Guest Columnist

Forty-Five Years in Stillness: ‘A righteous man will be remembered forever’ By Mike Awoyinfa

...In Memoriam

Mike Awoyinfa
Mike Awoyinfa

It has been forty-five years since you left, but your memory continues to illuminate the lives of your children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren like a guiding star.  As the family biographer, I recall once again, the profound impact you had on your family and the countless lives you touched as an educationist, mentor and devoted father.

The Holy Bible, a book which you cherished so much in your lifetime, a book which in the words of your sole surviving daughter, Mrs. Yetunde Adegbola, was your Constitution, says it all: “A righteous man will be remembered forever.” (Psalm 112:6)

Yesterday was June 7, 2024, forty-five years in stillness, forty-fifth anniversary of a day etched in the hearts of your offspring—a day of immense pain and sorrow.  The sadness of your sudden departure was a harsh reminder of the fragility of life and the inexorable nature of fate.  You left shy of your 70th birthday, a milestone that carries a deep biblical significance.  King David’s words resonate with me: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”

Even forty-five years on, the sense of loss is palpable.  Your three remaining children, your many grandchildren, great grandchildren, the students you taught and mentored, and all who had the privilege of knowing you still feel the void and stillness your absence created.  However, amidst the sorrow, there is immense pride and gratitude for the legacy you left behind.  Your life was a testament to hard work, integrity, humility, commitment to the teaching profession, commitment to the church and unwavering faith in God, your Creator whom you’ve gone to meet.

Born on October 13, 1910, you were a man of intellectual prowess and moral fortitude.  The son of David Oba Adenuga and Eunice Banwo Adenuga of Ijebu Igbo, you inherited a legacy of nobility and scholarship.  The Adenuga name, rooted in royalty, spoke of a lineage of leaders and intellectuals.  “Ade”, as I explained in this column five years ago, means crown and “Nuga” means palace—a fitting representation of the noble values you embodied all through your eventful life.

Your story should find a place in the annals of history.  Like Julius Caesar, like Cincinnatus, like Scipio Africanus, you were offered a crown on the platter of gold, to be the King of Ijebu Igbo, but you rejected it.  Despite the numerous opportunities to ascend to royal titles and be addressed as “Kabiyesi” with people lying flat on the ground to greet you as their king, you said no to kingship.  Your deep commitment to your Christian faith and your disdain for the associated rituals kept you grounded.  This decision spoke volumes about your character and priorities.

Your sole surviving daughter Otunba Mrs. Yetunde Adegbola, Mike Adenuga’s immediate elder sister says of you: “As a matter of fact, they called my father several times to come and be crowned the Olumolosi of Ijebu Igbo but he refused.  That is Papa for you.  He believes being crowned king is worldlinesss and he cannot stand the rituals that go with it.  It was against his Christian belief.”

Your passion for education was evident from an early age.  Trained at St. Andrew’s College, Oyo, and furthering your studies at the Institute of Education, Exeter University in England, you dedicated your whole life to shaping young minds.  You taught in Ijebu-Mushin, Ile-Ife, and later in Ibadan, where you became a beloved headmaster and an Inspecting Assistant in the Ministry of Education.  Your influence extended beyond the classroom; you were a mentor, a guide, and a pillar of support for your students.  Your tenure as headmaster at St. James’s School in Ibadan was particularly noteworthy.  You were more than an educator.  You were a tower, a beacon of discipline, generosity, and faith.  Your commitment to nurturing not only the intellect but also the character of your students set a standard that continues to inspire.

At the home front, you were the bedrock of the Adenuga family.  Your life was an example of simplicity and spirituality.  You ensured that your children had spiritual upbringing.  Morning and evening prayers, hymns played on your small piano and regular church attendance where you were a preacher were the cornerstones of your family life.  Your commitment to faith was unwavering, and planted your children’s feet firmly on the path of righteousness.

All your children attest to the fact that your ability to give selflessly, whether it was the last piece of meat on your plate or your time and energy, left an indelible mark on them.  You believed in the power of giving and the joy it brings, a trait that Mike, in particular, inherited and exemplifies to this day.  You were a strict disciplinarian but also a nurturing father who ensured that his children felt loved and valued.

Today, the name Mike Adenuga is famous all over the world.   Thanks to your clairvoyance in naming your second son and the last born after yourself.  In those days, children were named by their grandparents.  But when your parents died, you took up the responsibility of naming Mike Adenuga after yourself.  It has more than paid off.  The name Mike Adenuga has become a global brand.  Your son’s achievements on the global stage, his recognition as one of the world’s wealthiest men, and his contribution to Nigeria and Africa are a testament to the principles you and Mama instilled in him.  Your joint legacies live on through his success, his philanthropy, and the values he upholds.

The Michael Adenuga Memorial Church stands as a testament to your enduring influence.  Built by Mike in your honour, it is a place where faith and community converge, reflecting your lifelong dedication to spiritual and moral development.

Forty-five years without you, your children have continued to build on the rock-solid foundation you and Mama Juliana Oyindamola, the quintessential businesswoman laid.  Today, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren are growing up with the same values of integrity, hard work, and faith you instilled.  They may not have known you personally, but through stories like this and the legacy you left, they are connected to you in spirit.






Related Articles

Leave a Reply

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :