ADIEU GENERAL EMMANUEL OLUMUYIWA ABISOYE
In my child’s mind, I thought General Abisoye was my father’s blood brother because of their chumminess. General Abisoye always dropped by to see my father; I do not know what they talked about, my curiosity ebbs the moment they began their lengthy talk to go watch the soldiers he came with. General Abisoye was an incredible symbol of authority. He always came in his uniform with retinue of soldiers taking various guard positions around the house. Our close range with gun wielding soldiers was a thrilling attraction to us. We knew he was a powerful man with the number of cars and soldiers that escorted him into our house but the ease and camaraderie with my father was more fascinating. Our father told us he fought in the civil war; we were in admiration of his presence and personality except my dad. We saw him as a compensation for my mother’s younger brother captain Abiodun Alabi who passed on shortly after the war. Such was their friendship that when I passed my federal entrance examination, both of them enthusiastically agreed for my first choice to be federal Government College, Jos so he could be my Guardian when he was the Army GOC Jos.
I was given admission into a relatively unknown school FGGC, Bida, a school we never knew existed. However, he was also posted out of Jos, I remember my father saying it was a good thing FGC Jos did not admit me. The pleasure of getting old was denied my father by fate yet the General still sought out our welfare. He came around as often as he could and admonished my mum each time she drifted away from him. Such occasions he asked my mum if she forgot the bond he had with my father. He did not break the code of friendship after my father’s death because integrity was one of his brands.
Then we all finished school and needed referees for our CVs, General Abisoye not only obliged us to use his name and phone numbers, he also called each organization we applied to. If others booked appointment to see him, ours was express; we went in and out of his office at Shogunle without restrictions. If we were broke, we only needed to walk into his office. I do not remember if he was instrumental to my brother Gbenga’s employment in Cadbury but he played a significant role in his life stepping in as a father figure. He wished him luck and extended his goodwill through money to equip his wardrobe. Kindness was his trademark.
General Abisoye stood by us at Gbenga’s traditional wedding, he PROSTRATED on behalf of my family to the bride’s family, and we were astonished at his level of humility and commitment! He was flat on his belly several times, and he seemed not fazed by it. Frankly, I did not expect him to do that, I mean you do not expect a whole general to go flat on his belly but he did! His presence left a lasting impression in the minds of those who never had close contact with him before then. Humility was his one of his traits.
Rest in peace Gallant officer, the chivalrous, gentlemanly and pride of Ogori, Former Federal Minister for health, General Emmanuel Olumuyiwa Abisoye. May God repose your soul. I know that you are beside my father right now doing what you both did while on earth.