The name of Chief Emmaunel Olatuni Adesoye, founder of Adesoye Holdings, in Offa, Kwara State, rings a bell even after his death. This is even more so since his children are following in his footsteps and holding up his legacy.
One of his sons, Oluwasola Olademeji Adesoye, is the CEO of OCCOA Construction Company and leader of Lighthouse Family Church, who, in this interview, talks about his early life, the painful exit of his father, his relationship with his father before he passed on and how he became a pastor.
How would you describe the passage of your father?
To lose a great father like my dad is a very painful exit. It was the exit of a colossus. It was painful for us as a family. We know a thousand words cannot bring him back. We have tried, we’ve cried, we’ve screamed above our voice. If tears could bring our father back, I am sure he would be here now. We will miss him. I will miss him. Offa people will miss him more.
His legacy for us is probably the strongest encouragement; we have had a lot of testimonies about our father, how he touched people’s lives. We knew him as a father, but other people knew him differently. And it has been exciting hearing people speak well of him, how he touched their lives and provided for their families. I think that is the greatest source of encouragement for us now he is no more.
What are some of the memories you cannot easily wipe away?
There was a way my father used to call me, and he had different expressions. Whenever he called me in a special way, I always knew I was in trouble. If he called me in another way I would know he wanted to praise me and that everything was fine. I got to know that my father had different moods.
I can never forget the ‘koboko’ marks on my back. He flogged the hell out of me. My father knew how to whip his children. Despite the fact that he loved us, my father was a disciplinarian. He never spared the rod. The early days of my life were traumatic. I got a lot of reprimanding with the whip. My father used to take us to watch football at the Kaduna Stadium. Though we were not interested in football, he wanted us to hang out with him at the stadium. So, we had no choice. He also took us to his project sites in the North and back home, to know what he was into.
As children, we were not interested in all that, but we had no choice. He was such a family man and those memories showed how he loved our mother. He treated our mother with utmost respect. She never lacked anything until death took her away. I never saw my father and my mother raise their voices at each other.
What are your regrets over the death of your parents?
I have no regrets. I was very close to my father. I had the privilege of caring for my father when he was critically ill. In fact, we travelled for his medicals and came back before he passed on. I had the privileged of taking him round the world and back to the country. At some time, we had a six-month vacation due to one or two challenges. And my siblings also had the same experience. Our father took acre of us and we had the privileged of taking care of him. And my father lived a good life. His name has opened doors for us and we can’t stop talking about him.
What advice would you offer to those who aspire to become successful in life?
Life is full of ups and downs. As a pastor, my advice is for people to pray and always pray for God’s guidance and direction. There is nothing wrong in working for money. But you must know that life without hard work will never bring forth success. For you to make it in life, you must be focused. My father taught us a lot of things and today we are all doing well in our careers. Irreconcilable differences and mismanagement of funds could lead to the downfall of most businesses after the demise of the founder of the company. What would be the fate of Adesoye Holdings?
We are united. There will never be issues. We, the children, are working and we are coordinating things for ourselves. We have a structured, everlasting legacy for our father. We were raised well by our parents. Our father left a legacy that we are enjoying today. Why would anyone think of mismanaging his business? He was very prudent and he taught us not to be extravagant.
What are some of the lessons you learnt from your father?
Many lessons. My father was a father of all, he was active on the religious front. He developed our state and exposed our city, Offa, to the world. He was bold and daring, defensive and confrontational. He feared nothing, not witchcraft nor death. My father was so secure in the grace of God that he exuded a level of invincibility uncommon to most mortals. He was a philanthropist but he invested wisely and developed Kwara State. He was a man of his word.
I am amazed by his level of intelligence. Despite his riches he got married to one wife and had four children and gave us the best education. Even after the death of our mother, he never remarried. He focused on his children and led us to greater heights. In recognition of his dedication to the development of his beloved hometown, Offa, the then Olofa of Offa, Oba Mustapha Olawore Olanipekun Ariwajoye II, conferred on him the chieftaincy titles of the Mayeloye in 1977 and the Asiwaju of Offa in 2001. And for his achievement in the industrial sector, he was awarded the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) by the Sani Abacha government. He was also honored by the several other communities within Offa and beyond.
At what point did you become a pastor
On February 8, 1987, I was invited by a friend to a church programme. After the ministration by the pastor, I went for altar call and gave my life to Christ. I was a cultist then. I also converted all my friends who were cultists to be close to God. I just realised that God wanted me to work for him. It was a great encounter and, today, I am the senior pastor of Lighthouse Family Church. By the grace of God, I give money to my church than my church ever gives to me. I am a pastor that is not on salary. I would rather help people than collect from my members. I don’t get paid. I preach the gospel without charge. I don’t charge when I go for programmes in churches. When I go to minister to students I don’t even collects the honorarium because I see them as young people who are aspiring to be great.
When your dad noticed you were a pastor, did he encourage you?
No, he didn’t like it. He felt I wanted to be lazy. He wasn’t comfortable with me being a pastor at the beginning, but he accepted it after much was said and done. He saw that I was determined and wasn’t ready to change. Even though I was a pastor, I am still fully involved in the family business.