With teary eyes, 27-year-old Toyin Olaofe looked down and said a prayer for her father, perhaps the umpteenth one in the last 48 hours. She looked lost, defeated and disorientated as she darted her eyes in every direction, unsure of what to say or how to begin.
Toyin is the eldest daughter of Olaofe Abolarin, a 49-year-old night security guard who committed suicide at the Ekiti State Secretariat, Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday night. She sniffed and sighed from grief of her terrible loss but at the same time, she couldn’t stop herself from asking – ‘why did you do it, daddy?’ Toyin, who noted that her father hated indebtedness with a passion, however, said she would never have thought he could take his life over the situation in which he had found himself before his death.
The man, who until his death, was an employee of the Ekiti State Scholarship Board, was said to have complained to his sister-in-law and confidant, Mrs. Elizabeth Babalola, at about 4.30pm on Tuesday that he was fed up with life and could look for a ‘nasty’ way out.
According to Babalola, Abolarin had complained of his inability to renew his house rent, meet financial obligations to his family and his indebtedness to the government through housing and car loans.
But still, Abolarin’s family members are still at a loss for the reason why their loved one took his life, noting that he has a huge harvest of yams and cassava yearly, in addition to being a civil servant and a commercial motorcycle operator.
Following his comment that he could do something ‘nasty,’ Babalola said she had tried to encourage him to adopt a positive outlook on life.
“I tried to persuade him not to resort to anything nasty. I told him life is full of ups and downs and that he should just endure, but I never knew he would end it this way,” she had said.
Incidentally, Abolarin had called his daughter, Toyin, at about the time Babalola was encouraging him and the daughter had promised to give him some money.
According to Toyin, her father had said he was in dire need of money to pay his rent and make preparations for his in-laws’ event taking place in their Igogo-Ekiti hometown. Toyin said that she promised to send N10,000 to her father the following morning to pay part of his N24,000 rent.
“But later, when mummy called me, she said my dad was saying some untoward things and making some threats over money issue. I told her that I had promised to send money to him the following morning (Wednesday), but he never waited for the money.
“That morning (Wednesday), I made several attempts to transfer the N10,000 to his bank account from my phone but the transaction was not successful. So I thought I would transfer the money later, not knowing the sad incident had already occurred.
“So, while at work that (Wednesday) morning, I received a phone call that my dad was engaged in a fight with somebody at his place of work and that I should take permission and rush down to mediate. I said that was strange as my father was an easy-going man and I had never seen him fighting with anybody.
“My boss could hear as the caller was insisting I should take permission and come urgently. When the caller now spoke with my boss, I thought she told her what happened, following which my boss allowed me to leave. My boss also decided to follow me to my father’s workplace.
“Lately, he had been complaining about the debts he incurred while setting up a business for my younger brother who had just completed apprenticeship; his rent and a forthcoming social event being organised by his wife’s family.
“But we believed that the hard time would not last, especially as he was a hard-working man – civil servant, commercial motorcyclist and yam/cassava farmer. His decision to take his life remains a mystery.
“Now that it has happened, we are faced with how to take care of my siblings who are in school. This is an area my dad never joked with while he was alive. We will appreciate support from the state government and well-meaning individuals for the family,” a tearful Toyin, an assistant bursar in a private school, said.
Her younger brother, 22-year-old Sunday, who described the late Abolarin as a caring father and loving husband, said his late dad hated seeing his family suffering and was ever “capable of doing nasty thing” to prevent a ‘tough situation’ for them.
He said, “There was a time when he attempted to jump into a stream because of hard times; that happened about 15 years ago at Igogo-Ekiti. It took the intervention of people who rushed after him to prevent him from taking his life then.
“Although, there had been no repeat of such since then until now, we kept watching him closely. He knew he could not do such a thing at home because my mum would prevent it. That was the reason he went to do it at work. The action dazed me and the rest of the family,” Sunday said.
Elder brother to the deceased and the Onigemo of Igogo-Ekiti, Chief Michael Abolarin, while reflecting on the life and times of his late younger brother, said, “God understands. He is dead now, I cannot go into the circumstances of his death, but he was not suffering. He would not suffer even if he didn’t get salary for one year. He was a hard-working man.”
Abolarin’s neighbour at his rented apartment around Eyemote Comprehensive High School, Iyin-Ekiti, Matthew Esan, described the deceased as a “good, easy-going and peace-loving neighbour; adding that his death was saddening.
His landlord, Ojo Ayanbola, who said he was shocked to by the news of Abolarinwa’s demise and the manner of death, said, “The family has been residing here for three years and we have had no problem with them so far. In fact, I helped the son with his job and helped him to save his money to acquire equipment for his business.”
Ayanbola, who expressed shock that Abolarin’s failure to pay his rent was identified one of the reasons why he took his life, said, “I am surprised as we never had any cause to disagree on it. His rent would have been due for renewal on November 30. The rent for his apartment is N24,000 annually and he had the privilege of paying it three times (N8,000 in four months) to make it easier for him.
“He came to me on Sunday and discussed his problems, looking sober. He said that after spending about N300,000 on his son that recently concluded his apprenticeship, hse was struggling to pay house rent and meet some obligations to his in-laws.
“I advised him to calm down and think less of the house rent as I wouldn’t bother him. I was surprised when I heard he committed suicide. He was hard-working.”