Olatunbosun Iyiola Onigbinde: We will keep chasing

Oluseun Onigbinde
4 min readMay 14, 2024

“To give and give where nought will be received.

To serve with honour wherever one can

To leave a people blessed for having lived

This is the final duty of man” — Jude “MI” Abaga

I usually stood in the corridor of our three-bedroom apartment, sandwiched between two houses with a tall array of beer bottles. I had dressed up for work, with a nearly ironed shirt and dangling tie, but I had no transport fare to work—precisely 120 naira, N50 to Fadeyi and the N70 BRT bus to Marina. Once Seye—my younger brother — appeared with a smile tucked between the maze of Star bottles, it was satisfaction. Seye was lucky to meet our father, who lived across Ikorodu Road, specifically Onipan. And it was just another morning; Seye had to wake up early to catch him by 6:45 am, before he left for work. All we needed was N1,000 — N500 divided equally between us, and I was off to work. I worked for a bank for two years, unpromoted and frustrated, yet my father had no judgment to offer but just unceasing fatherly love.

Today, while I played my ritual song during his annual remembrance — Whole Heart (Hold Me Now) by Hillsong — I cried and remained thankful for the gift of my father — Baami Olatunbosun Iyiola Onigbinde. I don’t think I have met anyone more kind, generous, or exuded grace than him. He truly loved me because he showed it in duty, sacrifice, and responsibility. He was just selfless and relentless in being helpful to anyone that he met. When I left First Bank to start BudgIT, he accepted the leap of faith and motivated me to keep going. He even encouraged people to join BudgIT, and I asked him how I would pay them. He just knew it would work out. His faith, belief, and absolute trust in my abilities were not just spoken but delivered in action.

As I wrote on November 4, 2014, “The grief does not end because a day like this brings back all that could have been. My father taught me two quick things ( I will figure out the rest later) responsibility and sacrifice. To what one expected him to do as a father, he did not stumble nor give excuses. He stood when he was supposed to stand and gave his best to me and his family with all life offered him.”

I remember how he traveled by road to Abuja, specifically Bwari, to change my Jamb course from Petroleum Engineering to Electrical/Electronics Engineering after being highly uncertain about my career path. He was firmly there when I was arrested in Marina for taking pictures of ships that I wanted to add to a journal publication. He was always there while I waited in Assurance Bank at 4:58 pm on a Friday for the weekly stipend while at the university. Always. He never failed.

The only time my dad seriously chastised me in my adult life was when his sister — Iya Oyo — died. He felt that I did not take the entire program seriously, nor did I even show interest in attending, nor did I even chip in to support him. It was an expectation of responsibility. A reminder that this is who we are — to be for those who belong to us with thoughts and deeds. I will never forget him because he always showed up, whether in surplus or scarcity. He insisted on paying for the last meal we—Seye, Damen, and myself — had. I will keep chasing this record, hoping to be better than he was. He was not perfect, but if you put forward many people who walked his path, you will hardly find anyone he didn’t touch with his affection and sense of responsibility.

Even if we build the tallest buildings in his name, Olatunbosun Iyiola Onigbinde will forever remain in the most important place: our hearts. I am thankful to God for the gift of my father and grateful for the headstart that he offered me at every phase of his life — either in the early days of hills while he worked at Michelin, in the six valley years without a job, or in twelve plateau years at Milan Industries. May his memories—which still bring back floods of tears and gratitude— remain blessed.

Baami, it has been ten years since you departed this world. We are still here, thriving in multiples, and the entire family misses you. It has never been the same with you, but we are always grateful for your short but impactful life. May your soul rest in peace.

We will continue pursuing his duty, grace, and selflessness values. The standard is very high, but we will keep chasing it relentlessly. I will make it a duty to remind everyone whom you chose as your family.

Olatunbosun Iyiola Onigbinde, November 4, 1957 — May 14, 2014

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Oluseun Onigbinde

God's Unfinished Sketch. Policy & Data Wonk. BudgIT Lead. Ashoka, Aspen Voices & Knight Innovation Fellow