With the demise of Olawale Salami, popularly known and referred to as, ‘DON OF ALUTA, and DON OF THE STRUGGLE FOR A BETTER NIGERIA’, Nigeria lost one of her most courageous and patriotic citizens, and the Yoruba nation lost an illustrious son. Olawale was one of the legends of the pro-democracy struggles, known for speaking truth to power and championing the cause of justice and fairness – he remained consistent through many decades of activism till his demise.
Olawale’s belief in justice as a primary condition for ensuring peace inspired his participation in the struggle against military rule and towards the restoration of the annulled June 12 presidential mandate. With the return of civilian rule in 1999, Olawale understood that we had only arrived at a milestone on a journey – the journey of democratizing the Nigerian polity which is still in progress even to this day. He quickly located himself in the new order, choosing to position himself as a public critic and activist for a Nigeria that truly embraces democracy, fairness, equity, and justice.
He found the right channels and platforms to give expression to his agitations – a paradox of sorts continuing his fight for democracy and justice with a democratically elected government in place. He went on to earn for himself the reputation of being one of the most irrepressible voices of conscience and reason, who spoke timely, boldly, and thoughtfully on important national issues.
Unfortunately, the plenipotentiary ideologue, Wale Salami, was involved in an accident that affected one of his legs during his itinerary and had to be flown on operation to Cuba. He survived the operation at the initial stage and teamed up with Comrade Debo Adeniran of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, to add bite to the agitation against corruption which was perceived as Nigeria’s singular most destructive cankerworm, inhibiting progress and rediscovery. He served as the Director of Projects and Programmes at the Humanity Centre and was planning for the second leg of medical operation on the affected leg when he breathed his last, so early on this 9th day of April, 2018, when he was planning for work.
Irrespective of his age, the loss of a loyal colleague in the struggle normally leaves a yawning gap in one’s mind whenever one remembers him. We can only take consolation in the fact that death is the inevitable end of all mortals, without which life would have been so boring, brutish, and in a way, humiliating; hence, we are all born to die.
Today, we at CACOL remember and celebrate you; we would continue to celebrate you, dear Comrade Don! We miss you greatly, especially as none of the troubles imposed on us by the same decadent and short-sighted, political class you left behind has been solved; since we still battle with man-made problems like cashless policy, insecurity, fuel scarcity, etc.
Adieu Comrade Don! The journey continues…