Kemi Ashefon is a popular celebrity blogger. A few dayhs ago, she and her siblings gave their dad Sir Emmanuel Owoyemi Ashefon, a befitting burial. He died at 80.
The burial rites began on Tuesday24th May 2022, with a Mass/Wake Keep in Lagos.
On Thursday 26th May, 2022, there was Wake Keep/Vigil in Oka Akoko (his country home). On Friday 27th May, 2022, there was Funeral Mass at St. Pius Catholic Church, Agba, Oka Akoko. Interment followed immediately after Mass.
Entertainment of Guests followed at Ola Oluwa Grammar School’s main field, Epiri Ikanmu, Oka Akoko, Ondo State. Sir Emmanuel Ashefon was born on December 25, 1941, to Pa Abraham Omodara and Mama Juliana Ashefon. His birth was of significance to his mother aka Iya Rossetti, who had experienced a high infant mortality rate before she had ‘lboyi’ (as she fondly called him).
Pa Omodara was a notable hunter and masquerade adherent, while Iya Rosseti was a prominent Kolanut distributor to the Northern part of Nigeria. But then, young Emmanuel wasn’t ready to be a farmer, neither did he fancy trading just like his mum. He wanted Education. So, the young Emmanuel would choose the white man’s religion, education. And this was not nicely received. His dad ensured he was always visiting the farm and never wanted him to be educated beyond the farm.
But help came through his elder brother, Pa Daniel Ashefon (now deceased) who got him the money needed for his education. His brother, who was in charge of his dad’s farm produce, secretly gave him part of the money to pay his way through school. Young Emmanuel never forgot this kindness.
Out of desperation to be educated, he started at St Pius Catholic Primary School, Oka Akoko at the age 15 and he was the oldest in his class! This also meant he hid his ambition from his father, Pa Omodara who wondered why his son would always refuse to eat food cooked during the Egungun festival. On why he would not eat food offered to idols, the young Emmanuel explained that he had a relationship with a God he discovered through the Roman Catholic Church.
Though this isn’t a fact, he must have been the first Ashefon descendant to join the Catholic Faith. At one point, his education was threatened and he sought succour in one of his teachers who accommodated him and stood in for him anytime his father showed displeasure at his quest for Western education.
Later, the teacher was transferred from Oka to Ikere Ekiti. The teacher, in turn, gladly wrote a letter to the school management to allow his student (Emmanuel) go with him to his new base as housekeeper and this was promptly granted.
So, from Oka Akoko, he departed with his teacher to Ikere Ekiti. The kind teacher took special interest in Emmanuel’s love for education and helped in no small way to get him grounded before changing base to Annunciation College Ikere Ekiti in the year 1967 for his higher education. He spent two years there before moving again with his beloved teacher to John Bosco, Akure for his HSc. Exams.
A lover of sports, Ashefon’s laudable feats in various aspects of sports had certificates and commendation letters to show. By 1970, he arrived in Lagos in company of some friends where they all sought greener pastures. He was lucky to get a job at Bristow Helicopters (an aviation company) in the 70s where he was first employed as ‘tea boy.
Fondly called Emmanuel by his white bosses, he rose through the ranks to become a Protocol Officer where he became the go-to person for their expatriates visas and resident/work permits. In Abuja where he worked mostly when all ministries/parastatals in Lagos were relocated, he was popularly called ‘Bristow.’
By 1971, he met young Miss Victoria Olayemi Aiyegbo who was living with her aunt, Mrs. Oboye, a renowned seamstress. They were smitten with love, became an item and in October 1972, their first fruit, Kemi Ashefon was born. Sir Ashefon loved to adhere to cultural ethos and norms. When he met former Miss Olayemi Aiyegbo, who is the daughter of a retired police officer, Chief Ezekiel Aiyegbo, the Onigemo of Igbara Oke, there was an initial resistance from Chief Aiyegbo, who didn’t want his daughter to marry an Akoko man. But then, Ashefon wormed his way into the heart of his late father-in-law, who later agreed to his daughter and Sir Ashefon having a traditional wedding in July 2000 at an elaborate ceremony in Igbara Oke.
