Awolowo’s famous driver, Olabode dies as Fayemi mourns
By Samuel Ogunsona
The personal driver of late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo has died.
Pa Olajide Olabode who died on Friday hails from Ado-Ekiti. He was the personal driver of Pa Awolowo who was also eye witness to the thick and thin; low and high points of Awolowo’s troubled but triumphant political history.
Pa Olabode’s loyalty even in the face of death threats and attempts to lure him by a vicious opposition knew no bounds, witnesses to his fruitful life say.
Pa Olabode also drove African presidents such as Kwame Nkrumah, Sylvanus Olympio, Julius Nyerere and the great Zik among others.
Eucomiums have continued to pour in for Pa Olabode who died at the age of 89.
Irohinoodua was informed that Pa Olajumoke lost his wife a week earlier before his demise. The diseased wife, Ruth died at 74.
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi mourned his death. He described him as the modest man who once drove the late sage and first Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Governor Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, said Pa Olabode’s demise was painful even though he had lived a long, fulfilling and inspiring life.
The Governor who noted that the late Olabode’s life is an inspiring story for many young people who have lost hope of actualizing their dreams, said the deceased had the resilient spirit of excellence which Ekiti people are known for.
He added that though the deceased’s parents could not afford to send him to secondary school having finished Standard five, he was determined to be a successful man and found the right way to make his life count.
Governor Fayemi stressed that Olabode’s story was a fulfillment of the holy writ that “the gift of a man will pave way for him and will make him stand before great men”; adding that the deceased had the opportunity of ‘riding with presidents’ and great leaders which he ordinarily would not have been able to do if had chosen another route to actualize his dream.
Fayemi who asserted that the visit of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and himself to Pa Olabode’s residence in 2019 was a testament that Olabode served the late Awolowo with integrity; saying that Ekiti people, regardless of their status and age are people of integrity.
The Governor said the late Olabode would continue to be celebrated as an icon of resilience, excellence and hard work as well as a source of inspiration for everyone who is confronted with challenges at the point of actualizing their dreams.
He prayed God to give the deceased’s family the fortitude to bear the loss.
“Pa Olabode’s death is a great loss to us in Ekiti State. He was a perfect example of the resilient spirit that Ekiti people have whenever they intend to achieve great tasks. He defied his family background and chose the hard way to become a great man like his contemporaries.
Fayemi said he was not just a driver but a confidant of Awo who earned the trust of his boss adding that his integrity must have endeared him to Chief J.E. Babatola who introduced him to Chief Awolowo and ended up driving African presidents such as Kwame Nkrumah, Sylvanus Olympio, Julius Nyerere and the great Zik among others”.
“We will never forget how he, in his little way, was able to prove to the world that Ekiti people are hardworking, trustworthy and can do great things. On behalf of the government and people of Ekiti State, I commiserate with Pa Olabode’s family, and pray that the good Lord will console them and give them the fortitude to bear the loss”, the Governor said.