+How He Celebrated His 65th Birthday
The sleepy town of Ijebu-Igbo came alive a few days back when one of its distinguished sons, Senator Adegboyega Sefiu Kaka, turned 65. The tall and pencil slim politician, who is now a full time poultry farmer was until 2015 a member of the 7th Senate. From Friday, 12th May to 14th May, 2017, events to mark his birthday were held in Ijebu-Igbo. One of the striking things about this Ijebu-Igbo politician is that he does not in any way look his age.
In fact, if you run into the Ijebu-Igbo politician now, you won’t believe he is 65. He turned 65 a few days ago. But he does not look 65. He still wears his trim look. He is still as pencil-slim as he was when he turned 50 and 60. No changes. No creases on his face. No signs of ageing. He is also lucky, he enjoys good health. And he has a good family. He has also enjoyed the grace of God.
A few days back, he celebrated his 65th birthday in a very special way. It was a 3-day celebration. Day one, which was Friday, 12 May, 2017, started with a visit to Sagamu School for the Handicapped at 9am. At 10:30am, there was another visit to Eruobodo Children’s Home in Ijebu-Ode GRA. At 11:30am, there was a special prayer at Ijebu-Igbo Central Mosque. At 1:30pm, there was Jum’at at Ijebu-Igbo Central Mosque. At 2:30pm, the celebrator and his family members visited Ijebu-Igbo school for the visually impared children. And at 4:30pm, there was a football match competition.
On the 2nd day, at the Akinbambo Hall, Chief Isamosta Ashiru Court, Ojowo, Ijebu-Igbo, there was a lecture, entitled: Whither The Nigerian Nation? Delivered by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), while Pa. Chief Ayo Adebanjo was the Chairman.
On the 3rd day, (Sun, 14th May 2017) at Ansar-Ud-Deen Model College, Topon, Oke Sopin, Ijebu-Igbo, there was Dhuha, project commissioning and reception. At 11:00am, there was special birthday Dhuha prayers by Ansar-Ud-Deen Society followed by a lecture by Prof. K.A. Balogun.
At 12:30pm, there was the Ansar-Ud-Deen Model College project commissioning, a block of classrooms and laboratories donated to the Ansar-Ud-Deen Model College. Reception immediately followed.
All he wanted to do was to give back to the society. He has every reason to do that. At 65, Senator Kaka has lived an accomplished life. Career wise, he has been an acomplished farmer, who has carved a niche for himself in Poultry farming.
Politically, he has also done well. At various times he had been a Commissioner, Deputy Governor and Senator. And he never planned to be a politician. He was always called upon to assume each mantle of leadership. And since he left the 7th Senate, he has gone back to his Poultry farming.
How does he feel at 65? “I give glory to God”, he said at one of the events to mark his birthday. “I see the age 65 as the actualised life expectancy.
That I am witnessing the celebration of 65 years on earth is a confirmation that sincere supplications are accepted by Allah. The life expectancy of 65 years was self-imposed way back in the late ‘60’s, in anticipation of the probability of my not crossing the 40 years threshold. This was in consonance with my early hopeless start in life.
From birth, up to the end of primary education, it was a perennial cast of doubt about survival. The challenges became accentuated from various health challenges to psychological trauma when my father, of blessed memory, suddenly answered the call of Allah on October 25, 1968, while my poor self was just in Form 1 at 16 years plus- courtesy of additional years in the Qur’anic School.
As the first child of 7 children of my mother (she had lost the first 3 children, inexplicably to the cold hands of premature death), I put forth to Allah a special request for at least 40 years of meaningful existence and if it pleases Him, a maximum of 65 years.”
“I believe, as ever, that God has a purpose for every living being, and the efficacy of prayers of the righteous and unrighteous can be both potent, but to teach different lessons for the benefit of human race. Hence the humble adoption of the complete submission to the Will of God’s stance. It is for this reason that I give unqualified glory and adoration to Him alone for the unexpected unique attainment. It is marvelous, humbling, memorable, fulfilling satisfying, actualising, rewarding and endlessly many more. ‘It is a RARE GIFT, after the seemingly insurmountable vicissitudes of life.
“I regard this gift as a fore-runner to the hereafter, as I begin today, right here, to Live Today As If There Isn’t Going To Be A Tomorrow. I beseech Allah to continue extending His guidance, grace, mercy and benevolence on my further attempts and resolves in “Complete Submission To His Will”.
“As a token of appreciation of Almighty Allah’s faithfulness to all that relate to me, you are all gathered, not just to commemorate today’s occasion, but to also join in the dedication and commissioning of this offering of a Block of Four Laboratories and an Assembly Hall to Ansar-Ud-Deen Model College- a Non-Governmental and Not-for-Profit but Human Capacity Development Venture by the Ijebu Zone of Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, graciously located in Ijebu-Igbo.
