Goodnight Olufunke Olakunri

Congregants singing a Hymn

            AMERICA MOURNS OLUFUNKE

…She survived cancer 20years ago

She was my mentor and mother –Gani Obanigba

Yesterday, a Memorial Service of Songs and Celebration of Life was held  for Mrs. Olufunke Oyeyemi Olakunri at  The Redeemed Church of God (RCCG) City of God at 8614 Manchester Rd, St.Louis , MO 63144, America .

The  programme which was organized  by Gani Obanigba who was a brother in-law to the deceased was attended by many people from family members to friends and acquaintances.Pastor Niyi Aruwajoye the officiating Pastor implored everyone present to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, he said  ” we came with nothing and will surely go empty handed ”, he counseled.Pastor Akin Aruwajoye also added that ”since no one knows when he is going it is better now to repent because we will all die one day”.Pastor Omiye consoled the family and friends and implored everybody to be strong.

The service  which started at 2pm did not close until after 5pm as everybody  was discussing about how nice the  the   woman was. A member of the family described how she survived cancer of the breast 20 years ago but fell cheaply and painfully into the hands of suspected herdsmen or killers, no one is safe again, she concluded.

Some songs were rendered as many used handkerchief  to clean their misty eyes . Among the songs are   On the resurrection morning , Soul and body meet again , No more sorrow, no more weeping , No more pains …. A woman could not sing along as she kept on looking at the pictures in the program and weeping profusely.

 

Mr.Gani Obanigba who is a brother –inlaw to the late woman described the woman as a nice, humble and a great philanthropist  who will not allow anybody to suffer.

According to Gani, ‘’ I called her my mother , mentor and God-sent. She facilitated my coming to America  and I shall for ever be grateful to her”., he said .

 

 

Pastor Idowu  ,described the woman as a rare gift to humanity whose life was brutally cut down.  He said ”She used to call me Uncle, Uncle and I too would call her Auntie , Auntie. She was a wonderful individual , woman of  accomplishment. She worked hard , blessed people and was a  strong pillar of the family”’

When Seun Obanigba held the microphone and was   about to speak about her , she broke down as hot tears cascaded on her cheeks, she could not talk.,

 Born on June 11, 1961 in Akure to the families of Chief Reuben Famuyide  Fasoranti  and Frances Oladiwura Fasoranti who were both teachers .

Olufunke attended St. Stephen’s Primary School in Iju -Itaogbolu , Ondo state , She also attended St Louis secondary school , Ondo for her secondary school where she spent two years but due to transfer of her father again she went with him to Olivet Baptist High School , Oyo where she completed her secondary school .She proceeded to Federal School of Arts and Science Ondo for her Advanced level .

She went to Ondo state Polytechnic where she obtained her HND in Accounting in 1983.

After her National Youth Service Corps in Omega Bank now Spring Bank . She later went to Lagos University to read Law, she was a pioneer student at Nigeria Law School, Abuja

Olufunke attended many courses and programes home and abroad inccluding Havard University , USA.

As a seasoned Banker she worked with Citi Express Bank, Great Nigeria Insurance  and rose to the positions of Secretary in these companies .

She was generous to a fault,

She married Mr. Idowu Olakunri of the Elerewe Dynasty of Owo on February 15, 1985, and the union was blessed with two daughters ; Oyindamola  Weider, Oluwafeyisike  Omosehin  and grandchildren . Olufunke was survived by her husband, children sister  and many family members

May her soul rest in peace.

Those who were present at the event are ; Dr. Layi Olagbegi, Pastor Omiye, Pastor Niyi Aruwajoye, Chief Gboyega Aruwajoye, Dipo Okunrinboye,Mr and Mrs Kofo  Osun, and many others ,

However the remains of the Lawyer cum Banker will be buried today at Akure .

I cry everyday-Father of the late Olori Bola

 

Pa Adepoju  (speaking in Yoruba language)lamenting the death of his daughter

Olodumare oooo!! Haa! this is our royal father , traditional ruler, our Oba ,our Monarch ,our King . Look at his agbada, torn!.

