I ran into Olayide Akanni last week while catching the Number 8 bus in Geneva. Most of you reading this blog will know that Layide is the acting Executive Director of the Journalists against AIDS in Nigeria (JAAIDS). We went for dinner in Geneva..and inevitably ended the evening talking about my dear friend, her former boss…Omololu Falobi, a man whose ideas were well ahead of his time, founder of JAAIDS. It was 2 days to the day…2 years on when
we lost Omololu to yet unknown assassins on the streets of Lagos on the 5th of October 2006.
Do you think it has stopped since then?
…shortly after Omololu, Godwin Agbroko Agbroko, editorial board chairman of ThisDay, was found shot to death in his car in Lagos and just in August 2008, Mr. Abayomi Ogundeji also of Thisday who was shot dead in his car. Reading through these three stories …you really dont have to be Gil Grimson of CSI to think of what we think. …but as we say in Naija” God deh”!
We missed Mexico this year…The International Conferences on AIDS always attracts a large Nigerian contingent. This is certainly not unrelated to the role of Journalists against AIDS in Nigeria have played in shaping the national response. I make bold to say that no one involved in the national response to HIV/AIDS in Nigeria over the past decade has not been influenced by JAAIDs and by its erstwhile indefatigable leader Omololu Falobi. It was in Mexico, 3 months to his death that we spent our last days together…trying hard to put our country on the map.
I remember when we asked Omo…how come he left his journalistic profession to join our public health arena…today I wonder what he would think of the blog we write, encroaching on a terrain that was herethereto not accessible to non-professionals.
How much the world has changed….but one man saw it well ahead of the rest of us.
Omololu saw the commonalities long before our time…
Rest in peace my brother
…and for the rest of us..the struggle continues…
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead