Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Remarks at the Homecoming Memorial for Ambassador Adebowale Adefuye – By Ambassdor (Dr.) Robin Renee Sanders

Good evening and condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and embassy staff of the late honorable Professor – Adebowale Adefuye.  When I paid my respects at the residence last weekend, I was asked by the family to say a few words this evening:
-- Because they thought I was one of the few Americans in Washington that knew Ade before he became Nigeria's Ambassador to the United States.
--Because  we were also professional colleagues (as part of my ambassadorship overlapped with his); and we worked together on a number of things – including the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission, the genesis for the current framework between our two governments;  
-- And, because, more importantly, I knew him as a friend -- a friend he called Omowale, which really meant a lot to me because it means "one who has come back home;" a friend who he could have quarterly chats with where there was no "ask," no "policy" discussion, no "request".  It was just that safe space… that space where, for any of us that have held these types of jobs, is ever so important.
I say all of that because tonight, I am going to speak in the "voice of a friend" in the "voice of someone who wants his wonderful wife of 40 years and his children to know just how "well" he was thought of here in the United States. Note I said the United States, not just in Washington.   In addition to the condolence call from President Buhari to Mrs. Adefuye, tributes of honor have come in from around the country, including from the U.S. Congress, and from all of you by your presence here this evening.
In sum Ade was:  A consummate, hard-working, dedicated diplomat who loved both his family and his country with an intense and fierce synergistic blend that made him . . . "tireless." He was clearly one of the most respected, active foreign diplomats in Washington from any region of the world. He was a son of the Continent for sure, and a nationalist for Nigeria and its people.  Even if you disagreed with him on some issues (and we did as friends do), you knew that his goal was always for Nigeria, for the well-being of his beloved nation; the best for Nigeria was ever upmost in his heart.
It is said that you can measure a person's life not by those who knew him, but by those who cared about him – family, friends, and colleagues.
So… Let's think about this full Chancery this evening as a sanctuary for the spirit.
--That was the person;
-- That was the Ambassador;   and,
--That was the dedicated and beloved husband and father. 
Rest in Peace my friend…My colleague as we honor the African tradition of calling your name three times (please join me) – Ade Adefuye, Ade Adefuye, Ade Adefuye.
Rest in peace, so that your family (Caroline, Tolu, Bunmi, and Baba) can transition to a world without you, but with the comfort and solace of knowing you are watching over them; {that you are never far away}, and that the memory of you will sustain them no matter what they face, no matter where they go -- you will always be there with them.

May Peace also be with everyone here this evening  – Thank you