• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Female executives celebrate Father’s Day with heartfelt eulogies

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This is one time in a whole year when we officially, collectively and globally get to celebrate men, and come Sunday 16th of June, it will be Father’s Day. It isn’t only Father’s Day celebration, but it is also men’s mental health month. In this light, some of the challenges reported to be common with men include: Depression, anxiety disorders, Schizophrenia, PTSD and more. However, this edition is about throwing fathers eulogies, and the corporate women we spoke with shared heartfelt tributes to their fathers. Not only did it warm my heart, it left me in awe. See for yourself why this is indeed special in every way. And before I forget, mothers and wives, give your father and husband a treat this Sunday.

Daddy Daddy!

My father, my dear friend, my inspiration, and my teacher in the journey of life and career.

A man of deep wisdom. You loved your family with such intensity and loved what we loved. Our friends became your friends.

Your sense of humour remains unparalleled. Though you are no longer with us physically, your children and grandchildren still laugh at your jokes (choppy, choppy, your shanta, your banta).
There is so much I loved about you. Your sense of responsibility and dependability. You could always be counted on.

You were the true master planner. You planned for the winter months of life in the spring and summer.

It is amazing that though you went home to be with the Lord so many years ago, we still feel your presence binding us together as one family. You taught us that family was above all.

You were a man of dignity and honour yet vulnerable and humble. You had an amazing work ethic but always had time to be with your family. You taught us to be honest and modest. You were always understated in your ways.

When you gave your life to Christ, you were an amazing role model, searching the Bible, asking questions, and taking steps of faith.

Daddy, I don’t know how you did it— I still think I can fly and that there is nothing that I cannot do. On this Father’s Day, I thank God for the precious gift of you! All your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren give thanks to God for the precious gift of you!

Sun re o. Omo mola mola, Omo igha, Omo n’idimi a s’eso yu, L’ogho ku’oga!

Photo by: Kelechi Amadi-Obi (www.kelechiamadiobi.com)

Cecilia Akintomide

Special Executive Adviser to the Group CEO

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated

My Father, My Son – Edem Anana Akpan

My dad was a roadside watch repairer, and I am the very proud daughter of a watch repairer. Everyone who knows me well would definitely have heard me say this countless times. I am the daughter of a roadside watch repairer. He was a hard-working and very proud man who earned his keep and took care of his family from the little he had. My father lived in Lagos for over 50 years before relocating to Calabar in 2013. We were all born and raised in Lagos, so we spoke fluent Yoruba and Ibibio in our home.

As his first daughter, my dad and I had an uncanny relationship. It was one of fear and avoidance when I was younger, but fierce loyalty and love as I grew older. He was my father, yet he was also my son. He called me his mother and made sure I took her chieftaincy title when I came of age. As he grew older, he sought my counsel in everything and anything, just as a son would. I was the only one allowed to scold or ask him to back down on a decision.

My father was neatness personified, almost obsessive. He washed his clothes and cleaned his room; no one could do it well. He was a very private man, the quintessential gentleman, strong, forever calm, silent, and self-contained and never speaking much but forever listening with his eyes and ears. Like me, he loved his space, staying indoors except when it was unavoidably necessary to go out, with his small transistor radio by his side.

My Father, Edem, was a great man, content in the little he had, never needing what was unnecessary. Once he had good food and a bottle of small stout, he would sigh contentedly and repeat his usual saying – “Olowo jeun jeje”. I still smile thinking about it.

My father was very good at ignoring silly people and dealing with them in very precise measurements. I’m glad I took that from him. As a young girl, he took me almost everywhere he went, as much as school allowed. He told me so much about himself and the things he did, his childhood and growing days and the values he instilled in me – of hard work, truth, loyalty, and absolute no-nonsense – are clear in how I live my life.

My father passed on in August 2022, but I will forever cherish the memories we made. He was far from perfect, but he was a good man, who deserved everything good, and I am pleased he enjoyed his last days, surrounded by care and love.

Happy posthumous Father’s Day my Papa, Edemcity!

Ini Abimbola

Vice President, Sustainability Professionals Institute of Nigeria

MY PAPA!

