By Kehinde Bamigbetan
Time was about 9pm. The year, 2007. Omokorede and Olumide, her brother, shared a room with the maid. It was bedtime and our family was looking forward to a better tomorrow.
Nobody kniew the maid had lit and placed a candle on a plastic holder when light was taken and had forgotten to blow it out when the generator was switched on.
The candle burnt itself out and lit the plastic. The plastic caught fire and lit some clothes. The room was soon filled with so much smoke. And fire.
We, the parents, bantering in our room had no inkling our home was on fire. Until I had to open the door to get some article and the smoke rushed in. My wife, Fatimah leapt out of bed, scooped Bamikole, our baby from his crib and made her way down the stairs of the duplex to get to the exit door and call for help.
I made for the kid’s room and my heart began to beat wildly as the heat became hotter and smoke thicker. I fumbled through the dark in the hope that I could rescue my first and second children.
I was shouting their names as I.moved closer..But it was the echo of my own voice that returned. Two kids in one day? The negative scenario disturbed my.mind as I reached for them.on their beds and found no hand or leg or limb to drag on.
Thank God for the great neighbours of Tajudeen Ogunseye Street, Ejigbo. A mass of sympathisers were throwing water mixed with detergent into the building and a few Brave ones were bringing in buckets of water to put out the fire.
But the search for the kids was on my mind. And I continued screaming their names. One of the sympathisers heard me and announced that they were outside.
Outside? So I dashed out and lo and behold, there was Omokorede, holding her brother, Olumide, looking calm and unruffled..Curiously , I asked: how did you get out? She replied that the smell of the smoke woke her. She got up, woke her brother and led him out of the house to safety.
This incident shaped my respect for this young girl even at the tender age of 7. I was wowed by her initiative, emotional intelligence and pro-active decision to get out of arm’s way in the belief that her much older and capable parents would find their way.
Omokorede amazes me each time she leaps from her comfort zone to try what would seem outside her nature.
Like the day she told me in Year 11 to train her how to canvass for votes to be a prefect of Chrisland School, Idimu. I wondered how this soft spoken, gentle girl would raise her voice to be audible enough to persuade people. But she was determined. She became the prefect in charge of facilities!
At home, Omokorede takes all the chores in stride. Obediently, she would prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner. A team player, she is very active in getting things done.
Very serious, creative, hardworking and independent-minded, Omokorede proved her
mettle as a building technologist to watch out for when I surprised her by assigning to her the task of renovating the gatehouse two years ago. She fixed it in a month, making me happy that sending her to Covenant University to study Building Technology is one of the best decisions I have made.
On May 19, 24 hours before her mum’s birthday, the girl turned lady Omokorede turned 21. That day, the 365 days of thanking God for guiding her steps began. What you have read so far is the opening glee of a festival of thanksgiving.
Join me in praying for a bright future in excellent health and prosperity for my daughter; join our prayer for top grades as she gradually concludes her studies. PRAY WITH US for her to have her own family in not too distant future. Amen! Amen! AMEN.
Omokorede, you deserve more than a celebration, you deserve a festival. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!