Memories of A Great Dad

photo of a man sitting under the tree
Photo by Samuel Silitonga on

“Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a dad.”

Olivet Heights, teach ’em Soccer!!!

Olivet Heights, teach ‘em Soccer!!!

Popular slogan of Olivet Baptist High School .

In the Swinging 60s through the Super 70s, Olivet Heights was great in academics, fantastic in sports, and scintillating in social activities. Her grounds are hallowed, a Mecca to students from other schools and colleges. It was always a pride to put on her uniform.

As the nation was ebbing out of the infamous Biafra War, and I was getting ready for life in the secondary school. Olivet Heights was my only choice.

When you have a great Dad, growing up becomes meaningful, and learning appears a great virtue.

Dad was well schooled, and a very serious Catholic, maybe more Catholic than the Pope!

Born in 1900 to prosperous Emmanuel Ojelabi, a prominent Lagos and West African Coast merchant, contemporary of Andrew Thomas, the wealthy Lagos trader and auctioneer – father of erudite lawyer, Chief Bode Thomas.

Dad was also very close to Chief P.A. Afolabi, grand-father of Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie. He was warmly welcome at any time in the palace of Alaafin Adeniran, father of present Alaafin Adeyemi.

Dad schooled at the Holy Cross School, Lagos, a premier Catholic School founded in 1871. He trained to be a teacher, and taught in schools in Lagos and Ibadan.

He later joined the Railway Corporation in Ibadan, was sent abroad for further training. He was the Railways Station Manager at various Loco Running Sheds, and retired as Senior Stations Manager, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Jebba.

Though adjudged to be brilliant and well-behaved from my primary school reports, Dad admonished me to study hard and prepare well when he paid and got me the Common Entrance Examination Admission Form into Olivet Baptist High School.

As admission to Olivet Heights was usually keen, tight, and highly competitive for candidates from many parts of the country, a peripheral staff in the school requested that I provide him with my name and examination number for him to give “unfailing assurance” that my admission to the school was guaranteed.

Thinking he was doing my parents a favor and great kindness, rather, this man caught the ire of my father.

In his rage, Dad did not only scold the man and rebuke him in public for perpetrating corrupt practices, he banished him from our compound, and warned him never to get close to me ever again.

Mother was in full agreement.

My parents then took me into Dad’s study, made me read chapter 1 of the Book of Proverbs. They both exhorted me on good manner, honesty, and a life devoid of cheating and untrustworthiness. I was made to memorize Proverbs 1: 8, 9 that day, and to read the Bible daily.

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 

For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” (Pro 1:8,9). 

That timely admonition continue to have a lasting effect and impact upon me till this day.

Joseph Babajimi Ojelabi died at the age of 75, on June 15, 1975, after a brief illness, when I was just settling down in Secondary school.

Jay Bee was a father like no other Dad because, though very many years older than me, yet he taught me so much within such a little time, showed me life, led me through practical Christianity unto Christ Himself, and gave me a good stead and platform to live by.

No words to express how important and loving my Dad was to me,

No words to describe his continuous positive powerful influence in my life and family,

He lived, and let me watch him learn how to live better.

A Dad like no other, J. B. Ojelabi. Adieu.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: