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  By Sunday Ajibola

  A major attribute of man is the right and power to do things his own way. He allows his prejudices, whims, perceptions and selfishness to override realities of life. My generation has come to accept it that we have the power to make our offsprings get to the top or become great via our influence. And most of the time, death put paid to this ambition by sniffing life out of the bread-winner. Yet, I have often find it intriguing that orphans and children of 'nobodies' excel at the expense of spoilt ones. It's a mystery. 

    Anti Abi, it's over forty years that we communicated last. It was the last time you interact with any living being again. Let me start by apologising for calling you anti. (You were old enough to be my mother. Your first born is older than me by a few years. But your elder sister (my mum) used to call you our anti and that stuck.)

Anti Abi, let this piece begin on a heartwarming note about what has become of your beloved children, Ojo, Tunde, Bode, Sola and Ronke. Saturday, 5th of August will linger in peoples memory for a long time, as the event centre of St. Thomas Anglican Church, Isinkan, Akure was filled to the brim. Dignitaries from far and near: United States of America, (USA), United Kingdom, Italy, and Nigeria had converged on the Centre as guests of your boys and girl. The atmosphere was electrifying. It was if all the people that matter in Akure had gathered in remembrance of you and bid you a final befitting goodbye. What a way to say thank you to a mother! You deserve everything. The best of juju music was dished out by a young man, who succeeded in emulating the legendary Chief Commander himself, Ebenezer Obey's brand. The Ogun State-born musician was literally brought to Akure. The guy made sure there was no dull moment as guests of your offsprings danced to his melodious tunes. Food and drinks were available in abundance.

   There and then, my brain rekindled memories of the image and character of you. Your ebullient, amiable, friendly, accessible and accommodating personality loomed large before me. As young as I was back then, I recollected vividly your nature, disposition, creed and pulchritude. I cannot forget your disharming ever-smiling, beautiful face. The dimple on your cheeks when you smiled added to your physical attribute. 

You utter words with the smoothness of an intellectual as if you did not want to hurt them. The way and manner you channelled your points convinced people to agree with you. Life with you was warm and comfitting. You united the family, both the nuclear and extended, with your humble and organised nature. 

    Though, you were the only surviving child of Mama Oke, yet you were okan soso ajanaku ti o mi igbo kijikiji. You were a trained and practicing teacher, yet excelled in business. You had succeeded in erecting your own house, which housed her early in life. On reflection, you did everything in a hurry. It was as if you knew you had a short life to live. You would travel far and near to purchase products, food stuffs and sell. Most of your contemporaries envied you. Your mum, children, family members found your exploits delightful. We were proud of you. 

Loving and affectionate to your children, yet you instilled in them a sense of hardwork and responsible livelihood. I can remember that day my mum eulogised your second born, Tunde even as a secondary school student. She said, "Suwo mofo Tunde loo sibi use kotii peo ale ninu holiday?" (Do you know Tunde goes to work and make money during this holiday?) What was he doing? He would join people working at construction sites, perform tasks and get paid thereby. Meanwhile, Otema was busy with his studies at Teacher training school. Most of their peers then were busy dissipating their energies on wasteful pastimes. Sola was in Secondary School, while Bode and Ronke were toddlers.

  The situation was good; convivial and full of joy. Otema was in School, Tunde had just sat for his WASC exams, Sola was schooling, while Bode and Ronke were kids enjoying life. Then came the 5th of August, 1983 (ojo buburu esu gbomimu). On that fateful day, you had left home early for Ogbese Market to purchase food stuffs, which you intended to sell. You promised your mum and beloved children to return later in the day. But it was not to be. None of them or any other person ever saw you alive again, as your sojourn on this planet was truncated midway, abruptly. Death waylaid the bus you were travelling in on the way, as an accident occurred and claimed the lives of everyone in the vehicle. Igi toba ti gbo kiipe nigbo. The news of your sudden death shattered your mum as she was rendered childless. Your children, who became motherless were inconsolable. Everyone, who knew you was convinced heaven had denied us one of the best of her time. Akure was thrown into mourning of about twelve (12) people who died in cold blood. It was a day never to be forgotten. For your mother and children, it was the close of the first phase and commencement of hard times. The trauma of those days are better imagined than experienced. But then, tough times do not last, only tough people do. God has a way of sustaining the helpless. Your offsprings trudged on with a deep stab in their hearts.

  Three years after, God opened the door of progress as your first fruit, Ojo popularly known as Otema found his way to Italy. That was the opening your children needed to start another chapter of happiness and prosperity. Your mum was consoled. When Tunde rounded off his education at College of Education, he joined his brother. Later Bode followed suit. Sola is equally doing well in private business. Ditto, Ronke. In summary all your beloved children have come of age. Surely, you would have been happy to witness the growth and maturity your children have attained. 

  Definitely, success has nothing to do with having a father or mother.

Goodnight, anti Abi. God has done for your children more than what you would have. He has pacified, consoled, comforted and settled them. Destiny always have its way. Always.


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