It has been said time and time again that one of the greatest joy of parenthood is to bring forth healthy offsprings; offsprings who perpetuate the family’s good name and contribute to the healthy growth of a nation. For Late Major Zacheaus Olatunde Molade (Rtd) and his wife, Late Mrs Oluwafunmilayo Josephine Molade (nee Shasanya), though sleeping in the bosom of the Lord, they could rest easy in peace, knowing they have left behind a worthy offspring in Hajiya Abiodun Hauwa Isa Yuguda, First Lady of Bauchi State and her siblings.
Last Saturday, the children led by Hajiya Abiodun Yuguda re-awake the memories of their father and mother who passed on 10 years and 5 years ago respectively by organising a remembrance thanksgiving mass and reception in Itire, Surulere, where their family house is situated. But that did not end there as the children did the departed souls of their parents proud by also dedicating a re-built family house to honour the memory of their parents.
Family, friends and their neighbours from the area converged on the new house to join the Molade family in offering prayers and of course in the merriment that ensued. When asked what the whole ceremony was about, Hajiya Yuguda offered “ we are thanking God for our parents who have left us 5 and 10 years ago. Although we have been praying for them but at this point we feel we should celebrate them”
The re-built family house is a three-storey mansion which sits on a German-floor, with supporting pillars reaching from the ground right up to the roof. The house could be seen from every angle in the area because of its imposing structure and it sits almost apart and distinct from every house in the area. “ when my father died, he left a word in his will that we should still maintain this family house and get together as one. He warned us not to sell the house but instead, we should even do more. That is why we put up this building in his honour. Instead of staying where he left it, we decided to make it bigger and make each one of us has his/her own apartment” said Hajia Yuguda
Hajiya Abiodun Yuguda who has 8 siblings (2 of blessed memory) said she understands that the house may be out of place in the area for its sheer opulence and even confirmed that some of her friends have asked her why she has stuck in the area when she could easily have built such in Ikoyi or Victoria Island but she has retorted “ I don’t want to be in Ikoyi or Victoria Island. I want to be close to people I might be able to touch their lives and besides, we want to be close to the people around here”
Continuing, she said, “ I lived and grew up in Itire. This house was not originally built by my father, it was built by my grandfather who passed it on to my father. My father passed it on to us. My father could have gone to stay anywhere but he chose to stay here among people that would need his help. My father was a Major in the army and in his own time, a Major was like a General. He was always fighting for the rights of the less-privileged people around him”
Hajiya Abiodun Yuguda could as well be telling the world where she inherited her streak and knack for helping the less privileged. In Bauchi state where she reigns as the Gimbiyan Liman Katagun, the Lagos-born wife of the Bauchi State Governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda, is regarded as the mother of the less privileged and persons with disabilities. Her non-governmental organisation called “ Challenge Your Disability Initiative (CYDI)” in collaboration with various international agencies has contributed immensely in alleviating the sufferings of many.
“ I learned a lot from my father and mother. They are also my role models. Before he died, he told us never to have any regrets. He said everything belongs to God. He taught us that any position we found ourselves in life has been designed according to the wishes of God. He made us know we have to be close to the people, that in the presence of God we are all the same. So as I grew up, I imbibed his teachings and never thought anybody is higher in importance than anybody. The people around here are very special to us. That is why I left where I was with my friends to come down and stay with them, to show them that the position I am today has not made me a different person. We are all the same in the sight of God” she said.
When asked whether she has any plan to replicate what she is doing in Bauchi State in Lagos State for the good of her people, she answered in the affirmative saying: “ I want to be there for everybody. The aged, the children and the youths. I already have an initiative in Bauchi State for the less privileged, especially people with disabilities and I am extending it to Lagos and I am going to start with people in this area.”
Before the merriment galore at the new Molade house, the family congregated for a thanksgiving mass, setting adrift the question of her switching from her Christian upbringing to becoming an Hajiya, who now practices Islam as a religion. “ Like I told you, everything that happens to a man has been so designed by God. I got married in the Christian way but when I read through the Qur’an, I found out it is the same God we worship, so I decided there is nothing bad in being close to my husband. When you are serving God, you are one family. My husband never influenced my decision. I got to learning the ways of Islam on my own. I even learned to pray on my own. Besides, there are Muslims and Christians in my family. Even my grandfather was a Muslim,” she said.
For people who could not tolerate people from religions other than their own, the First Lady has this to say: “ What I know is that anybody who is really religious should know that God is love. That God wants us to love one another. Even in Jerusalem, there is a church and a mosque in the same place. It is only when we love each other that we are truly serving God because God is love”