      Look ,look,  as he is  struggling  and fighting his Olori  in the public.Ooo my God,  Ah, where are his beads? [Ileke/akun]- they are dangling on his neck . Abomination, Eeewo, a a ti gbo?. Yegede! odindi Oba!. This is desecration of  the throne.Oh my God!.

      How come? What happen?.Kilo sele? kilo de? In the end , nothing happened, no justice . It was a bad story .Nothing is heard about the case again.It all happened  nine  years ago in Akure, Ondo State.

      Human Rights Activists, Women groups were upset while the  king makers  removed him for bringing shame to Yoruba culture and tradition. They  took up the case. From Owo, Akure , Lagos, United Kingdom  and to America the cries went up to high heavens that the  wife of a  first Class Yoruba Monarch  was   dehumanized.

        Haaa! whaaat?. She was  beaten and substances suspected to be acid was poured on her at her residence , 141 Hospital Road , Akure .

 

Interview (in Owo dialect), says it was the strange woman the King brought home that caused all the problem

It was controversial .It became a Police case,  and Court case . She was taken to the hospital  for treatment and later died!.

Dead?.Ku ke?. Yes she died and on  that 12th of July 2011 and her remains were brought from Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Lagos (LASUTH) to her  residence in Akure where she was buried. May her soul rest in peace.Shout a big Amen!.

 Ah! the first Class monarch was banished from the throne   and hometown , Akure  to GRA , Owo,  his in-law’s town. Oloun oo, o gbele ooo! itiju nla!.

Chei ! Osanobua !!!. Disgrace. A first class Monarch, the Deji of Akure  fighting in the public?. Ahhh, look at his agbada, torn! .Look , he is struggling  and fighting in the public. Ah, with beads on his neck and wrists? [Ileke/akun]. Abomination, Eeewo, a a ti gbo?. Yegede! odindi  Oba. Haa odindi Kaabiyesiii. This is desecration to the throne. 

How come? What happened?. In the end , nothing happened. It was a bad story. Nothing is heard about the case again.Haaa where is justice? Nigeria!Nigeria!! Nigeria!!!. It all happened eight years ago in Akure.

That was the story behind the banishment,  deposition and dethronement of  the Deji of Akure , Oluwadare Adesina Adepoju who allegedly accused his wife on of adultery , accusation

Taiwo Abiodun visited  the  father of the late Olori Bolanle in Owo.

FATHER OF THE  LATE OLORI  SPEAKS

The old man narrated the story as in this two video clips [in Yoruba language and Owo dilalect]

Today , nothing is heard about the case again!

 The deposed Monarch

Pa Fadeyi said ”my late daughter and the deposed monarch, Deji of Akure, Oba Oluwadare Adesina Adepoju courted for six years and did engagement in my house here in Owo .The husband came to demand her hand in marriage in the year 2001 while he became the Oba of Akure in 2005.

 When I was told that my daughter had been hospitalized I went to see her at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC ) Owo, before she was transferred to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital ( LASUTH) Lagos where she later died .She didn’t know she would die.  .

”I was told that they poured some things on her that …..

 ”I can’t forget her, She was buried in her house in Akure .I am sad, sad and sad.It is very painful.

 

”During the fracas , I went to the monarch in Akure to beg the king and to reconsider his wife but he refused to take his wife back .I knew when he was at the District Officers’ ( D.O) quarters in my town , Owo where he was banished to “.

”Each time I look at her pictures I feel sad , these are her photographs from her spinsterhood till when she got married.

Pa Fadeyi said the quarrel between his late daughter and the deposed Oba (husband ) was more than ordinary , he said ” It was the woman he (the monarch) brought to the palace that caused everything .It was a big error , when the monarch was telling me he said he didn’t know what came over him. The devil really used him.

