Mama Ajayi preaches selflessness @ 89

    The Matriarch of Ajayi Family, Madam Christiana Ozofu Ajayi in an interview with Olanrewaju Adesanya while celebrating her 89th birthday spoke at length about her life’s journey, the challenges while growing up and how they were surmounted. Excerpt:

    Mama can you give us background information about yourself?

    I am Madam Christiana Ozofu Ajayi, I was born in 1929,89 years ago to
    the Yaya royal family in Igarra town,Akoko-Edo local government area
    ,Edo State, my father earn himself the title ‘Akpeji’ a great royal
    son of the land, I had my primary education as one of the privileged
    few back then whose parents could afford to send to school although, I
    had to stop schooling to take care of my siblings who are barely at
    the infant stage of life, as the first born of the family my parents
    especially my father had high hopes and expected so much from me, I
    had to tidy my younger ones for school, grind pepper, go to farm, I
    was responsible for so many things at home, this made me so hard
    working and ready to take up challenges, back then my siblings can
    attest to loving, kind heartedness, being a friendly person, I also
    took good care of my mother. I am a regular caller at the Anglican
    church, where I was born, I’m a church person till now because I have
    believe so much in God, I later got married to Late Chief Jacob Sanu
    Ajayi, the Oshemdase of Igarra in Edo state, many of my siblings for
    whom I had to stop schooling for them to go are heading big positions
    now like my sister who is now a consultant to a reputable corporate
    firm Mrs. Adeleke, so I stop schooling for my younger ones to forge
    ahead, as a quite beautiful damsel I got betrothed to my husband early
    in life and he has been a loving and caring husband till he died, he
    never wanted me to do anything than stay at home to take care of the
    home front, this I coped with for so long and became somewhat an
    authority, there are no amount of stress I had that would make me
    transfer aggression, maybe it was due to my upbringing really.
    Challenges are basic pillars of life, how did you pull through to this
    ripe age of 89?
    I am an optimist with very deep believe in God, I know that
    perseverance is key, yes challenges will come but they end up making
    one strong, I don’t celebrate challenges by complaining or murmuring I
    rather face them as they come and at the end becomes victorious.
    What do you do for a living early in life Ma?
    While young I had my hand in so many things, I learnt sowing even
    before I got married , I know much about tie and dye ‘adire’and Aso
    Oke and many of my relatives do place order for it and I supply them
    the quantity ordered, very quality fabric for the festivities and
    celebrations, had it been that I continued my academic pursuit maybe I
    might have been an industrialist because my sense of industry is huge,
    even at 89 my memories as still quite alert, I reach out to relatives,
    far and near, my children, grandchildren across the globe at least
    once in a while to know about their welfare. I celebrate people a lot,
    I keep records about good memories of my loved ones and people with
    whom I have relationship, if check my shelf there, you will see
    programmes of events held to signal one feat or more achieved by my
    children and in-law, I am liberal and selfless, I am a blunt person
    who says the truth always caring not whose ox is gored. Though I am a
    full time house wife and the first among the three wives of my late
    husband, I had the privilege of moving across Nigeria with him while
    he was working at the African Petroleum AP then; from Igarra to Lagos
    to Kano and later to Warri. My stay in Warri was however, longer than
    in other places because when he retired from service he came back to
    Igarra leaving me behind. I later joined him in Igarra before his
    demise. After that I have stayed with my daughters at Benin and now
    with one of them who is a staff of UNIBEN.
    What is the secret of your healthiness at 89?
    I am a joy mixer, I don’t keep malice, even as a woman, the two other
    wives my husband had knows so well that I am tolerant, I and my late
    husband are good at helping people even those we really have no direct
    link family wise, we trained so many, I have seven surviving children
    all doing well in their different fields, with 19 grand children, God
    has been so faithful to me and seeing them thrive brings me lots of
    joy. We accommodate lots of people that inform why you see many of
    them here, even my biological children barely knows many of them, but
    they see me as their mother having impacted them positively while
    growing up. That is the secret of my wellness.
    What is your favorite food and what turns you off?
    I don’t like proud people; my best food is Oka and vegetable soup.
    What are those things you had never wished to encounter that later
    came to be? I don’t like referring to this but my senior daughter’s
    death really hurt me but I assume God knows best, because she was my
    confidante with whom I share many similarities. (Near tears). I hardly
    discuss my issues with friends, I rather take it to God and he has
    been there for me all the while, in all I am grateful.

    How has it been, having Madam Lucy Ajayi, your fourth son’s wife in your family?
    Oh! Lucy is a darling, she has come to fill that gap my late daughter
    left, she really is a darling, very comely and enterprising, I mean
    she also was instrumental towards having this birthday party
    celebrated but I invited many and they all teamed up to make it grand
    for me, from the house to the church and reception it was awesome. I
    share a lot with Lucy because she is also my amiable daughter and I
    know she and her husband and all his siblings would continually remain

    Mama as a repertoire of what life has thought you, what lessons do you
    want young women to learn?
    Life is filled with many challenges but they should know that it is
    not meant to mar but make them, growing up my routine chores was
    routed from home to farm, laziness is really not virtue, they should
    eschew laziness and embrace hardwork, women are doing fine all over
    the world now like my sister, now Mrs. Adeleke, a renowned geologist
    with NNPC rose to a very high position due to hard work and being
    focused all women can be great not minding the visible obstacles they
    might have, I for one has impacted many because my live really is
    built around them.
    Being an octogenarian who has seen many political dispensations in
    Nigeria’s evolution, will you say our politics is any semblance of
    what obtains in your youthful years?
    In my family we have no politic leaning, we are the churchy type, all
    we know about politics were the names of major players, like late
    Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, politics is
    really not our thing, I cannot say really if the past politics and
    politicians are better than those of this era, because politicians
    back then and those that doing politics now have to grapple with
    conditions and situations that varies, we are now in the space age and
    that of computer, back then there were no telephones, though we feel
    life was easier compare to now, I can’t say one is better than the
    other, but that the politicians back then were lot’s more honest, it
    was just as difficult as it is now for those ones doing politics then.