When I tell my driver that Tunji Okusanya of MIC is dead, I envision he will say, ‘ah! man daada to ma’n fun mi l’owo yen!'(dat generous man!).
I walked into his office to invite him 2 Season2 of our show in 2010. We had never met but he hugged me. He told me how he loved our show and how I would go far up the ladder of Success. I discovered that he liked to laugh a lot. On the day of recording, he came to time and when we were done, he shared money around like a politician going to the polls. And so we would become ‘friends’. More like Egbon (elder sibling) and aburo (younger sibling).
When my father died 2years later and we reeled in pain and confusion, his boys were there in 30mins with MIC’s best hearse. Without a mention of money, they took my dad to the best morgue around and immediately started making plans for the burial. In his office, he gave me my pick of the best coffins and asked me to bring any amount of money I wished. ‘I could do it for free’, he said, ‘but I don’t want you to bury your father in a coffin that costs you nothing’.
On burial day, he personally carried my father’s body all the way to our village, Ajaawa, in Oyo State. He spent the night. Next morning, he danced in front of the coffin to and from the church and personally laid my dad to rest. He also stayed for the party after, ‘spraying’ money on us all as we all danced to Shina Peters, trying to bury our sorrow.
When I returned to thank him in his Lagos office, he was wearing a beautiful pair of slippers. Black and obviously costly. ‘I like your slippers Uncle’, I said. He immediately removed them and insisted I must take them there and then! I protested long but he wouldn’t budge. If you see me wearing a pair of Italian leather slippers, they are the ones.
He explained to me how life was just fleeting and how we should try our best to avoid unhealthy attachment(s) to anything. You see, having buried so many, rich and poor alike, he had a view to life dat was uncommon & probably wholesome in health. He also agreed to come on our show for the 2nd time setting a record as the only Special Guest to have had that honor.
When it was time to get married, he danced behind me on the engagement day, wearing my colors and yes, sharing money again. Not minding age, he threw himself prostrate beside me and my friends as we ‘begged’ for my wife in the tradition of the land.
He would call me up every now and again, always chuckling. ‘Iyawo mi nko’, he would ask? (how is my wife?) He was in the habit of saying to my family, ‘I love you guys’. I am not sure I ever said d same to him even though I felt it.
And so I woke this rainy day as even the skies mourned and shed tears thinking ‘surely if good deeds meant anything…surely if good deeds mean anything, this was a man who did not deserve to go thus. Surely not in this manner!’
But what do I know? I am just another traveller on this parched tract. Your work and Legacy live after you Uncle Tunji.
I love and will miss you.
In the words of the yoruba people, ‘O ye Olorun bi ko ye Eniyan’. (God understands all mystery).