EDWARD KOYE-LADELE: Tribute to a Good Man
By: Deji Yesufu
23rd April 2017, I was arrested by the Nigerian Police and detained at the Sango Police Station here in Ibadan. My offence was that I was protesting the visit of Apostle Johnson Suleiman to the University of Ibadan. Suleiman was in UI for a crusade and I was protesting why the organizers of the program will choose Suleiman of all the pastors in Nigeria – especially considering the weight of the allegations hanging on his neck (Suleiman came to Ibadan in the heat of the Stephanie Otobo “threesome” controversy). As the officers were transiting me from the point where I had written my statement to the detention room proper, I was given a brief twenty minutes to still have my things with me. It suddenly occurred to me that I could let my Facebook community know that I had been arrested. I sent out a short message and after that I was stripped of all my belonging and led into detention. After about two hours in detention, an officer came to the “guard room” and told me that I had been summoned. When I got outsider, I saw all kinds of people who had come to plead for my release. The lady heading the station then, turned to me and said “Yusuf, all these people have come to ask that you be released… apparently you are not a small person o…” Subsequently I was released.
The last person to arrive the Sango Police Station that day was Edward Koye-Ladele. Rev. Koye, as we all called him, told me that he saw the Facebook post I put out as he was driving to Osogbo for some business. Immediately, he turned his car on the express, and headed back to Ibadan. When he arrived, he went straight to the lead officer’s office and began to ask them on what basis was I arrested. He told them that this young man was carrying out a peaceful protest and according to the constitution of the country, it was his right to do so. Before the lady would respond, some other people who had been there all night, and had already secured my release, pleaded with Rev. Koye to allow the matter to rest. They told him that it was better to allow sleeping dog lie. Subsequently, Rev. Koye put me in his car and drove me back to UI to pick up my car – I had parked it on the campus before embarking on the lone man protest. A few weeks later, I visited Rev. Koye at him church office in Iwo Road to thank him for his support. This was vintage Rev. Koye and I am sure that at this time of his death, many people would have similar stories about him.
I got to know Rev. Koye from his frequent calls to Splash FM, Ibadan. Anyone who listens to Splash will know Rev. Koye. Edward Koye-Ladele was a lover of Nigeria and a lover of everything good and proper. He spoke often of the many letters he writes to people in authority, proffering solutions to the myriads of problems plaguing our dear country. It was love of country that propelled Koye-Ladele to vote Muhammadu Buhari four times until he won the elections in 2015. And the moment the Buhari presidency began to fall below par, Koye-Ladele made his opinion known. Koye-Ladele loved a good debate. His famous sparring partner is one Barrister Ejeruka – who is also a regular caller to Splash FM. They debated national issues without rancor. It was Edward Koye-Ladele that called the radio broadcast of Edmund Obilo “a class”. He would often call in and say that he has reported to class with his cup of coffee and since then Edmund has adopted the class concept for his program because the program tend to be very instructive on many issues in our political life.
Edward Koye-Ladele loved humanity and did everything to ensure that things were good for everyone. I looked up his last post on Facebook, which he must have made while he was on his sick bed. Ladele had shared a post by a lady who was almost defrauded at a First Bank ATM. The lady said that someone had approached her that with N20,000. That she intended to withdraw 2,000 but ended up with 20K. That she was ready to give this lady 18k, if she would be kind enough to transfer the money to her account. Knowing that many people are in a hurry, fraudsters capitalize on this and give people fake currencies. In death, this dear man’s post was still instructing me on something I knew practically nothing about.
I learnt of Rev. Koye’s death on Facebook. Immediately I tried to reach a member of his family but they were unreachable. Eventually it occurred to me to call Rev. Koye’s number and someone picked the phone. I understand that the Rev. gentleman had been ill for some weeks. He had had difficulty passing stool and had been in one of our hospitals here in Ibadan. He had a similar problem last year and it was sorted. This time, however, the hospital was unable to put forward a proper diagnosis. Rev. Koye felt that they were wasting his time, especially having spent so much money; then he went to the gate of the hospital and put up a protest – calling on the hospital management to ask their doctors to do their jobs. It was while doing this that he collapsed and went into a comer. Moments later, he was dead.
I share this story because in our clime, some of the worst evils that we can do to the dead is to simply announce their death and never explain what killed them. There are lessons behind every death that future generations can learn from. It is the reason many in the western world are living into their 100s today. Koye-Ladele was simply a victim of the very system that he had been championing reforms in. In a normal society, no one should die as a result of intestinal obstruction of any kind but when a country has lost half her doctors to brain drain, it means that the rest of us are at the mercy of a failing health system. Whatever we must do to make Nigeria better, it must start today; because we are all heading up to becoming victims of a failed state.
Edward Koye-Ladele was a good man. He lived his life for others and you could tell from the ministry he did, that his selflessness would never make him enrich himself from the proceeds of the church he led. He was a man who gave and gave and gave himself to all. I pray that God comforts the family and help his children to realize that their father left them a good name to bear and also challenged them, and all of us, to uphold a legacy of good, godliness and graciousness towards all humanity.
Adieu my dear man of God.
Adieu Rev. Koye.