Mrs Alice Agbelusi

A konibugbe kan sihin
Or’aye f’owo ba file ni
B’o fi gbogbo’aye ko Garet
Ese mefa ni busun wa

My translation
Here is not our dwelling place
Tenants take heed in your choices
If you build skyscrapers around the world
The final resting place is six feet in size.

 

My first encounter with my late mother-in-law, as a prospective in-law, was a quick throw of my full stretch to the marble floor in a two-room apartment of my would-be wife and her sister. You should understand how close my chest was to the floor in a time I was seeking favour to marry Oluwaseun Agbelusi.

My best experience was the second time. It was Oluwaseun younger sister’s traditional wedding ceremony in Akure. Meeting her again, I tossed my white kaftan to the red soil, she answered quietly.  “E pele, e ku irin”, admonishing me for our long drive from Lagos to Akure.

As the party kept on, I heard Sean Tizzle “ omo dada lomo yen oh” mixed with Olamide, Davido and Wizkid and others, we kept our feet dancing. I noticed that once we lowered the tune for the interception of “mistress-of-ceremony”  – Alaga Iduro & Alaga Ijoko –, another song came up “Jesu yoo joba, ara aye e yo” – the kind of ecclesiastical classic sound of the brave evangelical that stings your soul to the cross. It became a trend, when you hear Olamide, the next thing is another classic gospel came on. This happened like five times.

“I was like who is “subbing” us in this party, intercepting vain pop tunes with glorious gospel songs?”

I did not know that without telling anyone, mother-in-law had organized her “DJ” to the party and in a separate gathering of MFM faithful and other pilgrims into a corner, enduring the creaky speakers. She was reminding us to pause the fanfare and accept the solemn pull of the gospel.

A tinge of that rebellion, exemplified in forms of laser-minded decisions and steel in my wife, I found in her, dissolving into her Christian faith. I have always believed if anyone takes church matters a notch higher than my mum, he/she has inched it to the extreme. Such was my mother-in-law, and she firmly believed in it, openly pushed her zealotry, dribbling anyone who takes a huge contrarian view,  possibly nailing anyone who dared her rights as an “antagonist” to her spiritual leanings, grossly in contrast to my wife , a temperate Pentecostal.

I have come to love her ways and I don’t hesitate to tell my wife. Once in awhile, she stuffed page of numbered MFM prayers to my hands. “I know your wife won’t accept it but make sure you pray, always pray, plead the blood of Jesus”. I capped it with another full stretch on the ground.

I only had few chances to meet her in the last eighteen months and in those few times, even when her strength was failing, she always hopping between church and the hospital. Truly,  the best account of 65-year old life might not be told in an eighteen-month encounter. But surely, I found her rightly staying on a predictable side, far above other matters of her time. At what point she threw away out her entire inimitable scholarship to accept the Christianity as a full way of life is still unanswered to me. I actually came to know her too late, too short but too well for understanding for her kind.

Not encased in perfection, but there I found my own love for her kind, of people coming as they are and our inability to use empathy to meet them in the middle.

As her flesh gave away, we did our best to keep her among us. When my wife asked her how she was doing in her last days, she said “mo wa ni owo Olorun”, a complete surrender, acknowledging how powerless man actually was in this firmament!

She is now firmly in God’s hands, who took her spirit and soul in His custody, leaving us with sweet memories of a life lived. God has given us as children the Grace to introspect on her vocation, marriage and faith, such a kind favour. 

The Lord came for His zealot, His soldier; the heavenly bass just went a ton of decibels higher.

Madam Alice Agbelusi, aged 65 years, is survived by a husband, two children, two sons-in-law, two grand-daughters, and relatives.

Chief S.L Akintola, 50 years ago 

Political differences should not obviate the truth. – Dr. Akin Onigbinde SAN

  
February 2, 1962 was the day everything spoken in hushed tones across Nigeria’s the streets and its corridors of power morphed into the obvious. Samuel Ladoke (S.L) Akintola, a political heavyweight of the Western Region, was supposed to be in Jos with fellow members of the Action Group at the party’s congress. Power tussles had reached breaking point, overshadowing the congress; Obafemi Awolowo who was at the time Leader of the Opposition and S.L Akintola, the region’s premier, were involved in a personality clash that finally came public.

 

On this auspicious day, Sir Ahmadu Bello was visiting Ibadan, to open the Sultan Bello Hall in the University of Ibadan, named after his grandfather. Akintola decided to stay back to honour the “most powerful man in the country,” holding a state banquet to honour him. Akintola would have no idea of the seismic shift in political terms that was happening, simultaneously, to the North; in Jos. 
There, Chief Awolowo affirmed that the Action Group party (AG) would not be joining the coalition at the center and he would prefer to continue in his role as opposition leader. Awolowo’s assertions were not taken as fact, because there were already secret discussions that the AG was joining the center, controlled by the coalition of Northern Peoples Congress and the National Council of Nigeria & Cameroon. 
Akintola was alerted, and he arrived Jos by airplane, to join the Congress, but the end result was far from amicable. Despite pleas, Akintola stormed out of the meeting with his faithfuls. This time, he was going back to Ibadan via rail. Hordes of his supporters waited for him in anticipation at Dugbe, Ibadan until he arrived, immediately entering a secret session with traditional rulers. 
But the long-sown seeds of discord had already begun to take root: while the Congress continued in Jos, the position of the Deputy Leader which Akintola occupied was abolished; Awolowo was firmly in charge. 

When Akintola succeeded by Awolowo in 1959, there had been a groundswell of ill will rippling in. Akintola was in charge of the treasury of the Western region, which in turn oiled the AG party, via the Nigerian Investment and Property Company. There were anecdotes that: Akintola loathed the Awolowo cap, refusing to wear it; Akintola favoured the use of sirens while Awo didn’t; he raised poll taxes from one pound seventeen shillings and sixpence to two pounds and five shillings; Akintola also made appointments with the Party Leader’s input; it was even said that their wives were not on talking terms. These stories, peddled by fans, kept widening the gulf between both men. 

The tell-tale sign of rising tensions came on Independence Day. The seating arrangement for Nigeria’s leaders saw Awolowo placed at the rear row, while Akintola gleamed with the Prime Minister and dignitaries, a clear testament to the latter’s quiet rise. 
While the cracks were appearing and the North was looking for “a man to do business” with, Akintola, fluent in Hausa, Nupe, English and Yoruba, was extremely willing to hop into bed with the North. This was because he believed for the Yoruba nation to have a fair advantage, they can’t keep camping in opposition. Most of his convictions lay that it is better than Action Group stay in Western Nigeria and if it was interested in the central government, it can’t win by election except through coalitions. 

Akintola’s inclinations towards the North were revealed right from the time he midwifed the negotiations which brought the North back to the table for Nigeria’s independence in 1953, a development which seemed to present him as a man the North could trust. By contrast, Awolowo, the leader of the opposition in the parliamentary house came across as more combative in presentation, a man of deep intellect and conviction. Awolowo also began to push democratic socialism in late 1961, an ideology already gaining interest among young people who were lured; Akintola however found that as lacking in political astuteness.

 

These were the circumstances which preceded the Jos congress. There, it was clear when Akintola arrived, that he was late in actual and political terms; he had lost the party machinery. The many who once envied his clout wanted only one thing – to pass a vote of no confidence in him, which would have cost him his position as Premier but a patched up arrangement barely held the peace. However, in the weeks that followed, from February 1962 onwards, partisan politics took a more active turn in Ejigbo, spilling over into the Oshun Division; a nexus of power which Akintola once belonged to, and controlled. As Chief Awolowo became more assertive in the Oshun Division, the cracks reappeared. With differing ideas in political ideology, and the gradual partitioning of its key players and their backers across varied party lines, it was clear the Action Group was at great risk of imploding. 
By May 1962, at an AG party meeting Chief Awolowo reeled out 24 charges against Akintola, condemning the Premier for flouting party rules, engaging in anti-party activities and taking for granted the same government he served. Akintola accepted the charges, and tendered an apology; a move that was deemed insufficient by his peers. 
Chief Anthony Enahoro moved that since Akintola accepted the charges, it was time he quit the position of Premier. In a surprise move, the standard secret ballot system was jettisoned for an open ballot to cast a vote of confidence. Chief Akintola lost the vote, and most humiliating, in a public vote.

 

