NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 31 – That James Oduor Radido, known to his peers as ‘Odu Cobra’ was, is and will forever be a man of the people was testament on Thursday morning as hundreds thronged the All Saints Cathedral church in Nairobi for the sports journalist’s requiem mass.
Oduor was among the 21 people confirmed dead after a deadly terrorist attack at the DusitD2 Complex in Nairobi’s 14 Riverside Drive on January 15.
Speaker after speaker eulogized the avid football lover whose life was cut short just a day before his 35th birthday as he tried to rescue people at his workplace with South Korean Electronics Company LG whose offices are housed in the expansive establishment.
Family members, friends from his place of birth in Kariakor, fellow sports journalists and a myriad of people he interacted with while doing what he loved best, football, remembered him for his wit, friendliness and selfless nature.
“We have lost a great friend, we have lost a colleague and a mentor. To us, Odu was more than a friend,” Keke Roy, with whom he started his famous ‘Wadau TV’ with said as he struggled to balance tears in his eyes.
His dad, Fredrick Radido struggled to remain strong in the wind of emotions and eulogized his late son as a great person.
“He was not just my son, but my best friend. We enjoyed stories together, we laughed and we shared banter,” Dr. Radido said.
His mother Margaret added; “Odu was a person who came into the house and everyone would know he is there. He would give me stories of tournaments of who won and I don’t know who lost and I had to participate even if I didn’t understand anything or he wouldn’t give me peace,”
She added; “So we should all remain strong even in the face of his death. If he walked in here right now, we know what he would say; “Wajamaa… Niaje.. ndio mimi hapa.”
A short clip was played of most of his witty moments shooting his pilot show Wadau TV which was a YouTube channel purely dedicated to the fun side of the game.
One of the witty parts in the videos that sent the entire congregation to laughter was; “Ng’ombe inafaa kutembea na ng’ombe rika yake’ Huwezi tembesha ng’ombe kubwa na ndama. Itakunywa maziwa yote (A cow is supposed to walk with a cow its age. You cannot let a cow walk with a calf because it will suck all the milk,”
As he paid her tribute, Oduor’s mother in law further underlined ‘Cobra’s’ love for the beautiful game.
“My daughter would call most of the times and say, the only thing they quarreled with Odu over was football. He was always away playing football. But I told her, let him be,”
“I remember when he came to visit me at my place in Italy with my daughter, he wanted to go to all the football stadia around, no matter how far. Even when I asked him how he would get there, he was relentless and said he would go, and come back. That was Odu for you. He was fearless,” she added.
Oduor is survived by a widow, Dianah, with whom he officially tied nuptials with last year. They have known each other for over 10 years at Oduor’s first workplace.
“I remember I used to be a facilitator and in my class whenever someone failed to answer a question, I would send all of them to run outside to the wall and come back. One day, the whole class couldn’t answer my question and I sent them out to run, and there was Jamo; he ran and came back with a flower for me. That was Jamo for you. That is how our journey started,” an emotional Dianah recalled.
“I remember we always prayed every morning before we went to work and it was no different that day. We kept chatting and exchanging banter the whole day until he went silent. His ‘last seen’ on WhatsApp was 3:56pm,” she added.
Oduor, survived by wife Dianah and two children aged four and two years will be laid to rest at his parent’s rural home in Ugenya, Siaya County on Saturday.
Rest in Peace Mdau. #Hatufurahii