Earlier today, I got a phone call from LEAP Africa informing me that one of my SIPA colleague had passed on. It was Pass.ng Co-founder, Samson Abioye.
I was, and still am, very shocked and speechless. Samson was a really great guy!
When he was in his fourth year at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Samson met a friend who had been a classmate in secondary school. The classmate revealed that he was yet to gain admission into university as he had been unable to pass the UTME exams. Samson was so bothered that he decided to help his friend. Together with a few other friends, he compiled past UTME questions and answers, and put them together into an app. By so doing, he was able to solve his friend’s problem. He also discovered that he had inadvertently discovered a huge social need and could create a social business with that app.
Samson shared that story as my first speaker at the Twim Academy Annual Conference in April 2017. When he saw the audience- about 1000 people of different age groups and backgrounds- he hesitated. And then, he opened his mouth and began to speak. Wisdom flowed with such simplicity that virtually everyone was endeared. It was easy to connect to his story as his passion to transform the educational sector was so obvious. It was also noticeable that all he ever wanted to do was help people who had challenges- educational or otherwise. Unlike many people with similar achievements, he also had no airs or arrogance. After he finished speaking, at least three (3) people came to me and said, “I’m over 70 already but I came to hear stuff like this. I wish my children were here to listen to this.”
Months later, we discussed about some of the other things he was doing to change his community- like the free tutorials he organised for financially underprivileged teenagers, which was funded by Union Bank. Samson told me that his budget had been so low because even when making the proposal to the bank, he had no plans to profit from it. He just wanted to do something to help the community.
I was making a video to tell the story of his social initiative for Awarewa.tv before the sad news of his demise. He told me about one of their first major awards at Pass.ng. They had won at the national level and would be awarded in South Africa. The telecommunications firm giving the award however stated that they could take only one person for the trip. This would have been Samson. However, he refused the offer saying that they had worked as a team of three and they all had to be there. Eventually, this telecoms giant buckled and flew the three of them for the event. Samson had the back of his team!
Having seen him speak at events like Social Media Week Lagos and my conference, and interacted extensively with him- thanks to the bootcamp organised for social entreprenuers by LEAP Africa – I am very sad. We’ve lost a very rare person. Samson carried greatness with simplicity. He was a world changer with huge dreams, passion and depth.
I will miss you, Samson, so will the other Fellows, and all the people who were fortunate to know you and your good work.
Good night, Samson Abioye.
Olumide Adeleye, Founder & CEO, Twim Academy.