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Shock as Dola begins final journey October 21

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The media and communication industry was recently thrown into mourning mood over the sudden death of MTN Events and Sponsorship Manager, Okundola Agboola Bamgboye, popularly known in the social circle as Dola.

The news of his death on Saturday, October 10, came as a shock to many, though it was spontaneous and understandable. Many have attested that he was, without a doubt, a jolly good fellow, the most observant, attentive and knowledgeable man to meet.

Tall and a giant of a man, you can’t miss his presence at any social event. Yet he was compassionate and humble; a man many wish to be. With a contagious smile and infectious laugh, he turned heads every time he talked and wowed many with his good nature and open heartedness.

Born January 13, 1962 in the city of Leicester, United Kingdom, his father, late Chief Claudius Agboola, a minister in the Second Republic and mother, late Mrs. Phebian Bamgboye, were both indigenes of Usi-Ekiti in Ekiti State.

After four years in England, Dola was brought back home to Nigeria and started early education at Sisi Obasa Day Nursery School, and later Ladi Lak Primary in Yaba. He had a boisterous childhood with his siblings, Gbemi, Bolamole and Fey. His secondary school years were spent between African Church Grammar School and CMS Grammar School.

He went off to Federal School of Arts and Science, and one year later, School of Basic Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he met Ochee, who he would later call wife. He often described a whirlwind romance, a meeting of perfect opposites who simply just clicked.

Dola moved back to England, precisely the city of London, to start a new chapter, completing a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Middlesex University, and a Masters in Social Sciences from Goldsmith University.

He had started a life in London, punctuated with academic achievements and exciting adventures with trusted friends, but there was something he needed to do. So in 1992, he returned to Nigeria to marry his wife, Ochee.

Not long after Bidemi came along, and for two whole years Dola and Ochee were a family of three. Ayoade and Ayodola, their twin girls, came along in the thick of summer 1994. Then they were five.

He worked hard in London, until he was faced with the opportunity to relocate to Lagos, a decision he did not take lightly. From 2003, until the very end, he worked as the marketing and sponsorship manager at MTN Nigeria, a role he took on with all he had. One can barely think of yellow without thinking go Baba D, as he was so fondly called at the MTN office.

Dola was many things to many people. He was a man of faith; he routinely gave his life to Christ, much to the confusion of those who assert that once will do. He danced like David almost every Sunday in church, at Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), City of David Parish, and ministered – not as a minister, but as a man of humility and the purest love, to those who needed it the most.

He was magical, a force of nature, and a magnet. He didn’t care who you were, or where you came from, what you wanted from him, or what you could do for him. He treated everyone with equal amounts of grace.

Described as a repository of influential and powerful names, he was also close to many of them. His British-Nigerian infectious character endeared him to friends from every tribe, colour and background. He was an experience. If there is one thing to know, it’s that Dola ($) was a currency that you couldn’t spend.

In his tribute, Funso Aina, his colleague and Senior Manager, External Relations, ‎MTN Nigeria, said, “Dola baba, never a dull moment; larger than life; incurable optimist; humanist; survivor par excellence and a jolly good fellow. Not sure we will be able to fill the huge vacuum you left behind. Ever. Rest in peace bro. I know you will crack ’em up in heaven.”

According to Dr. Kester Osahenye, Senior Manager, Trade Communication, MTN Nigeria “Dola knew the right contacts and used them for good. So many individuals used the words ‘Godly, family-oriented, good person, generous, humble, kind, supportive, jovial, bubbly, respectful, loyal and leader to describe Dola.

“The truth is Dola lived his life with remarkable character —one surrounded in Godliness, generosity of heart, humility, and respect for people no matter how young or old. He lived his life in the manner that he wanted to communicate the same through his action…Dola cherished everyone. He was committed to his family, friends and colleagues. You can bet on his unflagging loyalty,” he added.

Eniola Ashimolowo, another colleague wrote: “Life is indeed like a mist, fleeting! Today we are here, but tomorrow? Tomorrow is not guaranteed. No one knows what tomorrow is going to bring. The irony is that it cannot even be insured. It hurts; it really hurts.

“Dola was so full of life and happiness, always brimming with positive energy. He was a good person loved by all. He loved all equally, without any discrimination. His humility was remarkable.”

According to funeral arrangements by the family, the service of songs will hold on Wednesday, October 21, between 5pm – 8pm, at The Balmoral, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, while the funeral service comes up on Thursday, October 22, at the RCCG City of David Parish, Victoria Island, Lagos at 10am. It will be followed immediately by a private interment service.


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