There was a veiled but undisguised look of lugubriousness on the faces of many Lagos big boys when the death of Tunde Bello (Igbobi College) was announced a week ago. Tunde, popularly called Espee from his Igbobi College days, was a popular socialite on the Lagos social scene and due to the calibre and pedigree of Igbobi College students that he was in the college with in the 60s—Kofi Sagoe, Dr Papa Sagoe, Abiodun Doherty, Obi Okwesa, Ike Okwesa, late Folabi Williams, late Ernest Ebosie, Sheni Cole, Kofo Cole, Tunde Dabiri, Dr Akin George and many others—he was a gem among “the boys”. Upon his graduation at Igbobi College, he had moved over to Chicago, Illinois, USA where he graduated cum laude maxima in Economics. Like many other Nigerians, he married a black Afro American and they had three children. On his return to Nigeria, he picked up a lucrative job with the United Bank for Africa (UBA) where he served with the bank’s Chief Inspector, Dr Chief Harrison Bolaji Adeniji, both under another illustrious Igbobian, Dr Ralph Osayame. He had then met and married a colleague in the UBA, the daughter of Federal Minister, Hon. Akinyemi-Obe, father of Surulere politician, Alhaja Bola Akinyemi-Obe and Iya Ibeji, Mrs Tokunbo Ajidahun, wife of Akin Ajidahun, son of businessman par excellence of his time, late Chief Ajidahun. So, it was that in the middle 80s when private banks like Commerce Bank, the infamous Owolabi’s Forum Bank and other scandalous banking enterprises, Ralph Osayame, a gentleman to the core, decided to setup the Commerce Bank with the Gregorian Chartered Accountant, Adedotun Duro-Emmanuel, in which another seasoned banker, Peter Arigbe and another ex Gregorian, Ade Duro-Emmanuel were also involved. Tunde Bello was invited and was brought into the show but luckily for him, he was assigned to manage a sidekick of the bank, the finance house gold finger. And so it came to pass again that when irregularities were discovered by the Central Bank of Nigeria, many bank chiefs met with calamity and it became the darkest, most abhorrent and most obnoxious period of the banking industry in Nigeria when gentleman Ralph, the Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Bankers and his deputy, were admitted at Alagbon Police Antifraud Section as VIP tenants for some months. Many others were also involved including Lagos and Ijebu Ode High Chief, Otunba Femi Ajayi, Peter Arigbe, Dotun Duro-Emmanuel, Owolabi of Forum Bank and several others some of who took refuge outside the country. Luckily for them, and as is usual in Nigerian rumour circles, everything blew over and they were all released from their non-fee paying accommodation. Tunde Bello has dodged the silver bullet by heading the Finance Bank in Fadeyi, Gold Finger, near his friend, Hon. Gori Ogbara.
Tunde was a descendant of the great Amusan family of Abeokuta. As the head of the family, the Oganla of Abeokuta was a renowned chief whose younger brothers were popular Aremu Amusan and late Chief Amusan, father of late Law School Director, Mrs Doherty, Moji Ogbara, Moji Oshilaja, estate developer, Tayo Amusan and Dapo Amusan. Tunde had taken ill with prostate cancer many months ago but he eventually succumbed to the deadly men’s infamous impairment. He was in his late 60s.