The nation is certainly yet to fully account for the desperate moments that followed the slaying of General Ramat Ibidapo lawal forex market Mohammed on February 13, 1976 on the road to the mosque. Meanwhile, once the news of the sad incident broke, OBJ had obeyed his instincts: he simply went into hiding.
Then, a truck-load of battle-clad troops barged into the official quarters of the second citizen, shepherded by some officers in a Landrover. As the vehicle pulled to a halt, they jumped down and spread out ominously, guns at the ready. The foregoing rare eyewitness account was narrated to this writer by Pa Meshack Emiola Ibidapo, the federal contractor on duty at OBJ’s official residence that day. The referenced anecdote is only one of the trough of fond memories distilled from my years-long interaction with Pa Ibidapo who joined his ancestors on April 3. He would have been 90 on November 7. Oludipe neighborhood of Surulere, Lagos in the past five decades and not encountered the enigma of Pa Ibidapo.
Sunday evening was often the moment we spent together. During such fellowship, you could not but feel the depth of his insight, the energy of his patriarchy and the sheer intensity of his humanity. At sun-down, he would certainly be found at home, already rocking his reclining chair, watching the television. It is perhaps a measure of his personal discipline and flexibility that he was able to manage diabetes for close to 50 years after being diagnosed at mid-life. Indeed, his is a moving story of a boy who rose from lowly circumstances and, by the sheer force of industry, made it big and very early.
Once a miserable squatter in Isale-Eko, he later became not only a real estate mogul with a portfolio of choice property scattered across Lagos but also a top stock market player. At the completion of Standard Six in his native Owo, Ondo State, he migrated to Lagos in pursuit of the proverbial golden fleece. But he would realize that the streets of Eko were not exactly flowing with milk and honey as any native from the provincialism of Owo with impressionable mind would have anticipated. He had to squat with an uncle, Pa Justus Okunrinboye.