Header Ads Widget

KEMI ASHEFON & Siblings Bury Dad In Style

Kemi Ashefon is a popular celebrity blogger. A few days ago, she and her siblings gave their dad Sir Emmanuel Owoyemi Ashefon, a befitting burial. He died at 80.

The burial rites began on Tuesday24th May 2022, with a Mass/Wake Keep in Lagos.

On Thursday 26th May 2022, there was Wake Keep/Vigil in Oka Akoko (his country home). On Friday 27th May 2022, there was Funeral Mass at St. Pius Catholic Church, Agba, Oka Akoko. Interment followed immediately after Mass.

Entertainment of Guests followed at Ola Oluwa Grammar School's main field, Epiri Ikanmu, Oka Akoko, Ondo State. Sir Emmanuel Ashefon was born on December 25, 1941, to Pa Abraham Omodara and Mama Juliana Ashefon. His birth was of significance to his mother aka Iya Rossetti, who had experienced a high infant mortality rate before she had ‘lboyi’ (as she fondly called him).

Pa Omodara was a notable hunter and masquerade adherent, while Iya Rossetti was a prominent Kolanut distributor to the Northern part of Nigeria. But then, young Emmanuel wasn’t ready to be a farmer, neither did he fancy trading just like his mum. He wanted Education. So, the young Emmanuel, would choose the white man’s religion, education. And this was not nicely received. His dad ensured he was always visiting the farm and never wanted him to be educated beyond the farm.

But help came through his elder brother, Pa Daniel Ashefon (now deceased) who got him the money needed for his education. His brother, who was in charge of his dad’s farm produce, secretly gave him part of the money to pay his way through school. Young Emmanuel never forgot this kindness.

Out of desperation to be educated, he started at St Pius Catholic Primary School, Oka Akoko at the age 15 and he was the oldest in his class! This also meant he hid his ambition from his father, Pa Omodara who wondered why his son would always refuse to eat food cooked during the Egungun festival. On why he would not eat food offered to idols, the young Emmanuel explained that he had a relationship with a God he discovered through the Roman Catholic Church.

Though this isn’t a fact, he must have been the first Ashefon descendant to join the Catholic Faith. At one point, his education was threatened and he sought succour in one of his teachers who accommodated him and stood in for him anytime his father showed displeasure at his quest for Western education.

Later, the teacher was transferred from Oka to Ikere Ekiti. The teacher, in turn, gladly wrote a letter to the school management to allow his student (Emmanuel) to go with him to his new base as a housekeeper and this was promptly granted.

So, from Oka Akoko, he departed with his teacher to Ikere Ekiti. The kind teacher took a special interest in Emmanuel’s love for education and helped in no small way to get him grounded before changing base to Annunciation College Ikere Ekiti in the year 1967 for his higher education. He spent two years there before moving again with his beloved teacher to John Bosco, Akure for his HSc. Exams.

A lover of sports, Ashefon’s laudable feats in various aspects of sports had certificates and commendation letters to show. By 1970, he arrived in Lagos in the company of some friends where they all sought greener pastures. He was lucky to get a job at Bristow Helicopters (an aviation company) in the 70s where he was first employed as ‘a tea boy.

Fondly called Emmanuel by his white bosses, he rose through the ranks to become a Protocol Officer where he became the go-to person for their expatriates' visas and resident/work permits. In Abuja where he worked mostly when all ministries/parastatals in Lagos were relocated, he was popularly called ‘Bristow.’

By 1971, he met young Miss Victoria Olayemi Aiyegbo who was living with her aunt, Mrs Oboye, a renowned seamstress. They were smitten with love, became an item and in October 1972, their first fruit, Kemi Ashefon was born. Sir Ashefon loved to adhere to cultural ethos and norms. When he met former Miss Olayemi Aiyegbo, who is the daughter of a retired police officer, Chief Ezekiel Aiyegbo, the Onigemo of Igbara Oke, there was initial resistance from Chief Aiyegbo, who didn’t want his daughter to marry an Akoko man.  But then, Ashefon wormed his way into the heart of his late father-in-law, who later agreed to his daughter and Sir Ashefon having a traditional wedding in July 2000 at an elaborate ceremony in Igbara Oke.

He was a fervent Catholic who longed to partake of the Sacrament, they both decided to solemnize their union on October 3, 1983, at the St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Ikeja Lagos. Their last born, Opeyemi Ibrahim, (nee Ashefon), was born the following year. Blessed with many grandchildren from their biological children and those they adopted, Sir & Lady E.O Ashefon laid great examples of the perfect Christian couple-you can never sight Daddy without seeing Mummy.

A patron of some societies in Church, including the Altar Boys at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church Alimoso, Lagos, he was the President and Patron of the Catholic Family League. Sir Yemi Ashefon proved to be a committed Catholic till he breathed his last. It is remarkable to note that less than 24 hours before he died on April 1 , 2022, he was in church for the evening mass where he ensured that he took the holy communion before driving back home. Also a community leader: be remained a part of the Abule Oki/Alaguntan Joint Community Developmen Association where he was in charge of the Treasury and paid security guards for many years.

Quite sociable too, Sir Emmanuel Owoyemi Ashefon contributed immensely to the development of his community in Oka Akoko. He was also a member of the Oka Classique Club, an association which initiated and brought to the global limelight, the annual Oka Day celebrations which still hold to date. Not a few would deny that with Sir Yemi Ashefon, age is not a barrier-he interacted with persons of different age and statuses. With him, everyone is a Very Important Personality (VIP), including the Okada riders on the street he lived till he passed on. He interacted with his brothers, nephews, nieces, cousins and uncles according to their age grades. He would befriend a teenage nephew as if they were colleagues and in the same vein, he would interact with an adult niece as if they were roommates. Daddy was a friend to all.

A devout Catholic, he was initiated into the Order of the Knights of St Mulumba Nigeria in 1998 where he attained the fourth degree before his peaceful demise on April l, 2022. 

Post a Comment