”You can see that I am old now , and can no longer work . The late Olori’s younger ones are the one assisting me now since my daughter has gone , it is very , very sad.

 

Pa Fadeyi going through some pics of  his late daughter

Haa, o ma se o! now the Olori’s  father is at home weeping for the loss of his daughter while the mother was somewhere taking care of the two kids the woman left behind.

And the questions  are  ” What will the deposed Monarch tell his kids in the future? Where is the woman that was said to have caused all these problems?”.

 

Let’s rebury Orlando Owoh

             LET’S REBURY ORLANDO OWOH

 

                    BoN during an interview with the late Musician

 

              WE NEED ORLANDO’S MUSEUM

 

           Last week at the St. Louis  Lewis and Clark Library Missouri, America  I sighted   two CDs of  two Nigeria’s great Musicians on the shelf: Fela Anikulapo Kuti and King  Sunny Ade. I felt great. I showed the two CDs to many there . I want to  donate some of Orlando’s CDs to them.

       Its a pity   that a  prophet does  not have  honor in his own town.When Orlando’s music is being played it throws many into frenzy. Last year a  young  man suddenly stopped and started dancing to the track, Ojo  (Ojo onitemi o Ojo o, Ojo a b’adiye s’aba l’ori eyin Ojo , Ojo o si ni’le Omo adiye d’agba …..Ojo ooooooo,ooooo… ) the young man who coincidentally bears Ojo danced his heart out .He said ” that is my favorite music that is my name Orlando is singing its  praises , then the others followed him dancing when they were convinced of his sanity.

It  happened last year at Agege Pen Cinema area , infact I joined in the dance.The young man  told everybody that he bears Ojo, the  name Orlando sang its  praise. That is Orlando’s music for you.

His music suits any occasion , highly philosophical, full of wisdom, poetry, folklores, traditional stories .

  When he released the  Ganja album , he sold millions and was hailed to high heavens  despite being banned , yet it sold like hot cake. But how can we pay honor to this great man?

 During an interview with the mother of Orlando Owoh, she  was not happy that her son was not buried in his country home , Ifon. Now , it is exactly 10 years Orlando has been dead,while his remains were buried in Lagos.Yes, mistake has been made but let all his friends, fans and family members gather and put their heads together and have his bones  exhumed and be buried in Ifon while his statue be placed at the center of the town while a museum be built and all his materials be kept in his memory. Up till this moment no street not even a local government Park or Center is named after this legend.

        That Orlando’s  mother is still alive is not an excuse. Bob Marley’s mother , Cedella Booker was still alive when her son died at 36.She died  27 years  later  ( 2008).

         LET’S EXHUME ORLANDO’S BODY

  The Holy Bible tells us how  Joseph’s bones  were exhumed from the land of Egypt and  brought to Shechem  and  buried according to the instructions he [Joseph] gave to the Israelites before he died.

Moses Orimolade  Tunolase the leader and founder of Cherubim and Seraphim died on October 19, 1933 ,and was buried at Ojokoro Church , along Lagos /Abeokuta express way , but 42 years later  his bones  were exhumed and taken to his hometown , Ikare, Ondo State for burial on October 19, 1975.

Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia had his bones exhumed    25 years after his death and was given a befitting burial.

Others who had their remains exhumed and reburied are  Eva Peron, Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, Zachary Taylor, Christopher Columbus, Oliver Cromwell, Lee Harvey Oswald, Simon Bolivar,

     Orlando’s sculptor carved on his mother’s door

Daniel Boone, Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas) and many more.

                                    APPEAL FUND NEEDED

     We need an appeal fund, if need be, and the money realized from his royalties coupled with all his  friends , fans and family members of the late Orlando Owoh should endeavor  give him last respect and honor and bring his bones down to Ifon, his hometown and be reburied. It is then we will be proud of having a son from Ifon who took us beyond the native town.

     Here was a man who has over 70 albums to his credit.Let us appeal to his childhood friends , Die The Matter, HRH Apata, and some of his friends to come together and if need be launch an appeal fund and exhume Orlando’s remains and take it back home.

