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Dawodu: Tribute to an officer, a gentleman and more

On that fateful day, late DIG Ganiyu Ali Dawodu was hale and hearty as he prepared to depart Abuja for Lagos to represent the immediate-past Inspector-General of Police Hafiz Abubakar Ringim at a function. Prior to his departure, I was with him at his 7th floor office at the Louis Edet House, Abuja, with some people who came to pay him a visit. A few minutes after our arrival, he whisked us to the IGP’s Office and introduced the team to him, stressing that the visitors are his blood, which means they need no prior appointment to see him. The Inspector-General cracked jokes with us all.

After the visit, Dawodu asked me to join him at home later that evening to which I obliged and we all ate dinner together, at the end of which a pastor whom he had know for over 20 years but had not seen for close to 15 breeze in with his younger brother who incidentally is a Muslim, in fact a “fresh Alhaji”. He remarked: “Look, these people are from the same parents but have different religions.” We all laughed at the interesting situation.

Another aspect of late Dawodu is that there is never a dull moment when you are with him as he has a strong-room full of jokes that will crack any listener’s ribs. By 9.30pm I sought his permission to leave. I am recalling all the above as the last episode between Dawodu and I, before his one-way journey to Lagos. When by 11.00pm he permitted me to leave I did not know I was seeing him for the last time on earth, as on Friday morning around 3.30am my phone rang and another friend, Alhaji Omo Ola, called me that “Gani is dead.” I shouted and shed tears as I now understand fully that our meeting on Wednesday was meant to be that of farewell.

One of our friends who saw him in the morning before his departure to Lagos told me he was in a happy mood.

I have known Dawodu for the past 25 years, beginning from Ilorin, Kwara State, when I was with my elder brother, Alhaji Tajudeen Adebayo Ojuolape, who recently retired as the Director of Finance of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, who is also Dawodu’s bosom friend. We cultivated a friendship from day one and on most occasions our positions when discussing issues are identical.

Dawodu could never hurt a fly and was so transparent that he would give you an account of how he acquired all the things he owned and whenever we had cause to go out, he would never argue with policemen on check-points, but rather joke about the situation. On one occasion, a member of our mosque in Abuja was detained at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by a police inspector who purchased a land from him on the basis that he is no longer interested in the land after 6 months, wanting an immediate refund of his money.

Then Dawodu called the SARS office, requesting to speak to the detainee to which he was obliged after discussing with him and finding out that what he was told about the issue was exactly what the detainee revealed to him he call the attention of the OC SARS to this fact and asked him why the person was detained there when he was not a robbery suspect, and the OC beat a retreat and released the detainee.

At the home front, Dawodu would never say no to any request by family members, even if he may not be able to meet 100% of the request, to the extent all the problems of extended family are passed to him. He would never complain, telling me that the hand that gives never lacks.

Dawodu was blessed with 5 children, he believed in God and lived his life for his family and was detribalized. Prior to his death, he had been singing one tune to me.  “Bola I will leave this job by February 2012”. But alas Allah has a different plan for him.  May Allah (SWT) grant his soul forgiveness and grant him Aljannah Firdaus. To his family, may Allah grant them fortitude to bear the loss and console his father, who is in his late 90s. I also pray for his children that Allah (SWT) will see them through life, as their father was a good man, an officer and a gentleman in many, many ways. May his gentle soul rest in peace, Amin.

Ojuolape works with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Abuja.


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