PA JONAH BOYINDE (1904-2005): My Twin Brother, My Grandfather!
I was born to be twins but month(s) after birth, DEATH- that wicked phenomenon struck, stretched its pitiless hand and took away my twin sister (Taiwo); I never got to know her, I don't know her pictorial
look, I never grew up to hold her hand to tango.
I still feel and will remain cheated that she was taken away from me, even at that tender age; but who knows maybe she was destined a still-birth and was only graced by God, to accompany yours' truly to this biosphere, for him to make impact and be successful in life. My mind's eye tells me the biggest misfortune of her passing to glory is that Nigeria, even the world at large lost forever the contributions she would have made.
KEHINDE was the name I was known for throughout my childhood days; which I later changed, because of too many questions- “where is your twin sister/brother”, am always asked; such question gets me thinking, I lies! Also, when I see twins around me, chatting and smiling at one another, I get jealous and then imagine how lovely it would be if Taiwo were to be alive, possibly we would also engage in such.
PA JONAH BOYINDE was also born to be twins, interestingly, he was TAIWO; he was a grandfather and like a twin brother to me. He had twins as children and so many twins as grandchildren. He made Boyinde House another “IGBO-ORA”- a town that has the largest number of twins
in the World. Our family is so blessed with twins; even those who spent some years with any member of our family gave birth to twins. If in case you love to have twins as children and IGBO-ORA is a lengthy journey for you, just step-in into our family to pick a wife/husband; as God we have it, we're peace-loving & caring people, which means you're already guaranteed two things- twins as children and passivity in your marriage which gives birth to progress in all endeavours of one's life.
Many people bang our door almost daily, looking for suitor; those who found suitors in our family have never one day regretted they did. If you're of the imagination to have this writer as suitor, am sorry,
I've played the fast track; this writer has been swayed by the love of a fairy young lady- the daughter of Zion. BOYINDE is a household name; it is a distinguished name in our town, the name rings bell even to the adjoining areas of the town.
Papa's biblical name was JONAH, but characteristically, I was the biblical JONAH who was busy sleeping at the side of the ship when there was stormy- when time called for Consciousness. I sleep a lot, I can sleep while standing on a thin rope; I can easily doze off when standing on a stool with one leg, I was a somnambulist! I was so talented in sleeping! If sleeping is a sport, I was best at it! My
gold medal would be guaranteed if is to be one of the events at Olympics!
Pa Jonah Boyinde was my good friend, brother & grandfather; I visited him every blessed Saturday whenever am back from school. I would wash his clothes, plates, clean his room & put it in order and in return always given roasted walnut and the remains of Bournvita for me to lick. At night, he would tell me folklores & tale-fairy stories- 'Alo Apamo & Apagbes'. I could still remember how he narrated his ordeal in the Chief D.O Fagunwa's Igbo Olodumare, when he saw the book with me; the book forced on me to read by my father because I couldn't read 'Bibeli' fluently. Though I have forgotten the full gist of his story and that 'Bibeli' I still couldn't read fluently! Dewdrops of Memory!
How could I forget the little days we spent together during holidays in farm? The very first day with him at the farm, having protested against my father's order to restrain me while my brothers followed him; I held the peace of the house to a stand-still that day. My father had to succumb and then instructed one of my aunts to take me to Papa…Papa sent me back home the second day because I wasn't used to eating 'Anomo (potato) & Esuru' taken that night. I learned eating it 'cos I couldn't imagine missing out of the fun my brothers had. The beautiful edifice 'A-i-re' (hut) Papa built in the farm beat everyone's imagination. Dewdrops of Memory!
I still remember that very day I was left alone at the 'A-i-re' to roast the rodents caught by his 'Ode Onigan' (trap), while he and my brothers were busy working in the farm. I roasted and ate it all, still my ass was not wiped with 'Otun-run/Koboko/Pankere', he only instructed me to watch over the bean-like 'Sese, Popondo & Feregede' on fire until it cooked; 'Sese, Popondo & Feregede' takes almost 18-20 hours before it's done. So obedient, my eyes was wide open for hours until I revolted and asked why he would dare deny me of answering nature's call- Sleep! Dewdrops of Memory!
In fact, the farm experience was wonderful; then we get to eat fresh fruits and food, stone-grind pepper for soup-making of fresh vegetables- 'Rorowo', 'Arowo-nii-jeja', 'Gbure' 'Tete', 'Amunu-tutu', 'Elegede', ' Ewuro', 'Efiri' e.t.c; hunting for 'Eku, Emo (rat) & Okete (rodent)' under gathered palm fronds; looking for 'Alakan' (Crab) at the river side; roasting of the caught 'Eku, Emo, Okete, also 'Eesun'- during its period. Never will I forget how we laps on rivers, blow it while the palm of our hands does the job of a cup, when thirsty; also the usage of 'Ewe Coco' (Cocoyam leave) as funnel
whenever we're ordered to fetch water into the numerous 'Keregbe & Amu' in 'A-i-re'; the water in our 'Amu' is always as chill as that in the refrigerator.