My father, Apostle (Dr.) Hayford Ikponmwosa Alile OFR (Late), was a man that was difficult to describe in just a sentence because he meant so many things to different people. So, most times just calling him ‘Papa’ made more sense and has more substance than any other description. A man of truth, a man who was compassionate even to a fault, a man who sees everyone as purely as he sees himself, a man who can take it upon himself to fight a battle that’s not even his, a committed father, but above all, a man who loved the Lord with all his heart.

When I was growing up and from as far as I could understand things, he was already a man most people admired, couldn’t go anywhere without someone asking me if I was related to him. They would ask me and then say “exactly, you look so much like your dad’’.

My father was an amazing man, very giving, very attentive and an especially caring gentleman. He was there for me and my siblings, from his surprise visits, to my secondary school in Warri, Delta state with so much roasted chicken that could feed the whole dormitory, or just insisting that we needed to understand where tea and coffee came from when we were just about 10 years old. The idea was to enable us have a broad overview about the world as if we drank coffee at that age. Even as an adult, he attended everything I did at work and was always so proud!

We had such a great relationship as his children and someone we can always speak with. There is nothing you couldn’t talk with my dad about, he taught us to always speak our minds, He would always ask “What do you think?’’ “What should I do about the situation?’’ Our opinions always mattered. Most of my friends remember him especially from our morning prayers no matter how late we went out, we all had to be there for 6am prayers when that bell rang, and it is something I think I appreciate now more than ever.

How does one find their own identities amongst eight children that have been brought up to speak their minds yet appreciate others’ feelings and opinions? To be independent yet be gentle, but in the midst of all, we each had our very own identity. We are so different, yet so alike. Sometimes, I wonder how he was able to pull it off, how can you make eight children love and respect one another like we have. The only thing I can say is that, when you have a father like my papa, you know for sure that someone, not just anyone, but Papa has got your back. I love you Papa, I miss you and I truly appreciate you especially now. I thank God for the privilege to be called your daughter. Happy

Father’s Day Papa!

Osayi Alile

CEO, Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation.

Happy Father’s Day to the most amazing father, mentor, champion, teacher, and guide.

Growing up, I was always inspired by your incredible work ethic and commitment to excellence, as I watched you build Pamo Clinics and Hospitals to one of the foremost private medical facilities in Rivers state. Despite being aware of your commitment to delivering quality medical care and patient satisfaction with your sound business acumen, it was only when I got a front row seat as an administrative support staff in the hospital following my graduation from secondary school, that I realised another side to you, and the healthcare business – the silent philanthropist who provided free medical services as a standing policy to the church and community. This demonstrated to me the immense value you place in your faith, and in your cultural heritage.

Over the years, I have watched your impact on humanity in several other spheres – in politics and governance, and more recently, in medical education, building Pamo University of Medical Sciences from a random idea birthed in an airport waiting lounge, to a platform for developing a consistent pipeline of excellently trained, disciplined, and humane healthcare professionals who truly embody the university’s motto, ‘Excellence for the good of all’.

In my current role as a member of the Rivers State Executive Council, serving as the Commissioner for Health, your guidance and support have significantly eased what may easily have been a turbulent career transition.

I am truly blessed to have you along this life’s journey. Your capacity to love, your generousity, and your wisdom have been invaluable, not just to me, but to Onwuka my husband, my siblings, and our children.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. We love you with all our hearts.

Always,

Numero Uno.

Adaeze Chidinma Oreh

Honourable Commissioner for Health, Rivers State.

As the firstborn Ada in a family of five siblings, it’s fair to say I grew up idolising my statuesque, dapper, intelligent, six-foot-three sophisticated dad. At around six or seven, I remember confidently telling my class that my dad, who was coming for Parents’ Day at Corona School, was taller than the school building! In my young mind, that was what he represented – larger than life. Now, standing at five foot nine myself, I am proud to have inherited his physical genes whilst still working on some of the others. Thank you, Daddy!