“Each of the apartments is dedicated to numerous personalities who have contributed, in no small measure, to what I am today, by being helpers to Allah’s ‘KUN FAYAKUN’ (Be! And It shall Be!).
“As the commencement of the would-be seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years of the extra time, it might please Allah to add to this milestone begins, I crave the indulgence of those I might have offended through acts of omission and commission to kindly pardon my shortcomings and iniquities. I am also taking this unique occasion to declare remission of all acts of trespasses against my person or interests. Thence forth, it is charity to all and malice to none. May Allah help me to uphold this vow up to the end of my time.
“These remarks will be incomplete if I fail to recognise the overt and covert contributions of the following: My Father: Alhaji Amusat Olorunnisola Kaka. He laid the existential foundation of true love, spiritual guidance, family bond and cohesiveness, philanthropy, honesty and fear of God.
My Mother: Alhaja Idiat Adebisi Kaka. She was a workaholic, unrepentant disciplinarian, spiritualist of uncommon faith, cheerful giver and lover, honest to a fault, philanthropist, even with limited resources and despite being challenged by enormous burden of seven fatherless children.
My Uncle: Engr. Popoola Olayinka Okeowo and wife. He singularly picked up the challenge of my education and those of my siblings, immediately after the death of my father until I graduated in 1978. He laid for us a solid educational foundation as well as spiritual and moral rectitude.
“My Teachers (Formal and Informal): unquantifiably My respects to the informal neighbourhood, co-existential moulders of life. Those who contributed consciously and unconsciously inputs to my phenotypic make-ups. I cannot thank enough my formal Teachers, mallams, lecturers, colleagues (senior and junior) at work places, individual and organisational resource persons.
Political Game Masters and Military Strategists: These are managers of intrigues who made unintended imprint on my fertile, innocent and political mind, that inadvertently earned me the tag of a Politician despite my shortcomings and reluctance. They unknowingly whipped up the psychological, philosophical, instinctive, principled, tolerable, enduring, motivated behaviour in my day-to-day dealings with fellow human beings.
Direct Contacts: Seniors and juniors in different organisations, who taught me lessons in force affinity, acceptance and bonded interpersonal and organisational relationship, resulting in Team Spirit and forging of Synergy.
My 3 Governors (Military and Civilian): You contributed immensely to the sharpening of the needed managerial skills required to navigate the murky waters of social, political, economic, cultural and ethical life.
Friends and Acquaintances: I have no best friend as all friends are special in my eyes on my mind, notwithstanding individual differences. You have all been wonderful in being there for me at all times, especially when it mattered most.
Perceived Foes: It may interest you that I don’t have any. I am always guided by divine caution in dealing with those presenting themselves as enemies. Some call it innate quick-wittedness, but I regard it as divine intervention and if you like, the hands of God Almighty.
My Darling Wives: Hmmmm!!! The more they tried to understand the perpetually itinerant, erratic, impatient, highly temperamental, penetrating minded but of course, caring and loving husband, the farther away I am to them. While I sometimes consider them as giving me sufficient doses of distractions because of my innate character, I most often pitied them for the contradiction between myself and their quiet, simple, tenderness, kind and loving disposition. Whatever the limitations, we are purposefully and happily married and spiritually bonded to the glory of God and people around us. I thank them both for their understanding, tolerance and comportment.
My Loving Children: The golden apples of my eyes, providing me with the needed anxieties and succour that intermittently-serve as a needed tonic to energise and revive me from time to time. I love you all.
My Siblings: Wonderful companions initially thought of as unnecessary trailer burden while imagining self as overloaded steam engine. They individually and collectively presented me with fait accompli varying challenges that made the thinking cap fitted from tender age to date, to the glory of God.
“To all mentioned above and those inadvertently omitted, my respects, adoration and love to you all. You individually and collectively joined nature to modify my genetic make-up to present whatever I exhibited over the last 65 years. Without you all and the one and only one, Almighty Allah, I am nobody.
“Finally, the desire to put up this infrastructure was spurred by the need to give support to our ailing educational system. The collapsing educational pyramid right from the base at the primary level is taking its toll on the secondary tier in the middle and the tertiary at the apex level. In effect, emphasis on the tertiary as epitomised by the surge in the licensing of tertiary institutions may be a misplaced priority. Public and private institutions must re-invigorate efforts at giving the deserving support to the feeder foundations to avoid imminent collapse. Parents and other stakeholders must come to terms with the reality that education is too important to be left alone for motivation from government and other crops of altruistic and hidden agenda. The decadence in our society reflects the decaying educational system.
