Family members and well-wishers preparing for the wedding of Mr Adewale Adekunle and his heartthrob, Ronke, are in shock following the death of the groom in a ghastly motor accident while the bride is currently receiving treatment at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital, Akure. The ceremony is scheduled for Saturday (today) in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Sadly, the accident happened a week to the ceremony.
The auto crash occurred along the Ondo-Akure Expressway at the Aponmu Village in the Akure-South Local Government Area of the state last Sunday. Eight persons died and six others sustained varying degrees of injury.
A Toyota Hiace 18-seater commercial bus they were in with registration number Lagos AAA 859 AC was said to be heading to Akure from Lagos State and plunged into a river at about 10km to its destination in Akure.
A report from the state sector command of the Federal Road Safety Corps, through its spokesperson, Abiola Fadumo, indicated that about six people lost their lives in the accident while eight people including a toddler sustained injuries.
It was gathered that the passengers of the ill-fated bus which included Adewale and his wife-to-be called their loved ones when they boarded the bus at Ojota, Lagos, on Sunday, to tell them that they were heading to Ondo. But none of them had an inkling that the journey would be the last on earth for six of the passengers.
An eyewitness said it was understood that the bus had plunged into the river for over an hour before those around discovered that an accident had occurred and moved to help those trapped on the bus.
The eyewitness said it took the intervention of the men of the FRSC, some Aponmu villagers and other sympathisers to evacuate some of the survivors from the scene. The eyewitness added the incident caused gridlock on the busy expressway for several hours, causing some travellers to use alternative routes to their destinations.
PUNCH gathered that Adekunle, who worked as a supervisor with an airline, was at the Ikoyi Registry with his wife a day before to formalise the union before his death.
The 31-year-old Adekunle was said to be a graduate of Political Science at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
It was learnt that the bride had not been informed of the development as she was still receiving treatment at the time of filing this report.
A cousin to the deceased, Mr Oladimeji Ayegbo, said Adewale would be sorely missed by the family.
He said, “Adewale will be sorely missed by the family. The atmosphere in the family is sorrowful now. Everybody is sad in the family. The incident is traumatic. He was a responsible and reliable person. He was like my biological son. He stayed with me since his childhood days.
“His death is a loss to us in many ways. We had been preparing for the wedding for a long time. We bought bags of rice, drinks, cows, clothes and other things for the ceremony. The association of plank sellers in Akure which his mother belongs bought Ankara (aso ebi) for the ceremony. Members of the plank sellers in Akure will be over 200 people and they all bought the Ankara to celebrate with Adewale’s mother. He was very responsive. No one in the family could say he offended him or her.
“His death is disastrous to us in the family. We paid almost a million naira for the event centre to be used for the ceremony. His death is a big loss to our family. The incident has devastated his mother now. She became incoherent immediately after they broke the news to her. She’s on admission in a hospital in Ilorin, Kwara State. Her family took her to Kwara State. It is a great loss.’’
Meanwhile, one of the accident survivors, Mr Simon Moses, described his survival as a miracle, adding that he woke up to find himself on a hospital bed.
Speaking at the hospital where he was receiving treatment, Moses said he and three of his colleagues boarded the Akure-bound bus at the Ojota Motor Park on Sunday.
The artisan said, “We were approaching the Aponmu Bridge when the bus driver in the process of avoiding a head-on collision with a trailer coming from the opposite direction, swerved off the road and plunged into the river.
“The trailer approached at a top speed, overtook another vehicle and faced our lane, as our driver tried to avoid colliding with it, he swerved to the right side of the lane and the bus fell off the bridge into the river. That was all I could recall until I saw that we were in the river with many people around us. They tried to bring us out and I must have passed out at that time. I later regained consciousness at the hospital some hours later.’’
He added that the bus driver didn’t over speed, reiterating that it was the trailer driver who drove recklessly from the opposite direction.
Simon stated, “It rained from Lagos after we boarded the bus. I sat directly behind the driver. He was not speeding because of the rain. But when we almost got to the accident scene, the rain had subsided so he increased the speed a bit but he didn’t over speed. It was the trailer driver who faced the bus at top speed from the opposite direction of the bridge that caused the accident. Many of the passengers were seriously injured except a little boy who only sustained a minor cut on his head. His mother too was injured slightly.”
Also, a nurse at the UNIMEDTH, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she’s not authorised to speak to the press, said that five victims were brought to the hospital dead while another one died after receiving first aid treatment.
The nurse said, “Five of the victims were first brought into the hospital dead by the FRSC officials, and later another one-woman passed on at the emergency unit of the hospital at about 5pm on Sunday before the FRSC officers brought the remaining body to the morgue at about 6pm.
“The most miraculous thing is that a boy of about a year old survived the accident and had only a minor cut on his face while his mother too didn’t have serious injury. The woman, her baby boy and two other survivors were discharged on Sunday night.”