Retired ACG Edike eulogizes Otunba Folarin…says he was versatile in Customs matters
Assistant Comptroller General of Customs (ACG) Eporwei Edike (Rtd.), has joined stakeholders in the maritime industry in extolling the qualities of late Otunba Kunle Folarin, a man many described as ‘a mobile encyclopedia’ of the industry.
Edike talked about the versatility of the late Otunba Folarin as he shared memorable moments of him, while they had industry interactions.
“The late Otunba Kunle Folarin was a very versatile maritime personality; wherever you put him in the maritime industry, he was at home, or whatever questions or issues you raised, he just had answers to everything.
“For me, that man was an encyclopedia of maritime affairs; a man that was able to give more than 300 lectures or papers, including Harvard University, he was not a small person; he was not a small brain. I call him an iconic icon.
“Besides all of that, he was kind. He was unassuming as human and he was intelligent he was transparent and was loving he was that kind of person he comes down from his high horse to every person’s level and he related with every person as per their levels,” Edike said.
Speaking of his close interaction with Otunba Folarin, while he (Edike) still served in the Nigeria Customs, Edike said:
“Many stakeholders did not know that Otunba Folarin was very versatile in Customs matters. Recall that I was Area Controller at PTML and from there I went to Post -Clearance Audit, Zone ‘A’, which comprises of the entire South-West Nigeria. Then I went on to Controller Joint Tax Force; Customs, EFCC and ICPC, and thereafter to TinCan and then to the Airport, before I moved to Apapa Area Command, and finally to Zone ‘A’ as Zonal Coordinator ,before going to Abuja.
“From the port Consultative Council, which he headed, I always made time as much as possible to attend those meetings and in those meetings you see his knowledge, you see fairness, you see transparency, you don’t see him get annoyed; even in the face of provocation or complaints he did not.
“He treated everybody fairly. No matter how annoyed stakeholders came with their complaints, when Otunba finishes speaking, you would be calm and be satisfied. He had a way of calming frayed nerves and at the end of the day everybody leaves satisfied.”
He added that: “By Otunba’s tact, the Customs, and particularly for me, we learnt the importance of trade facilitation. And that helped reduce the time and the cost of doing business in our ports. And that also led to more revenue for the government. His activities also impacted on the activities of the level of revenue we generated indeed; he was an all-round person.”
Edike encouraged the family of the departed to be comforted in God’s word and have at heart that Otunba as a husband and father to them also touched several lives, particularly in the maritime industry.
He prayed that God would grant his immediate family as well as the larger maritime industry the fortitude to bear the loss.
He said: “I don’t know how to console his family, but the word of God tells me that in everything, give thanks to God. They had a husband and a father who was an encyclopedia; somebody who was far beyond his constituency of shipping. He lived not only for Africa, but all over the places he went to deliver lectures and papers. I pray that God grants them the fortitude to bear the loss. I also pray that the larger maritime industry would be comforted. ”
Edike recalled a treasured moment on his retirement, that: “When I retired, Otunba sent me a small piece on WhatsApp and it kind of mirrored me. I thought to myself that “so he was also taking note of the things I was doing; that for me was a big encouragement.
“He said that he knew I would get that high from when he knew me in the training college. It was a big encouragement from such a person of great value. This cannot be overestimated. So, his family should know that he impacted millions of lives and they should take solace in the fact that Otunba impacted people’s lives; he lived a beautiful life and one for the Nigerian maritime industry.”