“A word for students, teachers and Management of AUD Model College: It is incontrovertible that Science and Technology are the mothers of discoveries, innovations and overall human development, hence my choice of laboratories as my token of assistance to this model school and educational system in general. There is the need to keep the edifice as capital investment that must be amortised from generated revenue. Such consolidated funds should be used for future development to meet the objectives of the school as a indeed, a model one.”
The 3-day birthday party was planned by a 15-member 65th Birthday Planning Committee made up of the following eminent persons Dr. T.M. Salisu (Chairman), Dr. (Chief) Fassy A. O. Yusuf (Vice Chairman), Niyi Adenuga, Esq. (Member), Alhaji Yusuf Asiru (Member), Otunba Ayoleke Jinadu (Member), Engr. Yomi Bolarinwa (Member), Mr. Ayotunde Kaka (Member), Engr. Tunde Kaka (Member), Princess Abioye Phillips (Member), Mr. Niyi Quadri (Member), Otunba Bayo Ogunbanjo (Member), Dr. (Prince) Hakeem A. Awolesi (Member), Dr. Bola Adekunmisi (Member) Mr. Ishola Adebayo (Member) and Ajibola Kaka Esq. (Secretary).
Chief Fassy Yusuf, the Vice Chairman of the Planning Committee revealed much about Senator Gbenga Kaka. Chief Fassy Yusuf, who is a respected Ijebu High Chief says.
“The life journey of Senator Adegbenga Sefiu Kaka, who arrived this terrestrial world on May 14, 1952 has so far been that of Hanif. Hanif used in the Islamic Holy Book (al Qur’an) for one who is sincere and sound in his faith. To those who have been associated with His Excellency, the former Deputy Governor of Ogun State (1999-2003), Alhaji Kaka, has been able to prove to his associates, friends and critics that he is sincere, upright and open-minded in his inclination, dedication and commitment to God, Ogun State, his family and the world around him. Chronicling the life of Kaka will be of no serious effect, without compartmentalising it into: Patience, in the sense of being thoroughly dedicated and devoted; exhibiting constancy, perseverance, steadfastness and firmness of purpose; discipline and planned efforts with confidence; and belief in the mission of life, a cheerful attitude of acceptance and understanding under suffering and hardship and in times of trials and tribulations; and thankfulness to God in happiness and sorrows, success and failures, and achievements and regrets. He has weathered the storm of life with stoic endurance and equanimity. He was born as an abiku (death-troubled child or ogbanje) with little chance of survival.
Indeed, not even his nuclear family with their Islamic religious zeal could believe that Sefiu would survive as a child. As little as he was then, he had no faith in all these. And, as if he was being prepared for a puritan life, he had and still has abiding faith in his Creator. Patiently, he overcame his health’s challenges.
Starting his primary education, a bit late, he was also to enter secondary school, when most of his peers were already either in class three or four of the old five-year secondary education structure.
What he thought he lost academically was to conversely be the greatest gift of God-spiritual attainment. He had mastered the Muslim Holy Book, AI-Qur’an before he was allowed by his father, the late Alhaji Hamzat Kaka, to make further progress in his Western Education after leaving primary school.
In retrospect, that decision could not be faulted as the Quaranic knowledge spiritually prepared him for life’s challenges. The decision which then imposed patience on the young boy has ever since made him to be thorough, dedicated and devoted to whatever he does, thinks or says. Take the issue of entering Ijebu Muslim College in 1968, it was a thorough decision. He is equally dedicated and committed to Islam, his family, friends and associates. These are hallmarks of a godly human being.
His early spiritual life has imposed on this unassuming public figure, integrity and maturity in thought and action. At an early age of sixteen when he lost his father in secondary class one, he suddenly became matured. He was, thenceforth, to assume the role of a father-figure to his siblings. He equally had to show much maturity in shouldering the burden of life. Sefiu never wavered.
He saw it all and he conquered, his fragile health notwithstanding. He weathered the storm of primary education, Quranic education, secondary education, tertiary education, organisational politics and that of public service. Sefiu is very thorough with his dealings with his fellow human beings. He is equally dedicated and devoted to his chosen religion, to his family, to his profession, to his state, his country and to humanity. His early chequered life which has now given way to a life of spiritual, professional and political fortunes, confirms the immortal words of James Russell Lowell, to wit: “Truly, there is a tide in the affairs of men, but there is no gulf-stream setting forever in one direction.”
“Second, constancy, perseverance, steadfastness and firmness of purpose are essential attributes, Sefiu, imbibed these virtues early in life and they have continued to abide with him. Periscoping his development from infancy to adolescence, one discovers a high degree of constancy, rare phenomenon of his time. His geometric rise to prominence has been built on solid personal achievements.
