I finally saw Debo

I finally saw Debo.
I was lying on a bed or couch.
I heard him first as usual 🙂
I could see through a door way to where he had stopped to admire and question someone who was repainting a door.
Then he came and jumped on the couch next to me
“Egbon kilon shele?” (bro, what is going on?). “An old man (and the nurses?) were whispering something “Ki won ma jeki ohun gbo” (not to let Debo hear whatever it was).
I asked him “nibo lo wa?” (Where are you?).
“Hospital”. He answered.
He was still expectantly looking at me for an answer to his initial question.
I couldn’t answer him. So instead I started crying, and cried myself awake.

(I remember some half-serious conversation after he died where ghosts and so on came up. I remember telling whoever it was I wouldn’t mind if Debo comes “visiting”. There’s no way such a visit would be anything but positive).

Eulogy for Debo

Good morning. I am Tunde, Debo’s cousin.

Thank you for your presence here physically or via zoom today. We gather to recognize this painful reality, to remember Debo’s joyful spirit, to reaffirm our beliefs, and to release Debo’s spirit into the arms of our Heavenly Father.

I pray that God comfort all of us at this time and in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

It is impossible to do justice to the person Debo was with mere words. Debo was the best of us. No mean bone in his body. Always bubbly and ready to go. Never a dull moment with him. He will party with people, and party by himself. He liked music and he is always playing some artist’s album or another. You can expect him to ask if you have heard some new track by one artist or another. I would tell him regularly, that if we could find a way to bottle that spark he had inside him for resale, we would be billionaires.

I looked briefly through the pictures in his Facebook profile, as well as the comments on the remembrance page put up by Bayo on the Internet, and the theme is similar – the pictures and comments describe a person that was caring, easy to talk to, and unforgettable. Ever the life of the party.

“Egbon e je ka jade” was his refrain on Fridays in particular. And while facing his own challenges he was concerned about how others were doing.

“Egbon, you can’t spend your birthday alone o. Where’s the party?”

“Egbon, you can’t be drinking instant coffee. You can get a cheap coffee maker at Walmart.” He took off, and arrived later with a coffee maker, coffee grounds, and paper filters. I knew he demonstrated similar care for all his friends and family. If he can assist or solve a problem, he was all action. Even if he can’t directly help, he’s already thinking of someone he can link you up with that may be able to help. Debo had contacts in every zip code.

Debo praised people and gave compliments sincerely. His admiration of friends and family and their achievements in their professional and personal lives was genuine. He spoke glowingly of people such as Akin, Dare, and Patrick to name a few.

Debo made friends everywhere. He saw the good in people, and believed in you even when you didn’t believe in yourself. You can’t help but like Debo. He gave you no choice in the matter. Family was important to him, and work colleagues and casual acquaintances became his lifelong friends. He worked hard and played hard. He was always present in the moment wherever he was and he made his presence known in a way that drew people to him.

He found his calling in supply chain management and logistics. He enjoyed his job and delivered results. SAP was his bread and butter. He had anecdotal stories from his vast work experience especially his days in BAT. Debo had very strong opinions on everything. He loved to debate politics.

Debo was not everything to everyone. Instead Debo was a few important things to everyone. He was loyal, he was dependable, he was caring, he was fun. Debo loved, and was and is loved.

He made an impact everywhere he went and on everyone he met. He spent about a month in Utah late 2019 early 2020. People that met him only a couple of times during that month still remember him to this day.

I feel I need to mention some names. I apologize because I know I am going to leave out names I should mention, so please forgive me. But looking at the faces here and some not present: Dare, Patrick, Akin, Leye, Jumai, Banqee, Bayo, Dapo, Victor, Tunji, Ben, Simi and Dami, Uduak, Lola, Femi, Damola, Tony, Samuel, Daplosyne, Michael, Laide, the Adegokes , the Odumosus, the Adelekes, the Itayemis, the list is endless. Everyone here and on zoom was important to him. Know that he held you all in a special place in his heart.

Edward J. Stieglitz said: “It is not the years in your life that count. It Is the life in your years”. Debo packed a lot of living into his 41 years. But he also had a lot more he wanted to do. We had plans. He had plans. He wanted to get married. He wanted kids. He wanted all that was possible by hardwork, and a little bit of luck. He wanted his own unique version of the American dream, a hybrid Nigerian-American dream because Nigeria was home as well, and because Debo was unique, Debo was in a category all his own. Debo was ever optimistic. He was a naturally happy person. Every time we reminisce about him, some new adventure we had comes into mind.

While we necessarily mourn his passing, I am sure he wants us to celebrate his life, and find as much happiness as possible in remembering those fun times we had with him.

Rest on Debo, Mr Debo, Debasco, Lafog, Lafogido, Adeborich, the prince. Till we meet again.