Becoming a septuagenarian is a great feat not attained by many. So, for Engineer James Funso Ojo popularly known as Afunsoly, it was a day to thank God for the last 70 years, look back and be grateful and look forward to what life holds.
On Friday March 19, 2021, the 10 Degrees Event Center in Oregun, Lagos came alive as family, friends and close associates gathered as a small crowd to celebrate an unsung hero of the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry.
Engineer Ojo is a man of many phases, a husband, a father, a teacher, mentor, life coach and friend to many people. The accolades that poured on him were enough testimonials and a mirror into his life at 70.
An event of such a great magnitude will be incomplete without Nigeria’s first and only surviving soft-sell magazine City People having done that for 25 years and still waxing stronger by the day. DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152 was there as well as the photographer, SUNDAY OYEMADE and here are some of the off-camera gists for your reading pleasure, enjoy.
COVID-19 PROTOCOLS DULY OBSERVED
With the presence of the dreaded COVID-19, it is no surprise that the event held amidst strict adherence to the protocols. There was no entrance without face masks and even as the event lingered on, men of the Lagos State Event Marshal Corps were on ground to ensure the safety measures were put in place. At the entrance of the event, hand sanitisers and face masks were made available for those who didn’t come with any, while the event was strictly for adults and strictly by invitation.
Tables were arranged with five seats and the spaces within the tables simply explained that physical distancing were observed. Even while dancing, only a few people were allowed on the stage per time so as to give room for less physical contact.
EVENT OPENS WITH A MINI CHURCH SERVICE
Engineer Ojo has always been a spiritual man so it was not a surprise for him to start his big day with a thanksgiving service to God. Officiating at the church service was Prophet/Evangelist Hezekiah Oluboye, CAC General Evangelist who was ably represented by Pastor David. Pastor Francis Akerejola, RCCG National Growth Officer, Pastor Afolabi Taiwo, Zonal Pastor, RCCG Oasis of Praise and Pastor Olasogba Idowu, Area Pastor RCCG Pentecost Area.
Pastor Akerejola who took the charge briefly preached from Psalm 124 and explained how God showed up for the celebrant when all men had lost hope. He further prayed that the God that jas kept Baba till now will keep him furthermore. The church service was concluded with a prayer session for the celebrant and prophetic declarations by Pastor David.
AT THE RECEPTION
Beauty, glamour and class described the ambiance of the 10 Degrees Event Center as guests walked in one after the other to celebrate the rave of the moment, Engineer James Funsho Oni. Starting from the well-decorated stage with a beautifully lighted 70 figure design, the stage had a seat for the celebrant and his beautiful wife, Yeye AdejokeMoyosadeOjo.
TV GODDESS, DOYINKUKOYI ANCHORED EVENT
To have a Nollywood superstar and TV host, Doyin Kukoyi anchor your event is a big deal but Engineer Ojo was worth more. Doyin who had anchored uncountable five-star events including the prestigious City People Excellence Award was the anchor of the day. Her perfect blend of the English and Yoruba languages made it easy for all the guests to enjoy the event without any withdrawal. She also brought her acting skills to the fore as she entertained the high and mighty and lowly rated who came to celebrate Afunsoly.
AFUNSOLY’S ROYAL ENTRY
If there was a portion of the event you wouldn’t want to miss, it was Engr Ojo’s entry with Yeye Adejoke Ojo. Accompanied by some friends, it was just as if they were walking down the aisle again as they did 29 years ago. Yes, Afunsoly and his damsel have been married for 29 years but their love seems to be growing stronger as the years pass by. The way Yeye Adejoke was all over her husband with so much love and emotion spoke volumes about how sweet their love journey has been.
ROYAL GLAMOUR CAKES & EVENTS ON STANDBY
Did we tell you that the cake was simple, classy and very beautiful? Yes, it was. Royal Glamour Cakes and Events handled it. It was a three-step cake and was well decorated. The fireworks added some sparkle to it when Engineer Ojo was cutting it with his family and friends. Royal Glamour Cakes and Events MD, Mr Femi Adaramodu was also present to ensure that all went well.
THE EVENT WAS LIVE ON ZOOM
Because Daddy Ojo is a man of the people and the COVID-19 pandemic did not give room for a large crowd gathering and has also placed restrictions on the movement of those abroad, many people also joined the event live on Zoom. Some of Baba’s children who are in America and Canada couldn’t travel down but they were also part of the fun. The zoom party afforded them the opportunity to join virtually and still get maximum entertainment.