Akintola’s next step was to resign, or dissolve the parliament through a Governor’s request. 
By the rules at the time, if parliament is dissolved, everyone was to go to the party to test their popularity with the voters. With the cards decked against him, Akintola wrote to the Governor to constitutionally dissolve the parliament. This was declined. Sir Adesoji Aderemi, the Ooni of Ife and then Governor of the Western Region, demanded Akintola’s resignation as Premier, naming Alhaji Dauda Adegbenro as his successor. 
The government as the center, led by Tafawa Balewa, sided with Akintola, a development which contributed to the latter fighting to remain Premier. Akintola decided to exploit a legal loophole, stating that he did not lose a popular vote on the floor of the House, and the votes were cast at a mere party meeting. After Akintola’s bid for a second vote of confidence, violence broke out at the Western Region Parliament. The central government pushed for a state of emergency, restricting Akintola to Ogbomoso. 
Akintola grew vengeful, expanding his cache of enemies, he tapped on his legal and political resources to relieve the Ooni of Ife, Adesoji Aderemi, from his post as Governor of the Western Region.
As the intra-party fighting escalated, external forces proved just as unrelenting. On June 20, 1962, a Commission of Inquiry, headed by Justice G.B Coker was instituted to probe five corporations which had direct links to the Action Group. In those days as seen now, campaign finance for political activity was tied to big business. The Coker Commission of Inquiry concluded with an indictment of Awolowo and his aides. Oddly, Akintola, despite the depth of his influence in government, was not indicted. This raised a lot of dust on the credibility of the Coker report, though it established that state corporations provided monetary backing for the AG. 
The year ended with Akintola’s popularity waning in the region. On January 1, 1963, Akintola proceeded to appoint a new Governor, and with the fall in cocoa prices globally, coupled with the dissolution of the Marketing Board after the Coker Inquiry, farmers were paid less. 
Akintola bore the brunt, maligned as having betrayed his leader (Awolowo), who faced the twin crises of the Coker Inquiry indictment, and charges of treasonable felony. 
Stripped of his clout, Akintola embraced the NCNC in the West and other minority parties, forming the National Democratic Party (NNDP). The coalition got bigger in size and influence, with NNDP joining the Northern Peoples Congress to birth the Nigerian National Alliance. 
The Action Group Akintola had left was not idly sitting on its hands; it joined the fray, forming alliances with other parties and creating strain in the Western Region’s once compact politics. 

Alhaji D.S Adegbenro, who was meant to take over as Premier after the Governor, Adesoji Aderemi sacked Akintola won a case at the Privy Council with the Court affirming that the Governor can remove the Premier without a parliament majority. Don’t forget that the Governor acted based on vote in the party meeting not in the parliament. In high octane politics, the judgment was nullified after the Western House of Assembly passed a law and applied a retroactive effect that made Privy Council ruling had no effect.  

Against this backdrop of widening political alliances and the consequent vested interests, elections came in 1965. Unsurprisingly, the proceedings were very fraudulent, with different results read at different radio stations. Both parties claimed victories, and tempers flared, escalating communal violence which peaked with people being bathed in petrol before being burned in an act infamously named “Wetie,” which translates to English as “wet him/her.”
By all accounts, Akintola already knew a coup was in the offing. Less than a day to his death, he flew to Kaduna to meet Sir Ahmadu Bello, arriving around 2pm. The Sardauna met him at the airport with a warm embrace, which would turn out to be the last for both men. Akintola came back to Ibadan and in a few hours, would find himself under attack by coup plotters raining a hail of gunfire on his Iyaganku residence. Captain Nwobosi led the fierce duel from 10pm until around 2am in the wee hours of the morning. With bullets bringing his front door crashing, Akintola remained stoic, bravely defending his family. He wounded a few soldiers in the process, till he stepped out and took a corner down some stairs out of necessity. There, Nwobosi found Akintola and gunned him down. 
Perhaps Akintola should have taken a bow as Premier after the party vote, and left to rebuild his political base. Instead he kept pressing on, despite waning popularity, walking into landmines, sometimes clashing with the federal and regional might in place. 
Akintola was by no means infallible, but he was undoubtedly a man whose legacy has been misjudged in turns. Most of his ideas, sound recordings and speeches were destroyed by zealots, in a bid to eliminate his memory.
 He commissioned and built Cocoa House, inaugurated the University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University), Daily Sketch (now Cocoa Mall) and Premier Hotel Ibadan. 

Akintola continued the free education programme instituted by Chief Awolowo but such feats paled in the light of his protracted battle with his leader (Awolowo) and have continued to dim with each passing year, courtesy the continuous campaign to cast his political expediency as symbolic treachery. We are witnesses of recent history that at every turn when a Yoruba person aims to lead Nigeria, it has never happened without a pragmatic alliance with the Northern region. 

Akintola was born into a Baptist family, a founding member Egbe Omo Oduduwa and Action Group, orator, a firm believer in the Yoruba nation, as well as a shrewd mobilizer, lawyer and educationist. He attended the constitutional conferences in London and Lagos, former Minister of Health, Aviation and raised the second motion for Nigeria’s independence, after the initial one by Enahoro ended in crisis. He was married to Faderera and they had five children. 
Akintola was the 13th Are Ona Kankanfo – the Field Marshal of the Oyo Empire. And just like his forebears and his successor, M.K.O Abiola, Akintola died in active battle.


This piece is based on extensive reading on the lives and time of S.L Akintola and open to debate. I also wrote this piece in the memory of my grandfather, tailor to SLA &  my late father who also had kind stories about the Premier.



2015 Review: Trends, data and its foolishness

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Let me tell my stories that puncture the infallibility of data trends in few paragraphs below:

The first day of 2015, if someone predicted I would be married to Oluwaseun,  I would say that’s hugely unpredictable. Nothing factual or data-driven propels that assumption because prior to that date, my would-be wife and I never had a 15-minute frank discussion except the sparse DM(s) and phone calls. We just casually checked on each other till we had that first visit to Wednesday church evening service that left me with butterflies.