          BoN with Orlando’s mother

      If the late African Kennery were here today he would have recorded many albums. He  would have sang on religion, politics, killings by Boko Haram and Corruption. The great musician  would have sang about elections, against Cultism, inflation, increment of school fees and workers’ hardship.

Yes! if Orlando were here today he would have used his songs to fight social injustice  and social ills in the society.He was a multi -talented musician, poet, composer ,guitarist and  folklorist.

 But the High-life musician  is not here. The African Kennery  joined his ancestors 10 years ago .The Ganja preacher has gone to the land of no return. His remains were buried at his Lagos residence. May his soul rest in peace.

For him truth was his watchword, he would boldly tell you he smoked Indian hemp and so what? .He was a friend of the masses. He was  humble to a fault.

          Apart from the late Orlando and Fela Anikulapo  Kuti who publicly smoked ganja no musician in Nigeria ever confessed smoking it. Infact, he is ranked among  likes of  Bob Marley , Peter Tosh and  Fela. He preached the gospel of ganja .In one of his elpees he sings  that the Police and other law makers smoke the weed.If he were here he would have waxed another record for its legalization. He was gifted. He was the voice of the masses, voice for  the Voiceless and he truly identified himself with them.

                       NEED ORLANDO’S MUSEUM

         Bob Marley died at the age of 36 in 1981, today  there is  a museum where all his personal effects and his history are being kept for viewing . It is now a tourist center.While many Parks and other things are named after him.

There is James Brown’s museum, there is Michael Jackson’s museum.We need Orlando Owoh’s museum. Infact there is no book yet written about Orlando , although I met a man five years ago in Ogbomoso  who is a die-hard fan of Orlando compiling information on the late Musician.Up till now no book known to me that had been published about him.

   And the question  is  “when can we have this type of Musician  again? .”

                          ORLANDO’S ALBUMS

       A man whose wife nags him always  last week  played   IYAWO OLELE  for her but when his wife knew he was indirectly referring to him, she changed the CD and played  KO SEE MA NI  (Woman is indispensable). They  looked at each other and stopped their quarrel.

The reason why people are migrating is because of  ITAN OWO (THE STORY OF MONEY ).  Oh my God how do we call it when Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jacob Miller Killer, Michael Jackson , James Brown, Haruna Ishola, Ogunde Hubert,Baba Sala,  Orlando Owoh are gone? BELERE BA LO NILE YI, no music again  for  ASOTITO AYE have all gone . ADAJO ERE but the Musicians are nowhere to be found to play for us.

A young boy whose boss accused him of stealing his money  played  MA WO MI RORO, to stop suspecting him. For the past one week till the end of this year it is THANKSGIVING for God has spared our lives .

If you smoke  GANJA [I] and  arrested by the law enforcement agent just tell them that the Police, Judges smoke it while in  some states in America GANJA [II] has been legalized.

For those who are away from home they should console themselves and play the  track ERO KI YEYE MI for their mother. Above all don’t underrate your siblings because OMIYE LALA.

Are you oppressed by one stupid rich man?, then sing the song    LOGBA LOGBA    for him,  and he would calm his frayed nerves but don’t forget to , remind him that AYE NYI, while we would continue to pray until when OLORUN OBA DA WA LOHUN then we will sing  MODUPE  , infact ORO MI JU OPE LO.

Whenever I remember  THE LATE  DELE GIWA I used to tell others that OMO BERU AIYE -AIYE LE .I also advise  that MA SIKA, because of the EXPERIENCE I have in life.

We shall soon sing ORIN TUNTUN  and  give IBA EDUMARE  in the new year  because OKAN MI YIN OBA ORUN  and I SAY NO to any YELLOW SISI  for  E GET AS E BE even though SISI SALEWA will not understand .

If your husband is angry just play ORIKI  OJO for him since he is aba diye saba lori eyin and say IRE LONI for you have  to say  AGBA MO JUBA,  to show respect for him..

