BY DAPO AKINREFON
THEY are identical twin brothers married to twin sisters and they share a lot in common. Born over four decades ago to Mr and Mrs Oluwafunso, Messrs Taiwo and Kehinde Oluwafunso, who hail from Ibadan, Oyo State, run Twin Action-Aid, an NGO specifically set up to see to the welfare of twins. In this encounter, they reveal a lot about themselves and the Panafest colloquium among other issues. Enjoy your read:
Who are the twins?
We are Taiwo and Kehinde oluwafunsho and we were born about four decades ago. Our parents ensured we had a good background. Our parents are Pa and Ma Oluwafunsho from Oyo State. We attended the same primary school in Lagos; we had our secondary education at Community Grammar School Ibadan.
The only time we were separated was when one of us attended the Polytechnic Ibadan, while the other was admitted to a College of Education in Lagos. After this, we both attended the Lagos State University. Our parents encouraged us to do things in common. In all that we do, we discovered that God was taking us somewhere.
Being identical, do people find it difficult to differentiate the both of you?
Of course, this is one special aspect of our lives. Atimes, we find it difficult to differentiate ourselves. We are identical and this has opened doors for us. We have also ensured that we positively affect the lives of those around us because of our upbringing. One thing that has been working for us is our identical features.
Did you at any time work in the same place, since you do things together?
We have never worked in the same establishment but we are involved in the same business. We embark on the same project.
Tell us the story of how you meet your spouses?
It was by divine arrangement, through our NGO, Twins Action-Aid international. During one of our annual programmes, a day set aside to celebrate the international twins day in Nigeria. They were among the six delegates from Kwara State and when they arrived for registration, Kehinde was the one who first saw them and quickly called me to tell me about them but I wasn’t interested because I was busy preparing for the next day.
I remember that he kept disturbing me for us to go and see them at the hotel where they were lodged but I was put off and told him to forget it, saying we would see them the following day at the festival ground. It was all divinely arranged. They are quiet, gentle and they comported themselves well all through the programme.
After the programme, we went around the hotels to thank all the participants for coming and when we got to their hotel, Kehinde said we should use the opportunity to express our feelings to them, that his inner spirit is nudging him that they are the ones. We had planned that I would speak to the female Kehinde while Kehinde would speak to the female Taiwo, making it a cross proposition.
For how long have you been organising the Twins festival?
We have been organising the event since 1993. It was when one of us had an accident that God gave us the inspiration to organize a festival which is in form of a day out for all twins in the country. People have been misinformed about twins; there have been misinformation about twins and in the mismanagement in the handling of twins. That was what informed our decision to organize the Twins Festival.
We got married on the same day in the same church, at the same hour and a twin reverend preached on our wedding day at Immanuel Baptist Church in Ilorin, Kwara state. The bridal train at our wedding, were identical twins. In fact, there were many twins who attended our wedding. We give glory to God.
What is Panafest all about?
Panafest is a Pan-African festival. Panafest has been able to bring people from all walks of life to converge in Ghana to discuss issues that are pertinent to the continent of Africa. There is a need to arise and give a wake up to Africans and those in the Diaspora to put heads and see to the development of Africa. It is about commitment to improving Africa.
Panafest will be 20 years old because it is hosted every two years. Before the event is held in Ghana, we host a pre-Panafest event here in Nigeria which is a colloquium and arts exhibition where we will have the Vice President of Ghana, Dr John Ghaman as our guest speaker. We are also going to have the governor of Osun state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as our keynote speaker.
The former Secretary-General of the Common Wealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and former governor of Lagos state Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu among other guests will be present at this year’s event. We want to show case Nigeria’s rich culture. We are aiming at exploring our tourism sector to fetch revenue for Nigeria aside the oil we already have.