Serious Reflection on a Departed Beauty Queen

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Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa, Publisher, Mode Men laments the dead of his mother, Morenike Olatorera Coker, a former beauty queen who passed on recently at 74 years

My mother was born a queen in every sense of the word and she had the heart of an angel. Always giving, sharing and caring for others – and even strangers. She was a pillar of strength to many, especially me. She taught me to serve and love God, whole heartedly and depend on Him for everything, put my trust in Him and Him alone.

Morenike Olatorera Coker was born 7th February 1946 to Pa Akinwumi and Mrs Cecilia Idowu Coker (of the Jibowu Taiwo Family of Egbaland) in Nigeria. She attended Ago-Ijaye Methodist ,Ebute Metta, then Methodist Girls High School, Yaba Lagos. She was a devoted Girls Guide member. Shortly after leaving secondary school, she lost her mother on the 25th of July 1963 (who was buried on the 27th July same year) leaving behind eight children – Morenike being the second child and the eldest girl, proceeded to the UK in 1965 and attended Continental College in St Leo’s-On-Sea, Hastings where she got a a Diploma is Secretarial Studies. She then worked as a Secretary to the Nigerian High Commissoner -Late Brig Ogundipe.

While there, she was crowned Miss Nigeria and in 1969, attended the Miss World pageant representing Nigeria. Morenike got married to Mathew Afolabi Faribido on the 11th of Feb 1967 and the couple were blessed with two children -Yewande Olusola Faribido (1967) and Michael Adeniran Faribido (1968) . They moved to Nigeria in 1970 and later got divorced in 1973. Morenike worked as a single parent to raise her children as a Admin Secretary at Egypt Air and later Japan Petroleum. In July 1974 she gave birth to another son for the Late Ambassador Balarabe Tafawa-Balewa. Morenike continued and flourished in business raising her children alone.

She took her Christian faith seriously and this can be attested by those who knew her. Her children graduated from various universities and started work in the UK while her last remained in Nigeria. Yewande and Micheal currently live in the UK with their children, while Abubakar lives in Nigeria running his various businesses. Morenike retired and usually travelled to see her children and family around the world annually. She was a devoted Christian and carried out charity works in her spare time.

Morenike spent the last 10-15 years of her life a strong devotee to God and the church, supporting her many adopted children financially, emotionally and spiritually. She died peacefully in her sleep on the 21st of December 2020.

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Morenike being the second child and the eldest girl, proceeded to the UK in 1965 and attended Continental College in St Leo’s-On-Sea, Hastings where she got a a Diploma is Secretarial Studies. She then worked as a Secretary to the Nigerian High Commissoner -Late Brig Ogundipe. While there, she was crowned Miss Nigeria and in 1969, attended the Miss World pageant representing Nigeria. Morenike got married to Mathew Afolabi Faribido on the 11th of Feb 1967 and the couple were blessed with two children -Yewande Olusola Faribido (1967) and Michael Adeniran Faribido (1968) . They moved to Nigeria in 1970 and later got divorced in 1973. Morenike worked as a single parent to raise her children as a Admin Secretary at Egypt Air and later Japan Petroleum. In July 1974 she gave birth to another son for the Late Ambassador Balarabe Tafawa-Balewa. Morenike continued and flourished in business raising her children alone