Rotimi Ogundele’s Surprise Bash For His Wife’s 50th In Kos Island, Greece

Now we get the pleasure of meeting the master planner of this fabulous birthday celebration, he is none other than Mr. Ogundele, Ms. Shola’s knight in shining armour:

– May we meet you?

I am Olurotimi Ogundele, a son of the Most High God, sometimes referred to as a Reverend, a Nigerian-Irish, living in Scotland. A Chartered Accountant by profession, however, I later decided to explore the entrepreneurship terrain and after honing my skills, I decided to venture into a few sectors such as Agriculture – Ranching and plantation, Manufacturing of InstaStew ( U.K. & Nigeria), and Real estate. 

– What’s your love story and how long have you been married?

That’s an interesting story, our love story! Hmmm… “MS”. as I call Shola- she calls me “Mine”, and I met when we just left secondary school. We happened to both live in the same estate in Ilupeju, Lagos, in fact, three streets away from each other. The first time I set eyes on her, she was dressed in a pink-fitted gown with pair of black shoes and a bag. She was on her way to JAMB lesson. My first thought was – that’s a “nice mummy’s baby butter girl”, but I didn’t utter a word to her as she passed. 

As fate would have it, we had our exams at the same center and after the papers, I saw her again with lots of “friends”, comfortably chatting away as if they have known themselves for years. That is the Shola effect, she is so warm that you feel you’ve met in another life. Then she was 18, I believe. 

I knew I had seen her before but just wasn’t sure where or when. So I got curious. We all got on the same bus from Isolo and I pulled on the big boy drill and called unto the conductor that I will sort their transport fare, they were 8 or ten. Sadly, none of them even noticed, they were rather too busy chatting away, and I didn’t even get a single thank you ( you can steal away Shola with gist).

Then I got off, met my schoolmate, and forgot about her heading home. Again we met on a second bus and there she was, chatting again with another person, they were sitting right in front of me. So I paid again but this time she turned back when the conductor told her I have paid and with a warm smile, said thank you.

We both got down at the last destination, her company had left. We started chatting until we got to the taxi point to take us to Ilupeju. Something happened that stirred instant respect, amazement, and kin interest in her. I wanted to pay again for the fare but she refused, saying “you paid before, please, I must pay for you now.” Woah!!! This is a different breed, extremely friendly, and very genuine, I was more than impressed. We walked for 10 mins to her place then I went off to mine. Before leaving, I made her promise to come check me up when she was free but honestly forgot all about it – boys’ life.

I got back one day and my brother told me someone came looking for me, and that they chatted for an hour, “very nice girl” etc, he was full of praise for her and made her promise to come back the next day. I had no clue it was her or who it might have been. But the fact that a lamb came to ask after the lion’s health is a good enough reason to be eager. The whole day I was full of anticipation, not knowing who she was or the time she would come back.

When she came she was so beautiful, I thought she was the prey, but I became the prey as I couldn’t get enough of her beauty, kindness, and warmth. I have been captured ever since. 32 years, that is 9 years of friendship and 23 of marriage.

– Married for more than two decades and counting, what’s it like to constantly have to top up the game when it comes to pulling off sweet surprises?

It was easy, as I said earlier, when you have a non-materialistic, non-demanding partner willing to sacrifice herself, a woman, that’s amazing. Even the certified mentally insane people respond to love. When Shola loves you as a friend, she will do anything and everything to ensure your happiness. She has a childlike trust in people, if you haven’t seen pure kindness and love in its true form, you will naturally be scared or wary that there is a cost, but trust me, it cost nothing, just be true to her. 

It would have been difficult to pull such an event like this if not for the type of influence Shola’s person commands, and not just because she’s a fellow Chartered Marketer;

for example, I never had to talk on the phone or call anyone individually, it was a WhatsApp text, nor did I have to cajole anyone or incentivize anyone. The people who came, most of them are not regular, I had never had the privilege of saying “hi” to them, ever.

In our 32 years, I thought I knew Shola, and her crew but that’s still a journey, how can you know her? She has friends and loved ones everywhere. Meet her and tell me you don’t like her and I will give you £1000. Even my quiet family, nuclear and extended love her. My advice to myself is, whatever happens, don’t offend this angel, or maybe mars will have you.

-Your wife Shola recently clocked the big 50 and had an epic celebration to commemorate the milestone which had thousands of Greeks tuned in! You were the master planner behind the amazing day, tell us about the process, how did you manage to pull it off?

Not hard to, but difficult to surprise. It’s not hard because she is a very wonderful, loving, caring, supporting, understanding, accommodating friend and wife.

She is difficult to surprise in the sense that due to our close friendship and relationship, coupled with our no-secret open policy, she can dig up anything just by my facial expression. So my solution was simple, I had to be away in Lagos or she would have noticed.

Someone called her about the destination and other details, but because of the above, she easily believed when I discarded the information as misguided and misconstrued. But I had to give her something, so I revealed that the mentioned destination was true, but it was for the family since I don’t really talk to her friends. She believed and it solved that.

