Revd Akintoye Olumide Hilario Branco-Rhodes was given a superlative burial last week. Olumide, who was fondly referred to as Kiti Rhodes passed away on the 19th February 2021. The burial ceremony was held on Thursday, April 16, 2021, at the popular St Paul’s church. Breadfruit, Lagos.
The memorable memorial service had most people who control the social firmament in attendance. The event witnessed the presence of businessmen within and outside the country, being the farewell ceremony for the 58-year-old businessman who also was a popular philanthropist in the western region of Nigeria.
On the ground to support the illustrious son, who also doubles as a politician, was the wife of the former Senate President, Toyin Saraki, wife of former President of Foursquare Gospel Church, Mrs Wilson Badejo, Yinka Sowole, Wale Idowu and many more celebrities. The burial ceremony pulled a massive crowd as friends, servants in Christ, colleagues, family members and others graced the colourful event.
Emeka Ibe, an adopted son of Kiti Rhodes, speaking about his father, said that his demise was painful, but he had to give thanks to God for how far his father has led him and teach him to become someone in life. He said he lost his biological father at age one, before reverend, Kiti took him in and raised him as his own son for over thirty years.
A business partner, Mr Adeosun also referred to Revd. Kiti as a gentleman. Who was unassuming, He added that he was a man of great faith who lived a life of Christ.
“He didn’t wear all his successes in the chest. He was highly principled and had a deep understanding of politics. He never failed to talk about Grace and God, whenever he had the chance to”, he stated
His final ceremonial progression raised treasurable memories of his life among family, friends and even close neighbours. The recollections bespeak the misery of a watching world that fell in love with the beautiful son, husband, and father. The children and wife rued the final departure of their father, struggling in their grief to deal with the humbling reality that their father had finally set out alone into eternity.
Revd Kiti’s cortege was joined along the way by the most important people in his life. They walked behind his remains, and then, so did representatives from each of the families and communities The deceased would definitely turn in his grave for the honour and unrivalled show of love that his beloved family and friends gave him.
Who is Akintoye Olumide Hilario Branco-Rhodes? He was born in Lagos on the 27th April 1963. The third child of his parents Mr and Mrs Olayinka Rhodes, he had three elder brothers Olayinka Jr, Olurotimi, Koyejo and two younger sisters Simisola (deceased) and Morenikeji. His father was the son of Aboki and Novojo Rhodes. His father’s maternal grandfather was the Brazilian merchant Joachim Francisco Devode Branco, one of the wealthiest men in Lagos at the end of the 19th century.
Akintoye’s mother Elizabeth Abimbola was the first child of Jasper and Olabimpe Da-Silva.
Kiti spent much of his early life growing up in Lagos where he received his primary and secondary education. He attended a Catholic Primary School, Maryland Convent Private School in Ikeja after which he enrolled at his father’s Almer Mater, Baptist Academy Sheperd Hill Ikorodu Road for his secondary education.
He left Nigeria for college in 1980 and first attended the American College of Switzerland, Leysin before transferring to Barrington College in the United States due to a policy of the Nigerian Government mandated that all American Academic qualifications be obtained in America. He finished college and gained admission to read Economics at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston Rhode Island USA.
He returned home to Nigeria in late 1986 and joined Rasbol Nigeria Limited, the family business. As Assistant General Manager, he assisted his brother, Koyejo, a Banking and Finance graduate in running the business.
The duo also pioneered the production of stone furniture in the industry, and this grew in popularity and soon became a status symbol in homes and offices of the affluent.
In 1989, Kiti married Laolu Braithwaite his sweetheart of many years at a highly celebrated wedding ceremony, thereby cementing the bond which had long existed between the two Lagos families.
Kiti settled down to family life and together with his wife raised seven children over the course of the next three decades. Sadly, their first daughter, Oluwadara Abimbola passed away in November of 2020 aged 26 years. Her death left him heartbroken until his own transition after a brief illness a few months later, on the 19th f February, 2021.
Kiti will forever be remembered for his giant strides towards making Nigeria a great nation and for his work as a servant in God’s vineyard.
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