Death: Whose Next?


By: Abdur-Rahman Balogun   (ARAB)

A tribute in memory of Prof. Aminat Olabisi  Bello-Adelekan, (1967-2024) 

Head Girl, Adeola Odutola College (1983-1984).

Death is inevitable, it is a debt everyone of us must pay and such,  we should not fear death but always expect it. Allah says in both Quran 3 verse 185 that : "Every soul  shall taste death, and you will only be given your full compensation on the day of Resurrection..."

Same message is repeated in Qur'an 29 verse 57. So, with the divine pronouncements by our Creator, no mortal should be scared or afraid of death but be prepared for it like Boy's Scout motto.

So, on Friday March 15, 2024, two deaths came knocking, first was the demise of His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr) Sen. Mohood Lekan Balogun, the Olubadan of Ibadan land who joined his ancestors at the age of 81 having reigned for only two years and Prof. Aminat Olabisi  Bello-Adelekan, a classmate and my head girl at the prestigious Adeola Odutola College, Ijebu Ode, Ogun state, 1983-1984.  The two deaths came as a rude shock to me as it was least expected. 

Again, Allah reminded me in Quran 31 verse 34 that " Indeed, Allah alone has knowledge of the hour....." and in  Quran 4 verse 78 says "Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, ......" while 

Quran 63 verse 11 says " But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come...."

I consoled myself with the above divine guidance but the graphic details of how the news was broken on our alumni platform got me more worried and taunted me as if I was dreaming. 

A classmate, Wale George at exactly 1.54 a.m  on Saturday morning wrote:" what happened to Amina? Another mate, Tutu Aderibigbe replied him at 1.59 am "what did you see or hear about her? I also joined the fray by 2am when i asked "what happened to her? George replied  at 2.02am that "we should call her", Tutu Aderibigbe snapped immediately at 2.03am " By this time of the day?

I couldn't sleep and i became restless, not knowing who to call at that time of the day and kept praying until 4.10am when i started preparing for Sahur (early morning meal) for my Ramadan fasting. 

Alas! The shocking news came through Wale George again by 7.48am on Saturday with the following line: "We lost Amina Adelekan yesterday evening. She will be laid to rest at her Abeokuta residence by 4pm". This confirmation jolted me as condolences started pouring in for our beloved classmate.

Surprisingly, Aminat had not be active on our Alumni platform except last year. Since then, she was so active that the whole house unanimously appointed her to be the Chairperson for our forthcoming 40 years anniversary that we left school and she demonstrated her leadership skills as she, alongside her committee members quickly rolled out programme of activities ahead of our June celebration and she was the first to pay her levy as well as her 2024 annual dues.

Aminat alongside her friends, Anota Shittu, Funmilayo Kadiri, Ganiat Gafari and others, i couldn't recollect their names now, were very active in Muslim Students' Society of Nigeria (MSSN) then in which i was the President and also the Chief Imam of the Muslim Community. 

Since 40 years ago that we both left the school, we have not had cause to meet except sometimes in 2014 when i sighted her at a distance during the inaugural lecture of my wonderful brother and friend, Prof. Lateef Sanni at FUNAAB where late Aminat was also a staff and I was hoping for a lively reunion with her this coming June at our 40th anniversary. Alas! Aminat has gone to meet her Creator.

Shockingly, I learnt while writing this tribute that the late Aminat lost her 35- year old first child in Sept. 2023. May Allah be pleased with her too.

Aminat was unique in many ways, she was very intelligent, beautiful, knowledgeable and easy going . All these earned her the post of our head girl in 1983. I stand to be corrected, she was the only mate thus far, who got to her academic pinnacle of a Professor at FUNAAB. She is and was the only Professor in our set. When i shared her shocking demise with three of her senior colleagues in FUNAAB, Prof. Taofiq Azeez, Prof. Lateef Sanni and Prof. AbdulRasaq Adebowale, they all expressed shock at her sudden death, describing her as a very peaceful, easy going and highly resourceful person. 

Again, something must kill a person once the time comes, irrespective of what we do or not. Aminat was reportedly returned from overseas trip about two weeks ago where she was given a clean bill of health ahead of 30 days Ramadan fast but Allah has His own plans. My consolation is that Professor Aminat Bello-Adelekan died in the blessed month of Ramadan wherein Allah promises that whoever dies in this month will be automatically admitted into al-janah firdaus. This is my consolation for the painful loss of Aminat and our revered King Lekan Balogun as well as those who died during this period and those who will still pass on. May the souls of all the departed rest in perfect peace. May Allah console the husband, daughter and other members of Amina family in the best form as well as all of us who were her classmates. I equally remember all our mates who had passed on ahead of us and pray for those of us remaining from (Adeola Odutola College Ijebu-Ode 1979-1984  set) a long beneficial life to humanity. Aamin. The Yoruba has a saying "iku to ba n pa ojugba eni, owe nla lo n pa fun wa",  Death that is killing our mates, is a signal for us to be prepared.


Abdur-Rahman Balogun is the Director of Media, Public Relations and Protocols, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abuja.

March 18, 2024.

Post a Comment