IT was one year last week since the demise of activist, lawyer and politician Bamdele Aturu at the young age of 49. Whilst it was easy for me those days to yearly write about one of my godfathers, late Air Commodore Anthony Ikazoboh when he was murdered in 1999, it has not been easy for me to write any tribute about late Bamidele Aturu for the singular reason that has to do with Yoruba tradition on the age difference between the living and the dead, vis-a vis tribute, eulogy or dirge.
I knew Bamidele Francis Aturu in 1989 when he refused to shake hands with the then Military Governor of Niger State, Colonel Lawan Gwadabe at the 1989 passing out parade for youth corpers. Though I was with the now rested Prime People magazine then, our relationship extended beyond journalism as we stayed in touch on personal matters especially after graduating in law from Obafemi Awolowo University whereby.
When at the advent of this political dispensation in 1999 I started my own publication, The Session newspaper, late Bamidele Aturu agreed to be our counsel at no cost nor protocol. At the beginning of the problem between Ikoyi Club and I in 2008, the duo of Mrs. Chrisa Anyanwu and Maria Asiaviachi – Ozah two lawyers in his chambers who wrote my letter of appeal to the Club with my name thought as it was reasoned then that writing on his letter head could be interpreted to be spoiling for a fight .
Even when I took the brief to another lawyer that same 2008 only to return it back to his chambers in 2013, late Bamidele Aturu neither turned me back at that dire time of my need nor capitalised on my predicament rather, he went on to conduct research for me to get justice, and his defence of my matter really brought hope. And when I was been harassed, late Bamidele Aturu was there for me.
Entering the sitting room of the Bamidele Aturus house in Egbeda, Ikeja is a big family photograph of himself, Adebimpe, his physiotherapist wife and five children staring at you.
Bamidele Aturu was a caring, loving and Christian lawyer, no wonder the Ikeja NBA said his lying in state was the first time the NBA even did it for any late member.
A magnanimous man who made sure he helped built a Redeemed Church for his Lord before building his own house at Egbeda. No lawyer his status handled more pro bono (free cases) case like he did. He was a cheerful giver/supporter and only late Chief Gani Fawehinmi comes close in terms of social justice for the less privileged and the oppressed.
As we remember him today, one hopes that some of us his friends, colleagues, brethren and beneficiaries would find time for his lovely wife, Adebimpe, who was suddenly thrown into widowhood that early morning when her husband was preparing to take a flight to Uyo and the cold hands of death suddenly took him, his children, his Akure based father and mother and more especially his chambers because these were all he lived for.
Gbadesire, a journalist, writes from Lagos