 

 The monster called  APARTHEID  still reigns in South Africa, but  WHO NO KNOW GO KNOW as they treat us like   CAIN AND ABEL.

Economy is biting hard  no wonder our ladies have become  MONEY FOR HAND BACK FOR GROUND that is why we need to ask the State Governments who claim they cannot pay 30k minimum wage that  WHICH IS WHICH?

    The only way to reach your friends here and outside is to send a text MESSAGE.

 Last week I saw a   KANGAROO  in the Zoo at  St. Louis

   When you look up you see how be OSUPA RORO, Everyday we say , O BABY,to our ladies wanting to make her happy . I SAY   NO  to satan .When you remember your mum  sing this song  with message ERO KI YEYE MI. Are you in America, UK or other foreign country , remember that  AJO KO LE DUN, so East , West, South or North home is the best.

With the current political topsy turvy and hullabaloo we still have hope and we should believe that NIGERIA A DARA.It is good you have made it and no enemy can attack you so sing  AJANAKU DARABA. During the Muslim festival they kill Eran Ileya and  in  four months time is EASTER SPECIAL   for the Christians when we will be celebrating the crucifixion of  Jesus Christ .

 In two weeks time they will soon be selling KNOCK OUT  to herald Christmas and not now for AJUWA YEYE. Please remember that LAIKU EGIRI you don’t you don’t use its skin to make drum and we need to say MO DUPE always especially we  OMO YORUBA for giving us good leaders like Osinbajo.

Born as Stephen Oladipupo Owomoyela in Oshogbo, his father was from Ifon and mother from Owo

Thank God Orlando left behind his children who did not want his name to die as Kunle Orlando Owoh is making waves .

Unfortunately this great musician left his aged mother behind.

Orlando’s fans should be kind enough to see that  his mother is doing fine.

Born on  February 14 1932 , died on  November  4, 2008.

 

My son , Orlando was a great man

 

 

                      Orlando’s mother and BoN during the Interview

Madam Morenike is the mother of the late musician Dr. Orlando Owoh, she said she once prepared a concoction for the late Musician to discourage him from smoking Indian hemp but he rejected it.

           Carved on the wooden  door of the  bungalow is the    artwork   of the late African Kennery, Owomoyela Oladipupo Olaore [aka Orlando Owoh] . Each time the  centenarian mother of Orlando   sees the   carved wooden  artwork   of her son she feels sad  , ” I am always sad seeing the carved life size of Orlando on the door but what can I  do than to wipe and dust it to make it clean”, she told this reporter. She added”  but I found solace in his  children and friends who are supporting me ”  .

Seeing mama one would not believe she is over  100 years of age, as she walks , talks and still agile but she debunked this reporter’s observation and said she  has become old and no longer have that energy  or stamina again as she can no longer walk faster as she used to be. However, one fact remains , she does not use walking stick. ”I now walk slowly , and slowly and cannot go far ”, the old woman stated.

,          

       Late Orlando

She went down memory lane to speak about her popular son who was a musician, but immediately she was asked how she feels hearing his music over the radio , she answered ” I weep , shed tears but would pray to God to let his children live long and bury me .

Mama Morenike lost her son, Orlando Owoh about 10 years   after a brief illness .

Mama is very neat

One thing that cannot be taken away from the old woman is her neatness. She is very neat and   her environment is clean so also the centenarian herself is very neat showing evidence of good living . She   walks slowly  and with dignity .Her  sparsely decorated living room with sofa chairs makes the place  beautiful. She said “My son , I am always neat and my  children and Orlando’s friends take  good care of me you should thank them on my behalf”.

Mama’s Age

If Orlando is alive today he would have been 84, and according to speculations mama is over 100 years of age. Considering her   good stature  many guess that the old woman cannot be less than 100 years of age  while some doubted it but she declared ” I don’t know my age but I know I am over 100 years of age. All  my friends have gone like Madam Eunice, Madam Adenike, , Mrs Asagba , Madam Caroline  Oladoyin    in fact all my friends have died ,I am the only one remaining. That is why I am saying I want to go , there is nothing I am still doing on earth”, she said with shaky voice.