I look down the Premier League table and Chelsea sits on the 15th position with all that talent and money. That’s a club that won the league seven months ago. Who would have predicted that slump, that Chelsea will be in the  camp of relegation fighters.

Stephen Curry and his nearly impossible record this season, no one saw that coming.  In fact impressed with Stephen Curry, ESPN commentator,
Jackson reasoned that Curry’s phenomenal shooting ability is actually a detriment to the game of basketball as a whole.” That was a man, a record shooter, led his team to 67 wins and Warriors  to a Championship win since 1975.

The only time I saw Muhammadu Buhari, I was close to tears. It was in 2011. Like “Lord why not now?” “Why will this Philistines win this race again?”. I am one of those who lived all my thoughts in Buhari’s hype. That belief that our last chance of redemption was in 1985 till IBB snatched power and made corruption and official business of government. I just believed in the tall General and thought it will take a bloody revolution to take power from PDP. Buhari won, a man who had tried for 12 years.  Though I am getting impatient with his approach, I thought the chapter was closed after that moving speech that left the hall in tears in 2011. Buhari, in a hail of unpredictable fortune, is President of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Who predicts that at an age of 73 will be so much loved and voted for?

Oil prices refused to pick up hitting an eleven-year low at $32 per barrel despite the world not in a slump. Impossible to believe Donald Trump lasting this long as the leading candidate of the Republican Party. Donald Trump in a conservative party is a man who has had three wives, four bankruptcies and deferred draft into the war five times. Shocking.

There are bit of prediction staying firm as the Syria War keeps raging with ISIS showing a brutal angle, global refugees swell with attacks in Paris, Brazil economy keeps tanking  low  after a raft of corruption cases dented its credibility and emerging economies are facing uphill battles especially those dependent on commodity.

 
It is great to be alive but look at lives blown like paper plane this year, from North East Nigeria, Syria, Paris and in those corners of the world, one gets so scared of what the world has passed through in 2015. The Guardian calls it “A year of living dangerously”. I am so thankful that I scaled through in a piece.

It is time to look ahead to bright ideas, discipline, stewardship in Christ fatherhood, responsibility and more introspection. I keep committing myself to that tough goal of being pushing the borders of transparency and accountability.

I always feel I reinvent myself every 3 years, a trend I observed since 2006. I did internship in 2006, started work in 2009, quit banking to face BudgIT in 2012. While I look back to the 2015, it has to be walking down that aisle and putting all that singleness behind. Who says it has to be every three years to observe a trend? 2016 will trash the plot of data and start a new trend.

 

Forward, by His Grace.

Awards. 

Influence : God

Friend of the Year: Oluwaseun Agbelusi-Onigbinde (for loving me inspite of my imperfections and seeing the bright tunnel ahead)

New Friend of the Year: Fola Babalola (not just a friend but an ‘egbon’ who  risked everything to find me, he is family to me)

Book of  the Year : Zero to One (Peter Thiel)

Facebook Friend of the Year: Soni Akoji ( a witty and interesting fellow)

Tweep of the Year: @StateCraft (Selling a man as a dream to Nigeria, upsetting a status quo)

Person of the Year: Ibe Kachikwu (I think he is not perfect but for bringing down the walls of opacity around NNPC, he deserves an applause)

Happiest Moment of the Year: October 24, 2015. #ForeverSeun

Saddest day of the Year: Lives lost in North East with every attack broke my heart.

Song of the Year:  Hello – Adele & the multiple versions

Bible Verse: Deuteronomy 11:10-12

“For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden; 11 but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, 12 a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God arealways on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.”

 

Uber, Matthew Effect and Inequality. 

  

Source: HMInsurance

“Longer than it took a culture to unravel, I suspected. I tried to imagine the Indonesian workers who were now making their way to the sorts of factories that had once sat along the banks of the Calumet River, joining the ranks of wage labor to assemble the radios and sneakers that sold on Michigan Avenue. 

I imagined those same Indonesian workers ten, twenty years from now, when their factories would have closed down, a consequence of new technology or lower wages in some other part of the globe.”

Barack Obama, Dreams of Father, Page 73

My wife hired a driver who takes her around with our single car. Recently, our schedules were clashing so I decided to let her go with the car. Stranded in our far corner in Lekki, I decided the best thing to do is to use the dormant taxi-booking Uber app on my iPhone.
Here we go. It worked like magic. A well kept Hyundai Elantra was infront my apartment and Stanley, the driver, gave me all the courtesies. He had sweets in the car, asked if I wanted Gospel or a specific radio station. It was a cool ride though he did not take me to the final decision as I didn’t know LBS had another campus down the road. So I took another Uber down another journey of 30 mins. Another amazing driver with patience and good sense of humor.

