Cover Stories, Interviews

Bukky Ajayi’s last days: ‘She was a phenomenal woman’-Claudius Peter Thomas, second son


Can we meet you?

My name is Akinwade Peter Thomas.

What would you miss most about your late mom?

I would miss everything. She was my mom. Words can’t quantify what I will miss about my mother. She was my best friend, my mom, my sister, my girlfriend and everything.

What would you remember the most about her?

Her smiles, her gesture and all that. Although sometimes she put the silly faces, it was always good to have her around. I am going to miss everything about her. She was just a wonderful woman.

How would you describe her death?

It was a normal process. She couldn’t eat. We had to pass the food through her nose because she was finding it difficult to swallow food.

I would say my mom died happily. She was surrounded by her loved ones. My brother and I were with her. I guess she knew everything was going to be okay because there had always been a strong bond among the three of us, more so my younger brother and our mom. My younger brother lived with my mom all his life because I have been in the UK for the past 30 years. I don’t live here. There had been ties, I have been in regular contact and at times I might not be because of the distance. Not by choice but circumstances beyond control. But I am glad I give glory to the Most High for giving me the opportunity to be here with my mother when she passed away. I was with her when she gave up the ghost.

What happened during her last moment, did she actually wait to eat?

Yes, she wanted to eat. I was just preparing her food when she…

What food was that?

It was pap.

Pap and what?

It’s just pap because she wasn’t chewing anything heavy again, just liquid. I sat with my back to mom, getting the pap ready. It was my younger brother, Kunle that noticed because he was facing her. I was just about turning around to give her the pap and I heard Kunle saying, “Mom, mom.”

Immediately, I was also calling her, “Mom, mom, what’s happening.” And Kunle rushed out to get a doctor but obviously mom was gone

That means she died at home?

Yes, she did.

Any message from her before she departed?

It’s just to love each other, we should keep ourselves together as loving brothers. She only had three lions, I mean, three boys so, she was a lioness.

What would you say you miss most about her?

Her strength.

What legacy did you get from her?

In one word, what I learnt from my mother is compassion.

What can you say about her?

She was a phenomenal woman. She was good at what she did and she did it diligently. She was the best mother for me.

What are the preparations about final celebration of her life?

She laid down everything. We are all disorganized boys in character but she organized everything before she left. Presently, we do not have much to worry about. She said she does not want to be mourned but celebrated.

When did mama get breast cancer?

She had breast cancer back in the 70s, long time ago. A lot of people didn’t know that because my mom was always a happy woman. She always put on a happy face. She was a lioness because for her to have three lions like us, she is indeed a lioness.

You’re also from another father?


How many children do you have?

I have five children.

How old are you?

I am 52. I am a grandfather which made my mom a great grandmother.

What do you do for a living?

I was a social worker. Now, I am songwriter and a musician.

Are you based in Nigeria?

I am like in-between the two places. Like I said, I live in the UK, I am just here in Nigeria to see the situation. I haven’t relocated but who knows what can happen now. My main plan was just to come down and spend at least a year with my mom.

When did you come back?

I actually came back in June this year, to be precise June 19, 2016, because I came to bury my father in April. My father died in London. I brought him back to Nigeria for burial. We buried him in Lagos. He died at 80.


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