Classics, Interviews

Boardroom guru, Gamaliel Onosode reflects on life @ 80

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Launches foundation with N100 million

‘How to live long’

Boardroom guru, Mr. Gamaliel Onosode clocked 80 on Wednesday, May 2013. The number of congratulatory birthday messages in the newspaper that day attested to the influence of the man reputed as one of Nigeria’s most trusted name in the finance and business world.

And on Friday, may 24, 2013, he launched a foundation in his name and that of his wife’s, Gamaliel and Susan ONosode Foundation (GAMSU). Well meaning Nigerians graced the launch held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Former Managing Director of First Bank Plc, Mr. Jacob Moyo Ajekigbe led the board of the foundation with Mr. Gamaliel and Mrs. Susan Onosode, Reverend Paul Adefarasin, Mrs. Evelyn Oputa, MD, Bank of Industry (BOI) acting as trustee.

N125 million was realized as take off grand for the foundation set up primarily to cater for the education of children of the less privilege, N100 million came in the name of the founder and his wife, Mr. Gamaliel and Mrs. Susan Onosode, House on The Rock pastor, Paul Adefarasin donated N10 million while the remaining N15 million came from two sons of Mr. Gamaliel Onosode.

Born on May 22, 1933. Mr. Onosode attended Government College, Ughelli, Delta State. He bagged a B.A Honour degree in Classics from University of Ibadan, Nigeria. With an impressive head of honourary doctorate degrees, the technocrat still preferred to be addresses as MR.

He is married to Susan (Nee Gbinigie) and they are blessed with children. ENCOMIUM Weekly later had a chat with him and his wife, Mrs. Susan Onosode.


‘How to live long’ – Gamaliel Onosode

1-Fullscreen capture 12182015 111007 AMHow does it feel to be 80 in a county where the mortality rate is relatively high?

I don’t feel any difference from how I felt yesterday, last year or two years ago. But it’s a good thing to think that one has reached the Biblical evidence of strength by getting beyond three scores and 10 to four score. By Mosaic standard I am just old enough, mature enough to be commissioned. So, life really in that sense is only just beginning.

At 80, you are still looking strong, what has been your sustaining power?

My belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and the awareness of the fact that all good and perfect gifts come from Him and that I don’t need to harbor any anxiety about any material things. That if I seek God’s kingdom, all other things will be added unto me. God has committed to providing all my needs so, I don’t need to worry about my needs.

So, all I try to do is to devote all my energies into that which God has invested in me, making as much as possible optimum use of them in making contributions to the wellbeing of people around me.

What does it take to be successful?

Fear God and keep His commandment. This is the old duty of man.


Wife recounts love story

Mrs. Susan Onosode at the foundation launched revealed to ENCOMIUM Weekly what has kept her marriage with Mr. Onosode for 44 years.


How did the journey actually start?

We started as friends back then. We got married six months after we knew each other and he has been a very loving man all the way.

What do you think sustained the love for 44 years?

God sustains all those who love Him. If you honour God and rely on Him and pray, He will give you the best. When I was younger, I prayed for a good man, who will love me and I am going to love in return. Not long after that prayer we met.

What has sustained the marriage?

Once you love each other, things will definitely work. It’s Christ who organized our lives. He is a very good Christian. He knows everything God wants him to do. And because of that there is no problem in the home, sometimes problems arise, I say what he doesn’t like, he gets angry and after 30 minutes it’s all over and we move on. From the start till now.

How will you describe your motherly role in bringing up the children?

The word of God is there for everybody to learn. If you study God’s word and make it your own, of course you will have the mind of doing god’s will, you will train the children in the right way, you discipline them to follow the way of the Lord.

Let them go to the boarding house, wherever they go they will not depart from the way you have trained them because they have God and God loved them. That’s how we managed to ensure they don’t go astray with the wrong people.

Now, lets talk about the Gamaliel and Susan Onosode Foundation, how did it came about?

It’s my husband’s idea. I wasn’t even at home when it happened. It is about helping children in their education, helping the less privileged.

What advice will you give young couple?

To have the love of God in their heart. They should focus on God and all will be well.

What keeps you busy now as a grandmother?

I am a housewife. I was a nurse, but as soon as I got married, my husband wanted me to stay at home.

Not doing anything?

Just stay at home and be cooking and taking care of the children, but when they are grown up I had to do something. I have an office at Falomo Shopping Complex, Ikoyi, Lagos. There I run a ticketing office. In fact, I have stopped going there because I am getting old too, I am at home just to look after my husband.

How many children and what do they do?

I won’t tell you how many they are but they are many enough. One of the read Economics. He is now working. One read Medicine and for the girls, one is a lawyer and the other one an Economist.

How often do you see your grand children?

For those who are in Lagos, they come visiting often after church on Sundays and we love that very much.


This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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