Baba Agbeyi: The Iroko has fallen

Finally, a journey on earth ends here. The Iroko has fallen. Baba Agbeyi says Goodbye!!!

Daddy was not born with a silver spoon. Despite the harsh realities and struggles due to paucity of funds, he aimed for excellence and attained academic heights through scholarships. Blessed with a character that enabled him pursue his God given purpose on earth, which was the promise to remain close to his children and support in every way he could, it’s amazing how daddy coped with pulling the entire family together as a father and giving us the best legacy of ‘education’.

Daddy was not just a family provider and protector, he was a wonderful mentor who we could see and learn integrity from. He always stood firm for what he believed in. He stood for equity and fairness in dealing with others. Daddy was astute, intelligent, well read and of keen mind. He was also a man of great wisdom and wit. Love in the Agbeyi family was not scarce but tough. Looking back, that love was also sublime because it shaped all of us into hardworking, inspired and goal driven men and women.

Daddy believed in perfection and giving every project his best shot. As a worker and district sales manager in Unipetrol, he was attested to as being diligent. As a training instructor in its training Academy, he earned the name “Professor’. As an Administrator and Proprietor in Graceworth School, daddy would personally go down to the level of the pupils to tutor them and caused the school to always stand out with flying colours at the yearly National Common Entrance. These are the exact words of the staff who directly served under his guidance: “As a founder, director and father of Graceworth School, we have always known you to be a man of integrity and a disciplinarian who has produced leaders from different disciplines. A faithful, intelligent and brave man who corrects his staff when necessary and brings out the best in us. We truly appreciate the standard you have set even for the unborn children and for the prompt payment of salaries. You were an icon, sir.”

As a husband, he was a pillar of support who was never swayed by peers to dismiss his responsibilities at any point. As a father, we owe all of our educational achievements to daddy.  He never ceased to give advice, follow up on our studies and ensured we all attained post graduate levels. As an uncle, he showed fatherly concern. What was good enough for us was just as good for his nephews and nieces. As a grandpa, daddy was loving, involved and doted on his grandkids. We recall how involved and excited he usually was whenever any grandchild attained a milestone.

Daddy, you spent your energy, time and money to ensure we all got a good education. Even to the point of denying yourself vacations and all the luxuries that stared you in the face, by virtue of your nice career and exposure. Now, you are gone from planet earth, but the memories we shall have of you is one of an intelligent man: attested to by all who knew you from youth, an industrious man, a super disciplined man, a content person and one courageous blunt man, never lacking the verbal and written ability to express your wealth of knowledge. It would not be out of place to call you a moving encyclopaedia because you always had knowledge on diverse subjects and affairs.

On this day, we say without batting an eyelid that daddy’s works live through every child that has been brought into the world through him and those that he has affected with his way of life and in so many ways at it. The Agbeyi home was always filled with laughter and adventure. There was no end to singing, dancing, tales of our genealogy and folktales of old, always with a moral lesson. In the midst of that, daddy was a strict father and every child knew that they had to study hard to impress him. Whenever daddy returned from travels, it was sometimes like the Von Trap family in ‘Sound of Music’ except that there was always a mini celebration. He wasn’t one given to eye service and hated hypocrisy with a passion.

Daddy was indeed an ardent believer in God and taught us that God watches us even when no one does. We can’t but thank him for being the most supportive father anyone could ever ask for.

Daddy projected a tough exterior whilst raising us but that didn’t stop him from showing the domesticated part of himself in those days when he would roll up your sleeves, go into the kitchen when required, and prepare tasty meals that we relished so much.

In the place of prayer, we always saw the humble and vulnerable part of him that undoubtedly knew that it was in God he believed and lived in. Daddy was our mentor and our hero and indeed a beautiful combination of many virtues. He stood tall for all of us and the grandchildren’s education and his thoughtfulness and love for books was simply unparalleled. His legacies are as visible as they are astonishing. One father of many Agbeyis built a family that turned like a transition to the light of life. So many today, birthed and guided will say yes, the iroko has fallen. Baba Agbeyi has transited to glory.

Dr Erhieyowve Omonievusa Agbeyi (April 18, 1939 – January 23, 2020) was survived by his wife, 8 biological children, nieces, nephews, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren, all of whom this tribute reflects the deep affection in our hearts. You definitely left a piece of yourself in all of us. When you walked into a room, everyone knew that a force to be reckoned with was present. We know you are alive with the angels in heaven and that we should not weep so much. But tell me, how can a man like you not be missed?

Daddy, we really love and respect you and we believe it showed in the many ways we celebrated you even whilst you were alive. We wished you stayed longer so we could extend more care to you. We are indeed blessed to have had you as a mentor. Thank you for teaching us what love means. We will forever be thankful to God for giving us a genius father. We celebrate the fulfilled life you lived. We cherish the memories and we take a lead from the way you lived your life.

Adieu Daddy, till we meet again. Romans 14: 8 “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord’s.”

Un papa

Un papa rapluie,

Qui me fait un abri,

Quand j’ai peur de la nuit.

Un papa ratonnerre,

Je ne sais pas quoi faire,

Quand il est en colère.

Un papa rasol,

Avec qui je m’envole,

Quand il rigole.

Un papa tout court,

Que je fête en ce jour,

Avec tout mon amour.

Idahosa Agbeyi is one of the sons of the deceased. He sent in this piece from Maitama, Abuja


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