THE remains of Isaac Durojaiye a.k.a Otunba Ghadaffi, who pioneered mobile toilet in Nigeria is already in the morgue and burial plans are already at top gear. Otunba Ghadaffi passed on in a private clinic, The Valley Clinic, Ojodu, Lagos, on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, around 3 p.m after a short battle with diabetes. He is survived by an aged mother, wife, children and siblings.
ENCOMIUM Weekly was at DMT Mobile Toilet head office on KM 7 Lagos/Ibadan Expressway on Wednesday, March 21, 2012. We had a chat with the top management of the organization about the life and times of the great entrepreneur.
What his staffers will miss about him
“Words cannot describe Otunba Ghadaffi. He was a man of many parts. He was always thinking ahead, he even called us to suggest how to move the company forward. He had a great vision and passion for this business. I will miss his business focus and business sense. I will also miss his sense of humour on every issue, he creates humour of every situation.”
FALORE OLAYINKA, Manager for Evacuation
“His death is so painful, he was a jovial person. He would ask after you, talk to you when necessary. I will miss him.”
BAMIGBOYE MICHAEL, Manager Technical Department
“The short time I have known him, he was a very funny man, down to earth. If you did something he didn’t like, he would tell you to your face, he never hides his feelings. He was a very kind man, we will all miss him.”
RICHARD OJUBERI, Manager in charge of Operations
“He carried people along, we will all miss him. But we will make sure we keep his vision alive. We will miss him a lot.”
CHRIS EGBOLO, Marketing Manager
“Otunba Ghadaffi was a great man, a great entrepreneur. In the whole of West Africa, he was the pioneer of mobile toilet. It’s unfortunate we lost him early. The legacy he left behind will not die. His dreams will come to pass.”
TOSIN AGBETUSIN, younger brother
When did you hear about his death?
I heard it the same day he died. That was on Tuesday. I got a call from the office around 3.50 p.m. I had to rush to the hospital.
When last did you see him?
We were together on Sunday. He was in my house at about 12 noon till 7 p.m. We were chatting, my wife was also at home. We had a lovely Sunday together in my house. We talked about a lot of things.
How will you describe him?
He was a wonderful person, someone you could always approach. He was down to earth, he treated everybody equally no matter your background or who you are. He touched people’s lives. He was always willing to help people as much as he could.
What will happen to his business?
The business will keep on moving. There is already plan by the board of directors, the shareholders are also involved just to make sure that DMT Toilet and the dream Otunba stood for and the dreams he pursued will never die. We will do everything to make sure the dream does not die.
There are conflicting reports as to what caused his death, can you clear the air about it?
Really, he was sick. Few days to his death, he drove to my house and he also drove to the hospital the day he died. Nobody knew it was coming. For someone that drove to the hospital and died few hours later, you wouldn’t have known what was wrong with him. You wouldn’t even know that whatever was wrong with him will even kill him. It is difficult to know when the time is ripe.
What about his parents?
Yes, our mother is alive. Our dad is late. He has four siblings alive.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Oluwatosin Agbetusin, I work in the telecoms industry. I am a programme manager to one of the leading telecoms company in Nigeria.
Caje Oletoro, Managing Director, DMT Mobile Toilet
Accept our condolence sir.
Thank you, this is not the right time. My mother is 85 years now, even if she dies now, it is still not the right time.
How did it actually happen?
He was down with diabetes though he was on top of it but he suddenly relapsed, he was rushed to the hospital at about 3 p.m on Tuesday, he went to be with the Lord the same day.
How did you receive the news?
He was in the hospital with his P.A, though we were chatting. I spoke with him at about 3 p.m, they knew something was going to happen. I was asked to come over to the hospital. The P.A called me, it was just about ten minutes drive but by the time I got there, he was no more.
Which hospital was that?
The Valley Clinic, Ojodu, Lagos.
How will you describe him?
He was the founder of this business, he pioneered it. His contribution has been very tremendous and valuable, his sudden death will leave a gap in the industry but we will try and bridge it as much as we can.
What will you miss about him?
I will miss his friendliness, he was down to earth. He was somebody you could approach, he was quite accessible. Though he had his temper, but if you knew him, you will get along any day.
What was the best kept secret between both of you?
The best kept secret was that we could discuss anything and there are no boundaries.
When was the last time you saw him?
I saw him on Monday. He was looking quite pale on Monday, he tried to be alone in his office, he was here till about 5.16 p.m. When he was leaving, he came here to tell me he was leaving. I told him that he should please take care of himself. When I got a call that he was taken to the hospital on Monday night, I wasn’t surprised, I was like he will get over it. I just believed he will get over it.
What are his unfulfilled dreams?
His major unfulfilled dream was our bio-gas project, the conversion of waste to gas for electricity. That project was big, it is like the climax of our business because what we do now is to pick up waste and dispose them in government approved jetties. But we wanted to go further than that by converting it to electricity. It could have made another pioneering statement in that industry. We could have hired more people, reduce unemployment. We would have been able to supply electricity. The board is going to meet officially in a couple of days to decide how things will go in the company.
What will happen to his business now that he is gone?
His dream will survive him, the business will continue as usual.
How many years have you been with him?
I have been here for three years but I have known him for 27 years. We met in England.
How will you describe him generally?
He was an easy going person, he was always ready to reach out to people. He was a philanthropist, he was always willing to do something new. He was always willing to tread where others are not willing.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, March 27, 2012