ELDER SOLOMON ADESINA OGUNLANA (J.P.)…REMINISCING A GREAT FATHER-IN-LAW
Hon S. A. Ogunlana is his name and my wife’s father too. But permit me to call him Grandpa. When we first met in the 70’s he called me “Young man” but I later graduated to “Baba Yetunde”. He was friendly but matter–of-factly so. I was not surprised later to know he was an accountant. I guess hat’s the way we appear to many people. Each time I went to see Bisi at their Ondo Street,East, Ebute Meta and to go back home at 10pm he was always the same. Very welcoming, very friendly yet concerned. I recollect there were no okadas in those days!
When Bisi and I were going to get married was the time the bright lights that made up grandpa shined very brightly from his inner being. And I must have shocked him in return at my wife’s 50th birthday ceremony with the details I gave in public about the sacrifices he made for our wedding. For this I respected Grandpa throughout his life and we had a very deep mutual unspoken understanding. We did not see each day but when we did he knew I was always in his corner.
36 years down the line, grandpa never had to call my wife and I together to ask each of us to “state our complaints about one another”. He never interfered with our lives. For him it was enough to know that whatever our highs or lows were we were managing our lives and marriage. And I say with all due respect and grateful heart that grandpa loves his sons-in-law as his own children. Just make sure his child did not have cause to cry to him! And to my brothers-in-law married to grandpa’s children you all know how tough, honest and straight forward those children were, are and ever shall be. Amen….Just like grandpa!
He was a family builder, who also cared for his community and the conditions of others around him. For his close and extended family and to friends near and far he sacrificed to “maintain and sustain” as his church society members usually say. Not only did extended families and relations find succor in him, he remained a steady ship within his societies, friends and associates throughout his life. And his total devotion to the Lord though the Methodist Church at Ago-Ijaye, Ebute-Meta was unquestionable.
He was also a politician of a different brand, category and class for many years. For this he was an elected councilor of the Bariga L.G.A for a few years as can be seen in his biography. But to him politics was not about pocket enrichment and I am sure Jimmy Agbaje must have noticed that for the many seasons they spent together. He hated dishonesty with passion like Baba Awolowo. He never forgot any attempt to deceive him. For this he did not suffer fools gladly.
And for me personally I cherished many years of picking very cold drinks from his bedroom fridge. If I forgot he would remind me not to forget the usual visit to his bedroom. I also spent a few personal hours with him when he was at the Military Hospital Ikoyi and many years later at LUTH. Even in illness he was always 100% with the presence of his very sharp mind and always wanted to look nice and clean! When the choice to go to OAUTH became unavoidable I still believed we were going to see again face to face. But the Lord’s will was done!
We all say we celebrate the life of parents who passed away. But left to us none of us will rather have such parent dead for “celebration” no matter how old! Meaning that “celebration of life” is only for healing us but does not represent our preferences. For instance it can never stop tears from flowing as most of us must have found out in our little separate corners! But can we fully celebrate or recall the memories of grandpa in search of the elimination of our sadness? Or can we wish away the grief of his passing away by the use of our pens or keyboards? NO. NO.
The length or size of this tribute does not represent the size of my love for grandpa vis-à-vis the wife, children, spouses and other mourners. It probably only shows I am a teacher and blogger. But great kudos must be given to grandma and all the children for their fiercely valiant efforts to keep grandpa alive. The Lord gives and takes away. Otherwise the love he got from home and abroad should have raised him up and brought him back to his well-known dining table and chair!
Also, many might have probably forgotten grandpa was the Chairman of the Board of Advisers of Mason College and Pass Tutorial College both of Festac Town which had three other Professors as Advisers and which advanced the growth and development of thousands of students within and outside the Amuwo Odofin LGA. On one or two occasions he was also the guarantor for our banking credit facilities.
So in loving remembrance of a great man we pray that even as time passes by memories of you and your examples will neither die nor fade away. May God hold you in the palm of His hands. Amen. We say, good night and good night again and pray that your soul rest in perfect peace with the Lord. Amen.
We also hereby thank all our friends and family members who joined us here today to say a well-deserved good bye to our grandpa.