A rite of passage could not have been more befitting for Mrs. Victoria Olawunmi Osinubi (Nee Onalaja), not with the array of guests from all walks of life as well as the caliber of those who filled the Methodist Cathedral, Imere Ago-Iwoye in Ogun State to capacity.
The worshippers were not just there as friends, relatives of the deceased who passed on at the ripe age of 91, but also and more importantly as guests of her children, seven in all who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields of human endeavours.
Apart from being the mother of the managing director The Punch Group of Newspaper, Mr. Demola Osinubi, ‘Mama Nurse’ as she was affectionately referred to by her relatives and neighbours, attests to the fact that she was not only firm in her dealings with others, she was also humane.
The church had been filled to full capacity by 9am for the service that was to start an hour later. By that time, eminent Nigerians had taken vantage positions to be part of the funeral service that had been planned as part of the series of arrangements for her rites of passage.
The funeral service is sequel to a Christian wake and service of songs held at the Methodist Primary School, Imososi, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, on last Friday. The roll call include Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, the deputy governor of Ogun State, Prince Segun Adesegun who stood in for his boss Senator Ibikunle Amosun who is said to be away in Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj, Chief Kayode Akinmade, the Ondo State commissioner for information, who represented Governor Segun Mimiko.
There were two ex-ministers whose presence added colour to the service. They include Senator Jubril Martins Kuye and Chief Abimbola Ogunkelu. Other personalities at the burial include a former chief of naval staff, Rear Admiral Akin Aduwo, Professor Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), Professor Adebajo Osholu, Otunba Alex Onabanjo, and the Ogun State commissioner of police, Mr. Ikemefuna Okoye who was in charge of security.
Leading delegation from The Punch Newspapers Group were chairman of The Punch, Mr. Wale Aboderin, his predecessor, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, members of board of directors, Ms. Lola Aboderin and Bunmi Aboderin.
From the media were managing director of The Guardian, Mr. Emeka Izeze; managing director of The News and PM News, Bayo Onanuga, managing director, Thisday Newspaper, Mr. Eniola Bello, managing director of National Mirror, Mr. Steve Ayorinde; and Editor, The Guardian, Mr. Debo Adesina.
In all, those present extolled her virtues, describing her as “selfless, courageous, devoted woman, and a loving mother, whose life and time reflected a true Christian life deserving of emulation” by both the old and younger generation.
In his requiem, the Methodist Bishop of Ijebu, Rev. Atanda Adewale, entitled “Joy Comes In The Morning,” urged those present not to misconstrued death as an end to what is good or a separation between the living and their departed.
Rather, Adewale said death was an avenue God created to save his loved ones from the hardship inherent in the world. He said death particularly of the saints should rather be viewed as a release and transition to a place of eternal peace and happiness where they would abide with Christ, their Saviour.
Quoting copiously from the book of Psalm chapter 30 verse 5, Rev. Adewale said the late Mrs. Osinubi had gone to take a well deserve rest in the Lord, having succeeded in putting her children in the right path of life through quality upbringing and educational training.
While admonishing those who attended the funeral service to always be mindful of their sojourn in life as whatever they do have the potential to lead to either heaven or hell, he urged that man’s existence was to ensure that they impacted positively on the lives of those who have the opportunity of coming in contact with.
“Mama has done her bit, she has succeeded in nurturing her children to enviable height in life, the array of people here today can attest to that. Now, she has gone back to her Creator for the deserved rest, it is now left to us still alive to ensure that we do what is good and right at all times.
“She is sleeping and there are two types of sleeps, the one we know is the one we do every night and we wake up in the morning refreshed but with the problems and challenges we face on daily basis still with us. The other one is the one that will take us away forever either to heaven or hell.” Adewale said.
Her children, Oluwayemisi, Abiodun, Oluwasegun, Titilola, Ademola, Ladunmi and Anu-Oluwapo were at the graveside to bid their mother bye with tears still rolling down their cheeks but also with words of encomium for when they spoke shortly after her internment at the church cemetery at about 12:10pm.
One of them Abiodun, said, “My mother means a lot to me and my siblings. I shed tears seeing her gone from us. She was a worthy and great woman. We have always been her friends
Born in 1921 to the illustrious family of the Onalaja of Ago-Iwoye, she attended both her elementary education in both Ijebu Ode and her hometown after which she left for the Westley Guild Hospital in Ilesa for her training as a nurse.
Upon graduating as a qualified nurse, she combined her duties effectively well as a mother after contracting a conjugal union with her late spouse, the late Pa Osinubi who died quite early in the marriage in 1954, leaving her to fend for the seven children left behind.
She drew enough courage and employed the strategy of hard work, perseverance and Godly attributes to ensure that they (her off springs) turnout well as accomplished citizens in their chosen professions.