Chief Olusegun Osoba, former Governor of Ogun State, will be 80 in July. He is celebrating this milestone on Monday, 8 July, 2019 with a book titled ”Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics” at Eko Hotel, Lagos. The autobiography is published by Diamond Publications Limited. The book gives a detailed account of Chief Osoba’s life. As the title indicates, there are stories about his school days, his pranks, his life as a great reporter, his genius as a manager, his politics, and his pro-democracy struggles, etc. PM NEWS finds a chapter titled: “The Customs Woman who arrested my Heart,” very interesting. It is a story about how he met his wife and the romance and deep understanding that have sustained their relationship.
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Former Governor of Ogun State and veteran journalist, Chief Olusegun Osoba has narrated how he met the love of his life, Aderinsola and their getting married in 1973.
In his book that will be launched on July 8, 2019 heralding his birthday on July 15, Osoba devoted a full chapter to celebrate the love of his life and how he met her as a Customs officer. He simply captioned the chapter as “The Customs Woman who arrested my Heart.”
According to Osoba, it was in the heat of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970), that he met a pretty woman who would end up as his wife and the mother of his children.
He narrated: “I was returning from England by ship. In the course of going through customs clearance, I noticed an efficient female customs officer, who seemed interested only in her work and not any idle chatter. She checked the papers, without being overbearing or overtly friendly. When it was my turn, I just stared at how this lady was conducting her business, searching my luggage and clearing me with ease, decorum and professional efficiency.
“Deep down, she struck me as a good-looking lady. She arrested my attention so much that the reporter in me couldn’t ask her anything all through. I was too mesmerized to even ask of her name and her personal details. But, in tune with a hit song of that era, what will be, will be, ‘Que sera, sera.’”
He said a week after, as destiny would have it; he met her again at a party in Apapa and that he was wondering: “Was she not that girl, that customs officer?” He said she came in the company of a close friend of hers, the then Miss. Moji Kukoyi, his wife was then Miss. Adeyemi.
“I happened to know Moji very well because she was dating one of my friends. “Is she not the same customs lady?” I kept asking myself. In her, I saw an image of a reserved, unobtrusive person, a wife material. At that time, I was a man-about-town. I had all kinds of women around me. But then, I saw this “game-changer” of a lady and I said to myself: “This looks like a girl that I could be involved in something serious.
“Moji created the link. When I then started courting her, I found that she came from a highly disciplined home. The first heat I got was from the father. In those days, the best you could do is to take your girlfriend to the cinema or maybe take her on a walk along the Marina. Marina in those days was not sand-filled. It was so close to the Lagoon with small boats floating and dangling on the waters, with trading taking place on the waters. It was the place of buy cheap bric-a-brac from seamen who wanted quick money for their imported wares.
“I can never forget this experience as boyfriend and girlfriend. I took ‘Derin one day to go and watch a football match at Onikan Stadium. Those were the days when going to the stadium to watch live football match was a big national passion, not just in Lagos. We went to the stadium and to my shock, by the time we came back, the father had written a query for her to explain why he should come home and not find her at home. And that struck me positively. A father who gives a written query to the daughter is a disciplinarian who wants only the best for her daughter.
“That disciplined background further endeared me to her. My father-in-law, Pa S.O. Adeyemi, remains dear in my heart. Throughout our marriage till he died, if there were issues between me and his daughter, I was never wrong. His stance angered my wife at a point that she wrote him off as incapable of seeing things from her own viewpoint. His attitude was: You are married. As a married woman, you just have to respect and honour your husband at all times and in all circumstances.
“He would chastise her openly, but behind, he would call me and whisper to me that women are difficult to manage and that I too should learn to be patient and tolerant. My father-in-law’s attitude, I must say, contributed a lot to saving our marriage. His influence was one that weighed on me to make the marriage to succeed in spite of all the challenges, in spite of all the odds,” he explained.
Osoba said his mother never bothered who he married or where he married from, saying she was just too happy to see him married at long last because at a point, she was getting worried that he had stayed too long as a bachelor and that like all mothers, she was too eager to see her grandchildren before passing on, adding that the only thing she objected to was marrying a white woman, as he was at that time had a white girlfriend long before he met his wife.
The former governor said people often said he was impatient and that he hed a volcanic temperament, which he said he got from the newsroom, as one could not be in the newsroom and not be temperamental.
“The pressure of the newsroom acts on your system. Newspaper production of my time entailed working late into the night to get the first edition out and following up with developments to ensure the second edition was even fresher. That way you stayed ahead of the competition. The result is that my sleeping pattern is distorted. Up till today, I cannot sleep before 1 or 2 in the morning. And it has affected my children, too. Nobody in Osoba house goes to bed before midnight. The pressure cooker of running a newsroom has so affected my life that I am very impatient, I can’t suffer fools gladly.
“It even got to a point where my wife granted an interview to a magazine saying there is no other woman who can live with me as she is the only one who can cope with Segun Osoba. She said that for many reasons. At that time, monitoring radio, particularly foreign radio stations was a daily habit that had almost become an addiction. Foreign radio was a major source of news for newspapers. By 6.30 in the morning, I will be on BBC, VOA monitoring news while she was still sleeping. Of course, I disturbed her sleep daily with the buzz and crackling sounds of the radio. And late in the night, I am still on radio, on BBC, VOA and other foreign news source, because in those days, there was no CNN, on BBC TV, no Sky news, no Aljazeera in our time. So she was always feeling that I was a thorough nuisance-or “newsance” if the pun can be permitted.
“But eventually, she too imbibed that culture and gradually became an uninitiated journalist. As Yorubas say, if you wrap black soap for a long time in leaf, the leaf will eventually turn to soap. It will decay into the soap and become part of the soap. She herself had developed a good nose for news and information gathering. The day Chief Awolowo died, we were in Argentina but she was the one who broke the news to us. The first day I introduced her to my friend Sam Amuka and his friend Torch Taire, they both hailed her as the queen and said: “Long may you reign.”
“Because they had seen so many women reign, so many women come and go, but this one looked like she had come to stay and would reign for a long time. They were clairvoyant. They had spotted the woman they believed would be my wife. Today, Sam Amuka remains a close friend of the family. He knows everything about marital life and he is one of the few that my wife has tremendous love and respect for. If she has any problem today, Sam would be one of the first she will call,” he narrated.
Osoba said he wedded his wife in 1973 and their first child came nine months after the wedding, saying that his wife obviously iwas one woman who had continued to fill him with admiration, as he admired her beauty and simplicity and ever natural.
“She wears what suits her. She is just a simple African lady. All the successes I have been able to make in life, she had made tremendous contribution to them. First, she has stabilized the home, stabilized my life, showing understanding in the face of my harassments of her and the emotional destabilization of her mind. But she weathered them all. I have a background of a disciplined home too. My father and mother had just me and my brother. There is no issue outside the family. I have no reason or cause to go into a polygamous relationship. I thank God that He gave me the discipline and restraint to know when to stop, to know how to go with women. She is my adviser. Even in public office, when I am speaking in public, she is the one pinching me and letting me to know that “it is enough.” In my temper, she is the one restraining me and telling me: “You are going too far.” She is one lady who tells me bluntly what she feels,” he praised her virtues.
Source: PM News