Interviews

Children reveal Okoya Thomas’ last days (4): ‘I will miss his jokes’ – Mrs. Yinka Taiwo (nee Okoya-Thomas)

Where were you when your father died?

ARC AKINTOLA GEORGE,HON JUMOKE OKOYA THOMAS,TPL MRS KEHINDE GEORGE,TOSIN ALOBO BAKARE,MR DEJI OKOYA THOMAS,YINKA TAIWO &MRAKEEM ALOBO BAKARE (4)I was in Ikeja, Lagos, when we were called that he’s been taken to the hospital.

Was he sick?

He was ill in December (2014), but he had fully recovered.  He was planning going back to the office.

What was the nature of his illness in December?

It wasn’t a life threatening illness.  He got some infections in England during the cold weather.  It was just normal viral infection.  It wasn’t anything serious.

When last did you see him?

On Saturday, January 31, 2015, a day before he died.

How will you describe his mood that Saturday?

I and my children spent about three hours with him.  He was happy.  He cracked a lot of jokes.  We watched football with him.  He was a great lover of sports.  I left him around 7.30 p.m.  He was fine.  There was nothing wrong with him. He was walking up and down and doing things in his usual way.

What will you miss about him?

So many things.  Is it his humility?  His kindness, his gentle heart, loving words, his wise counsel, his friendliness with everybody whether rich, poor, young or old, black, white.  He was everybody’s friend.

He was somebody that showed kindness to anybody, no matter who you are.  He was somebody that respected everybody.  It didn’t matter to him whether you are young or old.

I always tell people that from the day I got married, my father stopped referring to me by my first name.  He would always call me Mrs. Taiwo.  That was the kind of man we are talking about.  For me, that was one of the major things about his life that I will always remember about him.

I will also remember his lovely jokes because he was a man full of life.  He was a man that held no grudge against anybody.  Even if he knew you had a grudge against him, he would still be nice to you.  He would still be loving towards you because he was a man of peace.  That was one of the wise counsel he always gave us his children.  Don’t fight anyone.  Just be at peace with everybody because you have a God who is there for you.

 -Interviews by TOLANI ABATTI

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