Sunday, February 18, 2018 12:31 am
MADAM ADEBOLA, 72, the widow of the late AKINWUMI ISOLA spoke with GBENRO ADESINA about how her husband died
How did it happen?
I will just give God the glory. He had a doctor which the children got for him. The doctor said that any moment that we realized that he could not do what he used to do before, we should just call him. I had been watching him. Yesterday, he ate ‘amala’ and ‘gbegiri’. He was fine. My husband didn’t give any sign that he was going. He finished all the ‘amala’ and ‘gbegiri’. We also had a nurse for him. Early this morning, the nurse came. I prepared custard for him and put Milo. I was trying to feed him and I noticed something. Rather than taking the food, he was just saying, “O se o Iyawo mi, o se o iyawo mi”, meaning, “thank you, my wife”. That was his normal saying. Even when his friends visited him, he would say, “E jowo, e ma ba mi ki iyawo mi. o se o, oun ki ba ti ku tipetipe o ti ki ba se iyawo oun”, meaning, “Friends, please thank my wife for me. She is the one that has not let me die because she is taking good care of me”.
When I gave him the custard, he refused and continued to say “o se o iyawo mi” and immediately I called the doctor. I was trying to find out what the problem was. All this happened around 9am. I called the doctor and told him that I noticed something strange and that he should come down. I called the children. They are all living in Lagos. I asked them to come because I did not understand their daddy anymore. He was praying. They said they were coming. He sat on the chair in his room. The children told me to put him on the bed. We put him on the bed. My brother, you can’t believe it, immediately we put him on the bed, he gave up. He gave up around 9:30am. The doctor I called had not come when he gave up. I just thanked God. It was the nurse and I that put him on the bed. The children had not come before he gave up.
Are you saying that he did not eat before he died?
He took only one spoon of custard. That was all he ate before he died. Daddy ate a lot. He didn’t give a sign at all that he wanted to travel to the great beyond. The moment he was refusing the custard, I felt bad and asked him what the problem was and his usual reply was “o se o iyawo mi”. When he died, I was just asking, “Is this the way people just die?” When the doctor came, he tested him. He asked me to go out and I told him that I am not a baby, and that he should just tell me what was happening. He tested him and said daddy is dead. I now called Dr Olaopa and he came. I called Professor Femi Osofisan and told them that it hasd happened and that my husband, Akinwumi Isola has gone.
That shows that that was the last moment you had with him?
How did he spend yesterday?
Wonderful. Three of us are on this lane: The Adeagbos, our house and the next house. His boy came yesterday saying that he wanted to develop that house. He came, went to meet him in the room. How I wish you saw him praying? When the boy was told that daddy was dead, he said it is not possible. He didn’t show any sign. He finished his food. He was just praying and thanking God.
What was the last function he attended?
The function he attended was Pamela Smith’s book presentation, which was held here . He had not been able to go out for a while. You know he had not been feeling fine for some time. What I did was that I bought a wheel chair because he could be staying in a room. I bought the wheel chair. We would wheel him down and take him round the house. The very day that the nurse and I did that, I wish you were there, you would weep. Daddy said. “So I will see all these things again!”. We had lime at the back of the house. He said, “So I will see this orange again”. We brought him out and we all ate outside. I have left everything to God.
What will you miss most about him?
So many things. I will miss his jokes. Daddy liked jokes. He liked telling stories including Ibadan stories. He told us stories and sang songs for us.
Where is he now?
Anatomy in UI. Akinwumi Isola, honest man! Has my husband gone? I am asking you, mister newsman. If only you can answer that question. Is he gone forever and that I will not see him again?
He wrote many books about the ills in the society. What will you say is his regret about the ills in the Nigerian society?
He wrote lots of books to correct the ills in the society but the society does not care. He wrote “Ayeyewon Tan”. That narrative is talking about the happening in our society. It talks about the fact that once people are fine, once they are prosperous, they will start to misbehave. He wrote many books, historical books pertaining to women like Madam Tinubu, Efunsetan Aniwura, Efunroye Tinubu to correct the ills of the society. Who cares? Nobody cares. He wrote many poems teaching youth on how they should behave to adults. When you see some of them, they stand greeting the elders as if they are mates. They will even be the first to extend their hands to shake the elders.
Yoruba children must prostrate for the elders when greeting them and the elders will pray for you. These are parts of the things that grieved him before he died. Again, in our society, we don’t read books. He feels bad that our children don’t want to speak Yoruba again. Again, that is the fault of the parents who have refused to allow their children to understand Yoruba Language. If they do not understand their mother tongue, how will they understand their culture? Although, some parents are changing but what is the percentage? Is it not ridiculous that the schools are not encouraging the speaking of Yoruba which they refer to as vernacular?