Former member of House of Representatives, Hon Banji Folaranmi, has recalled that he was unconscious for four days after been involved in a ghastly motor accident about a year ago on his way back from Ibadan, where he had gone to witness the court judgment on the case instituted against the Oyo state governor by councils chairmen elected during the administration of now late Abiola Ajimobi.
It was a near-death experience for him, one he never had previously, he was written off as dead but a courageous fighter he is, he survived the ordeal after spending weeks in the hospital.
Hon Folaranmi, a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Oyo state, and who represented Surulere/Ogo-Oluwa federal constituency between 1999 and 2003 in the National Assembly, last September 20, therefore held a thanksgiving service and rolled out the drums to celebrate God’s mercy over his life.
The thanksgiving service held at First Baptist Church, Oko, was attended by political bigwigs, business tycoons and traditional rulers including Mr. Femi Babalola (chairman, Jogor Centre, Ibadan), Chief Bayo Bankole (a former commissioner in Oyo state), Dr. Saka Balogun (a former presidential liaison officer), Elder Mathew Abioye (former member Oyo state House of Assembly) and Prof Oluwole Oyewole (a don at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife).
Also at the occasion were councils’ caretaker chairmen some of whom are Isaiah Adegbite (Surulere local government); Moroof Gbadamosi (Surulere Southwest LCDA); Oluwaseunn Ojo (Ogo-Oluwa local government); Sarafa Olatunji Muhammed (Surulere Northwest LCDA); Oluwaseun Aderemi (Ogbomoso Central LCDA) and Lukman Majekobaje (Oriire local government).
Among the traditional rulers are Oba Moses Olayiwola Ajiboye, Aresa of Iresaapa; Oba Adebayo Adedeji, Alarolu of Arolu; Iba Abogunde, Oba Tajudeen Aminu; Chief Razak Salawu, Aro of Okoland; and Chief Lasisi Adebayo, Balogun of Okoland.
The service featured prominently praises to God, sermon, ministrations by the choir and testimonies.
Hon Folaranmi during the service also presented chairs to the church while the council chairmen at the occasion also made promise of similar donations.
In his testimony, the celebrant, who holds four traditional titles – Bobaleke of Ede, Bobajiro of Ipasa, Jagunmolu of Okoland and Otun Bobagunwa of Ilara Epe Lagos state – attributed his survival in the ghastly accident to God adding that the incident was a further proof to him that it is vital to have people around one.
“If not for the mercy (of God), I would have been late. The incident further proved to me that people around one is more valuable than clothes. I thank God, I thank everyone, all those who supported me.”
He thanked the Oyo state governor Engineer Seyi Makinde for what he described as his unquantifiable support during his travail just as he mentioned Prince Wahab Gbadamosi, whom he disclosed provided lots of money for his treatment, “he was to fly me out of the country for further treatment but the cocid-19 pandemic restrictions came and sadly he died shortly after, he passed on before I came out of the hospital,” while asking the congregation to rise for a minute silence in honour of the departed.
The event shifted to his residence in Oko, where guests were treated to sumptuous meals and exotic drinks.
The Insight spoke with him as the party wore on: “Congratulations on the success of today’s programme, we could see it is attended by several people from all over the country, how were you able to notch this sir?”
In response, he stated, “I have been making names over the years and I am not a stranger in this game I am involved in, the game of politics. I have been there for long, right from my school days, it has been like that.”
He was further asked, “Can you share with us how the accident happened, where you were going or coming from, how you survived etc?”
He retorted, “I was on my way coming from Ibadan, you know that was the day the court gave judgment on caretaker chairmen, so, it just happened, the only thing I could remember was that we left Ibadan as early as 4pm and at the spot of the accident, no pothole, the road was wide …”
“Was it a lone accident?” The Insight interjected.
And he said, “No head-on collision with another vehicle, and I was at fault, but I don’t know how it happened. I drove and I didn’t drink; in fact people were waiting for us at home, arrangements had been made at home, so, we were rushing to reach home to meet with our people, but all I know is that the accident was not ordinary. That is important because…”
“Now, according to what you said in the church, you were unconscious for four days, did you see anything during that period?”
His submission is scary, “I was in coma for four days. I saw heaven. I saw many dead people, we were interacting, we were enjoying ourselves, all of a sudden, they were just attacking me that I should leave their midst.”
Folaranmi reiterated the role played by Governor Makinde affirming, “he played vital role,” just as he mourned his benefactor, the late Prince Wahab, “Yes, Wahab, he was chief media officer for Inland Revenue, he just died like that. He sent a lot of money for my treatment and it was on my mind that he would be my first port of call after I might have been discharged but before I was discharged he died.”
The Insight was curious as to how long he spent in the hospital and he disclosed, “Almost two months.”
“Were you scared of death after you regained consciousness?” He was next asked, “No, I was not scared; prior that time I had had premonition of death, about a week to the accident, I called some of my children and my wife and in fact some of my political admirers and I showed them the spot where I am to be buried if I died (pointing to the spot in his compound).”
He was finally asked, “Did you ever have such near death experience before?”
“No, although I have been involved in so many accidents before,” he recounted.
The programme wore on even as the musician who manned the bandstand continued to dish out sweet tunes and rhythms.