By Derenle Animasaun
“Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.” – Gloria Naylor
We have been conditioned and made to believe that Christmas the most reverent time of the year;time to take stock, time to reflect, give thanks for another year of grace and survival, a time to celebrate, to be with family and friends, a time of plenty, to eat and celebrate like it is the end of the year.
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The truth is, everyday we are alive is a perfect day to appreciate life and living and to hope that tomorrow will be a better day. We are taught that we only live once. No, we only die once and we live everyday. So do not waste any second of it.
So, we should take care of how we live life and appreciate how and who we share our lives with. Sharing, they say, is caring. Be generous with your time, people will value your presence more than your presents.
Generosity is not giving those who have more much more but giving those with less, some. That is,where the blessings and purpose of life is.
Living life to the full is not about debauchery and in excess. On the contrary, it is about giving and passion to lift others up whenever you can,it is not the grand gesture that matters, it is the little but often deeds that may go unnoticed.
Scientists have discovered that being grateful helps to rewire your brain in a positive way. It lifts your mood and being grateful attracts positive reactions.
Practicing gratitude lifts low moods and depression. Has someone ever asked you, how your day was and you are more likely to come up with what was wrong with your day. Practice this; ask yourself what was good about your day and you will begin to see how much good things happened that might have been missed otherwise.
Your present will determine your future. Be grateful to God as you greet a new day. My father always insisted that you reserve your first gratitude for God, every morning before anyone else.
Having gratitude will also help you to move past anxiety, as you learn to live in the moment and become mindful of your surroundings. One way to practice gratitude is to write down three things you are grateful for on this day. Or keep a grateful jar and at the end of the day, write down what you are grateful for and by the end of the year, you will have 365 notes of gratitude!
If things are really bad and you cannot shake off feeling negative or feeling that everything bad happens to you.
You should ask yourself this: what if things do go well and would I cope, what will it take and what can I do to make those changes? Start to build your life the way you would like to envision it to be. Remember, there was a time when we had no planes or cars. For that matter, imagine if that person had given up? Someone dreamt of and worked towards making it happen. Imagine if those people had thought they couldn’t do it, we will all be disadvantaged by their negative thinking.
Remember what you think, you become. So be mindful what you feed your thoughts.
It’s been almost seven months since my father past to the great beyond and not a day passes that I do not think and pray for him. I catch his glimpse in words that I say or in some people that I see. I know that many are grieving their loved ones during this time. I want them to know it is the absence of their love we grieve and it is their presence in our lives we should celebrate always. I wish you all a blessed time and one filled with gratitude and love.
From my father’s book,1939
I was born in Agbado Station, now in Ifo Local Government of Ogun State. It was not like that when I was born. Agbado was in the Western Region of Nigeria. Agbado Station was popular: it was a Kola-nut buying station and boasted of a settlement of Northerners. Their main occupation being to buy kola-nuts from the indigenes, package them and send them by train to the kola-chewing centres of the North. And if you ask me, the entire North had that habit and still largely do.
Their being in Agbado Station infused Northern culture in everything conceivable; most particularly most people who lived in Agbado Station for some time learnt to speak Hausa in various degrees and the Hausas either spoke perfect Yoruba or a facetious complexion of the language. Friends were made across the cultural divide; marriages were contracted.
It was not by accident that I was born at Agbado Station. My paternal grandmother, Bilqis Adebunmi Ajoo, lived there, trading in kola; using Agbado Station as a base, she foraged for kola in markets in Itoki, Ijoko and Agege. She bought kola from any of the above markets and sold them to Hausa traders at Agbado Station. She was not alone: the major occupation and commerce was kola- nut buying and selling. My father worked in the North, precisely Nguru, Bornu Province – a hot and arid place-but the terminus of the Lagos-Kano-Nguru railway line. My father was the agent for Agbonmagbe Brothers – a company of the late and well-known businessman of great acumen, Chief M. A. Okupe. Okupe was the founder of Agbonmagbe Bank which the Western Region bought and renamed Wema Bank.
