I like septembers. My mother was born in this month. First love born in this month (4th). younger brother’s on 27th. Parent’s anniversary this month. On average I think I have about 5 birthdays every day in September. I also like Septembers because it ends long holidays when I have to do chores, lol.
So today I’m celebrating a great woman I met at the University of Abuja. She came in with the Direct Entry Students in my 2nd year. Knowing that she’s a mother (with kids craving attention) I’ll keep this mercifully short.
Mrs Olayemi Olukoju Akanmode is this person. She IS beautiful. We sometimes teased her that her husband would have to come pay a second bride-price. And she was meticulous about her appearance. Believe me we had married women who wore things that cast them as women looking for a last-chance with toyboys. Neither did she look like a old mama retired from the “market”. I remember taking this photo in our 2nd year.
She came for lectures from home every day! I imagined how she had to wake up and possibly prepare breakfast, and the children for school. And dress up for school. And come all the way to Gwagwalada in time for an 8 O’clock lecture. Interestingly, I realised she ALWAYS got to class before me (hence the Super-Mummy title). I refused to let this happen- so in final year I buckled up and made sure I got to class enough to get a seat on the “elder’s council” (front row seats!)
And She had these notebooks. Wide, ruled sheets with plastic covers. Those notes were always correct- if She and Inyene didn’t have it in their notes, then it didn’t exist! Of course I adopted that method of note-taking. I got some best-buy notebooks in final year that held my poems and my land law/company law notes. I lost the poems in a taxi, but I have the company law with me. And I used those kinds of notebooks in Law School (so I have my drafts safely carried).
I remember when we had this conversation about marriage in 3rd year(she probably doesn’t remember). When she told me how old her kids were (the oldest was below 12 at the time), I WAS surprised. But then she told me how her mates rushed into marriage- and she? She waited for the right one. If i remember correctly, she got married at 29 (i know i had an argument with someone about that) Now I wonder what people who may have sniggered behind her back would say now!
And I remember when we waited endlessly for law school. She was one of the people that gave encouraging words. Of course we hated the fact that we had to skip a year (I for one though I should be married next year, hahah). But she made us understand that things happen at the right time. I’m glad I didn’t get worked up – I went to law school at the best time possible! In that wait for law school, She took an internship with Awomolo & Co. I was with Godwin Obla SAN & Co, Ope Owotumi with Afe Babalola SAN & Co and Inyene Robert with Festus Keyamo. Sometimes I ran into them in court and the experience was exhilarating…I felt like a real lawyer! I’m sure she could have sat down at home and expected one husband to provide all the money. But she went out and did her bit- I’m sure the experience proved invaluable in law school!
And well there’s that adorable son of hers that used to say “God of-bid” instead of “God-forbid”.
I will stop here now. I hope you picked a thing or two about sacrifice. Any man or woman that goes back to university in Nigeria after marriage deserves commendation! And anyone who stays in school and actually finishes should be given a real award.
Thanks, ma for representing your family honourably- I have learned a thing or two about living married. And thanks for taking away the fear of married people from my life (my Hi5 profile still says I’m scared of married people). For those little words of advice, those silent cues, those good words you put in for some of us, well, thank you!
And Happy Birthday. May your children do you proud. And may God shower you with the blessings you don’t even think to ask for