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July 14
07:55 2017

By Idowu Ajanaku

“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life”.
– Proverbs 31: 10-12

The recent sudden demise of Mrs. Omowunmi Bisi Akande, one-time First Lady of Osun State and late wife to the All Progressives Congress(APC) chieftain, Chief Bisi Akande at the age of 73 years brings to the fore the nobility of a life well spent in the selfless service to God and Mankind. At this moment of grief it is natural for the husband, children, grand children, members of the family and friends to mourn, to groan and lament the great loss of the epitome of humility, simplicity and an uncommon grace. But what matters now are the lessons of life hers has taught those left behind. That is what this tribute is all about.

“Mama”, as she was fondly called by her many admirers symbolized Love as an unfailing element of sacrifice of one’s cherished comfort and convenience in the pursuit of that of others. That is the first fascinating factor about her -an attribute her bereaved husband would gladly tell one and all.

For instance, not many knew that she, a renowned, devout Christian was married to Akande, a man steeped in the practice of Islam! As the great thinker, George Sand rightly noted: “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved in return”. That was the symbiotic relationship that existed between her and her loving husband.

Mrs. Akande, in her lifetime and more so for the 51 years of her marriage became a beautiful brand for lasting love. In fact, it was such that they were so bonded in fruitful friendship like Siamese twins that remained inseparable come ringing rain or scolding sunshine.
The second lesson is Consistency. There were testy periods of trials and tribulations, painful, perilous times she had to go through in her chequered journey of life. But she bore it all with uncommon tolerance and equanimity. For instance, she remained stoic when her beloved husband was sent to jail after the 1983 coup d tat by then General Muhammadu Buhari- led military putsch.
Also, recently she remained a pillar of support in her husband’s trying time when he had to undergo knee surgery in Philadelphia, United States. So cool and calm was she that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode could not help but notice the trait in her when he paid a surprise visit to the family there in the U.S. Yours truly could attest to this as well.

Another easily noticeable virtue that defined her life trajectory was Humility. Perhaps, this could be attributed to her proper grooming from childhood and her devoted service in God’s vineyard. As Ephesians 4: 2-3 states: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”.

She was such one humble First Lady that would go out of her way to cook, not only for her husband but everyone who visited them. And this was amply demonstrated when Chief Akande was a Deputy Governor in the old Oyo State and later when he became the governor of Osun State.

In all these, Mrs. Akande remains an enduring inspiration to the younger generation of Nigerian girls. They should bow to drink from her fountain of biblical knowledge which she put to good use in her family and the links with the world at large. She lived according to the wise words in Titus 2: 4-5: “ Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

One is not surprised therefore, that despite the fact that her husband is a Muslim he never considered nor regretted not marrying a harem of women. He found in her exceptional qualities others could not have possessed. This is an eloquent testimony to her being a virtuous woman and also Akande living as a man of high moral standards. These are lessons for all couples to glean from.

It also falls in tandem with what Hubert Humphrey said, that: “The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it”. Akande, in reminiscing over his late wife can say that all over again. As we commiserate with his family, we pray the good Lord grant her gentle soul eternal bliss.
Ajanaku, a journalist writes from Lagos

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