 The next morning, I wished my wife goodbye to office. I reached for my Uber app. Another person was here with a neat Geely car. I was getting addicted to the service. I rated them well for food service. I was about to leave office for an event, I checked Uber again but there no car around in YABA. 

I am thinking of two people – Victor, the driver we hired who I am getting tired of his erratic ways and the yellow public taxis on the road, roaming around for passengers in Lagos. Disruption is gradually happening to them but they don’t know. This is what the taxi unions are fighting in London and are failing to stop.  This is what Shoprite, SPAR and other retail stores are doing to brick-and-mortar retailers who stay in sweltering sun but they don’t see it. The disruption is on and no one opening their eyes to it. My wife told me of her cool rich friend who when bored just becomes an Uber driver just to have fun and meet people.

It is that “Matthew effect” keep me thinking:

Matthew 25:29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

That’s why Thomas Piketty is a recent rockstar economist because the way the world is wired, it keeps expanding the bounds of exclusion for the unlearned and inequality keeps rising as seen in his seminal work. 
Does the developing world benefit from globalization or that it has come to scrape off what we have? Just look at when we thought we could export out Shooting Stars, Rangers and Kano Pillars, we have all sunk in the EPL/La Liga football fest giving DSTV the leash to fix prices as it seems. What happens to our own when it is not up to standard? It crumbles, it keeps failing obeying the Matthew effect. 

That’s why China, the new taskmaster summons Africa and offers loans which is technically an offer of expertise to build bridges, dams, roads where Africa has none. India also did its summit,calls  Africa leaders far away for a historic welcome. It promises loans and grants but in essence just to keep its factories oiled and its population paid.

Open your borders, open your gates, we are coming for you with stash. Are they are to fish or teach us how to fish?  Is Africa rising on its own steam or just another raid that expands the left-behinds?

What are we going to do it as irresponsible greedy  acts of our leaders widen the gap? Is Africa not rising for a few and how do will deal with the fault lines of a more unequal society? 

The answers are not that easy. Like the Chinese took strategic decisions years back to expand its spectrum of knowledge, Africa has to take one too. As long as Africa looks outside to solve its own problems, it keeps holding the short end of the stick, transferring capital to the haves.

Inspiration from Pastor Poju Oyemade and Pius Adesanmi

30. The Road 

The road will never swallow you. The river of your destiny will always overcome evil. May you understand your fate…….



This is the final post of the series, the 30th post. The road from here is the Road. The road has always been ahead of us. We travel miles in our rooms, flying at high in sky above the clouds. We are on the road to sing, to laugh, to grief and find success. Our life on the road needs us to keep our eyes squared. To be our eyes squared is discipline. Life itself is a test of discipline, to keep within limits of ones space. 

To be a rebel, a cheat, to cut corners, to have a sexual fantasy, cloaked in secrets – that is the daily temptation hovering over us. Restraint must hold us till we can stay in place and fulfil destiny. 

I have been on the journey, this journey of known destination. A destination of immortality, to see that we can be more than dust and generations to come can hear our names and find a glorious mark to exceed. 

I have found the road, taking mile by mile, finding conquests and windbreakers, pulling my anchor firm this I reach the shore. I find amazing travelers on this road finding their spaces of happiness.

Thank you the Onigbindes, Oyeniyis, Adejolas, Joseph Amenaghawon, Sade Ajala, Dolapo, Kola Egbeyemi, Seun Oladapo, Kola Kelani, Yemi Adamolekun, Mariam Edun, Gbenga GIWA, Mrs Alatishe, Abiola AFOLABI,Niyi Agunloye , bosses,mentors and friends and all those who coped with my imperfections. Thank you those who On my with bowls of praise finding delight in the glorious work.

 I am thankful to them for their bounty of kindness, for leading me on. The amazing people have been good to me and I am happy to be on this journey with them. We will all fall off at a point, giving way for those behind to leap ahead. 

I am happy on this Road, it found me, I am bathing in the Zeitgeist. This is the world conspiring with Grace of the Almighty working for me. I will keep pressing on, to be a good man to his community,  family and friends. Here is to many years ahead to the 70s and 80s lived in sound health and enduring purpose. 

That you so much for reading. The 30 posts, though full of errors, you read in pain just to be part of my story. These are true stories, of my life, a few are incomplete, a few can’t be told. Here are years ahead to wax more interesting narratives found on this journey. Thank you.

This is my beautiful prayer for you:
…….Suffering will never destroy you, but will make you stronger. Success will never confuse you or scatter your spirit, but will make you fly into the good sunlight. Your life will always surprise you”

Ben Okri

29. Joseph Agunbiade and the missionaries 

An ongoing discourse is that when it comes to seeding a company, it is wise to find a partner.  Microsoft, Google, Apple have taken this patterns why not BudgIT?

