On Oct 1, 2017, I aged with grace and was extremely grateful to the Almighty God for His mercies and preservations over my life and over my career too. As my usual practice is during my birthday, I took time off to reflect on my new age and over my career. While reminiscing on my failures and regrets, my feats and challenges and trusting God for grace to become a better me as I age, I took time to check my face book page and was excited to read messages posted by friends, colleagues and family. My excitement was however cut short by my brother from another mother, Chris Kehinde Nwandu, of CkN News, who startled me with his post on face book of the death of Master Kayikunmi kayode Ajulo ,the only son of human right lawyer,Dr kayode Olukayode Ajulo in a tragic road traffic crash which occurred on 30th September, 2017 in Abuja.
The sad news brought to my memory another tragic event which occurred on December 23, 2015 which I wrote about on this same column. As I wrote then, I was busy monitoring Commands under my Zone in Abuja, comprising the Federal Capital Territory and Niger State when I arrived Yangoji Command along the Abuja-Lokoja highway and was informed of a crash involving a family. The officer on ground quickly turned and pointed at a tall black man who should be in his late forties or fifty by name Wale Edwards (not real name).After pleasantries, I expressed my condolence and solemnly asked him how the road traffic crash happened.
He was quiet for few seconds and then confessed to me and said, ‘’sir, I killed my own daughter, my Jewel. It was my entire fault. She could have been alive today if I had insisted that she buckle up at the rear just like her mother and I did in the front seat’’. His self confession hit me real deep beneath my cord. I barely managed to hold tears rolling down my cheek for fear that I might further break him down.
I do not have a daughter but I do have sons who I love dearly with my whole life just like every parent .I know the pain of losing a loved one; like my late parents and so I know what it feels like to lose a loved one; worse of through your own fault.
I listened with apt attention as he went on explaining how they set out on a journey to Ekiti State from where they were billed to travel to Lagos for a United Kingdom Visa. But every of that dream was cut short along this busy corridor where as they were driving at a speed he couldn’t tell, there was a tyre burst and the car somersaulted severally and threw his pearl off .When the car finally came to a stop, he came out and rushed to his daughter; Pamela who had sustained severe head injuries and died immediately.
Although, he continued his journey after, it was without his ten year old daughter who from our few minutes discussion, he cherishes and loves dearly. The second leg of the journey was done with him seated as a passenger as he was too heartbroken to drive. As they set out in vehicle driven by his friend’s driver, all my thoughts were on the trauma and pain and regrets he will go though for years. How does a father forgive himself for causing the death of his lovely daughter?
But as I ponder on this tragedy and the event of 30th September whose details I still do not have, the question I keep asking is why parents or guardians toy with the safety and life of their wards? Why do parents drive above the speed limit even when they have precious family members with them? I say so because I know that Pamela could have been alive maybe with some bruises or fractures if only the speed at which the vehicle was going was common sense speed based on the high traffic volume, and the fact that every family member was in that vehicle? I hope that other parents who read though this piece will pause and ponder on how safety conscious they truly are especially with respect to their children. They should equally ask themselves why they play lip service to the use of seat belt by both the front and rear seat passenger, including the use of child restraints for children below twelve years.
The case of the young Kayode who has since been committed to mother earth is a bit sketchy for me. I am yet to find the strength to even confirm the details. Despite this, I believe that as we have entered the last quarter of the year, it is imperative for me to again refresh our minds on the importance of strapping our children in keeping with provisions of Section 126(1)(2) of the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 which makes it mandatory for all occupants of a vehicle to use a seatbelt for their safety? Do you know that this provision covers children also? I know that seat usage has caught up with a handful of motorist. Unfortunately, some still do not see any sense in protecting their children while driving by strapping them. Some lap them. Others leave them unattended in moving vehicles.