Olori Fatimo Adeola Makama recently buried her mother, the late Alhaja Musiliat Adeyinka Anike Igbalaye in Osogbo, the Osun State capital hometown. At the grand event, which was attended by the crème-de-la-crème of Osun State and beyond, including a long list of royal fathers, Olori was complemented by her hubby, the Olowu of Kuta, Oba Adekunle Oyelude Makama, who was a cynosure of all eyes as he was personally receiving guests and also seeing them off. Olori hosted The Tabloid.net during which she reflected on her late mother with a verdict that she had lost a part of her. Excerpts
A week to the final burial for your late mother, what was going through your mind?
Should I say I was at that point apprehensive? That was the situation of things because of the picture I was seeing in my mind; I know Kabiyesi does not do things in half measure; I know his personality naturally attract people. So, he does not really need to send a formal invite out before guests attend his event. Having this in mind, I was a bit worried but I knew that God shall not let us down. I knew God would take charge of everything, and that prayer was answered. God showed us favour before, during and after the ceremony. Therefore, we don’t have choice than to thank Him. Now, I want to specially thank Kabiyesi for the strong pillar of support he has ever been to me right from day one of our relationship. One should really not be surprised with what he did at the ceremony; he is used to it; that is his person. He is all in all and a very strong pillar of whatever success I have accomplished today. I cannot just thank him enough for being my father, my husband and my everything every woman should desire in a husband. I thank him and shall continue to thank him for his unconditional love.
What did your relationship with your mother look like, in terms of closeness?
It is unfortunate that I am no longer resident here in Nigeria to have been close to her as I would have loved. But I made it up through regular phone calls with her. Before I relocated, we were close such that I had subconsciously picked some of her traits to the extent that now, after she has gone to rest, my siblings refer to me as mama, and this gets me feel somehow. But I must say it that I am truly her carbon copy in many respects. Alhaja lived a fulfilled life till her last breath, especially with the kind of upbringing she gave me from childhood. Did you that I still cry till today for her absence? In fact, on the eve to the ceremony, I cried bitterly. She was a model mother, who loved and showed the love to me and everybody in our polygamous family. She cherished the name of her husband, our father, so much that she won’t allow anyone of us to move near anything that might affect good name left behind in Osogbo, our hometown, by our father, Chief Rasheed Igbalaye. Alhaja would always remind us to watch our public behavior because all eyes were on us even without us knowing those watching our steps and our words. I don’t know from where the bond with our father came from; Alhaja was living as if her husband was still around her. If you wanted to provoke her, just ask her to come and spend some days with you, especially after child birth. She would tell you tell you plainly that she could not sleep outside her husband’s home. After few days, she would say ‘I am going back to my husband’s house.’ That was what happened when I had my child then in Lagos, she refused to come to Lagos after the naming; she said she could not leave her husband’s house as if the husband was still physically around. Again, you see her sitting very close to our father’s tomb in our compound. That was where she usually observed her daily prayers. That bond was just indescribable. She did not bother of who your mother was, she would wake us all up very early in the morning and bathe everybody one after the other in preparation for school. She would make sure nobody forgot anything at home. She was performing this role with all pleasures. I believe our father got to appreciate her for that. It taught us an important lesson that we should love our husband with everything we have. Alhaja was a good example of this Romeo and Juliet love, which is okay. I can say that it is one of those things I picked from her. That is why I said that kabiyesi is all in all. I said it and Kabiyesi himself knows I mean it because he is also a true lover, my shoulder, my backbone who goes extra miles to make me happy even at the expense of his own comfort.
How did your journey with Kabiyesi start?
We got married in 2009 after about 10 years courtship.
Why did it take so long?
I was young when he spoke with me; I was not fully conscious of the affair until I was growing to appreciate the commitment he put into it. He said he would allow me to grow and reach maturity and, above all, complete my education. Wasn’t that rare in a society where every man of means would be in hurry? He was so patient with me and always forthcoming. His total disposition to the relationship gave me assurance that I could not be luckier. He was not in haste at all; all he did was assuring me that he was serious to have me as his wife. I was playing along until objection came from one of my brothers. But the whole family worked round it and said I should go ahead but never return to complain of anything. At that point, I was determined that for a man to have waited that long, I must make up my mind and settle down with him. I give glory to God that I made that decision. I also give glory to God that Kabiyesi has remained the trustworthy he was before our wedding and even after he became the traditional ruler. I say it everywhere that God loves me through Kabiyesi because all he does can only be ordained by God. When it was right time, he told me that he was ready, and at that point, I knew I could not afford to break his heart because he did not deserve such treatment. He was godly in his approach to our long courtship and this was enough to stick to him.
Did you have cause to disagree with your late mother?
I cannot recall that because she was a very pleasant mother who would take her time to lecture you on something you were not doing right and to her expectations. That she was a disciplinarian did not mean she was insensitive to us. She understood human beings beyond what anybody can think of. Except when the old age was catching up with her, frequently blaming me for not calling every time, she was a peaceful mother. You know old age has a way of changing some things in human beings. For example, if you call her now, shortly after, she would complain that it has been a long time you spoke with her. But I understand that it is one of signs of old age. Apart from that, we had a good relationship.
Can you recall her last days; was she actually sick?
She was not sick except that she complained of body pain. Kabiyesi even went there and told me of her state. Then she was taken to Biket Hospital in Osogbo. Checks were conducted and nothing was wrong. I recall that three days to her passage, she prayed for me. A week before, she asked me ‘won’t you come and see me before I go?’ I did not get it. She did not sound strange to me until the news broke that she had passed away.
Where did you receive the news?
I was in France, my base. Incidentally, I was coming from airport, behind the wheel. I went to pick Kabiyesi; he just arrived from Nigeria. We were together in the car when the call came from home that Alhaja had gone. I almost lost control of myself; it was a shock I did not imagine would come that soon; not even while I was having Kabiyesi with me after a while. But there was nothing I could do to reverse it. I thank God that brought Kabiyesi around at that time. Kabiyesi played a big role in consoling me to return to stability. But if you ask him, he would tell you that it was not easy to get me back. I still feel the pinch till now; Alhaja was too precious to leave, despite the fact that I know she was aged. But no one want to part with her old parents. I think that is natural, especially if the parents were from the same world with my parents who loved their children more than they loved themselves. I consider it a privilege and blessing of God to have come to the world through such a precious mother. If every mother follows her path, this world would be easy to live. She was selfless, energetic and successful in her own right.
How do you describe Kuta people?
They are very accommodating and friendly to me. I have a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which I named Olori Adeola Makama Foundation through which I reciprocate these gestures to our women, the ages, the widow and underprivileged. The foundation basically focuses on food and medical outreach and economic empowerment. I personally supervise this during my holiday in every August. That is when I come to Nigeria; It is usually a 2-day programme and effective, hoping that it will get better at every edition. On this note, I have Kabiyesi to thank for his support.