By Rauf Aregbesola
My sojourn in Kaduna in the 1980s, first for my youth service and later for a paid employment, will remain ever memorable. This is because it was there that I found the love of my life, Iyaafin Sherifat Abidemi Aregbesola.
I was a dashing young man with long hair and ideological fire burning in my soul. I had been caught in the throes of the ideological fervour of the time. I left The Polytechnic Ibadan fired with idealism and was prepared to change the world.
People of my generation actually were fiercely nationalistic. They wanted the best for the country and at the same time were globalist. Our vision was not just for Nigeria; we wanted a world devoid of injustice, inequality, poverty, diseases and other afflictions of humanity. Kaduna too was a hotbed of activism and provided a natural habitat for me. I was therefore too serious to have any social life. All that would soon change.
It started 39 years ago when I daily secretly admired a damsel in front of her residence on Ibrahim Taiwo Road, in Tundun-Wada, Kaduna. Strangely, it appeared this fine young lady was always there whenever I passed by on my way to my own residence in Dustima Road, Tundun-Wada, in the same Kaduna.
Then, the courage to get down from the commuter bus failed me most of the time to engage her. Towards the end of the service year I eventually mustered the will to so do. However, I left the state soon after.
Providence smiled on me when the defunct Nigeria External Telecommunications (NET) Ltd, offered me employment same year and deployed me to Kaduna, to join in the construction, commissioning and operation of the second satellite telecommunication gateway, in Kujama, Kaduna.
On my return to Kaduna, I did not waste any time in re-engaging with the young beautiful lady that had greatly attracted my admiration and interest. The rest they say is history.
We married in 1983, and the union is marvellously blessed with good children and a paradise of a home. I cannot have a better life partner. My wife is my companion, adviser, guide, protector, teacher, lover and manager. She is a resourceful mother to the children and a worthy matriarch of the family.
Over the years I can say without equivocation that it was an angel that came my way in 1981, who I tied the nuptials with in 1983. Her love for me is total and unquenchable. She was tailor-made for me. I believe the feeling is mutual. By the grace of God, she has been a worthy companion and assistant in my journey of life. She has filled me with laughter and joy and she is worth more than the entire world to me.
I am grateful to Allah SWT for His mercy on the union and my darling wife for her huge sacrifice to manage me over the years. My heart is filled with praise to the Most High for the blessing of an angel He brought my way.
As she celebrates her diamond jubilee with our country, Nigeria, I wish her more grace, good health, long and fulfilled life as I equally wish Nigeria peace, progress and success in the process of nation building.
Sixty is a remarkable landmark. She has matured in every way and mastered the art of being a good wife and mother. But she is still as beautiful and appealing to me as she was 39 years ago.
Darling, happy birthday and many happy returns.
Ogbeni Aregbesola, two-term Governor of Osun State, is currently Nigeria’s Minister of Interior