Mr Dunmiju Akinyose: My Brother!
Where do I begin to talk about the recently departed Mr Omodunmiju Akinyose? To us in the Fakinlede family, he was many things. More than a Brother-in-law: A brother. He was a consummate father. He was more than a husband to our dear sister, Adunni, he was a soulmate and friend. He was deep, jovial, and relaxed.
Sister Adunni – the oldest child in the Fakinlede family was passing through her early twenties – a beautiful and desirable young woman. And I was nine years old. How did I know?
We greatly misunderstand young people and often underestimate what they know. They gather a map of the world so fast from the data they receive from adults and make an accurate, realistic judgment of the world around while adults continue to supply information by saying all sorts while they are around.
Young people can also be as vain as adults as they drink from the same wells of virtue and of vice. Add that to the fact that in our time, our father stubbornly refused to read his letters by himself – preferring to ask us to read them to him. It is interesting to note that the same man read his bible to pieces by himself! This fact made my 9–12-year-old mind – quite a knowledgeable one. I read the marriage proposals to Baba. I read the letters of discord, of broken relationships and of formal wedding contracts! I was a scribe – at age eleven!
The genesis of the relationship between my sister and Mr Akinyose was well documented in my mind. And, coming shortly after the end of another relationship, I had taken sides. And I was not on Mr Akinyose’s side! My main beef with him was that he had no car! How dare him marry my sister when he did not have a car!
Character? Who cares about such an unnecessary superfluity called character? I just wanted to see my sister driven about in a car and Akure Town seeing her in splendor! Handsome? The only handsome things were vehicles! Give me the least attractive person in a car, I was OK!
Secrets! Of course, I never shared this with anyone! I just kept it to myself! My father himself did not have more than his two bicycles, but I thought that my sister was of a higher quality – fit only for those that had pleasure cars!
I do not remember attending the wedding in 1968 but saw the several times that Sister and her new husband visited Baba at his shop near the central motor park. I still have a tape of that motorcycle and her sitting position. And in my mind, I would be thinking of her inside a car if she had made a different choice!
Then the children came! Then we visited at the School of Agriculture. After this the family grew. Then they drove their own car. Then they became more prosperous. Then they owned their own houses. Then he retired from government service. Then they lived in the village. Then he went into politics and became the Chair of the local Government. And at last, they had Segun – the only one remaining at home with sister rejoicing that, but for him, the house would have been empty!
It was always a joy to visit this family each time I passed by Ore on our way from visiting in-laws in the Delta. He was either at home or relaxing with friends – sometimes playing draughts.
We met on many family occasions. The last major of which was at Mama Talabi in Ikole (2002) where we were lodged together in this large hotel by anty Lucy.
It was that late night talk that I saw into the father’s heart of the Man, Dunmiju Akinyose. His concern that night was Nireti Oke and their early married life struggles in Warri with stability in jobs, business as they grew their family. Breaking down his children’s different situations and the worry in the mind of a father that night was a glimpse into the consummate father’s heart.
I arrived late after the Thompson’s wedding in 1996. I still remember the friendly scolding he gave me from a surprising side. “Ana mi, we kan ya duro timi die”. Why did I not come to stay a while to console him that his darling daughter was leaving! He said it half-jokingly and half seriously.
Seeing all these children grown up to the state they are today and the deep family values they share tell me two things: The end of a journey is much more than the beginning thereof. And the most important asset for growing the family is not early wealth, but early stability!
I know several other families that started stronger from a financial or social standing. The end is not fully determined by that! Mr Dunmiju Akinyose was blessed with a deeply effective family with family values and results that beat many with better starting positions.
Apart from family stability, this family also had deep religious roots and community roots. And since the burial service emphasized the religious depth, I concentrate on the community roots. These are all related values. None exists independently of the others!
Mr Akinyose did not become a local Government chair the way many politicians do: Just find a way to get a high office and enjoy the perquisites! No. He was a man connected deeply to his roots. He lived his life in the community! He did not live in Abuja or Lagos, and suddenly came to the community to establish an address for political purposes! Sister Adunni herself often surprised me in speaking – not standard Yoruba nor our Akure dialect. She spoke (and still speaks) the language of Odigboland! Even when talking to us, her siblings, her Akure is now suspect. This family trait has deep effects on the children! The language is just the visible part of the cultural depth. If the children have lost this, as I think they may have – following the trend of speaking only in another tongue to their family – they, like many modern families have not passed to their children, they cultural advantage they had! That cultural identity that can make Olu Akinyose spend so much time at home in these times and still feel connected is a deep portion of the cultural roots that propelled all of them to succeed in foreign lands! They know who they are, and they know where they come from!
We morn the loss of our dear brother, Dunmiju Akinyose. And I ask myself, what does the future hold for his widow? Sometimes you wonder if the loneliness and sense of loss that follow a successful marriage are not points to discourage it! Well, the loss is not only a loss and a lonely afterwards. It is also a time full of memories. The tape of life and memories are some of the rewards of the successful life of a relationship like Mr & Mrs Akinyose. When you now add the strength of the well-connected families of Yemi Thompson, Nireti Oke, Duti Olayinka, Olu and Segun, these well-connected families, scattered over the world and helping one another is perhaps the most desirable way for the end to come. How else would you want it?
To you, my sister, I am sending you this private note to let you see some parts of your life from your little brother’s view. Meanwhile, I commend you to the mighty grace of God; more than able to sustain you at this time and for the rest of life. May you live long and healthy to continue as a rock of reference for those that mourn the loss of Mr Akinyose. And may they continue to be worthy ambassadors of that great legacy. Amen!
Mr Dunmiju Akinyose: My Brother!