By Uche Amunike
The news of Ojima Omale’s death has come as a shock, not only to Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, whom he particularly designed shoes for, but also, to all Nigerians that knew him as an enterprising young man that took his shoe making business seriously.
In a condolence message signed by the Vice President and released by his spokesman, Laolu Akande and titled, ‘VP Mourns Death of OJBest,28, his Young Friend, Shoe Designer’, Osinbajo described the late shoe designer as young, talented and fully dedicated to his craft.
His message partly read: ‘I am deeply saddened by the news of the sudden death of Mr. Ojima Omale, aka OJBEST, 28, my young enterprising shoemaker and friend’.
‘Omale was CEO of OJ Best Footwears. He was talented, creative, and dedicated to his craft. I never ceased to be impressed by his exertions for perfection in his products.’
The Vice President explained that most of his team members also patronized the 28year old Omale, because of how good his products were, adding that himself and his services including his unfailing good humour would be missed by them.
‘Our thoughts are with his family as we pray that God will comfort them. May his memory remain blessed’, the statement concluded.
Ojima Omale’s death was said to have occurred over the weekend where he was said to have died in his sleep.
The young Omale, who is based in Abuja, became popular in March after he designed some shoes for Vice President Osinbajo and personally delivered them to him at the state house in Abuja in 2020.
Osibanjo who had always promoted the use of Nigerian-made products purchased quite a number of shoes from the young Omale Ojima. He eventually invited the young designer to Aso Rock, where he took his measurements for the footwear.
That was what made Omale excitedly tweet about how grateful and honoured he felt by the Vice President’s patronage.
His tweet: ‘I really cannot contain my joy in expressing this… this is a dream I never thought would happen’, he had written on Twitter.
He further tweeted: ‘Words have failed me and I may not use the appropriate words but I really want to thank his Excellency @ProfOsinbajo for his patronage and support for OJBest footwears’.
‘I was in the office of the Vice President to take measurements of his feet and later returned to make delivery of the order. Never have I seen a man as humble, simple and ready to support, like His Excellency. He is highly friendly and jovial and this made my communication with him easy’.
‘My initial tweet was to gift a pair of my product and meet him in person, this has been fulfilled I am greatly happy to see that His Excellency uses my product with joy and satisfaction… Once again thank you so much for your patronage @ProfOsinbajo I am most grateful’.
Nollywood actress, Kate Henshaw also expressed her pain over Ojima Omale’s death, describing him as a young man who was dedicated to his craft.
Henshaw, who also gave him a boost in sales after she retweeted his tweets, thanked him for sharing his gift to the world.
Hear her: ‘I met him when I ordered some footwear from him. He delivered them himself. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world. Rest on, bro…Rest on from the cares of this world’!
A former Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Joe Abah, also reacted to Ojima Omale’s death. In his exact words, he said, ‘sometimes, God gives the world a gift. Someone with mad talent, coupled with humility and a very pleasant personality. And then he takes him back after a short time. One of the few people I’ve met on Twitter that has been to my home. Rest in peace my brother and friend’.