Still we never contacted any disease- cholera or whatever! Dewdrops of Memory! Never will I forget how I protests when not allowed to lick Cocoa pods and cries when tooth aches having licked it incautious; how I do cut 'Ewe Iran' for us to make 'Moin-Moin Elewe'! Eating of 'E-roo Coco'- a blend of 'Coco Poso & La-n-bo' (Cocoyam) with “Efiri'; eating of 'IYAN' every blessed night I can never forget! I can't forget how papa would bring me 'Obi Edun' while returning to 'A-i-re' after a busy day in the farm. He treated me well, I was the youngest though; many times he would take me on 'Ko-n-ko-lorun' to cross big rivers…most especially 'Omi Okun'. The moonlight tales I can never forget! Dewdrops of Memory!
Papa, as a child born at old age, lost his father at a very tender age; he was kept with a close relation for training in framework, in line with the father's earlier decision, but his determination to succeed in life made him to go further to learn Masonry Craft even after he had got married. It was a trade which made him so famous and took him to places. He succeeded and even excelled in this trade.
At that time, he built his upstairs building, said to be the finest in our town then; a beautiful edifice which hosted the royal visitors of its time- to lay their heads after a tiring and torturous mountaineering journey into the town. That storey building which was of an architectural magnum-opus in the days of the yore is now old and antediluvian.
Papa was very cultured and principled in his dealings; he doesn't drink alcohols nor smoke and even non-alcoholic drinks, he keeps for his children. He was not a party-type! He was always committed to
whatever he believed in. Papa was a committed and devoted Christian who lived in the light of the truth revealed to him. Papa's father was said to be a Chief and his mother, a Princess; he rejected the traditional title offered him due to his devotion to Christ.
He doesn't want anything that may in one way or the other distract his attention from serving God. He offered his service to God as a church warden and his spare time he spent reading and meditating in the world of God.
When some of his mates were busy frolicking, adding wives & concubines into their harems, papa would sit in his parlour, reading bible and at the same time brainstorm on how to better the lives of his kindred and people in his environs. Papa's life was an example/symbol of hard work, courage, endurance, commitment, contentment, moderation, integrity, trustworthiness, hospitality, humility and faith in God. He had a true and genuine love for God and his people. Papa's hard work, endurance, perseverance and faith in God paid him well; until his death, he was the Life Chairman of the Association of his working field in our town.
A philanthropist, papa served his community in cash and kind. He offered his service free of charge in many of the community's project in his days. He was also instrumented to the success and breakthrough of many people in our community. Though as an Ijesa man, he was prudent in spending (which many regards as being tightfisted), he gave to the needy; he won't be pleased to see his neighbour go to bed hungry! Papa's house was always a beehive during festive periods, as young and old would troop in to greet the family and in the process eat 'IYAN' with 'Egunsi Soup & Eran Igbe', and other delicacies prepared by his wives.
Papa was a forthright person- so blunt! He speaks the raw truth and against any form of oppression, he would condemn any condemnable act and commend what is commendable; that spirit lives with him till his death. That same blood runs in our veins- the BOYINDEs! Papa had no opportunity to go to school but as a lover of education, he made efforts on his own to learn how to read and write and also struggled to get his children educated- he gave birth to brilliant sons and daughters and took their education a priority.
God's grace was sufficient for Papa whilst his sojourn on this terrestrial earth; he was always contented with whatever he has. Papa was a proud owner of a Bus (Liteace) when others engrossed buying Bicycle as a greater achievement and fulfillment of dreams in life.
Papa had many trials and tribulations but he was able to conquer through prayers and faith in the Almighty. His favourite song was “Oore Oluwa, me ye gbagbe O”, meaning: “I cannot forget the Goodness of the Lord”. He breathed his last on Saturday 18th June 2005, in the evening, in his once finest palace.
In a somber mood I was that very evening having watched the hope of the Nigeria beloved football team, Super Eagles, going to the 2006 World Cup dashed after a 1-1 draw played with Angola; then reached my hearing the news of papa's glorious home-call. I left for his house immediately, people were already gathered in front of the house; they streamed in to pay their final respects to the man of substance who just passed onto glory.
As usual, the professional mourners in our town took to the streets, shouting and screaming, gnashing their teeth, tears streaming down their cheeks, as if it was one of their relations that died- yeah, of course, he was! I walked in to see his remains; uncles, aunts, cousins, and in-laws were already gathered at his bedside with heads bowed, tears streaming down some cheeks while some were praising God, for Papa lived a life of fulfillment and finally died in Christ.
Papa was a personality to behold, a true character that defines selflessness, determination, commitment and contentment right from his early age to adulthood. He was of a selfless character! He was not poor while on earth and was also resplendently well-heeled in death, not in Naira and Kobo but because he left behind many successful children. He was committed to ground earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust on Saturday 5th of November, 2005, at the age of 101.
How time flies! Just like yesterday, it's already eight (8) years you left us Papa! Many a time I feel a great sense of loneliness; nevertheless, Sleep on Beloved, until we meet again before God's throne, where we'll meet to part no more.
Oluwatomilola Boyinde writes; [email protected], @TomiNigeria