How  I met Orlando’s  father 

When asked to tell her romance with Orlando’s father that produced the late musician , she laughed and said ” Haaa, you want to know? ”
She stated that she was living with her late brother Omoyinbo who was a friend to Owomoyela, Orlando’s father and that was the beginning of the production of the late musician.

Orlando’s real names

Mama said ”my son’s real names are   Oladipupo Olaore   Owomoyela   Orlando Owoh , his father christened him ‘Olaore’  but I called him ‘ Oladipupo’ ”.   Mama  gave the reason why Orlando’s  father gave him the name  ‘Olaore’ , she said “because my late brother, Omoyinbo whom I was living with in Owo  was a friend to Orlando’s father ,   and it was my that brother that  betrothed me to Orlando’s father .I  later  fell in love with him [Owomoyela]   because he was from Ifon so also Orlando’s father .So when he was born , Orlando’s father said he  benefited   from  the friendship and called him “Olaore”         ( Friend’s wealth). His friends called him ”Orlando” and it stuck on him till death” .

       Where are Orlando’s friends?

       When one dies most his  friends are no longer seen again but this is not so to Orlando. Mama has been very grateful to some of her late son’s friends who did not abandon her , she said ” Some of Orlando’s friends  did not desert  me. l just came from Die The Matter his childhood’s friend’s  house who used to give me food and money .Die The Matter has just dropped me at home now, he gives me money , food ,he used to store tubers of yam an gaarii here for me. Same with Oba Francis  Apata, who is the Onipe of Ipe. Oba Apata used to come to me , he drives here  , and that is the chair he sits  (pointing ) whenever he comes here ,not minding his status as a royal father, we would talk and talk, he would tell me that  he would take care of me that i should not die. I want you to pray for me for I  am old enough to die. I thank God that  Orlando’s friends did not abandon me , I am grateful and I hope and pray they will do same  during my burial when I’m gone”.

            Though she looks  hale and hearty but she denied her look and  said ” I can no longer walk as usual , I am not living “, she said sobbing .

         Orlando was talented

          The late musician was rumoured to have inherited his profession from his parents but according to Mama ,  the late musician did not inherit  the skill from his parents , she said ” I didn’t teach him how to sing , though  I was a  chorister  in a church but his own  was natural .And I remember that his father was a member of  ‘ ASINKO ‘ cultural music , and it is believed that may be that was where he also  got it from, but Orlando’s music is more that  of a ordinary  because his music is quite different and unique”, she added.

        Where are Orlando ‘s wives ?

       Mama who lives in Owo , her country home  with some of her children spoke about Orlando’s wives and said  ” Some have gone to remarry while  I am still seeing  some of them, and they have been very  nice  to me  while for those who remarried  have to move on”, she defended them.But her prayers according to her is for the whole children to rally round and come and bury her  when she is gone.

         Orlando’s vacuum

        Yes, Orlando left a big vacuum behind, his death was a fatal blow on the old woman. When does she feel her son’s absence?, the reporter wanted to know , and her response  ”I am always pained each time I remember him.I thought he was the one to bury me but it turned otherwise .It is painful No woman will pray to bury her child”, she said with pains.

        Reincarnation

     Will Mama pray to have Orlando  if she comes to this world again? ! her response ” I wish to give birth to him if the opportunity comes again. I wanted to die when his death was announced .Even ,I still feel like taking poison and die anytime I remember him. I remember how the bad news was broken to me  by one of his  sisters, I felt like dying , up till now I am not myself”.