Most of the planning was done in Nigeria and I need to say a very big thank you to everyone who planned the event. First was Aunty Lara Osilaja, she called me day and night even midnight about one idea, detail or another, she called the hotel much more than I ever did using her personal phone line (Greece calls are not free from the U.K.), Dr. Mosun Fapohunda, Shola’s very good friend, out of her extremely busy schedule, she still took the time to call and check on the progress. My boys were astonishing, making bookings and searching for restaurants, events, and activities. Also, Pastor Nancy, running out of the pharmacy to tell me of one idea she had or another.

 I want to thank every other person who responded to my text and questions, they were all just wonderful, wonderful people.

How would you describe your wife? What’s the one thing that endears her to you?

My description of her is simple; she is love. That is a typical example of her very essence, the teaching of love. She can’t keep malice, is not capable of hurting someone, is prompt to help at her own detriment, not arrogant, not hurt tempered, very prayerful, jovial, extremely hardworking, not money, wealth, fame conscious, very plain and uncomplicated, encouraging, I can go on and on.

What endears her to me is the fact that God made a clear promise with her name to me as a child and He delivered as He said. Shola is just a perfect example of a good heart.

In the face of marriages hitting the rocks at your every turn, what keeps you going? How do you pull through when things aren’t going so smoothly?

Very good question I must say, it’s God and the understanding of his word, a few things;

1. Love – try to find the real meaning and wisdom.

2. Openness, avoid secrets you are one. From childhood, I thought her what I learned, when we each got money from our parents we put it together under the bed, she has full access to it, and so do I. Because of that, we became very comfortable and happy together and each of us could not spend on frivolities or unnecessary indulgence, since one way or another we are accountable to one another.

 3. No dominance – we are equal partners. Take for example in school, you will have a class captain even though you are all mates). With that in mind although there are no laid down rules stating what you shouldn’t take, rather we both agree before each project, even until today it’s what we practiced.

4. Forgiveness – is also very important. We are human, we will make errors the ability to talk about it and drop it is important. Disagree yes, but you must settle. Some rules we developed and some I got from my mum which has helped us greatly.

-What would you say is of utmost importance for a union to not just be endured but a truly happy one?

The fellow teachings are the rules we practice in our home and I believe that they will help in no small measure when applied:

– Money destroys so many relationships, this is very funny; You trust yourselves enough to make love without the fear of giving disease. Enough to sleep next to each other on the bed, without the fear of one killing the other person every night. You trust yourselves to carry each other’s future representatives I.e your seeds – children. You trust each other enough to share the same surname, BUT, you don’t trust each other with your ordinary paper note called money, or assets.,IT IS JUST FOOLISHNESS.

– Your job is not to be happy but to make sure your spouse is happy and vice versa. ( if you are happy and he/she is not, you have failed and are selfish.)

– Nothing is a right, everything is just a privilege, so don’t expect anything as your right, even your food or marital bed.

– Never deny each other lovemaking, if you are happy or sad your body belongs to the other you don’t own yourself it belongs to your spouse.

– No matter what angers both of you, you must eat together. (while eating, possibilities of calmness since you can’t avoid each other) comes into play.

– She must never refuse to cook and you must never refuse to eat. ( once you don’t cook, strangers will replace, once you don’t eat strangers will eat. Nature does not allow for a vacuum).

– You must both never avoid your bed, so sleeping on the couch or guest room is not an option. ( if you sleep together body will mistakenly touch and forgiveness will be quick)

– Sort out your differences before the sun goes down or up the next day.

– Compliment each other, don’t ignore or overlook. People are conditioned to see negatives; so you see a nice dress, makeup, etc you overlook, but if one eyelash goes up and the other down you spot it and say it. Recondition yourself to see lots of positives and few negatives. Even God compliments many times before saying one negative in the book of Revelation.

– No matter how close you are, the one you share not just basic things with should be your spouse. They should be closest. Encourage trust. Don’t betray it because it’s difficult to build and don’t hold it back, it has no value in your own hands until you give the trust to someone, that is when it’s valuable

– Most of the time, I go to the shop to buy her clothes and she goes to buy mine ( she buys how she will like me to look and I buy how I like her to look ). Is your spouse not supposed to be the one looking at you? Who else are you impressing?

– Do not talk or put your spouse down, He or She is your mirror image. After many years, your spouse is the result, you are able to create. Good or bad it’s your capability.

– I have heard these misguided words, “my children are my friend or I am here only for my children, or I am waiting for my children to grow “ Don’t make your children your friends or your objective in life ( you are their coach and teacher.

After 25 years, you gave birth to them they will jump ship and if you follow them you become a liability; an evil mother-in-law or a useless father-in-law.

– Tell your children the truth appropriately as they grow so that your family mistakes can be corrected and the varies can be upheld.

– If you have a project, discuss it with each other and go ahead, trust me the only people who will suffer or truly gain are both of you. Others will give advice based on so many things which can be faulty due to lack of experience, malice, ill wishes, theory, lack of seriousness, etc the consequences of the loss is on you both.

– Don’t use others as a yardstick, most of them have one pain or another, even greater than yours. Some have assets but not liquid, some have riches but are abused, some have calm families, but insanity thrives, some lack vision, are only materialistic, and some short life, it varies. Life is meaningless, and

– Communicate well with your spouse it’s important for your progress.

– Never show yourself in the position to have a favorite. ( you will create enmity amongst siblings and dislike for you ) treat them equally, you don’t know if your favorite will disappoint you and the less favorite will uphold you late in life.

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