. Mother was father’s first wife. There were others: Rafatu Amoke who also bore my mother’s middle name – Amoke – was the second. Rafat bore Falilat Abeni, an only daughter. There was Moriamo Alake, who followed as third, bore him two sons – Shamwil and Badiu and Raliat who had no issue. Father had some others on the side – one bore him a child – Taofikat Olusola. Father’s women were variegated. Light-complexioned (mother was, so was Rafatu); dark and smallish, which Moriamo represented; there was Raliat – stately but dark. By any standard they were very good looking specimens; but mother was particularly beautiful with her gap tooth which some of my children and my elder brother inherited.
I cannot vouch the quality of pre-natal care available at Agbado Station but my mother believed so much in herself that she chose to have us at home and by herself. She thought nothing of the danger; she would send people away when she knew the hour was near, locked them out; held on to any of her full kola-nut baskets … and pushed. Then she would allow people in to do the rest. That, she told us, was how she accomplished the task for the three of us that God chose to bless her with.
That was how I was born on July 5, 1939. I hold no unique position in the family in the sense of being first or last. I was a middle child for my mother and a second one in the family of 11 for my father.
Mother was, despite her lack of education, very intelligent as father admitted when she made efforts at adult education. Father thought a combination of additional education to her enormous native intelligence and industry would be devastation. Meaning it would be difficult to put anything over her. Though she did not learn to read and write, she strove to see that she was able to sign her name on important papers in her own hands.
Father, Abdul-Lateef Afolabi Adisa had education up to Standard Six at Ogbe Methodist School, Abeokuta. He was always telling you he was brilliant. You cannot disprove that as it was evident in the way he carried on. One of his juniors at school was Professor Saburi Olaseni Biobaku, a respected and reputed Nigerian historian. Father told us that as his junior, Professor Biobaku carried his portmanteau (school bag) to school.
Grandfather was not an Egbaman; his mother was. Grandfather’s father who had settled in Lagos was from Igbonna, Omu-Aran precisely. Great grandfather settled at Ricca Street and built a house there (No.4) and from there he did whatever he did plus his farming activities in Omole, Oke-Ira and Akiode village. But he married an Egba woman, who bore him two sons – Abubakar (Bakare) and Usman (Sunmonu) Akintunde. But great-grandma had a female child before she married great grandfather, for another man.
Grandfather went to Abeokuta to live with his half sister and his senior brother (Bakare) remained in the family house at NO.4 Ricca Street till he died in 1948.
Grandfather was so successful and so philanthropic that he built a house in mother’s compound (Dowo) in 1918 and for his generosity, he was named ANIMASAUN. His original name was Akintunde. I remember that my father’s friends used to address him as L. Akins – Lateef Akintunde.
June 9, 2011 was a Thursday. It is significant because it stands as a day that the journey that linked the present with my long elusive past. I set on that journey to trace and possibly confirm Omu-Aran, a Kwara State community, as my own true ancestral root.
In the late nineteen century, there was one man called Onipede, who had many children, each child from a different woman. They included Abass, Aina Jakande, Salau Oyinloye, Buraimo Afolayan, Akadiri, Sumonu Dadande and few others. Of Onipede’s children, Abass gave birth to Amodu (Great Grandfather); Aina Jakande gave birth to Adeniyi Jakande and Salau Oyinloye begot the now 91-year-old Yahyah Salaudeen and so on. The journey ended up revealing that Omu-Aran is not only where my, great grandfather, Amodu came from to settle in Lagos but also that Amodu was half brother to Aina Jakande.
Aina Jakande is father of Adeniyi Jakande, who was direct father of Lateef Kayode Jakande (LKJ). LKJ later in life rose to be Managing Director, The Nigerian Tribune. He was first elected governor of Lagos State and then on to become one of the best few ministers of works and housing of the Federal Republic that Nigeria ever had.
Aina, the first Jakande, was so named as a result of a breakthrough achieved by his parents at his birth. Alfa Yahyah Salaudeen, the 91-year-old Balogun Adini of Omu-Aran, who is a surviving elder of the ancestral home narrated; “Won ja nkan ti won de l’odi Jakande”‘ Meaning that a metaphysically influenced pregnancy that was delayed for many days after its due date of delivery, which was neutralised, led to the name Jakande.
Amodu son of Abass, left Omu-Aran for Lagos and finally settled down at 4, Ricca Street on Lagos Island. Adeniyi Jakande, son of Aina Jakande-Ieft Omu-Aran to settle in a place called Ejirin – an outskirt of Lagos where he got married to an Egun woman (from Badagry) in a solemnisation that was later blessed with Lateef Kayode Jakande. Akadiri went to Abeokuta and spent 40 years there before Salau Oyinloye went to bring him back home where he later died.
Another of them, Sumonu Dadande, reportedly relocated to Arapagi and died there much later. But Salau Oyinloye remained home in Omu-Aran as he didn’t relocate like his other siblings. Oyinloye gave birth to Yahyah Salaudeen who was born in Omu-Aran in January 1920 and today remains the information base for the Onipede ancestral family in the ancient town.
Amodu, son of Abass, gave birth to Usman and Bakare at his Ricca Street, Lagos settlement. Usman went to farm at Akiode, an Ikeja village centre where he bought some acres of land that were later inherited by his sons, Yekinni, Safiat, Lateef, Nimota, Abdulkarim, Yisa, Muisi, AbdulWahab, Nurudeen, AbdulHafis and AbdulRahim. Lateef was father of Kolawole Muslim Animasaun. Grandfather was not an Egbaman; his mother was.
Usman died in 1936; 16 years after his nephew, Yahyah Salaudeen, was born back home in Omu-Aran.
Lateef Animasaun worked with Chief Okupe at his Agbonmagbe Bank, which was later bought over from Okupe by defunct Government of the Western Region and renamed Wema Bank. Lateef Animasaun got married to Ayisat, a successful kola nut trader, in a wedlock that was later blessed with three children: two boys and one girl of which I was the second. The first was Alhaji Abdul-Rafiu Animasaun and the third a female, Alhaja Ganiyat Gbonjubola Sanni (nee Animasaun).
The denouncement was mutual: Mother did not want to marry father. She had a steady – Abdul-Wahab Amodemaja; a stately, life-loving fellow. And mother was a very beautiful woman (she was much more so when she was younger). They had their marriage plans. Contrarily, Mum was abducted and deposited in father’s house, with the consent of her parents. Father was on small side and mother never stopped till she died of making allusions to it when father became recalcitrant: Ta lo fe fe iwo yii? (Who wanted to marry you)?
If father was truly serious about not wanting to marry at the time, why did he accept to marry another wife three years or two after? Three years after both marriages, my grandfather who catered for the entire household died in 1936; three days after my senior brother came. He was named BABATUNDE in remembrance of my grandfather. Some said he is a replica of him even if he took the light-complexion of both my paternal and maternal grandmothers – Bilqis and Rabiat. My father’s mother was also very light complexioned.
Mother had to put her shoulders to the plough and never looked back. A very industrious woman, she was jack of all trades and master of all. She traded in; in dye stuffs; in tie and die; in dried meat; in animal parts. She bought and sold rams by the wagons; she fried bean cakes, pan cakes, buns etc. Through these exertions she bore the expenses of our education – the three of us – Rafiu, myself and Ganiyat at home and abroad.
I do not know how it happened, mother had a special spot for me in her heart and she spent most of her money on me. I attracted the most upbraid from her and she sanctioned me worse than others. In retrospect I believe she wanted to make it up to me for my non-descript position – neither first nor last, I loved her. Even as I write this, I feel the loss most terribly.
I loved catechism class and some of the things I learnt there have helped my spiritual development. Like who is God?
Tani Olorun? And answer: Emi ni Olorun, bi iwo ko ti le rii mi sugbon on ri o. O mo ohun gbogbo, osi le se ohun gbogbo.
Meaning: God is spirit. You may not see Him, He sees you, He knows about everything and He can do everything”.
I learnt to read the newspapers in English before I proceeded on my nomadic life. I went to live with my paternal Uncle, AbdulAfeez Animasaun, in Kano where I attended the Holy Trinity Anglican School in Sabin Gari in 1948; between 1950 and ’51, I was in Nguru, where I also attended the Holy Trinity Anglican School; to Ibadan I came in 1952. I read Standard Four and Five in 1952 and 1953. I was a pioneer student of Fiditi Grammar School where the late Chief Omowonuola Omoniyi Adeyi was the pioneer Principal.