Abiodun Akinlawon Written by Abiodun Akinlawon · 2 min read >

On a cold evening, at her 5-bedroom duplex located in banana island in Lagos. One of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Nigeria. Atinuke, had just taken delivery of a letter dropped by a rider from DHL. As she opened and glanced through the content of the letter, her face lit up with a subtle smile that passed a message of pride and fulfilment. It was an invitation to the graduation of her second son, Segun, from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He had just completed his PhD. Program in Public health and Epidemiology, a degree name which she couldn’t even pronounce.
Atinuke looked up at the sky, which was dressed in several stars with the moon standing magnificently amongst them that evening. She said a short prayer while raising her hands to the heavens, her “iro and buba” dangling while she jumped up in praise to the “most high” with tears rolling down her cheeks. She had finally fulfilled the promise she made to her younger self that every child that comes out from her will get the best of education and will not be deprived of anything until they get to the zenith of their academic pursuit.

Early Childhood.

Atinuke was the last of eight children, born to a farmer father and a trader mother. Atinuke, being born into a struggling family couldn’t further her education beyond grade 4, after which she had to begin menial jobs to support her family and provide for the home. When Atinuke clocked 16, she decided to come down to Lagos, a city she believed was for dreamers and could transform her fortune.

Life in Lagos

When Atinuke got to Lagos, she got a job as a housekeeper at a lawyer’s house. It was while she was working there, taking care of the kids, preparing them for school daily and experiencing a way of life that she had not been exposed to prior, that she made a promise to herself that every child that she births will have the best of education even though she couldn’t remember what the four walls of a classroom looked like.
After her time at the lawyer’s house, she left after seven years to start a business venture of her own.
She started out preparing homemade meals and hawking them to construction sites so site workers could patronize her. News of how delicious her meals were spread across quickly and in a short while, she had gotten enough money to lease a physical place where she operated from. One thing that was evident in Atinuke was that what she lacked in classroom education, she earned in life experience. Her implementations and setups never came across anyone as someone who wasn’t educated. This was also reflected in the calibre of people that patronized her. Her customers comprised mainly office workers and students.

The Turnaround

Atinuke eventually got her big break after she got a contract to be the caterer in charge of in-flight meals for a major airline in the country. She was so dedicated and operated with so much tact that she expanded her operations into textiles and the manufacturing of plastics. As she was growing in her ventures and endeavours, she also never forgot the promise she made to herself as a young lady. She ensured that her three sons went to the best schools, and made sure they never lacked anything so far it is education-related. As she couldn’t help with school works, she employed the services of the best teachers she could that gave extra teachings to her children.
All her efforts have eventually paid off as two of her sons who are already done with their master’s degrees are already top executives in Nigerian companies and the last son who was the baby of the house has just completed his PhD degree program. Now she feels her assignment in this world has been complete and what she is left to do is to help as many people as possible to get the best out of life.


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