Only those who wear the shoes knows where it pinches
Tribute to Late Fatai Aborodo PhD., by his son. He was murdered on his way from his 300 acres farm at Igangan by Fulani herdsmen...his P.A. was with him and escaped with injuries.*
Dad, knowing I’ll never see you again is a hard pill to swallow. You were kind and caring, always sacrificing and giving your best to everything and everyone. I can’t believe I’m writing about you in past tense and that you won’t be able to read this and give me feedback.
I remember one of our last conversations, I told you I had lost every hope in Nigeria and how I don’t see it becoming better in another 50-100 years, I told you I don’t see Nigeria as home anymore, and I said “Home is where I am safe!”, you disagreed, you said “home is where you’re from, Nigeria is your home!”. You went on to tell me to be optimistic, you mentioned that you benefited from Nigeria in the past, the free and quality education you got in your formative years was one of those things that made you feel indebted to the country. You felt you needed to give back to the country, you had these glowing, utopia image of Nigeria in your mind.
Well dad, you were wrong! I wish death was like prison, where we get visitation at least once a month, so I can tell you just how wrong you were. Nigeria is not home, Nigeria couldn’t keep you safe, Nigeria cut your life short, Nigeria ruined your dreams and didn’t let you reap the fruit of your labour! Nigeria wouldn’t find your killers; Nigeria is NOT home!
I remember bringing my partner to see you last year, how you teased that I needed to catch up because you got married at 26 and I was just about to marry at 28, I remember telling you I’d started my PhD last year and telling you that you also needed to catch up, because you got yours at 49 and I’ll probably get mine at 32. You were so happy, you said it was the happiest day of your life. You called me Dr Boro since then, you told me how proud you were of me, of my siblings and your friends have told us how boisterous you sound when you talk about us.
At the early stages of the pandemic, we saw how much you’d evolved. You initiated a weekly group video call, you made sure you were committed to it, and days that you missed or we missed you were eager to reschedule, we saw a totally different side of you, we saw how easy it was for you to tell us you loved us (an African dad’s biggest nightmare I guess?), we told you we loved you too, we meant it, we know you meant it too, and we’ll always cherish those moments. We’ll hold on to those good memories, thankfully Islamiyyah recorded some of these group calls, we often watch these videos and appreciate your sense of humour, your genuine laughter and smiles and the pride in how you look at us.
It’s sad and painful that you’re no more, I’ve found myself talking to imaginary you when I’m alone. No, I’m not running mad, I just strongly believe you can hear me and I want to tell you all I didn’t say enough or wouldn’t be able to say again. I have skimmed through your social media pages, I have heard and read the many good things people have said about you, some I know, many I don’t know. You lived a good life, Dad. Short, but a really good life. So, I’ll take solace in that, I’ll cry no more, you’re to be celebrated, we’ll keep up your legacy, we’ll be kind to people, we’ll support people and we’ll be improved versions of you!
Your biggest achievement in life was us; not the cars, not the properties, not the lands. It’s the education and platform for a better life that you gave us. The ultimate and financial sacrifice to study in a developed society with immeasurable value. We remember how you used to say you didn’t do all of these so we could come back and take care of you, but so that we can be useful to our community. Your sacrifice has not been in vain and we’ll continue to make you proud.
Thank you for being an amazing dad, thank you for being an awesome husband and above all, thank you for being an incredible human being. We’ll pray for you every day, you deserve it. We’ll continue the weekly group calls; we’ll be committed to it. I’ll write you yearly, I’ll keep you up to date about everything we’ve achieved since you left and we know you’ll be happy to read them. Logically you shouldn’t be able to read this, but in some way, I hope you can, this is not just coming from me, this is how me, mum, Oluwadamilare, Islamiyyah, Abdul-Matin and Abdul-Fawaz feel about you. We love you, Alhaji, Doctor, Abdul-Fatai Adigun Ademola Omowunmi Aborode. We love you Daddy, and you’ll never be forgotten!