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DORCAS FOLOWOSELE (1914-2010)

By NBF News
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SIR:   Dorcas Aina Folowosele at the Holy Trinity Church, Omofe, Ilesha, then in the Diocese of Lagos, received on January 5, 1930, the Christian baptismal water anointment from Revd. I.M. Lanihun, the first vicar in Ijeshaland with a university degree.

The Certificate of Baptism, issued January 28, 1930, was No. 556. She spent four years studying the Holy Bible and reciting verses in baptismal classes for the certificate that described her as an adult and a pagan. Her witnesses were L. Orioye, M. Owopetu and D.O. Ladimeji.

She, however, redoubled her efforts thereafter and assiduously worked towards her confirmation as a full member of the church. This did not come to fruition as early as she had wished. She was eventually confirmed at the Holy Trinity Church, Omofe, Ilesha, by Bishop S.O. Odutola on October 6, 1961. Till she passed away December 7, 2010, there was no doubt that her most valued possessions were her Certificate of Baptism and her Certificate of Confirmation. Both certificates she kept in good condition like passport for entry into that land of eternal bliss.

Against all odds posed by mother's suitor being not only a non-member of the church but also already had a wife, she was not dissuaded but went ahead to marry her heart-throb, Joseph Makanjuola Ogunmuyide Folowosele in 1934. Her father was Ashaolu Olowoemu Idagun (now Adagunodo), who by the standard of the time, was a big-time farmer at Ilaje (now a part of Ilesha). Her mother was Oni Otedolanu (alias Iya Onimuke), a priestess of Oluaye deity. Since the demise of her siblings, she had been both the matriarch and patriarch in her father's household.

MADAM Dorcas Folowosele gave birth to her first child and the only surviving daughter, Mrs. Mopelola Aduke Oyewunmi, on March 18, 1935 and four sons; all survived her. Throughout her life, she never placed any emphasis on this because she had been lucky to be mother to all the children of her siblings even before she got married. While the male ones received her counsel, many of the female undertook their apprenticeship or pupilage under her. All of them naturally ranked higher than the children from her own womb in her relationship with them.

In the absence of any paternal financial assistance to any child, the industrious mother did her best in educating to the optimal level of each child's ability or willpower. She would rather deprive her business of funds than to fall behind in the payment of the school fees of the children. Her well-crafted cursive handwriting learnt during baptismal classes was a manifestation of a person that had taken her own informal educational studies with all seriousness. She was able to read and write in Yoruba without glasses to the end.

She cautioned unceasingly against ill-advised conceit of any of her wards relying on Ordinary Level passes as qualification for livelihood. 'You sloth, wake up,' she would scold them at the top of her voice, 'what you have can't fetch you bomi s'ododo.' Literally, such qualification may be inadequate for employment as a gardener. Nobody could have been better placed or more prophetic on the trend of our nation's educational standard and economy. She travelled far and wide throughout Oke Ogun in Oyo State during her husband's osomalo escapades. She was a member of many societies, having at different times traded in salt, eko and dried beef - tinko or kokotiroko' - which gave her the appellation. 'Iya Eleran.'

Most of her friends from her cradle became her associates in that trade and was probably the last of the titans in her circle of friends who were prominent members of Egbe Ibukun at the Holy Trinity Church Omofe, Ilesha. She has certainly lived a fulfilling life. We pray she finds peaceful rest in the bosom of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.