Coming up with the BudgIT would always need that early belief. I don’t write codes or programs. I am just the budget guy who needs a tech partner. Joseph came late to that hackathon and I didn’t see that we would have gone that far. But as a co-founder of BudgIT, we went far. We still going further. 

After sharing the BudgIT prize money after the hackathon , I just thought we would rest this. Time and time again, Joseph proved to be that support. How many developers were out there who could see the vision? Maybe it did not glow in his face like mine nor took hold of him like being possessed of a thousand demons but Joseph saw it too. He saw the vision when we offered the black screen with tiny circles as our first website.

I would sleep in his house.  I would eat his food, fight then we make up like two lovers without an exit door. I always wanted it fast, believing his fingers must do the magic. Time and time, I would sulk like a baby but we kept it on.

We had it all, the naivety of the start, the highs, lows and valleys of doubt but as thing moved on we found our spaces, our happiness. He knew I had one obsession, it was BudgIT. I can’t but thank Sunkanmi Agbomeji, Jibola that made a sketch and suggested an idea while this was finding form.

On the day of my Dad’s funeral, BudgIT website was briefly down and I stumbled on it. Despite the burden of grief, I still looked at him with anger and screamed while we journeyed back home. 

“Can Google be down, so why is BudgIT down?”

Every man has got his madness and it was that extreme because running  a business like is taking your breath, you want don’t want to lose it. 

As we go on and as I have found that when you start an entity, you worry about capital to keep it afloat. Finding a repeated product pattern and value proposition will keep the product going but what really is the bigger worry is truly the PEOPLE, the missionaries, in the journey of the enterprise.

I begin to learn clearly why organizations have human resource departments because to truly what makes an organization tick, check the people, check the organizational culture. 

That for me is the constant worry – how do I lead a mission-driven team not mercenaries? That’s why hiring wrongly has to be the biggest scare of an entrepreneur. How do we keep delivering exceptional value, learning fast, failing faster and innovating for the citizens? That’s a puzzle that I mull over daily.

It is already greying me gradually with tiny white patches in my hair. It makes me nag when you take a sit at BudgIT and watch how I scream from desk to desk. 

People.

28. The God’s Generals

Moyin Olorun Alagbara,

Olorun Babalola,

Moyin Olorun Alagbara,

Olorun Abiara,

Moyin Olorun Alagbara,

Olorun Abanigberundori,

Any member of CAC Agbala ITURA, the church were I spent the most of my formative years will understand where this song comes from. It provokes thoughts and illuminates my mind on the glorious work of Pastor S.O Folahan. Pastor Folahan was that man of God will clarity on his vision for both the aged and the young. When he hits the pulpit and ready to render the message or minister, that’s the entry song. The church would erupt with spoken tongues and prayers won’t cease.

Though we were Baptist from the scratch, I have grew into CAC Agbala Itura, taking in my full lessons of faith. The church has a vibrant youth system that we grew graduated into. It was easy and seamless. I later joined the Children Teachers Society. I loved teaching children in Church. I believe we see ourselves better if we learn things like child. My love for God and the church has been stirred since. Pastor Folahan died in 2002, very shocking. The Church was shaken but stands still. With Baba Abiara, Pastor Olaiya ( amazing teacher of the Word), Pastor Akinpelu, Pastor Tayo and many others.

Tunde Bakare. That’s how to spike the rebel in me. What a preacher and a man of God. Right from the University days, Mr Femi, Gboye and Dare Elusakin will stay by the window just so that that we can hear him clearly from Eko Fm. I always respect him because I see him not afraid to talk on the social issues in the society. He had that message for the activist in me.

Pastor Poju deserves a great mention in this walk of life. A lot of thanks to Sunkanmi Agbomeji for bringing me here. Wow. What a man of God. Every word is cherished and I look back in gratitude. I have always said quietly that if you can’t attend this church and your life fails to change in a year, then you might need a personal check. There is a stirring that comes in my spirit.

I have been held steady by the Church and from our early days in Baptist, my times in NIFES, Anglican Church, Benson Idahosa University with the legendary Pastor Gabriel, the Church has been a family.

The hospital is for the sick and the Church is also meant for those needing that steady journey with God. I have seen the Church that way – the gathering where we find comfort and remain steady for His glorious appearing.  The saints will only gather after the sound of the trumpet.

I am happy that with the  joy found in the gathering, the support of the leaders and the revelation of the Word brought me this far. I also struggle with the materialism in church space, certain issue masking as idolatry but we carve it in Christianity but I have seen the real stuff. The miraculous healing of my mum in 2009 strengthened my faith in a big way.

My first Bible was a Yoruba bible, given to me at 10 as a gift from my Dad. I looked at it again and I wrote these words there:

“This book will keep you away from sin or sin will with keep you away from it”

Those were true words of John Bunyan. I want to live more than the Word. Not a man’s word, His Word.

