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He’s 49, but has chaired over 50 wedding receptions

Posted by By BEIFOH OSEWELE on 2005/04/20 | Views: 3922 |

He’s 49, but has chaired over 50 wedding receptions


Standing well over six feet, Omoba Kola Roberts is friendly, charming and yet very humble. The 49-year-old son of a former policeman, (his late father retired from the force 1958) from Igbekebo, in Ese-Odo, Ondo State who says he was “born, bre(a)d, buttered and sugared” in Lagos, has chaired more wedding receptions than his age. Between 1994 and now, he has performed that duty on at least 50 different occasions. And in his diary, more dates have been blocked.

Standing well over six feet, Omoba Kola Roberts is friendly, charming and yet very humble. The 49-year-old son of a former policeman, (his late father retired from the force 1958) from Igbekebo, in Ese-Odo, Ondo State who says he was “born, bre(a)d, buttered and sugared” in Lagos, has chaired more wedding receptions than his age. Between 1994 and now, he has performed that duty on at least 50 different occasions. And in his diary, more dates have been blocked.

Roberts says he enjoys playing the role. But he tells you he does not go out of his way to lobby for them, neither does he charge any fees. And he says every event is a different ball game altogether.

“Every event is unique. It depends on the setting. There was one I did, as I was making my speech, everybody was nodding his or her head. At a stage, everybody started clapping, so I knew I was making sense. I was so touched.”
A very modest man, Roberts, whose marriage to Yemi, a Lagosian, is blessed with six children (three apiece) speaks on how he got on the marriage train and what it takes to make a marriage a success.

First time
Hear him: “I think what happened is that…” he begins slowly. “It all started in the 90s, I had this friend, a retired naval officer whose in-law was wedding. After the church ceremony, he just called me, “Kola, come o, you’re going to be the chairman of the reception.” I said, ‘no, egbon, e so fun mi now’ (I can’t, you did not inform me before.) And he said, ‘now, I’ve told you.” Left with no choice, he accepted to do it.

He confessed that the first time was not an easy task for him. If any thing he had a butterfly is his tummy.
Not long after the young man whose wedding he chaired approached him to say the friend who was his best man wanted him to play same role at his wedding. “I asked him why? He said he didn’t know. I said okay, I’d do it. So, that is how it started.” Since then, it has been one invitation after another. In fact, there is hardly any month he is not called upon to perform the role.
“There was a day I was having one in Oshogbo, one in Lagos. I had to send my kid brother who is a pastor to hold forth for me in Lagos.”
At the last count, he has chaired over 50 weddings receptions across the states. He says it gives him great joy.



“I am doing it for the younger ones. I am happy that people are beginning to appreciate what I’m doing. I make sure that when I’m approached, I accept the invitation so long as we can work out the modalities. If that is what you want me to do to contribute to your marriage, I always make myself available. It comes once in a lifetime. There was one we did at Olatuji, Olosa (Mushin area of Lagos).

I was supposed to go to Abuja but a friend insisted that I must be there. I was held up somewhere. My friend was phoning me to please come, come. When I got there, as I was parking the car, the groom just walked up to me and said, Sir, you’re the chairman. I said no, how do you know, I have never met you before. He insisted. So when I was called to the stand, the guy was just laughing. I asked him how he knew? He said an instinct told him. So, since, it has been like that.”


Engagement
If you call me to be chairman of your reception, I will always like to be at the engagement to observe one or two things. Except when I am not chanced. It will be part of what I would just chip in at the reception.”

No perfect marriage
He said each time he hears news of a marriage undergoing a crisis or hitting the rock, he feels very sad. “Such news gives me sleepless nights, because it is not the best, especially when they have children. Nobody prays for it. It is not the best. This is where information management comes in. A couple should be able to manage their information adequately. What goes on in your marriage should not be for a third party’s consumption. Never carry your problem to a third party because the third party you’re going to has his own problems too. Marriage is give and take. Everybody is managing his house. There’s no perfect marriage. Try as much as possible not to bring third party into the marriage. It will help the union to grow.

“Marriage is not a bed of roses. It has its ups and downs. In any sphere of life, you have these things. But in the days of courtship, the man has to open his eyes and ears and listen to elders. Once you go into marriage… as far as I’m concern, marriage has only one entry. No exit. It is a life time affairs. So anything you’re doing, you must make sure your brain is engaged before putting your mouth into gear. You have to be very careful.
Courtship is different from marriage. By the time you marry, you begin to see ego. Emiloko iyawo (I am the husband).

“Then another thing I have observed is that once some women marry, they forget themselves. Their dressing will change. They begin to appear shabbily. So it’s not attracting the young man again. This contributes 75 percent of conflict in marriage. That is why I say women are at the receiving end. You must maintain the standard that brought the young man to you. What enticed him must not be discarded. No.”
In spite of his busy schedule as a businessman, Roberts always manages to make out time to keep a tag on any couple whose reception he had chaired. This is borne out of his belief that young couples need to be guided and counselled so that they do not stray.

“The fact is that after the marriage, I always do a follow up. Marriage is an institution ordained by God. For two people from different backgrounds to come and live together is not an easy task. So, it is not just something you can just run over in just 10-15 minutes at the reception. I go a step further to meet and counsel with them from time to time, long after the marriage. There is one I did at Oshodi about three years ago, the boy is out of job now. I am looking for a job for him. So, I go a step further to find out what is happening in any marriage I preside over as chairman. I tell them, this was the mistake we made when we were in our 20s, and we don’t want you to fall victim. Marriage is patience. You have to have a lot of it.”

One thing that gives him exceeding joy is the fact that none of the marriage he had presided over has hit the rock. At least none that he is aware of.
“The one that would have been so, God helped us to manage it. God came in and we were able to resolve it. In the course of trying to resolve the issue, we could see the young man was a bit at fault. What actually happened was that after the wedding, he was still seeing his oldy. The wife got to know. You know women; it is like the heavens wanted to fall. We resolved it for them. By and large, we were able to manage the situation and the young man was counselled.”



He has an advice for women on how to keep their marriage intact. “ When you nag, you’re pushing him out. If he stays out too long, when he comes back receive him. Talk things over with him when he is in a very good mood. By the time you start smiling, you’re winning him back. But if he comes back late and you refuse to open the door, he’s going back the following day. But when you calm down, you’ll see a change and different person. And for the man, he says, “don’t turn your wife to a punching bag. It’s not good.”

Happiness
My own idea of happiness is when you put smiles on another person’s face. When everybody around me is happy, I am happy. When I see somebody that is not happy, I am disturbed. I want everybody around me to be happy. I’m not so rich, but I can pick my bills. I don’t think money guarantees happiness. Once you can pick your bills and you have a place to put your head, which is okay.

Music
I love oldies like Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Ade. Now I love Atorishe and Haruna Ishola’s son.

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