- She was my angel, says Bello
- Daughter: Guess heaven couldn’t wait for her
Obinna Chima in Wolverhampton, UK
It was a day for torrents of tributes Thursday as family and friends gathered to witness the burial of Mrs. Helen Eniola-Olaitan, the wife of the Managing Director of THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Eniola Bello.
The remains of Eniola-Olaitan were interred at the Danes Court Cemetery, Wergs Road, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, after a funeral service at the All Nations Church in Wolverhampton.
Eniola-Olaitan (nee Alemeru), 49, died on June 4, at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton.
Friends, family members and relatives from the United Kingdom, Nigeria and other parts of the world trooped to the church to pay their last respects to a woman that had been described as caring and peaceful.
During his sermon, Reverend Ayo Aiyedogbon of Realm of Glory Church, Abuja, extolled the deceased, saying she lived a life of service and dedication to her family, community, the church and to God.
According to Aiyedogbon, the Eniola-Olaitan instilled in her children, moral uprightness, fear of God and dedication to the community.
While urging the congregation to emulate the virtues she lived as a mark of remembrance, he urged every human being to embrace peace.
He also comforted the family and urged them to take solace in the fact that their mother has gone to a better place.
In an emotion-laden tribute, Bello described his late wife as “the spark and glow and sunshine of our household.”
He said: “Her tireless energy, her selflessness, her natural humility, her playful friendliness, her easy laughter, her material and emotional generosity, and her motherly disposition to all made her central to anything concerning me.
“She threw herself into every activity, every venture, every ceremony, every plan body, soul and spirit.
“She was the mother hen warding off danger I’m too blind to see, preparing the ground ahead, and always protective of her family.
“In my larger family, she knew how to kneel for everybody irrespective of age; how not to call any of my relatives, however young, by name; she had different kinds of cognomen for my family members – Big Daddy, Big Mummy, Iya oko mi, Baba oko mi, Iyale mi, Auntie, Uncle, Kabiyesi, etc – depending on age, sex, status and closeness.
“She instinctively knew whom to call, who to send a gift, who to invite for holiday, how to apologise, on my behalf, for any real or imagined infraction. She greeted every of my friend and colleague with a courteous smile, ending every salutation with “Sir” or “Ma”. Obirin bi okunrin, Helen was someone I am incapable of becoming in several lifetimes. With her at home either in Wolverhampton, or Lagos or Ayetoro Gbede, ours was always a bubbling beehive of activities with visitors coming and going, eating, drinking and having some gift to take away.
“Where I’m reserved and enjoyed the privacy of my company; she was gregarious and revelled in having people around her. Where I’m carefree and couldn’t be bothered about some insults; she was boisterous and wouldn’t accept any indignity. Where I’m quietly uncommunicative, she was openly lively. Where I’m inhibited, she was spontaneous. Indeed, she seemed to have been specially created to fill the gaps in my life and make up for my weaknesses. She was my angel.”
Also, the daughter of the deceased, Wuraola, in a tribute to her mother, thanked God every day for the memories she had with her.
She said: “I would never trade you for anyone in this world…You deserved so much better and I guess heaven couldn’t wait for you. Thank you for loving me, for grooming me, for raising me and constantly being my support system.”
Among dignitaries who came to bid an eternal farewell to Eniola-Olaitan were former Editor of THISDAY, Mr. Simon Kolawole, now Managing Director of TheCable; Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu; former Executive Director, Punch Newspapers, Mr. Azu Ishiekwene; Publisher of The Abuja Inquirer, Mr. Dan Akpovwa, and Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi.