Adieu Capt. Adeyemo ‘Chief Priest’ of the master mariners
By Captain Tajudeen Alao
Late Capt. Oyeniyi Adeyemo….fondly called “The Chief Priest” was well respected amongst all mariners , engineers and navigators, as a bridge builder, social mixer and mentor to upcoming ones. He cuts across all, irrespective of age differences, in a profession ruled by seniority and ranks. He would advise and encourage you at your times of low.
On many occasions, serving officers would report superior officers to him and would call the concerned ‘Oga’ to order, where necessary.
On a particular occasion, contract officers in a parastatal were being frustrated and wanted to resign en-mass, he stood up for them, bringing in stakeholders pressure on the leadership.
From his wealth of experience, which spanned many years at sea onboard Pakistani and Bangladesh shipping lines, shipping and port operations at executive management levels and board rooms, he would gladly advise on and resolve complex professional and management issues with ease. We had his shoulder to lean on, in our times of hopelessness.
The ‘Chief Priest’ had gone extra mile to advise junior ones on investment options against old age and to even bail out others in financial difficulties with soft loans.
He once invited me to buy a coastal reefer boat, Mv Eva, for 2000000 Naira, during a bank takeover in 1994, and even reported me to my Uncle for not being serious about it.
In the last 30 to 25 years, if you got to Apapa by 7am, Baba would be there in his office. He was an early-riser, full of energy and would carry out cargo survey by himself and did his report too.
This past Sallah, I called Capt. Adeyemo if he was in Lagos , so that I could bring his Sallah meat. That innocent call ended up with Baba hosting “us” fellow Mariners for a day and 2 after Sallah…we never knew that gathering was a send-forth get-together for him.
Too many testimonies about the ‘Chief Priest’!
He lived such an accomplished life. When his maids called yesterday 9th of August, that Baba discharged himself from hospital to be taken home and that he refused to eat for 2 days and they were worried, I was out of town, but called on Engr. Ilori, Capt. Ishola and Capt. Abidoye, to please go and see Baba as a matter of urgency.
They responded and proceeded but, only for Engr. Ilori to report that he missed Baba by 5 minutes and Captain Abidoye missed him by 1 hr.( Engr Ilori was at Ikeja Airport and Capt. Abidoye, at Lekki… such a far distance ).
Capt. Oyeniyi Adeyemo has passed on to the great beyond to meet his creator, in the afternoon of 9th August 2021 at the age of 84 years.
Adieu, our elder, mentor, accomplished Master Mariner and outstanding shipping executive.
Captain Tajudeen Alao is the President, Nigerian Association of Master Mariners.