Mrs Bola Kuforiji-Olubi, the boardroom guru and woman of many part breath her last on Saturday, December 3, 2016. Her death came as a rude shock to many who saw her on her 80th birthday 2 months ago. The ugly it was evident that she just cheated death before her birthday as she has been in and out of hospital before then.
Clad in a gold chattily knee length dress that sat on her flair body with her signature Afro Curls hair, she sat at the high table facing the podium as she waved at interval to welcome the guests. Not many knew she was multi-lingua as she speaks Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba at interval at her birthday held at MUSEUM Center in Onikan, Lagos.
Did she know she was going to die? Did she predict her death? The answer is yes. Bola Kuforiji Olubi’s body language was all pointers to this. Despite being frail from her last sickness, it was revealed that she said she wanted to celebrate. She carefully documented life. She made sure those who matter to her wrote about her in a book tributes that was given to guests. She danced and sang with her primary school pupils who were also in their 60s.
Though her health was frail, she tried to cut her birthday cake. Her 80th birthday speech was where she spoke about death. In her TV tributes she spoke about her 2 husbands. She revealed why people shouldn’t judge her. It was no doubt she knew her time was up. Please read her 80th birthday speech.
Baba Akintola Williams, our mentor in the institute of chartered accountant of Nigeria, Papa Chris Ogunbanjo. My cousin, Chief Femi Olopade. My beautiful aunty who whenever I call her, she is ready to come, Chief Mrs Funke Afowell. There are so many of you here who are friends of mine and I don’t want to offend by calling a few people without mentioning others. But you know that I love you all so dearly. I appreciate all of you so warmly and dearly for what you have done in my life socially and career wise.
Unfortunately, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of State is not here but he is definitely one of my mentors like IBB. The current president, President Buhari and his partner, Tunde Idiagbon; I could go on calling so many of them. General Diya is here and he is definitely one of my mentors who could swear by my name.
Every committee that was put together, he put my name there, I am so sure I haven’t disappointed him. I could go on calling so many names.
The current governor of Ogun State is an ardent admire great son and brother. So also is Raji Rasaki, he is my first son’s neighbor and most times when I am around, he is not always there because he is a man of many parts.
I must first of all give thanks to God that I am alive today to stand before you and to call all of you to come and felicitate with me. Like I said during my thanksgiving service 3 weeks ago, I said I didn’t even think I was going to be 80. This is because 3 weeks before then, I was in hospital in ICU 2 years to now, I was in and out of hospital. I want to first and foremost thank the person who came to do my toast. He is the son of Justice Onyema and a very bosom friend of my eldest son.
I was left in my home in England by relation who thought, oh she is just tired, she is sleeping. Of course, she went out. This time Onyema came to my house because he lives in England and has a key to the house. He entered and found me on the ground in a coma, and if he had stayed one hour before he came, it would have been my dead body that would be taken out of the house.
So, Patrick Onyema, you are a darling, may you continue to be very good friend of my son. I was in hospital in England over a period of one year, going in 3 weeks, 6 weeks and I am back home. Is Kemi Williams here? Kemi Williams and your husband, Alex, you are so invaluable in my life. Kemi Williams is the daughter of my cousin, Gbolahan Williams. She will leave her work and bring food to the hospital for me because I couldn’t eat hospital food. I can’t forget you Kemi. If I am your biological mother and the biological mother of your husband, Alex you couldn’t have done more for me. I thank you for this and please give a round of applause.
Another person to thank is my cousin, Dehinde Sanyaolu and his wife, Sade for their love, care and attention. If you saw the bond that we share, they will say when my cousin is angry, the only person who could talk to her is Dehinde.
She will never listen to anybody else. Yes, your father and my father were like that and I cherish you. God bless you. There are so many of you around here and I cannot begun to mention all of you, but you see love has its significant. Wine has it choice, light has it fames. Life has it reward. There is a book of tributes that I think was distributing.
You will see what God has given me the opportunity to do, my cousin, Femi Olapade was the one who pushed me into limelight by telling Chief Obasanjo that this girl in our family must go somewhere.
Egbon mi, I don’t know where you are sitting but I say thank you very much. Se won ti lo” (has he gone?) You will let him know that I acknowledge him.
Now, it has not been easy. People talk and say all kind of things. Last year 2015 was a very difficult year in my life and this is because all kinds of stories were spreading around in Nigeria about what people do not have the common sense to investigate and find out what the truth is.
I have fought with my blood for Nigeria and I am really very proud to say it. I was in business with some people who wanted to walk away with money belonging to Nigeria and I put my feet down. The money is not in my hands like people who are passing whatsap messages to one another. People who are going on the internet not finding out what is happening.
I was locked up for 15 days on the account of Nigeria. Why should I be locked up? It is because there are Nigerians who are not patriotic enough to stand on their feet to fight for this country and when they see you fighting they say, what a fool, she is. I Bolajoko, I am not a fool and I know why I did what I have done. I am very proud to stand tall among Nigerians and say, yes, I said this, yes, I have done this and this is my stand.
If you ask Nigerians in government and private life who are so daft, I am sorry to use that word, but they are not men enough to stand up for their right and this country. I don’t know when we will learn but I believe we should leave a good life for our children.
I am fortunate enough to serve in United Nations High Level advisory Committee for Sustainable development for 2 years at the invitation of Dalley, I don’t know where he knew me from but he must have probably heard of my antecedent. One of the forwards that we have there is leave the world the way you want to meet it if you come back again. We have one world to share; we have one Nigeria to share.
Nigeria may be down at the moment who is making it to go down. It is we Nigerians; we never do what is right.
But when you look at the likes of Papa Chris Ogunbajo, Baba Akintola Williams and Baba Olopade and others on what they have done and the governor of our state, you will know that Nigerians should be at the forefront of affairs not only in Nigeria but all over the world.
I wish to acknowledge my first son, Olutokunbo, the Yoruba says “Omo a se I ru e fune. Because for 18 months in his house for 18 months. This is because while I was in England, my house was built. Nobody phoned to say, Bola here is a dime.
Here I am standing here with the governor, holding my hand. So that I won’t fall. May God bless you where you least expected. Thank you to all my guests.