For about five minutes, Babatunde Oyebade could not string words together to express the trauma he had been going through in the last one week. It was an unusual moment for Oyebade, who is known in his Olodi-Apapa, Lagos residence for being outspoken and social.
The council worker was at home last Saturday with lots of beautiful thoughts warming his mind as he expected the arrival of his darling wife, Folashade, an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority. He had thought of a special dinner she promised to prepare for the family; the fun-filled weekend they usually spent with their little daughter, Pelumi, who would clock two on July 6 as well as the joy of attending Sunday church service together.
But in what will remain a lifetime crack in the heart, Oyebade was jolted from a television programme he was watching around 6pm that fateful day with a call from his brother-in-law. And like a pack of cards, all those thoughts he was relishing were shattered by the news of Folashade’s tragic death. “She is the source of my joy,” Oyebade said in tears to break the silence.
A truck put on a reverse gear by its driver had climbed on the 33-year-old woman who was controlling traffic on Punch Road, Apapa. She died on arrival at the Apapa General Hospital. The driver is still on the run.
“She had bought some fish on Friday with the hope that she would prepare it when she came back from work on Saturday,” Oyebade began, as he took a sip from a drink he had been holding for hours.
“I became worried when it was 4pm and she was not back. I was hungry but I could not buy food because I love her meals. She was a good cook. Around 6pm, I got a call from her younger brother. He said somebody informed him that my wife had an accident in Apapa.
“He asked me to go to her duty post on Punch Road. I called him back twice to confirm if he was sure of what he said. He said her corpse was already in the Mainland Hospital mortuary. I said my wife could not die just like that and told him to keep his mouth shut.
“My wife was full of surprises. I thought she planned with her brother so I could rush down to her duty post to see another surprise. I went there on a motorcycle with my brother. On our way, I stopped by at her brother’s house to confirm what he told me on the phone. He said my wife was dead.”
Oyebade told our correspondent that he was still in doubt until he got to the scene of the incident and was told by his wife’s colleague that it was true.
“When I got to his duty post, I asked a LASTMA official about the incident, but he did not give me any response. He took me to his boss, who tried to calm me down. It was when the man said, ‘you have to take heart’ that I believed my brother-in-law,” he added.
Recalling the moments that defined their nine-year-old relationship, the native of Abeokuta, Ogun State, said Folashade was an ideal woman any man would wish to marry.
“She was so calm and forgiving. She was very hard-working and wanted the best for me and our daughter. She really gave all the support we needed as a couple. She suffered a lot. Pelumi was supposed to be our third child. Our first two children died at birth.
“I always told her that there was hope. We passed through those moments as a young couple. Now we have Pelumi, but it is very painful she did not live for the girl to know her. There is nothing I can do about it; I can’t question God,” he said.
Distraught Oyebade lamented that with Folashade’s death, his aspirations had been dealt a huge blow, adding that through her, his life had witnessed a positive change.
He stated, “It will be hard for me to find a wife like her. Our journey was straight; we had a focus. But with her death now, she has distorted my journey. That journey won’t be straight again. Our plan was to live a good life, be happy and give our children good education. We started our relationship in 2010 when we had nothing.
“She was religious and friendly. I wasn’t going to church because I believed good deeds were all what God wanted. She was the one who convinced me to attend church. If I said I was tired, she would persuade me to follow her. Even if she was running late, she would wait for me. She always encouraged me to pray. That is one of the things I can never forget about her.
“We would call each other on the phone when we were at work. If I complained I didn’t have money, she would tell me not to worry. She would find means to ensure that the family moved on. She helped me to manage the little salary I earned. With her support, we took good care of ourselves and our daughter.
“I don’t know what to tell our daughter if she asks for her mother. For now, she is with her aunt. I can’t control my emotion if she asks for her mummy. And she will surely ask me.”
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