but it is important to reiterate that you have lived a good life; you have left the world better than you met it. May the bond of your brotherhood preserve the family at large.

(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria
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