Posted by AKINWALE ADEPEGBA on
FOR the Adenuga family, Wednesday, June 8, started like every normal day. Even at the ripe age of 90, the matriarch of the family, Mama Oyindamola Adenuga, the Yeyeoba of Ijebuland, was in high spirit.
FOR the Adenuga family, Wednesday, June 8, started like every normal day. Even at the ripe age of 90, the matriarch of the family, Mama Oyindamola Adenuga, the Yeyeoba of Ijebuland, was in high spirit. Nobody in the family seemed to have had any premonition that their beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother was about being recalled from the great beyond and was only spending her last couple of minutes on earth.
When the cold hands of death struck and the deed became manifest, the heart of all members of the family was heavy-laden. Yet, they knew they had every cause to celebrate because their matriarch had lived a glorious, prosperous, charitable and fulfilled life. They knew they indeed should roll out the drums because Mama lived to be 90 in a society where life expectancy is in a free fall.
The Adenugas knew Mama deserved all the post-humous honour and accolades they could shower on her, having bequeathed to the nation children who have become icons of the national economy. Right in her lifetime, Mamaís last born, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr., became one of Nigeriaís richest and most successful entrepreneurs, adding immeasurable value to the national economy and in the process taking the family name beyond where Mama would ever have imagined.
Mama Adenuga was a woman of spartan discipline. Her childrenís lives attest to this, as they are men and women who have distinguished themselves in their different callings. Her passage has brought forth torrents of tributes from far and near as the nation waits with bated breath to witness the burial rites. Her son-in-law of 33 years, Sir. (Dr.) Kola Adegbola, described her as a mother whose life dictated the pace for others. "She was not just kind, humane and hospitable; she was quick-witted, suave and highly intelligent. Her children apparently got the industry streak from her genes.
She also ensured that her children and wards were all entrenched in the way of the Lord and were rooted in moral rectitude. Yeyeoba loved the things of the Lord and made a good impact in the churches she attended and held key offices. She was as well a disciplinarian," he said. During the presentation of the centennial awards of St. Anneís Church, Ibadan to Yeyeoba Adenuga last December, she was described as "one of the few old people living whose wealth of experience and zealousness for the things of the Lord have become a source of inspiration to growing Christians who aspire for spiritual excellence."
Mama Adenuga was regarded by her admirers as the quintessential, priceless gem and a symbol of purity. Priceless still are her immense contributions to the moulding of lives. Her impeccable character has made her a role model to countless young women looking up to her in their journey through life as wives and mothers.
Born February 19, 1915 at Ibido, Oke Sopen Quarter, Ijebu-Igbo in
Ogun State to the late Pa Silu Onasile and the late Mama Dorcas Onasile, she is the fifth of her motherís seven surviving children.
Her father, knowing the value of good education, enrolled her at St. Johnís Anglican Primary School, Oke Sopen, Ijebu Igbo. Upon completing her primary education, she proceeded to Lagos as was the fad in those days, and there she learnt dressmaking. With her Midasí touch, she soon turned dressmaking to a goldmine, and was known as one of the best dressmakers of her time. On January 5, 1937, she walked down the aisle with her heatthrob, the late Pa Michael Adenuga, also a native of Ijebu Igbo. The husband was a teacher and inspector of education and was reputed to have lived a spartan life of discipline. With her husband, Mama took residence in Ile Ife.
She relocated to Ibadan in 1944 to establish a vibrant dressmaking institute with several young women apprenticed to her. Understanding the dynamics of life, Mama knew her locally celebrated skill in dressmaking will be enhanced by international exposure and further education. She jetted out to England where between 1955 and 1956 she obtained a diploma in dressmaking from The London Polytechnic. As would be expected, her outfit started competing favourably with the best international labels and she enjoyed the patronage of the noble and the affluent.
Her quest for growth and excellence propelled her to expand for business beyond dressmaking as she ventured into buying and selling on a large scale. Mama Adenuga soon became one of the first set of distributors for Nigerian Breweries and Guinness and her annual turnover was so impressive that she was rewarded yearly as one of the most outstanding distributors of the two companies.
In recognition of her innumerable contributions to commerce and her community, she was in 1961 honoured with the title of Otunba of Ikija Ijebu, followed by the title of Iyalaje of Ijebu Igbo in 1969. The Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, conferred on her the exalted title of Yeyeoba of Ijebuland in 1985. A deeply religious woman, Mama Adenuga, an Anglican, attended St. Anneís Church, Ibadan and St. Johnís Anglican Church, Oke Jaga, Ijebu Igbo. Matron of the Egbe Itesiwaju Society of St. Anneís Church, her contributions to church growth and development qualified her as one of the churchís Octogenarian Honours Awardees on December 12, last year. Mama Adenuga was blessed with three daughters and two sons, including Mrs. E.O. Osunsade, Otunba (Mrs.) Akande, Chief Ademola Adenuga, Otunba (Mrs.) Yetunde Adegbola and Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr), Chairman, Globacom Limited and other blue chip companies.
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