the male head of a family or tribe, an older man who is powerful within an organization, the male founder of something – Oxford English Dictionary
“Every great warrior must learn to endure and overcome the adversities of life.”Lailah Gifty Akita
He stood 6 ft tall, charming, bohemian, and pacific-type in complexion in a country where 85% of men were dark chocolate-skinned. And man, was he gorgeous. He was a socialite and coordinates his wears with an intentional flair that makes him the envy of any social gathering. His signature hat, which he dons on his traditional wear, is uniquely him and has been imitated by many. And talking about his traditional wear – normally 10 yards of cloth material is required for the complete traditional wear that comprises of the sokoto (pant or like the English would say; trouser); the dansiki which is a caftan-like shirt which could be long or mid-length worn over the sokoto; and the agbada which is the flowing garment worn over the other two – but The Patriarch uses an extra 2 yards which makes his agbada extremely flowing. How he got to be who he was, attaining his status in different spheres of life, and becoming The Patriarch, without his father in his life, is beyond my imagination. He owed some of that to his indefatigable mother who lived to be 101 years on earth before saying goodbye. His father died when he was barely six years of age. Sometimes his children wondered if he ever knew his dad as none remembered coming across their granddad’s picture. For a man whose pastime is taking photos and who kept a chest full of albums, not having a pic of his dad was a suspect. But no-one ever asked nor questioned it as his children knew the topic was a sensitive one for him.
His hobbies, business, …
The Patriarch loved cars; seemed like he collected them. Mercedes was his favorite, and he owned quite a few of the models. He lived in a country where you paid cash for cars; not finance them. His Mercedes Benz was licensed “32.” He had a few variations of “32.” Many wonder why the number, but never got to ask him. Of course, he drove other cars – Range Rover, various sports cars, and a couple of other cars dedicated to his children. As a father, he was dedicated; as a friend, he was loyal almost to a fault; in business and social circles, he was influential. An influencer, way before social media. He was the kind of man one would always want on his side. Who would not want him for a husband, a son, a father, sibling, or a friend?
. . .
He was also a magnate having made his money as a realtor and developer. He had his offices in two cities and shuttles to and fro. He had a few foreign business partners; his closest were Gorisek from the old Yugoslavia and Schubert from Germany. With his partners, they imported various items into the country, such as the Holstein beer, the Ice Cream trucks which were super-hits of its time. They also began the meat processing and ice-block factories in his hometown, to name a few.
. . .
As a socialite, The Patriarch belonged to a few elite social clubs and loved to host parties. His signature annual Ileya (aka Eid il Kabir) was always the talk-of-town hosting friends of the who-is-who of society from Kings (Obas), to high-ranking government officials, politicians, business moguls, and family members. Everyone looked forward to being invited to, and attending, his party. Friends would call to RSVP letting him know that they were out-of-town but will not miss it for anything. As the RSVPs were received, he would beckon to his daughter, who helped compile the annual list of invitees, to check them off.
The Women in his life
He had few women in his life. As an only child, it was often rumored that his mother encouraged him to have as many women as he could. Others would say, he just could not keep his eyes off women. The Patriarch would often respond – “that the women would not leave him alone; that he was still a virgin at 28.” In the ’60s, being a virgin at 28 when those age groups were married with their third or fourth child, was a big deal. Whatever the truth is, God knows. Like his children, he never wanted anyone to remind him of the count of women in his life. And with so many women, one could not keep a tab on the woman who was home-based with him. The longest The Patriarch had a woman/wife was about nine years. Thereafter, his women lasted from two to four years!
He was honored at both sides of his parents’ hometown with chieftaincy titles. This was when chieftaincy titles were prominently an act of honor. He was a Justice of Peace and would, later, again be honored with his State’s chieftaincy title. His chieftaincy titles got him the nickname “Triple Chief.” With these titles, his residence shifted to his hometown and he visited his other homes weekly; sometimes monthly.
Men ought to know …
“And, though the warrior’s sun has set, its light shall linger round us yet, Bright, Radiant, Blessed.”Jorge Manrique
Life is a battle has become a cliché. But life battles are real, and The Patriarch had lots of them. Did I hear you whisper, “so do I and many others?” True, but wait till you hear The Patriarch’s battles and let me know if your battles were as close! The Patriarch wrestled with powers, principalities, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places. He won some; lost a few, but all in all, he was a warrior till the end.
Children are men’s primary legacy; every other is secondary. And men ought to remember them when doing their lives.
Come with me as I unpack and narrate the life of The Patriarch; a story of a life full of love (or the lack thereof), warfares of every imaginable kind, and an end that left him lonely but dignified and with tons of questions left unanswered.