Alhaji Ahmadu Tijani Adamoh, is one of the few Nigerians that nature has been very kind to. He has not only defied expert’s postulation that gave average life span in Nigeria as 45 but he has doubled that and even added an extra 10.
The former Assistant Superintendent of Police turned 100 years ol on Wednesday, May 2013, the day Nigerians marked 14 years of The Fourth Republic.
The centenarian may not be physically agile but he is mentally alert as he fielded questions from ENCOMIUM Weekly without wavering.
He told us in this interview his experience and how he has been coping with life in his old age and much more.
Congratulations on your 100th birthday.
Thanks, you too will grow old.
Do you agree, sir that you are extremely lucky to have lived to 100 years in a country where the average life span is 45 years?
It is nothing else but God and by His grace too I am going to live beyond this year.
Apart from God, what else do you think is responsible for your longevity?
Taking things easy. If you don’t take life too serious, if you don’t run for material things, if you accept your situation and you have rest of mind, when you don’t have evil intentions and you are worshipping your God regularly, and you believe that God is the provider of all things, then you will live long.
Could it be that you inherited it from your parents or grandparents?
I am sure my mother did not live up to 100 years before she died but her mother probably did, because before she (his grandmother) died, her hair was as white as snow. The same thing with my grandfather.
What is it that you are surprised you can still do at your age?
That I am still hale and hearty.
Is there anything that you still want God to do for you at 100?
There are no two things I am asking God to do for me than good health. I am praying to Him that I should not spend the remaining years of my life in sickness. When it is time for me to die, He should make it a peaceful one for me.
Do you have any regret?
I don’t have any. The one I will consider as a regret is a no go area for now.
What lessons of life have you learnt, sir?
That no matter how you hustle, if God says you will not get to your destination, you will not get there. Therefore, people should not hustle too much. Whatever will be will be. Human beings should be contended with whatever God has given them rather than hustling to own the whole world.
You attended Nigeria’s oldest secondary school, CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos, who were your classmates that are still alive?
No. I can’t remember any one that is still alive. TOS Benson, Justice Lateef Dosumu and Sobo Sowemimo were my classmates then and they are all dead.
Do they still call you for old student association meetings?
Not anymore. But they inform me regularly of what is going on. When I was still agile, I was attending the meetings but now, with old age, I cannot, but they still get in touch.
One would have thought that with the kind of secondary school you attended, you would have chosen a career in Law like some of your classmates – TOS Benson, Justice Lateef Dosumu and Chief Sowemimo. Why did you choose to join the police?
It was a deliberate plan amongst some of us in the school then to join the police because our tribe, Yoruba was being cheated and denied justice at most police stations then. The police officers then were from other tribes and were always in favour of their tribes whether they are right or wrong.
So, because of this, me, Animashaun, Carew, Sule Agbabiaka and some others in school decided to join the police to protect our own people too.
What position or rank did you reach before you retired from the police?
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).
What year was this?
- There was no major city or town in the country that I did not work as a police officer. I worked in Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Enugu, Onitsha, Gboko – during Tiv riot, Badagry- during Badagry riot and so many other towns.
What is your typical day like?
The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is my exercise.
You still do exercise?
Yes, I am used to it since my football playing days. I was a footballer. I played for my school first team, CMS Eleven. I played for Marine Department. We were the ones winning the cup then for the departmental league.
What type of exercise do you still do at your age?
I stretch my hands and legs. That is why my body is flexible (He wanted to demonstrate, but we told him not to bother).
After your exercise, what next?
I take my bath, after which I take my breakfast.
What do you normally take for breakfast?
It varies. Sometimes I take eko and moin-moin or akara. Sometimes beans and dodo (fried plantain). If I want to go foreign, I will take Quaker oat. I also take Bournvita or just ordinary tea. But I don’t take coffee.
What does your lunch consist of?
I take pounded yam.
You still eat pounded yam?
Yes. If I take two balls of pounded yam, this my son (his first son, Professor Adekunle Adamson) will take three balls. We cannot do without eating pounded yam in the afternoon.
With what do you take your pounded yam?
With vegetables like ugu sokoyokoto and gbure. All the vegetables that give one energy.
What does your dinner consist of?
Indomie and spaghetti.
Can you still read?
Not much, except when the letters are very big.
What is your relationship with God?
Since my childhood, I have been very close to God.
Do you still pray like every other muslim?
I don’t play with my five times prayer as a muslim. I still go to the central mosque every Friday to observe jumat prayers. God has been kind to me to the extent that I still genuflects during prayers like every other muslim.
What is your philosophy of life?
Don’t be too serious about life. Whatever you are doing must be in moderation. If it is food, eat moderately. If it is alcohol, do it moderately. Don’t do anything more than your capacity.
Do you still know all your children?
Yes. If you want me to start mentioning their names now, I will do it for you.
How many children do you have?
My children that are still alive are between 16 and 19.
How do you children pamper you?
All my children are well-educated. That is one thing I made sure I did for all of them. Today, all of them are doing well in their various professions and endeavours.
They appreciate favour and they know how to pay back favour. The money I get from them is more than what I was collectin when I was in government service.
I am happy about all of them. My happiness stems from the fact that I trained them, and they appreciate my training. They appreciate good favour and they know how to return good favour.
They are paying me back for me sending them to school.
Is any of your wives still alive?
Yes. One. She just left for America with one of her children yesterday (Monday, June 10, 2013). She went for medical check-up. Her son has a big company in Maryland, United States of America.
How many wives do you have?
Those I married officially are three, the other two just had children for me.
How do you like to be remembered?
As a man who loves God and worshipped Him in truth and respect and treated other human beings well.
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, June 18, 2013