For Chief Abayomi Tella, the immediate past chairman of Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, Sunday, April 21, would have signalled his end. But he survived and he’s grateful to God that he’s alive to tell the story.
He informed that the day started like any other day for him, with no premonition that disaster was looming. That day, he prayed with his household before setting out for Abeokuta for meetings and other social engagements. As night gradually set in, Chief Tella decided to visit a friend along Obafemi Awolowo Way in the Ogun State capital.
And that was when the incident that almost claimed his life occurred. He was driving his SUV, a Toyota Landcruiser, when he suddenly lost control and the vehicle skidded off the road and struck a tree.
“What I heard was a loud bang as my vehicle rammed into the tree. The bizarre thing was that I became trapped in the vehicle for two hours. I was all alone without any assistance from anybody. For two hours, there was no one to rescue me from the wreckage.
“While the ordeal lasted, the engine was still running and I could perceive the smell of fuel. It was like a scene from a movie. As time ticked away, I was gripped with fear, scared that there could be an explosion,” he said.
According to him, the mercies of God and the safety measures that he observed were the things that saved his life.
“I had fastened my seat belt and I wasn’t over speeding. So, when the collusion occurred, I was still conscious. And as the fear of explosion continued, I suddenly realised that all hopes were not lost and that I could still make efforts to escape.
“I was thinking about my wife and children and my aged mother. What would become of them? I grew up not knowing my dad because he died while I was quite young. And here was a similar fate almost befalling me. So, I was quite apprehensive.
“So, with courage, I kicked at the door continuously until it opened and I was able to squeeze myself out of the entrapment. Then the police arrived and called the fire service before taking me to the hospital.”
Chief Tella commended the efforts of the Quick Response Squad (QRS) team in Abeokuta, led by one Sergeant Ponle.
“As soon as they arrived the scene of the accident, they quickly called the fire service and switched off the ignition of the vehicle. According to the police, I was lucky that the vehicle didn’t explode because the engine was running and fuel was leaking. Any little impact would have resulted in an explosion with a devastating effect.”
The former council boss said a friend, who saw the wreckage of the SUV, posted the image on Facebook along with a question: Is Yomi Tella dead?
He said the question generated over 800 responses from his Facebook friends, prompting him to write on his Facebook page that he was very much alive and healthy. When asked how his wife, children and relatives reacted when they heard the news, Chief Tella said he applied information and disaster management techniques.
“When the accident happened and I discovered that the injury was not much, I didn’t announce it to my family members. This is because I had an aged mother and little children. I was aware of the traumatic effect such bad news would have on them.
“So, what I did was to call my brother in Abeokuta and I told him that my car had developed a fault. I urged him to come with another vehicle. It was about 10am the next day that information about the incident got to my wife and children. And here I am in their midst. I’m glad to be alive.”
Chief Tella’s wife was grateful to God for sparing her husband’s life. “How he survived the accident is a big miracle. Some got involved in accidents that are not as bad and they didn’t live to tell the story. But after this ghastly accident, he is healthy and strong. Although the SUV was damaged beyond repairs, we are happy that he is alive without permanent injuries.”
Their children – Sultan, Halima and Damilola, who spoke to Daily Sun, also thanked God for saving their father’s life.
The eldest, Sultan, explained that on the fateful day, he just sang praises to God and led his younger ones to pray for the family, adding that the prayers might have contributed to the survival of his father.