A man of substance, a honourable man, a faithful friend, a husband with a large heart, the best father money cannot buy, a wonderful brother and much more were the exhilarating tributes from prominent Nigerians, including the Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who graced the 50th birthday of Mr. Joshua Olatunji Olugbodi.
Words alone cannot described how TeeJay, as the celebrant is fondly called by associates, felt on that day, seeing the calibre of personalities, especially those he inspired, throng the popular event centre, The Haven, G.R.A, Ikeja, Lagos, on Saturday, March 29, 2014, to rejoice with him as he hit the golden age of 50. They include Senator Victor Oyofo, Biodun Shobanjo, Uncle Sam Amuka Pemu, Mr. Tade Ogidan, Mr. Shola Shobowale, among others.
Rains of prayer were showered on the celebrant, followed by performances by delectable Ayo Balogun and Oludare, which lasted for several hours. DJ Jimmy Jatt ensured that it was never a dull moment as he literary set the venue on fire. There were also special performances from Mr. Olatunji’s siblings and staffers of his PR agency, Verdant Zeal.
The colourful birthday bash also had the duo of Gbenga Adeyinka and Helen Paul, otherwise known as Tatafo, as comperes. The choice of these two comedians was never a mistake, they didn’t only anchor all the segments well, but added spices to make the day memorable for the man of honour and integrity. The six hour of unlimited fun ended officially with the cutting of cake, which had Arsenal FC of England logo, an indication that Teejay is a committed gunner!
Joshua Olatunji was born on the March 25, 1964. He’s the second child of Chief Dele Olugbodi’s nine children. His literary odyssey began in Lagos at the Salvation Army Primary School, Surulere. He later proceeded to Ejigbo Baptist High School, Osun State, where he obtained his WASC and later his Higher School Certificate from Ede Baptist High School, Osun State in 1983. He later obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Ogun State University, now Olabisi Onabanjo University, where he emerged the best graduating student in that department. He’s happily married and blessed with a son, Oluwapileogo.
Although, his parent wanted him to study Law, the elated celebrant, who was busy exchanging pleasantries with guests told ENCOMIUM Weekly he didn’t regret choosing English Language as a discipline.
“My dad wanted me to read Law but I preferred English Language as a discipline. He was one of the first set of Law students at the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in the 60’s. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t complete the course because he was an indigent student, so he saw my admission as an opportunity for him to realise his dream. I didn’t want anybody to dictate my course of study to me and I decided not to pursue the admission.”
He spoke further on the joy of celebrating five decades on earth…
‘Life is not a bed of roses’ – TUNJI OLUGBODI
How does it feel?
I feel very great, I feel very honoured. I feel very privileged and I thank God. I am really happy and grateful to those who came to honour me.
What has really sustained you till date?
Being alive today, and whatever I have achieved, I give it to God. It shows that God loves me, that is why I will continue to be grateful to Him, and then, my parents, for their love.
What would you say life has taught you at 50?
Life has taught me that life is not bed of roses. You must always see life as it comes and I always pray to God to guide me through.
In what way did your parents influence your life?
A great deal, especially when it comes to hard work, discipline, integrity, both of them ensured we’re always on the path, so that we can become successful. It really works for me, and my other siblings.
What was on your mind seeing the calibre of personalities that came for your birthday?
Seeing these great people with me today is a good feeling. I just feel privileged. I have always had the feeling that such great people would value and respect the professionalism of our work. That’s just it, I am happy they made it.
Tunji is visionary, positively ambitious, focused, well behaved, and respectful. Early, I saw in him, traits of a great and successful man. Funso, as I fondly call him, is generous, loving, thorough and disciplined. Deacon Tunji is religious and a good family man. He’s neat and always well-dressed. Above all, he loves his parents and extended family dearly and cares for them. By the grace of God, I will still be around in my nineties in 10 years when he celebrates his 60th birthday.
I thank God for giving me such a wonderful son like Olatunji Ishola; a son I am so proud of. Hardworking man, God fearing, intelligent, cheerful-giver, lover of children, good leader and above all, he loves his parents to a fault! Even I do not know how to express my happiness to God that I am alive today to witness my son’s golden jubilee, I want to say Glory be to God. Happy birthday, Ishola, many happy returns of the day
How do I describe this gentleman?
My Teejay, like I call him, is a husband that keeps and honours his words. No vain promises but straight talk. Yes, frank but compassionate. My husband is a faithful friend, confidant, who you can go to sleep with your secret with him. Not one to kiss and tell. He’s a focused person, perfectionist and with him, nothing is impossible. My husband is a man full of humour, who refreshes one as a great company. My husband knows the right song to sing when I get upset or angry. I can never say enough about this great guy, who, over the years, has remained and will always be my endless love. Happy birthday to you.
Every child deserves a good father. But I am lucky to have the best father money can’t buy. Thank you daddy for being so loving and caring. I love you very much and I pray that God will keep and protect you. With this, I hope I can get the toy I asked for last week?
– RASHEED ABUBAKAR