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  • Writer's pictureOscar Giwa

Olayinka Balogun

My darling Daddy, my best friend and my forever love.

 

His Imperial Majesty, Oba Olalekan Mohood Ishola Balogun, Alli Okunmade II, the 42nd Olubadan of Ibadanland was a man of many parts. His Majesty was many things to many people. To me, he remains my darling Daddy.

 

My father loved his people with a passion and gave all of himself in service. He was proud of his rich heritage and culture and would often educate me on various aspects of our history, from Ogbomosho to Iwo to Lagun and to Ibadan. He was proud of who he was, yet he had a deep respect for other tribes. Kabiyesi lived with the belief that we all bleed red. My father believed there are good and sadly, there are bad people, and these have nothing to do with tribe or religion. Kabiyesi also never associated competence or the lack of it with gender.

 

My father was a brilliant mind. My former boss, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Abiola Ajimobi, used to tell me, that even when he held a different position or opinion from my father, due to political or ideological differences, he could not fault Kabiyesi’s thought process, brilliance, reasoning and logic. Those attributes gained my father the respect of many.

 

His Imperial Majesty, Oba Olalekan Mohood Ishola Balogun was a true Nigerian and he was a strong believer in the greatness of Africa.

 

My father was good friends with and was held in high esteem by many regardless of nationality, tribe or religion. Some of which included the likes of Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr Kwame Nkrumah and His Majesty Emeka Achebe to name a few.

 

My father was courageous. He had no problem standing alone on an issue, yet he would always be open to weighing other positions. My father was not a ‘my way or the highway’ man.

 

My Daddy was the defender of the weak and the voice of the voiceless. His humility is a rarity amongst many of his calibre today. He is the most generous person I have ever known. His pursuit of things was never for himself, but almost always so he could give someone else or help someone.

 

My father’s life taught me that we are more by what we do for others, the value we add and not by what we amass for ourselves. His life also taught me that when you stand on truth and what is right, fear is not an emotion you should dwell on. My father’s life also taught me that the Almighty appoints and anoints who He wishes, in spite of and regardless of.

 

Growing up, the bond between my father and I was so strong that I would fall ill each time he travelled. Once he returned and I heard his voice, all ‘illnesses disappeared. As a child, the only time eating was pleasurable were the meals I had with my father.

 

As an adult the bond between us remained. Sometimes, in narrating something to him, I didn’t need too many words as it was as if he could read my mind. He would say, “My darling daughter, say no more, I understand, and I even hear the unspoken”. We could communicate with no words at all and all it took was a meeting of our eyes and a message was passed. My Daddy got me, and I got him.

 

Our household was one where respect was taught to be mutual. Being older than another was never a licence to bully or disrespect. Communication was also encouraged, and I oftentimes found myself seated at the table having a 'conference' on why I took a course of action or said something. My father taught me to think and to ask questions.

 

My father was my hero and my protector, my intellectual sounding board and my well of wisdom. Kabiyesi wasn’t just my darling Daddy, he was my best friend too.

 

I returned to Nigeria in October 2022 on Special Leave from the UK Civil Service to be with my Daddy. I am grateful for the time we spent together and for the privilege of being beside him as he took his last breath and departed this side of existence. As painful as it still is, it is a spiritual experience I will never forget. I have no doubt my Daddy lives on in another realm and on a higher frequency.

 

I had the privilege of knowing a side of my father that many people did not know and of communicating with and being connected to him on a level unimaginable to many.

 

I believe heaven gained an angel. An angel that will continue to watch over me and guide me.

 

I use this opportunity to encourage everyone who has ever been the beneficiary of Kabiyesi’s generosity, kind heart or goodwill to please pay it forward to others without expecting anything in return, as that was my Daddy's style. There are still many children out there who need father figures in their lives, still many hospital bills and school fees to pay, and still many mouths to feed. There are many to mentor and many to teach to fish. I also ask that people set aside tribal and religious prejudices and relate with others based on character and merit.

 

My darling You-Them-They Daddy (this is a private joke between him and his children), rest assured, I will continue to do my best to make good of your vision and the plans we had.

 

My Daddy called me Yinka ọmọ Lekan, to which I responded, Baba Yinka omo Lekan, or he called me “My darling daughter”. So, the next time you see me anywhere, feel free to remind me of my Daddy by calling me, "my darling daughter.'

 

I love you always, Daddy. Thank you for everything and I am grateful for the honour of having you as my Daddy. You will be forever in my heart.

 

May the Almighty grant my father eternal peace in jannatul firdaus and may He make it easy for the rest of us in this life and the hereafter.

 

Princess Olayinka Balogun

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