27. Unity Villa

Have you lived in a house of 18 boys  and you have to cook rice and share in 18 places? The fish is barely scattered in the stew and they all stand around to pick their plates for a quick lunch. Yes. Unity Villa was an experience and it keeps giving me memories. Memories to salivate on or sometimes even just “smh”.

Unity Villa, a plastered bungalow, about a kilometre from the main junction was where I stayed for over three years in FUNAAB. There I found out what a happier world it would be if the world was more equal. Hardly any difference between indigenes and students, we lived like a large family of lost parents.

There was this warning that mothers gave their daughters, to be very afraid of Unity Villa.

“Are, awon omo UNAABU, sora fun won, bi won se gbe dudu, ni won gbe pupa”  mothers told their daughter in thick accent.

An early experience of a lady in our area who was a student of Polytechnic Ibadan made this ring well.  Sisi’s mother would pack stockfish, rice, palm oil and everything packable when she was about to return to school. But these girls won’t listen. They won’t. After taking a bike saying goodbye to her family members, Sisi just stopped midway to spend another three days enjoying the juice between the groin.

But you know these stories get passed around. Her mother later found out that her daughter meant to be in school was co-habiting few houses away. It was not funny. In thick Egba accent

“Bode, omo tan ran ni ile iwe”

“Won ti n basun, ah aye mi oo”

[Come out, a child that we are sending to school that some fellow is sleeping with, just look at my life ]

It was not an exciting spectacle till Sisi had to be moved to another room. Her mother did not notice while she was engaged in a chatter and was made to see an empty room. That’s how to live in a nearly full boys’ house of nine rooms. We only reserved a room for a lady.

We sang, laughed, partied and even fought. I once tried to break a bottle just to harass Olukokun Deji who was testing my will. I could not.

Odunayo was having a birthday party and I didn’t know how I downed a full bottle of “Ponche”. I was eyeing a Deeper Life lady that period who also came around. Seeing me doing that after being taunted by friends just made her lose hope. I was not up for redemption. After taking that drink, I decided to go to another party hosted by Osagie and friends, few blocks away. I did not know how I got home after missing some dance steps. The only thing I remembered was that I woke up on a cement floor with mosquitoes feasting on my body. I was not alone. We were like four people. It was a dump room for drunks. For days, I lost appetite, drinking glucose. My room mate, Muri had washed up the room and myself. That was my man. Muri was one student who will prostrate fully, I meant fully for me without shame. True omo Ibadan.

I owed the landlord for months who didn’t really care to take his monthly rent of N600. There was a very troublesome but so likeable woman who sold us food – Iya Ife . She had a list of how much everyone owed. I was not one the top list of debtors but I had this very stinging insult culled from Haruna Ishola’s Sule Maito track, that she so hated:

“Owo ti Onigbinde ba na ni ojumo, ti Iya Ife ba na ni odun kan, ori se ni”

[The money Onigbinde spends in a day, if Iya Ife tries to spend  that in a year, she is truly wealthy. ]

With Niyi (Pressy), Odun, Dipo, Deji, Bunmi, Sula, Muri, Tayo, Seedorf, Bora, Ibrahim and many more these memories fail me, I truly had a good time. From supporting my early dreams for Vision Plus Network and UNAABSU Presidency attempt, scolding when my laptop got fully burnt, they were like brothers and fathers to me. This was home.

When I left Unity Villa, I actually took nothing except my mattress and few books. Actually what else did I have in my room –  a blue rug,  reading table and chair, wooden wall hangers and a pile of clothes.

No TV, radio or DVD. If a girl was visiting me, I quickly dashed to the next room to borrow radio and TV and  patiently wait.

What a life, a very simple one.

What if it remained that simple, full of  happiness and too little care of the fleeting things of the world.

26. Professor Osinowo, S.G Oyagbinrin et al

 I can’t actually look back and say “l am here without my teachers.” What did I know before these ones taught me? 

Right from the ones that memory cannot afford me while I was crawling to the ones whose memory keeps flashing in my minds for their noble work. 

Teachers might not also have come with the chalkboard alone. They also appear in familiar and strange places. 

I mean those who tell you to prostrate very well; those who say don’t give me that thing with your left hand; those who taught us God’s way in Church, lengthening our days of innocence and even the multitude of authors that penned books. On the TV; someone who scribbled content on the Internet; journalists and columnists  whose pieces I read after finishing popcorn and epa, blowing the cover in my face. Colleagues who taught me assignments; Awolowo who helped me immensely during my project dayseven my bosses and colleagues who said it can always be better. An investor who said capital no to a deal  or even a relationship that failed but my ex-partner left me with immense lessons. 

