'I Wish HID Awolowo Was Still Alive To Share In The Joy Of My Success' - Chinwe, Mama's Personal Secretary - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Monday, March 2, 2020

'I Wish HID Awolowo Was Still Alive To Share In The Joy Of My Success' - Chinwe, Mama's Personal Secretary




...stresses it was a painful decision leaving Awolowo family

             • Chinwe

From Babalola Gafar, Abeokuta

Chinwe  Ero - Phillips who hails from Ovim community in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State and married to a Consultant Radiologist from Ogun State is a happy woman but said she would have been happier if the matriarch of Awolowo dynasty, Chief(Mrs) Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo, was still around to share in the joy of her success.

HID, a businesswoman, politician, leader and YeyeOba of Yorubaland died on September 19, 2015 at 99.

Chinwe, who was Mama's Personal Secretary (PA) was one of the 882 Masters Degree graduands of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, during the institution's  Convocation ceremony recently.

Elated Chinwe  told The Daily Crucible that she is now well equipped to render her service in nation building in the areas of Public administration. She graduated with Cumulative Grade Point Aggregate(CGPA) of 4.54.

She recalled that while alive, the Nonagenarian did not only give her the liberty to go back to school for the Master programme in Public Administration, but also regularly prayed for her success and protection up till Mama's last day on earth.

According to Chinwe, her final examinations   commenced  the very week the Yeye Oba breathed her last.

She disclosed that working for Mama at close range was quite remarkable as the relationship grew to become that of mother and daughter and morphing into a confidant.She noted that leaving the Awolowo family was the most painful decision to take.

She explained that she was HID's PA for 11 years and when Mama passed on, she still  worked for the Awolowo family for three more years until December last year when she had to disengage, stressing that while it lasted, she had the rare privilege of meeting the nation's notable politicians, leaders and traditional rulers from across the country. 
 
She said her husband, a medical doctor(Consultant Radiologist) was transferred to Ota, Ogun State,  and the entire family had to relocate to the place and thus,  making her leaving the Awolowos inevitable.

According to Chinwe, her rich experience with Mama is worth documenting in a book form by anybody who has both the time and talent to write.

"Working with Mama, I would say it was a life time experience for me. As a matter of fact, the experience is worth chronicling in Book form. I started my career as Mama's Personal Secretary/ Personal Assistant as a young graduate. 

"As a matter of fact, it was my first application letter that earned me the appointment. I did the interviews while I was a Youth Corps member serving in Ikirun, Ifelodun LGA, Osun. And as God would have it, I was called called to resume work less than two months after completing my  service year. It was a miracle.

"My relationship with mama Awo was that of grandmother - grand daughter. And mama used to say that you know I have taken you as my own grand daughter. We were very close, closer than just the relationship between employer/employee. She confided in me on many important issues not looking at my age and tribe.

"She never discriminated against me based on my tribe. She loved me so much and she always spoke well of me to people and that also made these people to accept and appreciate me. Mama love honest and hardworking people, I guess that was the reason she loved me. People still call me Omo Mama, Omo Yeye till date.

"It wasn't easy dealing with her departure. Even though I knew it was close going by some things she told me to do, but I had wished she waited till after her 100th birthday. Living in the house wasn't the same again after she departed, I mean it's Mama HID we are talking about. The house seemed so empty and boring too.

"The  Lessons I learnt from working with her would be as the bible says, seest thou a man diligent in his work, he shall stand before great men and not before mere men.
I stood before great men, I interacted with prominent kings, top government officials and very important personalities in this country.

"So diligence, hard work, honesty and God's favour worked together for me and that made everyone forget I wasn't a Yoruba but an Omo Ibo. The late Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuade used to call me Akowe Agba(Senior Secretary I guess). Another prominent Oba now late too, used to call me Aje Okuta ma mu omi and Olori kekere teasingly because am Ibo. 

"So, by and large almost everyone loved and treated me kindly because of how Mama accepted me like her own grand daughter.

"The three years I spent with the family after Mama's demise was memorable also. Even after a year of leaving the house they still call me if they need  any information concerning anything in the house. So my relationship with them is still very cordial.

"I would have been happier if she was here to celebrate with me on my success because she was very supportive during my studies. I mean she allowed me attend lectures during working hours every Friday and she would always pray for me for God's protection. 

"It's not every employer that would permit his or her employee attend lectures during working hours. Unfortunately she departed the same week my final exams commenced. It wasn't easy studying and writing my exams that period due to the funeral preparations and engagements but I am grateful that I was able to pull it through with a CGPA of 4.54."

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