Abraham Babalola Borishade, Nigeria’s former Minister of Aviation, Education and Tourism, Culture Development, died in a London hospital on April 26, 2017. He was buried recently amid pomp and pageantry in his hometown, Usi-Ekiti in Ido-Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Hundreds of Ekiti people, associates, friends, family members and eminent Nigerians including wife of Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s wife, Mrs. Titilayo Abubabakar, former governors Segun Oni and Kayode Fayemi as well as many in the academia, top government functionaries and former leaders graced the occasion.
His second daughter, an Economist, Mrs. Toyin Ojo, said her father died of pulmonary fibrosis otherwise called scaring of blood tissues (an ailment, not well-known and without cure yet).
She told Daily Sun that her father was not ready when the icy hands of death got him. She disclosed his children didn’t know how much of good deeds he had done for people until his death and burial:
“We prayed vehemently and fasted for days. In fact, everybody was praying for him. He was sending us e-mails about prayer points and every one, pastors, general overseers and others prayed for him.”
She cautioned that Nigerians should stop the blame culture of accusing people with any serious ailment of being the cause of their illness, promising to immortalise her father by making efforts to create awareness about pulmonary fibrosis like it is being done for cancer.
President of Egbe Omo-Usi, an association of all indigenes of Usi-Ekiti, Mr. Debo Ayorinde, said Borishade’s legacy in terms of reaching out generously to the commoners was a strong reference point “with which we could challenge anyone to show his love for our people by following Borisahde’s foot steps.
“He was instrumental to our vision as Egbe Omo Usi to drill 12 boreholes in the community. He gave us the Aviation control in Usi-Ekiti when he was Minister of Aviation. In fact, in every ministry that he served, he made sure Usi-Ekiti benefitted something from his tenure. He also empowered many of our people, gave them jobs.”
His younger wife, Ireti, said: “I will be missing my husband in so many ways. He wasn’t a husband really, he was a caring father, a husband like a brother, an uncle and he meant everything to me. After God he was the next to me. We behaved like twins, sister and brother. So, when you have such a person, who stands firm for you in everything and anything. Definitely, I will miss him.
“ My last moment with him was fantastic even on his sick bed and even when we both believed that he would come out strongly, stronger and better. We were doing so many things together, praying together, praise worshipping God together and agreeing together on so many things. His last moment on earth was fantastic.”
For Olamide, the first son and UK-based medical doctor, taking after his father in selfless service would be the simplest thing to do:
“My father lived a very exemplary life with one simple guiding principle, which is service to humanity.
“In everything he did, his first consideration was always how to better either the life of his immediate family, extended family or those of his community.
He sought to affect any community he found himself.
“He got a great sense of humour. Traditional jokes that he used to tell, especially when he joked in Ekiti dialect. It used to be very funny but very intelligent jokes. His sense of confidence in the face of turbulence.
“No matter how troubling things might be, by the time you were through talking to him, you would be encouraged not to lose hope.
“My father believed in a few universal truths. First of them is love, meaning love your neighbour.
The second one is humility, honour, honestly and a sense of duty. So, those are the ones I worked on. It takes very little things to test his patient.”
Olamide claimed his father was never a politician, but a political strategist who solved others’ problems: “The truth is that my father was not a politician, but rather a political strategist. He never was. He was a problem solver. Politics was just used to solve the problem.
“In his bid to provide service to his community, he identified problems that his community has and in order to solve those problems, he understood that he had to be in a place where he would be effective so as to effect the change needed.”