I will start this article by celebrating every reader who was born in the month of May; there’s a certain ‘extra’ the Fairy Godfather put in each of us, just for coming in May.
That said, I bet there are some days that things just go really well for us abi? I mean from the top of the morning till you go to bed, everything just seems to go well. Yesterday, the 25th of May 2010, was one of those days for me. Now it didn’t go perfectly because I had a fabulous and extra productive meeting the night before, it wasn’t because I wore a slim tie and a handmade shirt to work (good morning your highness), it wasn’t because I had the Choc Boiz ‘nobody test me’ on repeat for 7 out of the 8 hours I spent at work, it wasn’t even because my boss ordered cake and shared (or rather put me in charge of sharing it)!
Ok, so let me tell you. It was a dinner/reception organized by Guardians Of The Nations International (GOTNI) in honor of elder statesman, father, grandfather, mentor, Mr. Gamaliel Offoritsenere Onosode for his 77th birthday.
As has become my custom, I like to do a great deal of research on any guest speaker(s), guest (s) of honor at any occasion I am to anchor. Meaning that I was already wowed by stuff I had read about Mr. Gamaliel Onosode. Here’s a little I learned.
Mr. Gamaliel Onosode is a Nigerian technocrat, administrator and a former presidential candidate of the All Nigeria People’s Party of Nigeria. Educated at the government college, Ughelli and the University of Ibadan, he emerged in the 1970s, as one of Nigeria’s leading educated chief executives, when he was at the helm of NAL merchant bank of Nigeria. He was also a former presidential adviser to President Shagari and a former president of the Nigerian Institute of Management. Throughout his career, Dr. G. O. Onosode has chaired several private and public sector businesses and initiatives. He was the Chairman of Dunlop Nigeria Plc (1984-2007), a former chairman of Cadbury Nigeria Plc (1977-93), the Presidential Commission on Parastatals (1981), Nigeria LNG Working Committee and Nigeria LNG Limited (1985-90) and the Niger Delta Environmental Survey (since 1995). He is also the Chairman of Zain Nigeria. He is currently Pro-Chancellor of the University and Chairman of its Governing Council.
I must say that it’s amazing how everyone strives to associate with success; Chief Dele Momodu did a good job of relating a good number of things around him to the number 7 (or 77). His house in London (#77), he’s exactly 7 years, 7months and 7days older than his wife, etc. he received a handshake for his good work. Ohimai Amaize (also an alumnus of the University of Ibadan), said he stayed in the same Melanby Hall Mr. Onosode (and later his 3rd son Christopher) stayed in during their time. Other speakers gave goodwill messages and got handshakes, a lady read a really beautiful poem for the celebrant too; she got a handshake, a hug, and a kiss.
By this time, my mind was spinning; I so wanted to shake his hand, I just didn’t want it to be generic (or ‘groupieish’). So, not to carry last (according to our Wafi brethren), I told the meanings of his names; Gamaliel (Hebrew for God is a recompenser), Offoritsenere (Itsekiri for the work of God is profitable), and Onosode (Urhobo for what name will we give this one). Guess what I got? A handshake, a hug and two kisses!
Sometime during the reception, I called on Mr. Onosode to say a few words; he took us too school! From grammar, sentence construction, phonetics, business, marriage counseling, religion (and he is a very passionate believer), even funds management, it was a beautifully crafted, expertly delivered extemporaneous speech. Two things I took away that I want to share
• ‘I have never lacked anything because I have never desired anything I do not need, and I have never needed anything I cannot afford. I have found that when my desires cum needs coincide with the money in my pocket, I have peace’.
• Marriage is a bed of roses with thorns. I have found however that if you manage the rose bush very well, you will greatly minimize your contact with the thorns.
On marriage, it is worthy to note that Mr. Gamaliel Onosode got married to his wife on the 29th of October 1960, after exactly 28 days of courtship at the age of 27. 50 years and seven successful children after, that marriage is still rock solid. Wow….and that’s all I will say about that.
We cut a really beautiful cake twice, after counting Baptist (seven letters) and Nigeria (seven letters too)…and I started thinking, if I had a dollar for every time i heard ‘seven’! But here’s the fun part. While people were serving themselves, I was standing and chatting with Fi’ammari Zoaka and Ohimai Amaize, you know, on national issues. One very pretty lady walks up to us and whispers (however loudly), ‘you speaks well’. What!! Even after the English class, ‘I speaks well’? Little wonder I pray everyday that the labors of our heroes past not be in vain!
The event wrapped up pretty quickly after that, I’ll spare you the incident during the closing prayer (‘the dude from Sar’dauna’), we took loads of pictures and I whisked my pretty fairy behind to a cabalian party in honor of Blaze Otokpa.
Lying in my bed at night, I called the Fairy Godfather and thanked him for a beautiful day. And then I slept.