Because of trying to do several things simultaneously these past few days, I have not been able to catch up with what’s going on on my frequently visited social media platforms such as the Tinubu Presidential Forum-Diaspora (TPF) Diaspora.
It was when I called Alhaji Tunji Quadri, the convener of the support group in Chicago, United States a few minutes ago for a matter of mutual importance that the shocking news of the death of Dr. Christian Yemi Akiwowo was broken to me.
What a sad loss to the Nigerian community, most especially the Yoruba community in the Chicagoland area because of the fact that the late Dr. Akiwowo was, first and foremost, a Yoruba before being a Nigerian. And you could feel and almost touch his ‘Yorubaness’ in all he did and said. He wore his ‘Yorubaness’ like a badge of honor. It was his very essence.
“Dr. Christian,” as I fondly called him, was an “omoluwabi” personified and an erudite scholar to boot.
I will forever remember Dr. Akiwowo, just as the memories of Dr. Nurudeen Olowopopo (another Nigerian community leader in the Chicagoland area can never be erased from my consciousness), not because of his superlative and selfless contributions to the growth of the Nigerian community in the Chicagoland area, but how he impacted my life when I least expected.
Dr. Akiwowo called me one day (a weekday) to ask if I could see him at my earliest convenience. The following Sunday I arrived at his house in the south suburb in the evening. After eating dinner, served by Iya ‘Beji, his wife, and drinking my favorite Guinness Stout and chatting with the couple, Dr. Akiwowo handed me a $2000 check (cheque) with my name on it.
“What’s this for Doc?” I inquired.
“It’s for you, Femi,” he replied.
It’s important to say here that I had rested “The African Voice,” my newspaper publication for the Chicago African community to start “Esteem International,” a so-called “soft sell” magazine in the mold of the Ovation Magazine, thinking I could make so much money in a relatively short period. But I soon found out that it wasn’t easy to be a Dele Momodu of the United States.
“Femi, my wife and I discussed you, your principle for hard work, and your new magazine. It has (the magazine) potential. But we know you are struggling. That money is our way of supporting your new endeavor,” Dr. Akiwowo said matter-of-factly.
My jaw dropped. I was dazed. I thought I was dreaming.
I didn’t know what else to say than to thank him and Iya ‘Beji. I finished my drink and left.
On the way back to my north-side apartment, I couldn’t but help asking myself different questions that I still couldn’t answer to this day. But this couple didn’t have to do this, I told myself.
It is simply not very common, not in the United States, to see someone that not only appreciated your hard work but puts himself in your shoes and concludes you needed a helping hand. And went ahead to do just that.
Dr. Akiwowo, just as you showed mercy on me on that faithful day, goodness and mercy will continue to follow Iya ‘Beji and the children you left behind for the rest of their lives.
You lived an impactful life. You ran the most outstanding race. I will forever be grateful to the Almighty that our paths crossed.
Rest on Dr. Christian!
Thursday, August 17, 2023.

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