PROF PETER ADENIYI CHAIRED THE DAY
Peter O. Adeniyi, Officer of the Order of Niger (OON) is a distinguished Nigerian academician and administrator. In 1984 he was the winner of the John I. Davidson Award (Third Prize) donated by the International Geographic Information Foundation. He is a winner of the 2005 Nigeria National Honours Award. Adeniyi is a former Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Akure and he is also the former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Ado Ekiti, now Ekiti State University. Adeniyi was the First and Past President of the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE). He is a member of the Global Ocean Observing Committee. This was the caliber of men that Engr Ojo attracted. He came alongside his beautiful wife and they both made the event so enjoyable with their speeches and dances.
He was the chairman of the day and he carried out his duties with a lot of dignities. He also spoke very highly of his long-time friend, the newest septuagenarian. Funso is a fantastically nice person, he said while he anchored the cake-cutting session of the event.
ENGR OJO BRINGS OLUYUN OF IYUN EKITI DOWN TO LAGOS
As the event progressed, a blast of the trumpet announced the royal entry of HRM, Oba Adeniyi Adeola Ajakaye and his wife, Olori Olutoyin Ajakaye and a group of chiefs all the way from Iyun Ekiti down to Lagos. Without much ado, they reached for their already reserved table as they joined the party. Doyin Kukoyi didn’t fail to introduce and anchor a royal salutation for the Kabiesi.
FAITH BAND ON THE MIC STAND
Dressed in white and a purple Aso-Ebi cap which was the colour of the day, the faith band as usual pulled musical stunt as they thrilled and entertained the guest. It was indeed an evening of unlimited fun with this band cross carpeting all genres of music to satisfy the different generations of guests in attendance.
DJ ZEUS IN THE BUILDING
DJ Zeus is a top brand in the entertainment industry. He was a part of the entertainment crew that made Aunsoly’s big day a huge success. The blast of his danceable tunes welcomed the celebrant and his wife as they walked in and at intervals, he made sure that there were no dull moments as he served cool tunes that matched the event.
THE BLACK LACE ASO-EBI GANG
If there was any outstanding group with a unique outfit to mention, it is ‘the black lace Aso-Ebi gang’. The way they appeared, they must be family and close associates of the celebrant because they shared the same outfit with Yeye Joke Ojo, the wife of Pa Ojo. This group of people appeared on virtually at every table. To say the truth, they all looked stunning in their various styles.
DADDY’S CHILDREN, DAMILARE& ADEDOYIN ANCHORED THE TOAST
Barrister Damilare and his kid sister, Adedoyin Ojo anchored the toast on their daddy’s 70th birthday. The joy and satisfaction on the birthday boy’s face as theY did that was enough for him. Damilare who spoke about his dad before anchoring the toast referred to Engineer Ojo as a perfect gentleman who could tolerate anyone. Adejoke said ‘daddy could go out of his way to make anyone happy even at his own detriment’.
CELEBRITY POLICEWOMAN, CSP DOLAPOBADMUSWAS HERE TOO
Many don’t know that the celebrant’s wife, Yeye Adejoke Ojo and popular Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Dolapo Badmus are siblings. She was present at the event too and was among the black lace Aso-Ebi gang. Her style was eye-catching. She became a center of attraction when she mounted the dance floor. She was the complete life of the party at the event.
SAME HALL, SAME MUSIC, DIFFERENT DANCE SPOTS
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t give room for crowd gathering, people still found a way around having fun at the event. Across the very long 10 degrees hall. There were different dancing spots. One would have thought that the party was divided into several groups but it was not so. The guests just found a way of dividing themselves into smaller groups as they wouldn’t allow the music waste. It was fun indeed at the different dance spots.
ONIYUN CULTURAL TROUPE DISPLAY
Let us also quickly tell you that Afunsoly brought Iyun Ekiti down to Lagos. Kabiesi was present and so were his chiefs but that wasn’t all. He also brought the Iyun Cultural Troupe who are known for performing for Kabiesi and top chiefs of Iyun land. Since the celebrant himself is a prince, the troupe added icing to the interesting day with various performances in Ekiti dialect.
ARIKEADE THE CHANTER CLOSED THE DAY
She was the last performer before the Faith Band finally took over but she was far from being the least performer, Arikeade is a fast-rising Yoruba chanter who knows her onions. Her performance saw the celebrant, the chairman and other top dignitaries leave their table for the podium to dance and spray the performer. If she was the only entertainer at the event, it would have been good enough. She indeed stole the show.