THE SUN SETS AT MIDDAY: A TRIBUTE TO ILEPE OLUWTIMILEYIN

By Adeyemi Aleshinloye

The life of man is like a day. It evolves gradually with its onset in a pregnant cloud; improves overtime like the afternoon heat and ends abruptly like the sunset. But some live disruptively: either rising before dawn or setting before dusk.

Indeed, Timi’s life caused such a disruption. The little titan passed away in his prime on May 16th, 2020. He fell in a battle with diabetes, albeit he fought with defiance and optimism. I say ‘with defiance and optimism’ because that was the kind of life Timi exemplified, and no less in his demise. Throughout the two decades he remained aboard this train called life, Timi had a vision, a clear sense of direction and his life was purpose-driven. Unlike many university students, Ilepe Oluwatimileyin Victor knew what he wanted out of life, and he exhibited no reservations in sharing them with friends. I once teased him into joining a debate team and he told him, “I want to be a lawyer, not a debater”.

And to speak of his passion for the legal profession, Timi was unwavering. There hardly exists anyone who could have loved a profession as dearly as Timi did, and to my mind, there is none. The first memory I had of him was more than sufficient evidence of this fact: it was sometime in February 2017, and majority of us students of the University of Ibadan just arrived for the new session. Timi was a freshman at the time, and he had come into the room of one of my friends, where I was, requesting for guidance on how to make a first-class degree. We were all astounded, but told him, “Chill, guy. The session is just beginning. Have fun in the meantime”. That was the standard of ordinary students; but Timi was extraordinary, and so were his dedication, diligence and sense of service.

Timi joined Mellanby Hall Press Organization (MHPO) in May, 2017; and it was with gladness of heart that we received him, for we knew that he would work as diligently as we have heard of him do with his studies. And Ilepe did not fail us. As a News Editor in his pioneering years, he was one of the new recruits I found trustworthy to supplement the team’s efforts in reporting timely news. With his bulky body (laughs), Ilepe would shuffle from one place to the other, doing the job required of him. The only time you could not expect Timi to handle a task for you was when he had an imminent test or examination, for his love of studies is rivaled only by his love for God.

Timi loved God, and I believe God himself must have noticed. He had an emollient tenor voice with which he praised God in his local assembly, Winners Chapel, every Sunday. Despite being such an enviable personality and the centre of attraction to many girls who flocked around him for their admiration of his brilliance, Timi remained single. To him, jumping into a romantic relationship in the middle of the pursuit of an academic programme is calculated towards losing one’s career focus and exposing oneself to temptations. The son of Pastor Ilepe never forgot his home training. He was wise in his choice of friends, steered clear of negative lifestyle, liked money but never covetously, had fun without losing his morality, and freely shared of his knowledge, even sacrificially.

Tens of students depended on Timi for their survival. His diligently written law notes were the saving grace of most of his colleagues, and to top it, some still demanded tutorials from him to fully comprehend the nitty-gritty of legal principles he grasped so easily. Timi was a rare gem. He was a mentor to several law students, across different levels. He was a dedicated pressman, my General Editor and former astute deputy, by whose co-operation my overburdened tenure was a little relaxed. Timi learnt overnight the difficult task of general editing. His subtle use of sarcasm in his articles on Mellanby politics, under the pen name Eyes of God, won him recognition at the Union of Campus Journalists. A vibrant mooter for the Faculty of Law and an eminent Justice of the Law Students’ Society, Timi’s life was such a legacy that no tribute, no matter how long, can adequately sum up.

After phoning a few friends to confirm this sad news, I still find it hard to believe that our friend and brother, Ilepe Oluwatimileyin Victor is no more. In my heart of hearts, I wish this was no more than a joke, a very costly one. I still desire that upon resumption, Timi stealthily walks into the pressroom, jumps to my face, and say “do you all think I was going to die? That was a prank Zion, Tolu and I set up. You were all fooled! Ah ah!” laughing loudly with his lips vibrating, as he always did. But it is confirmed; Timi is dead and has been laid to rest. I would have called him a star that fell before its time, but if the sky is our earth, Timi would be a Sun in his own right. He lit up as many lives as he could with inspiration and exuberance. But he was a Sun that set untimely, at midday.

Adieu, my good friend, brother and colleague. We, the Pen Clan, love you dearly and we can only pray that you rest on in the perfect peace your soul deserves. Till our stars cross paths in the galaxy beyond.

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