Those unfinished medium of learning, my teachers. 

However, I can’t forget someone like Professor Olusegun Osinowo. Professor was not my teacher as we know the profession to be. He didn’t stand in the class and offer me lessons but he did far much more than that. He was Head of the Computer Centre in FUNAAB and a simple letter from me, my small self to come and speak to Engineering students was honoured. He came in so early and I can’t even forget that moment when I said 

“Can everybody please move forward?” 

I wanted student to fill the spaces in front.Professor  did so. He carried his bag and moved forward. If humility was the way to relate to people,  I have come to revere his way. Even on his Facebook page,  he prefers to name himself, Olusegun Osinowo. 

When I went to see him in company of Odun Adebambo for the UNAAB ICT Conference, he smiled and offered to get us the venue. He tried to get us a sponsor -Zinox technologies – and even brought his own ICT company for exhibition. He came to the event, spoke well. He just left immortal moments in me when I compare his work with that of some haughty lecturers who think teaching is another means of servitude. Someday, I will pay him a visit. 

I will also write specifically  of S.G Oyagbinrin who was my lecturer and project supervisor in the University. We did get along in the early days because he had tough standards. When the list came out that he was going to be my supervisor with Olakojo Samuel, I was a bit disturbed but he carried on with so much help, offering ideas along the way. 

On the day of our project defence, our  Head of Department, Professor Adejumo, had harsh words for me. That I disappointed him and my presentation was more of oratory, sweet tenses rather than  the technical details of the transformer we were meant to build. A  transformer that was never completed. My soul never derived joy in melting lead on circuit boards. 

The HOD decided he will fail us and promised that we will stay an extra year, repeating a 8-unit course. It was a time of immense distress. 

I can hear my project supervisor, who was powerless at that moment say something

“What about my own students, what will happen to them?” 

Though looks like the statement won’t change anything but it immortalized Engr. Oyagbinrin in my spirit. Like this man wants to stood up for us. In the end, the Senate and voices in the department prevailed. We were sparingly scored a “C”, for a 8-unit course. 

 Engr. Oyagbinrin died few years ago. It was very shocking. 

It is a long list, starting from my own parents, Elder I.O Onigbinde who taught me how to knot a tie and sit straight when we were eating, family members I can’t count, Mr Olayiwola of Loyola College, Mr Ajayi & Elder Bolarinwa of Agbala Itura and many more I can’t recollect. 

Noble work they did and if I sit back and keep counting,  I will keep imagining how  I encounter them everyday in my  life -Teachers. 

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25. Oluwaseun

The journey to find one’s spouse is actually  that of self discovery. I will be married soon but to take that leap, I had to surrender my will to God, allow him take the lead and myself a passenger on that journey. To be very sober, I might be the most terrible person to date. 

The woman I am getting married too – Oluwaseun Agbelusi – didn’t happen by chance. Like we both write with left, attended same University, attend same Church and bear the same first name. Now that might seem using coincidence to assume that this is the right choice but I don’t accept this happened by tossing a dice. 

When it comes to love, I was left cold and a bit damaged after leaving  University. I am the type that likes the hippie and creamy girls of the school. The ones everyone swoons on and flutter around like flies. Back in the days, check out my toolkit to date a high-flying girl.

  There was no car, no brand new jerseys or designer clothes, can’t afford the expensive clubs.I don’t roll with the prime Tickles or G-men club or others that run the campus with parties. Now add my skinny frame and nearly burnt face, I might not be that guy. 

What a life. I am the kind who just won’t settle for less, like date a mannered sister, I wanted the prime klieg lights. 

 I was once faced a situation, a lady I was in thrall of called me to a lonely corridor and said 
‘There is nothing you can say that can make me say yes to you’ 

That’s was a dagger. Others I tried gradually started liking, created a situation that I looked like a nuisance. I had to back down. 

When it comes to accepting me, I hardly persevere. I mean my love for you is like a deal, you either take it or leave it. I think if she truly admires you, it does not take that long and we did not come to University to love. We are here to read. 

But getting out of University, created a new image of me. Proper and ‘rich’ guy. I had three girlfriends in-between. Wow. 

Most of the challenge has to do with me. 

Not being romantic, suspicious this is not love, money is the trigger. Like I needed this love badly, where were you people?  Not just romantic enough, a workaholic not giving attention enough, it kept falling like a pack of cards.

In the midst of taking those chances, I met Oluwaseun online. We casually talked, we shared thought also casually. I was always curious if she was seeing anyone & she minded if I was seeing anyone. Then we kept conversation open and we thought of even arranging evenings together early 2015. 

Then my eyes opened, like I had an electric train running in my  head.  I had that feeling. This is truly my journey. This is the road back to myself because without strife, with ease, with divine bliss, maternal blessings, I discovered the completion to my being – Oluwaseun.