Advice Papa Gave Me: What Will People Say Of You?


My beloved daughter,

The late Nigerian politician Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his autobiography wrote the following about his wife Hannah:

“Throughout all the changing fortunes of my life since I married her on 26 December, 1937, my wife Hannah Dideolu Awolowo (Nee Adelana) has been to me a jewel of inestimable value. She is an ideal wife: and I am sure she regards me too as an ideal husband. The outpouring of her love and devotion to me and to our family is exceeding and beyond words. She is a resourceful businesswoman; and in this regard is a worthy upholder of the traditions of her mother (Madam Elizabeth Oyesile) and grandmother (Chief Adebowale Oyegunle) both of whom are successful women traders. With my wife on my side, it has been possible for us to weather all financial storms. Because of her charm, humility, generosity and ever-ready sympathy and helpfulness for others in distress, she is beloved and respected by all our friends and acquaintances. She has courage of a rare kind – I have that too. But I am no match for her at all in her exercise for infinite patience and forbearance under all manner of circumstances. She absorbs without a word of complaint all my occasional acts of irritability. By her unique virtues, she has been of immeasurable assistance to me in the duties attached to my career as a public man. She has taken more interviews and listened to far more representatives from members of the public, than I have time, or sometimes patience, for I do not hesitate to confess that I owe my success in life to three factors: the grace of God, a Spartan self discipline, and a good wife. Our home is to all of us (us and our children) a true heaven; a place of happiness and of imperturbable seclusion from the buffetings of life. It is on record to my wife’s credit that she never made a financial demand on me throughout my stay in the United Kingdom. Besides, she always sent me good news every week about herself and the children; but when I returned home, I learnt she passed through anxious times with four children, the oldest of whom was only five when I left home, and the youngest of whom arrived four months after my departure.”

My dear, will those who know you during your earthly sojourn consider you

  • A jewel of inestimable value?
  • A person full of love for fellow human beings?
  • A resourceful person?
  • Someone to rely on even when the going gets tough?
  • A humble person?
  • A charming personality?
  • Generous of spirit?
  • Sympathetic towards the less fortunate?
  • Ready to offer a helping hand?
  • Loved and respected by friends and acquaintances?
  • Courageous?
  • Full of patience and forbearance?
  • Stoic?

My dear, these are some of the qualities that make for a well-rounded human being. Try your best to develop these characteristics.

Love you always.



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