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“. . . Psalm 41:2 also says the Lord will preserve those who remember the poor and keep them alive. Thus, if you want long life, one of the surest ways of getting it is by giving to the poor.” – Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye (Open Heavens Devotional, 1st December 2021).

In those days, there was always a nostalgia in the eagerness and earnestness in returning home during a mid-term break from school activities to have fun and fellowship with the family. The senior brother of this columnist, Chief Michael Oluwasanmi Ekundayo, erstwhile Clerk of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, returned home during such a break and met his mother sick. Recalling the incidence, it was a devastating and disheartening one for him. According to him, he resumed after the unpalatable break and was absent minded in the classes to the point that he was in a sort of soul travel to the mother he left at home thinking of two things: either someone will come to announce his beloved mother’s obituary or he would get back home meeting her corpse. However, neither of this ungodly thoughts came to pass. He later completed the term at his alma mater, Ekiti Parapo College (EPC), Ido Ekiti, and Mama Mary Aina Ekundayo was bubbling in sound health again! What a wonder!!

Mama’s Life of Mystery

This columnist was in the primary school in his home town, Ido Ekiti when on returning from school one particular day he, he met his mother at home after being ferried home on a bicycle. What happened? Mama while being deeply engrossed in harvesting crops in her husband’s farm was bitten by a poisonous snake. It was a gory and gloomy experience for the whole family of the late Pa Joseph Ekundayo of blessed memory. Amazingly, even though, in the old Western Region, Ido Ekiti boasted of one of the best health institutions at that time, courtesy of the proactive performing government of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, my mother was treated traditionally. Virtually, it did not cross my mind then, that she could die. I witnessed the traditional treatment. Mysteriously, Mama Mary Aina Ekundayo regained her health.

 

From the right to the left: Mrs. Mary Anike Ekundayo, her husband, Dr John Moyo Ekundayo;  Chief Mrs. Modupe Oreyemi Ekundayo and her husband, Chief Michael Oluwasanmi Ekundayo; Mr. Gabriel Folorunso and his wife, Dns  Oluwafunmilayo Folorunso; and Mrs. Felicia Ajinawoola Olaiya and her husband, Barrister Kolawole Olaiya, at the burial of their mother, Princess Mary Aina Ekundayo at Ido Ekiti on Friday, 3rd December 2021. She died at a ripe age of 111. 

Moreover, my mother suffered many cases of bearing babies and dying; what the Yorubas tagged “abiku”; similar to the occurrence of “ogbanje” in Igbo culture.. She had up to six in a row and all died at childhood! So horrible and horrendous was a particularly unpalatable episode my mother recounted to I and my wife when we lost one of our daughters in 2000. My mother was staying with us at that time to take care of one of her grandchildren. In comforting us, she recounted how she lost two of her children within ten days! To the glory of the most merciful and gracious God, she lived up to One Hundred and Eleven years and joined the saints triumphant on Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, survived by four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; this columnist being the last born.

In starting this column, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye’s exhortation was highlighted. He simply and squarely stated that ministering to the poor and needy is one of the surest means of attaining longevity as attested to in the Holy Writ (Psalm 41v1-2). Are the rich, opulent and wealthy paying attention? Mama Mary Aina Ekundayo exemplified and amplified this in her lifetime. It was on record that some customers of Mama’s palm oil business bought on credit and many of them failed to pay till she was too old to continue the business. She forgave them all the debts without grudging them. Mama Mary Aina Ekundayo outlived all of them and did not need that money again! Moreover,  Mama would wake up daily around 5am to pray, supplicate and intercede for her family and household. My mother so much believed in prayers. She consistently prayed for me a particular prayer point until it came to pass years after. My mother used to pray: you would work with a good government and you would be given a car. At that time, of my mother’s children, neither I or my wife, was a public servant. However, I did my PhD research studies in Malaysia and the then administration of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, graciously offered me a scholarship to complete my studies and thereafter granted me opportunity to serve as a civil servant in the prestigious Lagos State Civil Service. Eventually, I rose to become the Director, Monitoring and Evaluation in Lagos State and my mother’s prayer came to pass in her lifetime. She saw the car and entered inside while praying again for me.

Conclusion

This columnist, learns from both parents, the art of giving to the poor and needy. For instance, labourers competed to work on my father’s farm. Why? Baba Joseph Ekundayo would pay what he agreed with them and packed like 4 to 5 tubers of yam for them while going home! We the children were always taken aback. He, too, lived up to 103. I first heard about payment of tithe from my father, a farmer, attending Anglican Church! I do not know what Daddy Freeze and cohorts would say to that? It is too late for anyone to convince me against tithing. I saw it in my father’s life and his crops were high yielding and timely. Do you desire long life? One surest way is to, as a lifestyle, take care of the poor and needy. Let us take a cue from the exemplary life of my beloved mother, Mama Mary Aina Ekundayo who was interred on the 3rd of December 2021 at her hometown, Ido Ekiti, Ekiti State at the ripe age of One Hundred and Eleven (111) years. Eye mi, Omo Owa; Omo Ekun; Omo alaye gbede-gbede boni layin; Omo osoro baba ojo; lagodo baba ademu ...

John Ekundayo, Ph.D. – Harvard-Certified Organizational Strategist, and also a Leadership Development Consultant, can be reached via 08155262360 (SMS only) and drjmoekundayo@hotmail.com

 

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Black wash

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