ALSO during our visit to the Ikenne Remo home of the jewel of inestimable value, Chief (Mrs.) H.I.D Awolowo, her domestic staff spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly about her last moments.
‘I’ve been with her since 1985’- ALABI JIMOH, Electrician
What work were you doing for Mama?
Since when have you been with Mama?
Since 1985. She was just like a mother to me.
Where are you from?
I am from Kogi State. Since I have been with her she has been assisting me in everything. Since I have been with her she has not seen anything bad about me, neither did I see anything bad about her. That is why I have been with her till today. And it is me and my wife. My wife also works with her.
Your wife also works with her?
Yes . She is Mama’s shop assistant.
Up till now?
Yes, up till now. I thank God I did not regret knowing her and she too did not regret knowing me. She took me like her son. Even if I had a mother it couldn’t have been better. Her death is still like a dream to me because nobody expected it. I still took my last child to her and she welcomed him warmly. So, when I was told she had passed on it was a surprise to me.
What would you say you will miss about her?
‘She does not take dinner’- MRS. AKINWUNMI, Cook
I have been working with her for 10 years.
How will you describe Mama?
Mama was a nice person. She was caring and she was highly intelligent. She was not forgetful. She was also very accommodating.
What type of food does Mama like most?
Mama likes Ikokore (popular Ijebu delicacy), eberipo (coco yam pudding), rice and so many other foods. She takes both Yoruba and English foods.
What does she take for breakfast?
Ogi (pap) with moinmoin or akara.
What about her lunch?
She can take rice or eberipo or eba or amala.
She was still taking eba and amala?
Yes, she was still taking them. But she does not take dinner. She ate only twice in a day.
When did you speak with her last before she died?
I still spoke with her yesterday morning. We slept inside the same room. She did not show any sign that she was going to die. I still spoke with her around 2:30 p.m on Saturday.
‘She ate her last meal very well’- MARY AKINBOYE, Cook
I was transferred here in 2013 from Babcock University where I worked to come and be a personal cook to mama.
What type of food did mama like?
Mama was not predictable when it comes to food. It is whatever she wants to eat at any particular time. She takes both continental and traditional dishes. Whatever she said she wanted is what we will prepare for her.
How many times does mama eat in a day?
Twice a day, breakfast and lunch. She does not take dinner.
When last did you cook for her?
That was yesterday (Saturday, September 19, 2015). She took pap for breakfast. It was since that morning that she said she would like to take pounded coco yam with egusi soup for breakfast but unfortunately we couldn’t get it done that morning so she had to take pap for breakfast. So, it was in the afternoon, around 2 p.m that she ate pounded cocoyam with egusi. She ate it very well.
Who prepared it?
I did, she ate well and nothing happened to her.
Where were you when she passed on?
I was with her. After her lunch she said she wanted to sleep. When she woke up, she called us to come and help her up. It was while we were trying to carry her that her breathing changed.
You now called the nurse?
The nurses were not on duty but the children and the grandchildren were the ones around.
Why were they around?
They came for a meeting in preparation for 100 years birthday of mama.
Was Mama at the meeting?
Yes, she went there and prayed for them but she didn’t stay long before she came back to her room.
‘We’ll feel her absence’ – ADESINA OMOLEWA, Driver
I was transferred from Tribune to come and drive mama.
When was this?
January 22, 2010.
Where do you normally drive to?
Sometimes we travel outside the town.
What kind of person was she?
All of us will feel her absence. It is like a dream to many of us. Mama was a nice person that tolerates and accommodates people. She surrounded herself with a lot of people including extended family members.