He was a fervent Catholic-who longed to partake of the Sacrament, they both decided to solemnize their union on October 3, 1983 at the St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Ikeja Lagos. Their last born, Opeyemi Ibrahim, (nee Ashefon), was born the following year. Blessed with many grandchildren from their biological children and those they adopted, Sir & Lady E.O Ashefon laid great examples ofthe perfect Christian couple-you can never sight Daddy without seeing Mummy.
A patron of some societies in Church, including the Altar Boys at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church Alimoso, Lagos, he was the President and Patron of the Catholic Family League. Sir Yemi Ashefon proved to be a committed Catholic till he breathed his last. It is remarkable to note that less than 24 hours before he died on April 1 , 2022, he was in church for the evening mass where he ensured that he took the holy communion before driving back home. Also a community leader: be remained a part of the Abule Oki/Alaguntan Joint Community Developmen Association where he was in charge of the Treasury and paid security guards for many years.
Quite sociable too, Sir Emmanuel Owoyemi Ashefon contributed immensely to the development of his community in Oka Akoko. He was also a member ofthe Oka Classique Club, an association which initiated and brought to global limelight, the annual Oka Day celebrations which still holds till
date. Not a few would deny that with Sir Yemi Ashefon, age is not a barrier-he interacted with persons of different age and status. With him, everyone is a Very Important Personality (VIP), including the Okada riders on the street he lived till he passed on. He interacted with his brothers, nephews, nieces, cousins and uncles according to their age grades. He would befriend a teenage nephew as if they were colleagues and in the same vein, he would interact with an adult niece as if they were roommates. Daddy was a friend to all.
A devout Catholic, he was initiated into the Order of the Knights of St Mulumba Nigeria in 1998 where he attained the fourth degree before his peaceful demise on April l, 2022.
Below his children pay tributes to Emmanuel Owoyemi Ashefon!
My Paddy toh sure! You were my confidant who shared the most wonderful moments of my life with me. You don’t condemn, Oh! not my Dad. I recall when life wanted to mess me up 12 years ago and I
called you to narrate what happened. Then, you were in aka where you had gone for your annual vacation. ‘Kemi, God has a purpose for everything, let us give him thanks,’ you responded. Daddy, you tood by me and the first father Iyanuoluwa my son knew was you. You were the one I called when I fell into labour, you took me to the hospital, stayed behind that late night and the doctor begged you to go home. You reluctantly left after midnight and arrived at dawn to meet my bouncing baby boy who grew to know you as Baba and laid by your side during your last moments on earth. Toluwani, as you always called him, would miss you forever.
My number one supporter, you encouraged me in whatever I do and allowed me make use of your name in this chosen career of mine. I wasn’t surprised when a popular Nollywood actress I had a running battle in the media with chose to drop court papers at your door-steps and even pasted some on your gate and fence. Trust Daddy to laugh at such an incident. You weren’t worried, upset or angry. I would not forget our moments of arguing on what you should/shouldn’t eat. ‘We live once, please let me eat whatever I want; you would tell me. Daddy, I just want to know why you died so early at just 80 years and 3 months old? Why didn’t you wait for me to clock 50 years in October 2022? I thought we planned having a thanksgiving in church and having a get-together where everyone would see my handsome father, who loved listening to the news and reading newspapers? Well, it’s not over yet. We will meet someday at the feet of Jesus where we will sing again, “Come Holy Ghost, Creator Come, from thy bright heavenly throne. Come take possession of our souls and make them all thy own …. ‘
Though you’re gone, your legacy will continue through your eeds. Today the pain oflosing you is difficult to bear because this world still needs you for more years. Being your son is the greatest honor
of my life. Thanks for always being my support. I never knew you would leave us o suddenly, you were a good man, you advised me and did your best to provide for me and my siblings. You tried your best in helping people. I am saddened that death took you away, but God’s word sa) s in all t ings we should give him thanks. Your death left a scar in our hearts but your legacy will stand in our life. We miss you Dad. Adieu!
Once In Every Generation
They don’t always domicile here neither do they eternally tabernacle with mortals. Their habitations are seen by men as places of fortunate stroke of serendipity. These beings are specially sculpted to carry out eventful assignments after which they literally levitate above this Tera Finna. Life granted me the honor to be sired by one of these rare mortals. It took me time to pen these because words alone cannot do justice to my thoughts nor avenge me of the harsh reality of this glorious transition that occurred on the first day of April, 2022. A Fool’s Day that spoke resounding truth. Iwas there!
