Encomiums, yesterday, appeared inexhaustible at the Service of Songs for late entertainment industry lawyer, Efere Ozako, who died on April 18, 2013, of a stress related ailment.
The Shell Hall, MUSON Center, venue of the tributary event, was full to capacity, as friends, family members, entertainers and Barrister colleagues of the deceased, including Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola and his wife, Dame Abimbola, gathered at the ceremony that got the crowd laughing amidst tears.
Given the various tributes that came in for the deceased, it appeared difficult to summaries what Ozako stood for while on earth. His life, as it were was filled with the valuable impacts he had on everyone who crossed his path. Like a mother hen, Ozako was said to have lived his life, fighting for everyone’s right as a lawyer, friend and acquaintant.
Governor Fashola, who revealed how close he was to the deceased, said they not only attended the University of Benin (UNIBEN) together, but that they were also neighbours in Surulere, before he became governor. Fashola said that while dealing with the physical separation, the memories of his times with the deceased will put a smile on his face always.
“This morning when the storm for the rains began to gather, I said to myself, this man is not going to go away quietly… And I am sure that in his own unique way, he has connected with every one of us. You know what; if there is life after death, Efere will live it – that I am sure. And he probably has started to live it. All the lawyers he would meet there, he would probably have started to publish a magazine for them to read. This was a prince of the Niger Delta who made Lagos his home. He was my friend and my brother. Efere was my next door neighbor in Surulere and we were at UNIBEN together. And I remember that I was always running off somewhere and wouldn’t come back until 1am or 2am; from one club to another. And the day I became governor, Efere said: “You see, I told you to let me go out at night; this man has become governor.” The crowd roared with laughed. “I am sure my wife has a lot of stories to tell; the long hours she spent with Efere; it was about people who are faithful to their wives. This was the community in which we lived in Surulere.” The governor said, paused and changed his mood slightly.
“I know this is a very difficult situation to deal with. I think that we are dealing with the physical separation… Efere is not dead. He has just moved on to fulfill a covenant that all of us will fulfill. Yes, we would struggle with this physical separation, but I will remember the very funny times and memories I shared with him, and he will keep a smile on my face. And I know he will on the face of Ann too, who was really his soul mate. She would understand it better and so are his children. Well done my brother. Warri no dey carry last. Move on. God bless you.”
Other speakers after the governor though he had captured everything that the late speaker was. His sister in-law, Bose Gloria Ozako said he protective of her to a fault. She said her husband will never think of cheating or misbehaving to her. “Efere would take the next flight to Warri.”
For Federal Government College Warri Old Students association, he was a rallying point for members. Few weeks before his demise, Efere was said to have donated generously to the widow of a late member and urged others to do the same. To the Bikers Association, he brought innovation to the club
by forming the cruisers club, saying that riding was a bit too fast and risky. To the entertainers, Efere was at the center of some of the successes they enjoyed today as a fighter for performance rights.
Ozako was well known for his workshop series; Wetin Lawyers Dey Do … Sef?; which he began in 2006, through Dtalkshop, an agency he co-run with Kaine Agari, his cousin. The forum was meant to awaken filmmakers and musicians to the possibilities of earning well from their artistic endeavours. Ozako in his life time frowned at the activities of pirates and similar right infringers.
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