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Tribute to Disu 5: ‘My father, my hero’ – Ibrahim Babatunde Disu

The 8th day fidau of Mr. Tajudeen Ajibola Babatunde Disu (October 18, 1951 – October 12, 2015) on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, at Landmark Events Centre, Victoria Island (Lagos) attracted family, friends, associates and well-wishers.

For the departed boss of Lagos Free Trade Zone, a cascade of eulogies flowed his way.

And from his wife, children and in-laws, and the Lagos State governor (Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode), moving tributes echoed…


My father was a proud African, proud Nigerian, proud Lagosian, proud Yoruba man, visionary and true leader, and I had the privilege to be his son.


There is a maxim that says actions speaks louder than words, and anyone who knew my father or ever had the privilege to see him in action heard him roar louder than the mightiest lion. His actions in life speak volumes about his passion, integrity, compassion, and generosity. My father was always quick to lend a helping hand to anyone in need, be it his money or time and not just his family, but strangers he was just meeting for the first time expecting nothing in return. He took joy seeing his fellow man succeed and his reward was simply in doing the right thing.

When he turned 50 I was asked to give a speech at his birthday party and I remember talking about him. I was prepared to deal with anything life threw my way because of the advise he had given me and the lessons I had learned from watching him, but little did I know then he was just getting started because what he then proceeded to show me in the next 13 years eclipsed what he had done in the previous 17 years.

In today’s world where it is easy for children to idolize celebrities, sports icons and other outside influences, my father has always been my idol.

I remember being about seven years old and arguing with some of my friends that my father could do anything I wanted because even at that age he was larger than life to me and there was nothing he couldn’t do. I want to emulate him in every way so much so that before I was done with primary school I was convinced I wanted to be a banker simply because he was one. But he encouraged me to find my own path and follow my own passion. His presence alone was enough to put me in a good mood. They say when you love someone they can bring you the greatest joy, anger and sorrow. Well , no one could get me upset like my dad and the very next second he would make me the happiest person alive, and I’ve never had much cause to be sad till the loss of my dad.

My father was blessed with an abundance of energy and charm, it wasn’t possible for him to go to a party or met new people without leaving a positive impression on them. All my friends were always surprised when they found out how old he was, always saying he looked and acted younger than he was.

He was comfortable relating with anyone regardless of what religion, ethnicity, nationality, age or socio-economic background they came from. At the age of 63 my father could still out party any 20 year old.

And he used all this energy passionately living life to the fullest and following a noble path struggling to improve the lives of people around him.

My father was never one to shy away from a cause especially if it was a good cause, no matter how difficult it was or the cost.  I remember him once saying he would send his children out to die if it was for a worthwhile cause. He was a true leader, always in the trenches with his men and leading from the front. He lived and died for his beliefs. He taught me a lot in life and even in death he continues to teach me what it means to be a man and how to lead a good life.

To put it in a nutshell, my dad is amazing. Like a bottle of wine, he got better with age. He was simply a classic, and classics never fade. They remain with us forever inspiring generation after generation, gone but never forgotten.

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