Decades on, as I reflect, I am deeply honoured that God chose my dad to lead me through life. He may not be perfect, but he is the embodiment of a father. His rock-solid commitment to being a father is unwavering. Knowing that he will go to the ends of the earth to provide and protect is a source of deep comfort, even as a full-grown adult. His mere presence has long been a covering and a shield for me. Love, for him, is an action word. He might not say it often, but he shows it regularly through his actions. The concerned questions when he senses something is wrong, the gentle referrals to industry friends for guidance, and even the daily forwards of relevant newspaper articles all show his care.

I am deeply grateful to my father for teaching my siblings and I that grit, discipline, hard work, and faith in God takes you further than intelligence alone. He often regaled us with tales of brilliant classmates who didn’t realise the limitations of their intelligence outside academia. He taught us that intellect without discipline is largely insufficient in the real world.

I admire my dad’s courage, fearlessness, and ability to trust his own voice despite the naysayers. Even though we, his nearest and dearest, sometimes wished he didn’t. He always comes back to his own compass north. His favourite singer, Frank Sinatra, sums it up nicely with song lyrics “I did it my way.” My dad knew who he was from early on, and was always happy to choose the unconventional path. We grew up benefitting from his immense sense of adventure and love for water. He taught us all to swim early, and many childhood memories revolve around long afternoons in the pool or trips to Ilashe beach, exploring Lagos waterways and escaping the city’s intensity. These experiences instilled in us the value of experiences over material things.

Finally, one of my most cherished traits about my dad is his love for life and all it offers. From travel, food, classical music, theatre and art to celebrating and convening, he and my mum have consistently shown us what work-life balance looks like. Extra bonus-Boy, do they throw good parties! Lol. I am grateful to have a father who knows how to work hard and unwind. Yearly vacations and downtime with my mum have been a necessity. His intense self-care is another lesson I hold dear. I vividly remember his nightly swims after long workdays, and now, in his late 70s, his daily evening walks. He understands the importance of treating his most prized possession – himself – well. No pouring from an empty cup for him.

Today, I say thank you dearest daddy, for walking the talk and living life your way all the way! To thine own self, you, dear daddy, have certainly been true!

Love, Your Pearl!

Pearl Uzokwe

Director, Africa Forward, Catalyst 2030

On this special Father’s Day, I want to share the story of a remarkable man who has not only been a father but also a mentor, friend, and hero to me and many others. My dad, Gregory Ogbeifun, embodies the qualities of dedication, strength, and unconditional love that define what it means to be an extraordinary father.

Growing up, my dad juggled a lot of responsibilities, from being an entrepreneur to being a single dad and I must say that his work ethic, resilience, and unwavering integrity set a standard that I strive to live up to every day. Whether he was working long hours to provide for our family or taking the time to help me and my siblings through issues, my dad always showed that true success comes from hard work and commitment. As a renowned daddy’s girl, I have always looked up to my dad with admiration.

Whilst he will be the first person to admit that he has lived a life far from perfection, his sense of humour could brighten the darkest days, and his wisdom offered guidance through life’s toughest challenges. His professional life left an indelible mark on me and we spent time after time discussing dreams, aspirations, and the lessons he learned from his own experiences. These conversations were more than just words, they were the foundation of my values and beliefs. Specifically, I live my life guided by the principle of “As you lay your bed, so shall you lie on it”. This and many other anecdotes I gleaned from him and they have guided my life over the years.

One of the most significant lessons my dad taught me was the importance of a good name. He believed that no matter the situation and the circumstance, your word, your integrity and a good name were more valuable than material wealth. My dad’s integrity and good name continues to be a platform for me to stand on. His actions taught me that the true measure of a person’s worth is in their ability to gain and sustain a good name thereby making a positive impact on the world around them.

As I reflect on the countless ways my dad has influenced my life, I am filled with immense gratitude. He is not just a father, he is a role model, a confidant, and a friend. On this Father’s Day, I want to celebrate the incredible man who has given so much of himself to ensure the happiness and well-being of his family.

Dad, thank you for being the rock in my life, for your endless support, and for the love that knows no bounds. You have shown me the true meaning of fatherhood, and I am eternally grateful for everything you have done. Today, and every day, I honour and celebrate you.

Iroghama Ogbeifun

Managing Director/CEO at Starzs Investments Company Limited