        The song I love most

         From all the albums Orlando waxed the one her mother loved most is the one she sang to honour her , according to her “I used to listen to his music on the radio, yes, he had a good voice and while listening I would be crying .I love the song he  waxed for me in one of his records  that is “Ero ba mi ki y’emi Morenikeji ye  teja …”,(  greetings to my mother who is selling fish). I also love the  “Ojo” track, which is  among his most popular music he sang in  praise of “Ojo” , mama added  “He sang the song in praise of  Ojo who is a member of our  family .But I don’t know where he ( Ojo ) is now”.

     Orlando’s fame  is from God

      While many mothers whose children are successful and popular would say  it was predicted and and expected but  the late Musician’s mother said with humility that  it is a blessing for her son to be popular for she never expected such in the beginning .She looked  at the ceiling when asked whether she had any premonition that her son would be popular , she swore “nobody told me that Orlando will be a great man when I had his pregnancy and I thank God that I didn’t contemplate to  abort it”.

      I tried  to stop him from smoking hemp

        Mama is honest like her son , she said she was  aware that her  late son smoked Ganja  which  she did not supported.  ”What did she do then to stop him?”, she replied “I used to advise him  to stop smoking  Igbo, I even went extra mile to prepare  agbo (herbs/concotion ) for him to make him stop it but he did not take the  concoction”  he  too used  argued  that if he didn’t smoke it he would not have the energy to play and sing” .

Bury me at the cemetery 

Asked  where she would like to be buried  after her death, mama said she preferred her church’s cemetery , “I am not happy that my son , Orlando was buried in Lagos but I have told them all that when I am dead I should be buried at the  Church’s cemetery .I am the Iya Egbe of  St. Andrew’s Cathedral Church, Owo. My father , Jacob ‘slept’ at the cemetery and Mama  Julianah who took care of me was also buried there .their tombs are there. When I die I want to be buried at our cemetery in  Iselu, Owo but not to be taken  to Ifon or anywhere”, she pleaded, adding ”when my son was alive he  said  he  would like me to  be buried in Ifon  when Im gone but I  said no, unfortunately he died before me ,it is painful” , she sobbed.

 

 

 

Remembering Sheila Solarin

     Remembering  Sheila Solarin (May 31,1924 – Oct. 21, 2012)

               Tai was my greatest motivator

              From the first time I met him in 1947

              Till his death in 1994

              If more people had listened to him ,

              Nigeria might have made better progress

                                                                                    Sheila Solarin

 

                   At the school gate I asked whether I could see mama . “Yes, she is there go and meet her “, the security officer  replied .I walked down to her house  which was about 20minutes walk I got  to her residence , a bungalow  that has  no fence and no security personnel. As I met  one of her maids, a Togolese and told her I wanted to see Mama then  I   heard a soft-spoken velvet voice saying ” Tell Taiwo to come in, let him come in “, that was Mama, she recognized my voice because I had been used to the family .

The late Sheila Solarin and Taiwo Abiodun

” Stand up, stand up Taiwo “, she urged me as I prostrated to greet her.  Immediately the giant domestic animal sighted me it started barking  but Mama  patted the  lovely dog, Rosa to  stop. ” Mama I am here again for interview”, I told her. ” Ask your questions”, she responded .
          In order to make my story unique I demanded to see the late Tai Solarin’s ‘war clothes’, she did not argue as she went in and brought the khaki shirt and shorts and I took the photographs . I asked questions and she was not tired to answer .She did not say my questions were foolish as I asked from relevant to irrelevant

I asked how she felt about the former Head of state who incarcerated her husband and whether she has forgiven him for what he did to her , the old woman looked down, shook her head and said ” whether I have forgiven Babangida? Well, he contributed to the poor health condition of my late husband until  he died .What type of forgiveness is that ?.My husband was detained several times for saying the truth and looking for a better Nigeria , was that an offense?”

Asked to talk about Nigerians , she said ” Nigerians are hard working and ready to work if there are jobs as they could cope anywhere in the world .But where are the jobs ? .I am more concerned about the youths ” , she said . “Mama, can I see where Tai Solarin was buried ?”, I asked , she rose while her dog, Rosa ( who has become her companion ) followed us and we got to the place , I took a lot of photographs.