When my mum, his wife called me to come take him for medical checkup minutes before the moon stopped its nocturnal display of aplomp, I wondered what could have informed this early call. I won’t
go into the dramas that played out on a day when an icon was about to exchange mortality for immortality. It was loaded with suspense, disbelief, assurance and insurance. Suspense because certain scenes from the dramas were unexpected. Disbelief because he was too unique to depart pronto, assurance, because to me, he slept, he never died. Insurance, because the atmosphere around him on that day provided a liveliness unknown to many even in the midst of sorrow.
A man who chose to change destination during LENT on an auspicious day must have a lot up his sleeves! Life, to him, was selflessness. Daddy would never allow bitterness, malice, hate, or evil survive around him. He never entertained disdain for everything God and anything tradition. He was a lover of human beings even if it would buy him hate. His life was a book readable only by the pure in heart. He loved God and hated no man. I remember church days with him. You must never disrespect the presence of God. His love for God even in his last days is a topic to be taught in churches!
He loved men even when they don’t deserve love, his creed that still abides in us his earthlings. A caring soul without remorse, he gives until there is none to give again. He’s a stark believer in western education as a prec rsor to greater days ahead. That man was peace emblazoned!
A knight whose night is one when he has nothing to help the needy. Days to his transition, he emptied his bank account to meet one of his sustained obligations by sending money to Prison Ministry! I genuflect at his mention. I kowtow at the sight of his pictorial representations. Above all, I remain perpetuallyent used that the blood ofthis generational legend flows in my being. Sleep on beloved kniglited father.
This is the hardest thing done ever! At least for me, it is the hardest. Writing a tribute about you Daddy!
I’m so sorry for not been able to tell you goodbye. Your demise hurts so bad and it is just too difficult to
comprehend! I remember your “problems solving smile” ,your prayer attitude ,your love for God which you bountifully blessed us with even inspiring your grandchildren to be God lovers. Oh Daddy how I wish I could take care of you the way you took care of your own mother who died at l02 years old!! I remember mama fondly called you, Boyi. Oh! heaven gains yet another angel. Greetings to Mama. I love you daddy, but God loves you more. You will always be remembered beloved Daddy
Baba, like my kids will always call you. It took me time to pen this tribute down because I am still in shock you left us. I know everyone will be with their maker one day but I didn’t know yours will be this
soon. I called you 2 days before your passing on, we chat for a while and you showed no sign. You were always there for people, always ready to help anyone even when it’s not convenient for you. You never get angry, never hold grudges against anyone. You have always preached love to everyone. Daddy I will miss you. You are irreplaceable, I will miss your calls, I miss your video calls, my kids misses you, I know heaven has gained an angel right now. I won’t forget the advice you give to us, you have lived with everyone with peace and love and that we will imitate,We will not forget, you will forever be in our heart. I love you daddy, continue to rest with the lord.
Daddy was an incredible person.
My father, my biggest fan and my greatest role model. His love for God and humanity is extraordinary. The most peaceful man I ever knew. I could call him at any time and he always had a solution to my problem. Life is different without him, but I am grateful I got to call him my dad. Never knew you would leave us so suddenly, you were a great and wonderful man, you advised me and did your best to provide for my siblings and I. You impacted lives by helping people and setting a good legacy to be emulated I am saddened that death took you away, but God said in all things we should give him thanks. My solace is the fact that you live a righteous life. Every moments of your life is like a book on a path towards heavenly bliss .. I am strongly convinced that you are at the right hands of the father. Your death left a scar in our hearts but your legacy will stand in our lives, till we meet again in the resurrection morning, We miss you Dad .. Adieu …
Daddy, it is so hard to accept that you are gone.
Still remember the first day I met you, you referred to me as your son. The co~ection was instant. Maybe because we were both born on a special day “Christmas day”. Now there is nobody to discuss Nigerian Politics with. Nobody to share my frustrations with about the numerous issues in Nigeria. I still remember your reassuring words that Nigeria will get better. I will miss your words of wisdom and knowledge. The world has lost a great mind. But surely, your legacy will live on. Till we meet again Daddy. Sunreo. From your son,