This week, fifty years ago my father passed on. I was not at that time even old enough to begin school . I don’t remember a lot about him but I nevertheless do remember that I did miss him terribly, as much as a very sensitive and nearly hyperactive boy could miss the presence of his father. Young children rarely heal of such a misfortune. The pain and the funk often remain indelibly etched upon the wall of their heart; possibly for life. You grew up the only child in the world without a father; you upped and slunk away when friends gather together to talk about their fathers. You feel cheated by life; you feel unjustly punished by God for absolutely no reason.
I can’t tell anyone a lot about him ; only that people who loved him knew him as a very generous man who loved his family dearly ; both the nuclear as well as all the other relatives. Those who didn’t quite understand him would remember him as one who would rather buy you a book than buy you a meal. Indeed, many thought that he was a secret owner of the only decent bookshop in town.
An alumnus of Government College Ibadan, Yaba Higher College and the University of Ibadan, he was a hardworking scientist, educationist, book lover and a very sophisticated Christian gentleman. He was perhaps sadly too hardworking; thus neglecting his diet and health; and finally succumbed to a bad case of abdominal disease.
We don’t know why God had to take him away from us at that time for we were all so little – the oldest of his six children not even eleven, and the youngest barely one. But we are grateful that God left us with a mother so committed and determined, and who quite single-handedly saw her children through the hardest miles of life. Who even though merely thirty-two at the demise of her husband she refused herself the comfort of taking for herself a new partner and possibly destroying the lives of her six children in consequence.
We are grateful to God for all He has done so far in our lives. His passage, though extremely saddening to us all , did bless us with the drive and determination to remain courageous regardless of obstacles that life throws in our ways, to sustain strength of character regardless of temptations to go the easy route to damnation, and to persevere even when all seem hopeless. Daddy left, but never rested from caring for us in the spirit. Daddy slept but never died. We give thanks and glory to God.
Samuel Mofolorunsho Ogunjobi (1919-1963) – A tribute