If Folly Coker, the Director General of NTDC, had his way as he is wont to in governance, he would have negotiated with death to name its price and spare the life of his father, Elder Nathaniel Folarin Coker, who died on Wednesday.
Yes, nobody makes a lovely corpse. Not even your aged and once handsome father. Ask Folly, he knows! Wednesday, Folly felt the cold pang of death as it invaded his world; albeit rudely, to claim his father, the Baba Eto of Lagos at 97.
Elder Coker, without doubt, lived a fulfilled life and was even luckier to depart for yonder gracefully without having to suffer the weakness and ailments of feeble old age.
Yes, when his time was up, Elder Coker departed the world, leaving priceless memories behind for his loved ones.
Born on July 22, 1923, he passed away on August 12, 2020.
A champion of social justice, Baba Eto was as much a political titan and quintessential rock of his family: a loving husband, father, brother and uncle. He was a man of great faith and character and financial wherewithal. He charted an exemplary path, never cutting corners or shaming honour, acquired money legitimately and never yielded to defeat.
Little wonder he was honoured by the late Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, Oba of Lagos, with the chieftaincy title of Baba Eto of Lagos. Chief Coker had privileged education at the prestigious CMS Grammar School, Lagos and studied Law at Exeter University, England. He came back to the country on the eve of Nigeria’s Independence in 1960, he was one of those who inherited and solidified Nigerian civil service from the departing colonialists.
In that capacity, Chief Coker served in many posts in different parts of the country, from Government Secretariat in Lagos, administrative staff in Kano and Provincial Administration in Sokoto. In the midst of the political crisis in the defunct Western region, Chief Coker served as Provincial Adviser (Ibadan).
A Lagos indigene, it was a natural call to duty for him to jointly pioneer the civil service of the newly-created Lagos in 1968. He retired as a permanent secretary in 1978. Chief Coker also had to his credit different biographies of Rt. Reverend Seith Irunsewe Kale, a former principal of CMS Grammar School, Lagos and Lady Oyinkan Abayomi, Iya Eko.
A trustee of Nigerian Biological Foundation, former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Port Harcourt (1993-1997) Chief Coker was also a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management and Commissioner, Boys Scout of Nigeria.
A prominent member of Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos, Patron of Cathedral Choir and President of Cathedral Torchbearers.