This historical account first went viral in 2014 after a Christian devotional publication, Our Daily Manna written by Pastor Chris Kwakpovwe (October – December 2014 edition. Page 94) was released.
According to Kwakpovwe’s narration, Bode Thomas was “an excellent but arrogant lawyer.”
Olabode Akanbi Thomas was born to the family of Andrew Thomas, a wealthy trader and auctioneer who was originally from Oyo but migrated to Lagos.
Bode Thomas who was born October 1919 and died on November 20, 1953, was a Nigerian lawyer, politician, statesman and traditional aristocrat. A Yoruba tribesman, Thomas served with distinction as both a colonial minister of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria and a nobleman and privy counsellor of the historic Oyo clan of Yorubaland at a time when his native country was just beginning the journey to its independence in the 1960s. He was Nigeria’s first Minister of Transportation.
Wikipedia also states that Thomas was regarded as a brilliant but very arrogant man who had strained relationships with some of the local leaders like Sir Ahmadu Bello and Alaafin Aderemi II. He was said to have been rude to the Alaafin at an Oyo Divisional Council meeting because the Alaafin did not stand up in reverence to him (he was the chairman of the council while the Alaafin was a member).
Thomas died after an illness the next day at the age of 34. Wikipedia describes the lawyer’s barking to death as an “uncoborrated myth” which occured as a result of the Alaafin telling him to continue his [Thomas’] barking at him [Alaafin] when he was being rude at the Council meeting.
A Lesson on humility to learn from the story of Bode Thomas…
Bode Thomas, yes, the same Bode Thomas, whom the Surulere street was named after, died on Nov 23, 1953 in a most mysterious manner.
Bode Thomas was born to a wealthy trader, John thomas in 1918. Himself, FRA Williams and Remi Fani-Kayode (Father of Femi Fani-Kayode) attended Law School in London, and they established the first law firm in Nigeria, called “Thomas, Williams and Kayode”.The law firm was established in Jankara, Lagos.
ode Thomas was an excellent lawyer, but he was also very arrogant. Because of his education, he was made chairman of the Oyo Divisional Council at one time, while the King of Oyo, Alaafin Adeyemi, (the father of the current Alaafin) was a mere member.
On Bode Thomas’ first appearance in council after being appointed chairman, all council members stood up for him in deference, to welcome him, except Oba Adeyemi, who, for cultural reasons, should not show deference to anyone in public, not even his mother.
Bode Thomas rudely shouted at the King”…WHY WERE YOU SITTING WHEN I WALKED IN? YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO SHOW RESPECT?”
At that time, Bode Thomas was 34 years, while the Alaafin was in his 60’s. The Alaafin felt very insulted. He said “SE EMI LO NGBO MO BAUN?” (Is it me that you are barking at like that?)Bode Thomas responded by shouting some english sentences which the Alaafin didnt understand, so the Alaafin just told him… “MA GBO LO” (continue barking). The confrontation happened on November 22, 1953. Bode Thomas got home and started barking.
He barked and barked and barked like a dog all night until he died in the early morning of November 23, 1953.
Bode Thomas was the Balogun of Oyo. So, when next you drive on Bode Thomas street in Surulere, remember that man, who cut short his own life because of his arrogance and naughtiness.
Friends, pride comes before destruction, humility will take you to high places no matter what!!!