On a personal note since we had become a family and she asked after my welfare, family and how I was faring in journalism profession , she said ” since I know many of these media don’t pay very well”,but I told him we were being paid as at when due where I worked. “Oh, I love you for saying the truth , that is good and that means things are changing “, she responded .

I asked why she preferred Audi Car product to other products ( As I could see many used ones there) , she said ” it is a strong car”. Mama, I was told you have a Zoological garden , she said ” all schools are supposed to have , we have snakes , some reptiles and other animals there , go and have a look”, she said. Again I asked her whether I could interview Tunde, her son , she said ” Will he grant you interview? I know him, he would not”.

Mama who owns all these cows ? She replied ” they belong to my son, Tunde , I can’t be doing all these” . Later , she told me she was going to the class and I asked ” Mama , going to the class? ” , she replied” Yes, some of those I teach at home had just left .I teach English language .”

                 When I returned to the office , The Nation newspaper , the Sunday Editor , Mr .Lekan Otufodunrin was happy as he grabbed the story and gave me three pages , then gave me 2,000 Naira for a job well done .He splashed the photographs of the ” war clothes”  of the old ” soldier” on center pages of The Nation‘s newspaper . At another time I asked Mama why she did not go to church and she responded” This is 10 o’clock Sunday morning , why didn’t you go to church and waste your time? . Nigerians are full of hypocrisy .They should go out , work and assist people .They waste too much time on what does not matter” .

                       I once asked her about her big and frightening dog, Rosa ,” dead”, she replied. “Why didn’t you have a gate and fence round your house for security purpose?, she replied ” I don’t need that”. As I finished my interview she bade me goodbye and safe journey back to Lagos. But one thing I will never forget from the old woman is when she asked how I went to school and I told her that my older  brother , Professor Rowland Abiodun sponsored my university education from  undergraduate to the Post graduate level, she demanded for her e mail and I gave her, ” I will write him to thank him for I know what it is to sponsor  one’s education”, she promised

                          She asked where my twin brother was , and I told him he was far away in Canada, she said ” oh , I was there several years ago and that place is always cold .Is he a boy or a girl , are you identical or not , is he also a journalist? ” She asked me all these questions three years earlier and still remembered later.

                          Mama  was very articulate and has good retentive memory despite her old age . She once lectured  me about Cancer, as she said she once had cervix cancer when she was young but   was quickly detected and treated . ” So cancer can be treated if detected early”, she lectured me. She was ready to discuss anything under the sun and would not say it is private or take an offense. I remember when I asked her why she had two children, she replied “why do we need to have many?, what for?” She was truthful, faithful and straightforward to a fault. She was ready to tell the truth no matter whose ox is gored . I remember when she said ” when a man lies , he needs 99 percent of more lies to cover up the one lie he has lied” ( he was referring to a former Head of state ).

I became a friend to the family, as I had interviewed Corrine her first child before “. As we all remember Mama Sheila today , I remember her soft vspoken, lovable, cheerful, harmless, beautiful, dutiful and caring woman .I remember her golden framed- eye glasses , her hearing aids , walking stick, smiles, her golden hair, her clean feet in her beautiful sandals and of course the day she called me and said ” So you are Babalawo of The Nation?”, laughing. She gave me six books , I so much treasured and I kept them in my library in Owo, my beloved home town. 

The late Sheila was a British and wife of the late atheist, Tai Solarin .The duo established May Flower School , Ikenne in Ogun State and were both atheists.

Sheila contributed a lot to the development of education in Nigeria .She was always behind her husband who was always incarcerated because of her politicyal contribution because of his radical ideology.

As I was leaving Mayflower school and glanced at the  the iron cast sculptures of Sheila and her husband placed  at the entrance of the school I said, in spite  of being atheists they are still loved.For the duo or the Solarins  it is Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Memories , memories and memories .