Madam Oni (R) with Late Pa Oni




Ninety-year-old Pa Ojo James Oni and his 80-year-old wife, Mrs Adeyinka Lucia Oni (Nee Adewole) were married for nearly 57 years. Pa Oni was a native of Orin- Ekiti, Ido/Osi Local Government Area while his wife is from Ijurin-Ekiti in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

The nonagenarian, a foremost educationist, passed on on Monday March 18 2024. He was 92.

Before then, Pa Oni and his octogenarian wife lived a profoundly fulfilling life, the proud parents of four children, all of whom are doing extremely well in their chosen professions. One is a professor, another a pharmacist, the third a businesswoman while the last is a laboratory scientist. There are also grandchildren and great grandchildren doing well.

In June 2022, the couple had an interview with Saturday Sun’s PRISCILLA EDIARE, where husband and wife, both retired schoolteachers, shared the secrets that have been upholding their union since 1967.

Can we know more about Pa and Madam Oni?

Pa Ojo:  I was born in 1932 at Orin-Ekiti, now in Ido/Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State. I am also a native of Orin-Ekiti. I worked as a teacher and retired as the acting Vice Principal in AUD Grammar School, Ado-Ekiti.

Madam Adeyinka:  I was born in 1942 at Ijurin-Ekiti, a town in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State. I am also a native of Ijurin-Ekiti. I worked as a teacher and retired as a primary school head teacher in Surajudeen Primary School, Ado-Ekiti 22 years ago, in year 2000.

How did you meet your spouse?

Pa Ojo: In January 1965, I was posted to St. Michael’s Catholic Modern School, Orin-Ekiti as a teacher. She was also teaching there. I developed an interest in her. Our relationship attracted so much noise, which we didn’t like, and because of the closeness, we were transferred to different schools. I was transferred to a school in Iloro- Ekiti and she was transferred to a school in Ijurin-Ekiti. At the different schools we were transferred to, we were still seeing each other because the schools were not far from each other. Later, we relocated to Ogun State. That was in 1967.  We got new jobs there as teachers and by the middle of that year, I got admission into Rural Education Centre (REC), Akure, and from there to Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo State. Then after my course, I got a job as a teacher at Ado Grammar School in Ado-Ekiti.

Madam Adeyinka: We met in 1965 when I was posted to St. Michael’s Catholic Modern School, Orin -Ekiti as a teacher. We liked each other and our closeness became so noisy. And because of that, we were transferred to different schools. I was transferred to a school in Ijurin-Ekiti and he was transferred to a school in Iloro-Ekiti. That was in 1966. Our relationship continued because the two schools were close to each other. In 1967, we left Ekiti for Ogun State and also worked as teachers there. Later that year, he got admission into REC, Akure, and from there into Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo State. By October 1 of that year, I left Ogun State for Akure. When I got to Akure, I was posted to Sacred Heart Catholic School as a teacher and by December, we did our traditional wedding and in 1969, I gave birth to my first child.

How did you propose to her?

Pa Ojo:  Initially, she refused my proposal. Though we were very close and because we drew closer to each other every day, she couldn’t refuse again

How did you receive his proposal?

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Madam Adeyinka:  We were in the same school from 8am to 2pm every day. Even after school hours at times, we would move around to the School of Agric, to the poultry and other places together. So, when he proposed, I first said no but when the closeness continued, I agreed.

Can you remember your first misunderstanding in marriage?

Pa Ojo: I cannot remember.

Madam Adeyinka:  Our first misunderstanding was between 1967 and 1968 when it took me a long time to get pregnant and I was not happy about it. Then whenever he sent me signals that he wanted to meet with me, I would always snub him and he would always say he didn’t like the way I was snubbing him and he said he was not my God.

When you quarrel, who says sorry first?

Pa Ojo: I have always said sorry first; you can ask her. Tell her to raise her finger if I am telling a lie here. I don’t like a third party to intervene in our marriage. I try to avoid any form of gossip from all sides.

Madam Adeyinka: Yes, he is always the first to say sorry because he’s always the one that causes the quarrels anyway.

You are both retired and advanced in age now. How is your typical day like now that your children are all grown up and no longer stay with you?

Pa Ojo: We go to church every morning for mass; we attend the Catholic Church. We take breakfast and engage in some discussions. I am a Catechist and my wife has a position in the church too. Because of this, Reverend Fathers, church members and other people pay us visits in the house regularly and we also do other things.

Madam Adeyinka: We go to mass every morning in our Catholic church. When we come back home, we listen to news and we read the papers. We take breakfast. In the afternoon, we move round, we sit under the shade of the mango tree in our compound, then our friends will join us and we pray together.

Baba, you are 90 and mama is 80. And you have been married for 55 years. What has been the secret that has kept your marriage?

Pa Ojo: Patience, endurance, love, forgiveness, tolerance, trust and understanding have been the secret we have because there is no bed of roses in marriage.

Madam Adeyinka: As for me, I took a decision that in my life I will not marry two husbands and that I will do everything to remain in my marriage. My mother’s advice was that once you enter any marriage, you must not leave.

Our secret has been tolerance, understanding, love, forgiveness, trust. We both took care of the children when they were growing up. I also supported him financially in building our home and as a woman I have always been submissive.

What advice do you have for couples and intending couples?

Pa Ojo: There is no bed of roses in marriage. Put in your best to sustain it. It is not easy to maintain the half of a woman, how much more a whole woman? Some things will happen and you are like, I am going to quit. Before you quit, think of your future and the consequences of whatever action or actions you want to take.

Madam Adeyinka: You must put into practice those ingredients I earlier mentioned. I mean tolerance, love, forgiveness etc. The husband and wife are not angels; so don’t expect a perfect spouse. You are from different backgrounds. As a woman and mother, if you want your children to be good, to prosper, to be good children among others, you must show that at home. Children pick up things and habits easily. Definitely they will learn from what their fathers and mothers do. Also, in plenty, learn to be prudent. In scarcity, try and manage.

Can you tell the difference between when the children were with you and now that it is just you and your wife?

Pa Ojo: The race then was how we would pay the children’s school fees, train them in the right direction, monitor their ways so that they wouldn’t go astray. We prayed for them, catered for them. We were there for them as parents so that they could grow up, become good individuals and do well in life. And now that they have become grownups and are not with us, they are now the ones providing for us. We communicate with them on phone and also pray to God to bless them, protect them, give them long lives and always be with them, their spouses and children, especially with the insecurity in the country.

Madam Adeyinka: When our children were living with us, we enjoyed them and we lived our lives the way we wanted our children to be living when they got married. I ensured tolerance. If I got annoyed, my children would support their father. If I told them their father didn’t give me money, they would tell me to tolerate him. They would ask me if I wanted him to go and steal. They would say you must prepare food for him. Even when they were in boarding houses, during their holidays, they would tell me you must not allow him to suffer. Now that they are not with us and in this our old age, we still tolerate each other. We pray for our children regularly because I think of them every time. May God protect them from all evil.