By Omoluabi Bode Adeyemi
The news of the unexpected and painful passage onto glory of our dearly beloved compatriot, quintessential community leader, diligent Assistant Comptroller General of Customs rtd, social engineer and reliable stalwart of All Progressive Congress, Sir Jimmy Olumudi came as a rude shock and has continued to reverberate and painfully sounds in my ears and mind. The sad event which could be described as the dawn of a dark and unforgettable Thursday 26th June, 2020 is one that has left the entire Okere royal family, Owe people, Okun community, Kogi indigenes and the entire nation sad, perplexed, touched and bereaved.
Sir Jimmy Olumudi, a committed Catholic, loving father, responsive boss and responsible leader was one individual who spent his little above seventy years serving humanity with such unequal humility, zeal and dedication. A retired Assistant Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Sir Olumudi left the footprint of candour, demeanour, integrity and commitment. His uniqueness and outstanding traits are embedded in his humble disposition, benevolent distinctiveness and uncompromising tendency.
Sir Jimmy Olumudi stayed behind at home, nurtured a business he would never need a kobo from, grew people he would never need their help, established social clubs he would never seek assistance from, mentored youths that were never his biological children and helped sustain an egalitarian society he didn’t wait to benefit from.
My first encounter with the iconic figure and fulfilled elder statesman was as a Bulletin Boy at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Kabba, almost three decades ago. He was such a generous serving Customs officer then. Each time he picked the bulletin, the next thing that follows is “keep the change” irrespective of the Naira denomination. His open handedness was not only felt within the church vicinity but in and around it. The fine gentleman was the biggest donor for any church or community project at that time. As a former student union leader, I had cause to interact with him several times for some 20 years ago. One of such unforgettable periods was in the company of Henry Irewole who was at that moment the President of Okun students and coincidentally an officer of the Nigeria Customs and Motunrayo Alamoh, now the popular Òlòwò Sibi presenter on Africa Magic Yoruba. Daddy Olumudi modelled, mentored and encouraged us into the future we are now proud of.
After an eventful national service, Sir Jimmy Olumudi shocked the entire Owe people and his friends when he rejected the luxury of highbrow areas of Abuja, Lagos, London or any part of the world like people of his caliber would gladly do. He instead imbued the act of patriotism and returned home where he established industries such as Jivco Bread, Jivcon Hotels, Jivco Quarry and many more which did not only generate employment opportunities for teeming Kogi youths but opened up our communities for development through commercial activities. Sir Jimmy Olumudi stayed behind at home, nurtured a business he would never need a kobo from, grew people he would never need their help, established social clubs he would never seek assistance from, mentored youths that were never his biological children and helped sustain an egalitarian society he didn’t wait to benefit from.
As a retired Assistant Comptroller General of Customs he ordinarily should always go back to the people he probably trained on the job, secure contracts and favours like others do. This is not the stuff Sir Olumudi is made of. He once openly said ever since he retired from Customs, he never stepped his feet on the soil of Customs again. That was the level of contentment and principles he exhibited. In the community, one will expect a typical Nigerian highly placed and well connected like Sir Olumudi to demonstrate affluence, intimidate and take advantage of his contact to oppress, acquire wealth and also be deep rooted in self inclined political activities. He rather humbled himself, carried himself with every sense of humility and demonstrated very uncommon candour.
It is impossible to pen the words to describe a man who assisted without gloating, a man who gave without pontificating and a man who lived for others. As mortal we are confident that sir Jimmy Olumudi has done his part and now resting at Christ’s feet whom he dedicated his entire life to. We are consoled by his impactful life and immeasurable generosity. We immortalise him in our hearts as we remember his good works. We celebrate rather than mourn, for he came, he saw and he conquered.
Adieu Okèrè lila
Adieu Sir Jimmy Olumudi
Omoluabi is an Abuja-based media entrepreneur