“From academic lukewarm to academic brilliance. From a frail health to agile health. From a sleepy town to the nation’s former capital as a Manager and later Director of a multi-national corporation (Pfizer) Livestock Feeds Plc, to government house as a Commissioner and later Deputy Governor, and to the new capital city, Abuja as a Senator, who represented the people of Ogun East Senatorial District between 2011 and 2015. It is thus appropriate to say that Sefiu has steadfastness and firmness of purpose. He is highly religious. He is a role model and family man. He is a study in humility. “Little surprise when he was almost simultaneously installed Baba Adinni of Ijebu-Igbo and Ifonyintedo, Ataiyese Adinni of Aiyetoro, also in Yewa an Alakoso Adinni of Ogun State. He was also honoured with many chieftaincy titles (though always down playing them) including Otunba Etumora of Esure-Ijebu, Otunba Gbadesire of Ilese-ljebu and Otunba Olutoyese of Iwopin, Ogun State of Nigeria.
Alhaji Kola Animasaun, then Chairman, Editorial Board of Vanguard Newspapers, had this to say about Sefiu on his 50th birthday, in his Voice of Reason column in the Sunday, May 19, 2002 edition, page 7, captioned: ‘Sefiu, The Meek shall inherit the Earth.
“There is this remarkable thing about Sefiu: he looks meek and he matches it with deeds and if he garners the profit that The Christ said would come to the meek in the Beatitude, we should, therefore, not be surprised. From speaker to speaker, the thrust of their offering was the extreme loyalty of this humble man and the bountiful fruits that have resulted to the good fortune of Ogun State”.
“Within that meek, calm exterior is a capacity for work; for leadership by example; for incisiveness. He has such a penetrating mind that sometimes you wonder where he had got it from. Iya oje e, o lo o gbon, ta lo ko e? (You did not suffer and you think you are wise, in what school of life did you learn to be wise?). Along the way, I now know where Sefiu has been coming from.”
“On Saturday, May 25, 2002, Adegbenga Sefiu Kaka formally assumed the title of Baba Adinni of Ijebu-Igbo… It is appropriate in his case. He has been prepared for it; he lives the life of Islam. He will protect the religion as much as he will, even if Allah Himself has vouched to do so (Protect Islam) Himself”.
Alhaji Kaka, as the then State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources under Admiral Alabi Lawal (of blessed memory), initiated the, first ever, State Agricultural policy with accompanying Implementation Strategy Handbook in 1989. He, also as a State Commissioner for Lands and Housing under Admiral Oladehinde Joseph as Military Governor in 1991, secured the land and got the foundation for Ogun State Liaison office and Governor’s lodge in Abuja, as well as OPIC Plazas Lagos and Abeokuta laid among many other collaborative achievements in public service. The success story of the Cassava programme revolution under OGADEP, ADB/IFAD-sponsored would be incomplete without mentioning Alhaji Kaka and Dr. Yomi Olunuga, the then Project Manager, among many others achievements.
As a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he had to his credit Seven-Sponsored Bills in the 7th Senate, two of which were seen to a logical conclusion few, of individual private Bills, that received President’s assent. He facilitated legacy constituency and personally sponsored private projects that spanned critical sectors of human needs, including: Educational Infrastructure, such as Blocks of Classrooms, Staff-Rooms, Libraries, School Hall, Laboratories Rehabilitation, Bursary Awards to final year Tertiary students , Exercise books supplies to many schools, Quiz competition sponsorships in Tertiary institutions; Primary Health Care Centres, Mobile health care services, Outreach programmes with free medication, including collaborative sponsorship of 20 specialists medical team from Maryland, USA-based Sisimi Foundations for 7-days in his Senatorial District; •Provision of Potable Water, Agricultural inputs and extension services, Bridges and Roads in some of our rural farming communities; • Rural Electrification and Solar Power Street light in all the 9-local government areas of Ogun East Senatorial District; Empowerment programmes with Interest-free loans along with motorcycles, pepper-grinding machines, etc, were not left behind among many other succour boosting the efforts of the less privileged members of the Ogun East Senatorial District.
“As an epitome of Silent-Achievers’ Model, many worthy programmes of spiritual and human dimensions were silently engaged in by this meek personality, without publicity. Another veritable pointer to his humility, compassion and public-spiritedness is the donation of a multi-million naira School project (consisting of a School Hall and four Laboratories named after some of those who mentored and coached him while growing up) to Anasr-Ud-Deen Model College, Topon, Oke-Sopin, Ijebu Igbo to mark his sixty-fifth birthday. He preferred the gesture to hosting an ostentatious party as many would do to mark their birthdays.
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