Death is only a level crossing from one life to another, from life in its beginnings to life in full achievements. From this incomplete life to that transformed one. – Raoul Plus (1882-1958) French writer and Author.
Our life is borrowed or rented from the Owner, and someday, we will return it to the Giver. Death is a debt we all owe, so it is imperative for us all to be always involved in deeds that will outlive us while we are still around and alive. Literarily, death is the end of life but a reality check reveals that it is not, but the beginning of a revelation of how a life was lived. The reality of absence created by death makes us value and appreciate life. The deeds of a man live on even after his departure on earth. Whether good or bad, a man’s deeds live on. History has records of whatever we all do in our lifetime.
The retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Chris Olakpe, on the 30th of March, 2020 passed on to the great beyond as he went down into history. It’s already a year gone and he’s fondly remembered with his deeds when he was around. Olakpe, who hailed from Idheze in Isoko south Local Government Area of Delta, posthumously turns 67 years June 5, 2021.
In recent a discussion with some colleagues at work, while reliving the experiences we all had last year during the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, thoughts of Chris Olakpe came to mind. It was during the lockdown that news of his death broke last year. Late Olakpe was said to have interest and passion for any activity related to honoring God. It was revealed that he contributed his quota to the development and progress of the Chapel located at the LASTMA headquarters. His lives and times are being discussed today. He was reputed to be dedicated to work as he creditably and professionally discharged his official responsibilities during his tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of LASTMA.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State described late Olakpe as a dependable and thoroughbred officer who carried out his responsibilities with dedication. Last year, Governor Okowa said in his tribute to Olakpe shortly after his death, “During his reign as LASTMA boss, he ensured the agency’s commitment to providing Lagos residents with quality traffic control and building good relationships with other stakeholders in the state.” The governor in addition said, “He also restored discipline and sanity among men of LASTMA by instituting the Provost Marshal Corps.”
It would be recalled that, when Chris Olakpe came on board as LASTMA Chief, he established the Provost Marshall Corps to take care of issues of indiscipline, indiscretion and investigation of matters relating to the unbecoming conducts of LASTMA officials against members of the public. During late Olakpe’s reign as the boss, he also set up a Surveillance and Monitoring Unit whose responsibility is to go round in mufti to bring to book anyone caught extorting people or engaging in any acts that can bring the agency’s image into disrepute.
As part of Olakpe’s achievements, it was under his leadership as LASTMA CEO that the traffic Agency won the Daily Independent Newspapers Award as the Outstanding State Agency in 2018. Late Olakpe while sharing his thoughts on the award in 2018 said, “The award is historical and it speaks volumes…It is a record-breaking victory for LASTMA and we are going to sustain the tempo and not rest on our oars…Glory to God, I am glad that the public is appreciative of what we are doing and we are being acknowledged…with all sense of humility, we will not relent.”
For Chris Olakpe, he has paid the dues he owed death and now, his deeds speak for him. His life remains challenging and encouraging to anyone who had one encounter or the other with him when he was alive. Our life remains a book everyone would read long after we are gone and we should strive to write good chapters with our life as long as we breathe. The life a man lived and the impacts he made on lives around him would leave permanent indelible footprints in the sand of time.
I bring the piece to a conclusion with this quote from an American novelist, Chuck Palahniuk, “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
Continue to rest well, Christian Akioja Olakpe!
Kayode Ojewale is of the Public Affairs Unit of LASTMA.
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