By Raheem Akingbolu
A prominent Ekiti son, Akogun Sanmi Awosusi, began his final journey into eternity yesterday with Christian wake-keep at Aramoko Ekiti. I first heard of his name through a hit record waxed in his honour by the foremost Ekiti music legend, the late Elemure Ogunyemi. Yes, the same Elemure who sang Ekiti Kete and Seramo. After years of a rewarding relationship with Akogun, Elemure saw the need to tell the world that this Ekiti man was great in Lagos and he went to the studio to do the record which celebrated Akogun and dug into his Aramoko Ekiti origin.
Before the record, many people could swear that Sanmi Awosusi was from Ikole Ekiti. This is understandable because Late Pa Awosusi, Sanmi’s father, a prominent businessman, spent his productive life in Ikole, married Ikole Ekiti woman and had his children there. Sanmi and his siblings grew up in Ikole and contributed in no small measure to the development of the entire Egbe-Oba land. As a mark of honour and in appreciation of his good work, he was conferred with the chieftaincy title of Akogun by the Oba of Otunja, Ikole many years ago.
No! our path didn’t cross in Ekiti, I met Oga Sanmi Awosusi at Lagos Country Club a few years back. I was invited alongside other journalists to cover, I think, the club’s end-of-the-year party. As an active member of the elite club, Oga Sanmi was everywhere, just to make sure everything went well. The Master of Ceremony kept calling his name and directing people to him for one issue or the other. Then, I remember Elemure music about one Sanmi Awosusi. I saw him going outside the hall and pursued him. Despite his busy schedule on the occasion, he gave me rapt attention. I introduced myself as a Lagos- based journalist of Aramoko Ekiti origin. This friendly and very sociable man didn’t allow me to finish the introduction before he embraced me. He held my hand tight and started introducing me as his brother from home to his friends. Later, he called those in charge of entertainment and directed them to where journalists were seated. They spoilt us silly that evening. That’s vintage Sanmi Awosusi for you!
Since his death weeks ago, torrents of tributes have trailed his demise. This is understandable because Sanmi Awosusi spent, at least, the last 15 years of his life serving humanity, the body of Christ, especially Ekiti Anglican Communion and Aramoko in particular. In him, we have lost one of the most sincere, upright, patriotic and committed Ekiti men. His contribution to the human development became noticeable more when he left the hurlyburly of Lagos life to settle in Ekiti.
To say Akogun lived for all is like stating the obvious. In the last few days, I have been asking myself how St. Phillips Anglican Church, Aramoko Ekiti would handle the burial service of this committed member. I know death is the ultimate end of all and that clerics are used to any circumstance but I’m emotional about Akogun’s relationship with the church. Hardly a day would pass in the last 10 years, without Akogun’s involvement in issue (s) concerning the church. In the entire Ekiti West diocese, I doubt if there is any individual that gives special priority to the growth of the Anglican Church more than Akogun of Otunja, Ikole. We often joked with this special Egbon that he ought to have taken to priesthood instead of pursuing a career in the corporate world. If there is anything that gladdens my heart, it’s the fact that Akogun lived every day since we became close as if he would die at any moment.
Don’t miss it, Akogun Awosusi cannot kill for Christ because he’s not a fanatic. Alhaji Rufai Shitu, a notable member of the Akiran family was one of his closest confidants and Oga Sanmi NEVER allowed religion to come between them. Twice, this our late brother celebrated Eid-el- Kabir with me and even donated to our annual Ileya party.
I know for sure that the leadership of the Aramoko Development Association would be worried too that one of the most patriotic Aramoko sons would be lowered to the grave at less than 70. I remember he was one of the major drivers of the now rested Aramoko Cultural Carnival and other activities championed by ADA. He was also at the forefront of those clamouring for ‘food for all’ in Aramoko during the lockdown in 2020. It’s also on record that Akogun Awosusi worked assiduously to give Aramoko Health centre a facelift.
And for the entire Akinran family of Aramoko Ekiti, I share in your grief at this period. I know how committed Akogun Awosusi was to the family. I know the love you all shared and I know you will miss this wonderful man.
Adieu, Akogun Awosusi. Your name has been written in gold in our dear town.
*Raheem Akingbolu is a journalist and public affairs, analyst