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ECHOnigeria Forum / Naija Info / Money, patience important in marriage — Akinleye, 80 (1 Post | 335 Views)
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Money, patience important in marriage — Akinleye, 80 by Scandalbuster(f) : 10:00 am On Aug 13
Eighty-year-old photographer, Emmanuel Akinleye, tells ARUKAINO UMUKORO the story of his life
When and where were you born?
I was born in Ilaro, Ogun State, on August 11, 1937, to the family of Adele-Olu of Ilaro. I am the second in a family of seven. I knew the exact date of my birth because my father was a bit literate. He wrote down my birth date and later showed it to me, but I didn’t understand what the date meant then because I was young. In 1949, when I was 12 years old, he took me to church for baptism, and when the reverend asked for my age, he brought out the paper. My late father was a farmer while my late mum was a trader.
How do you feel at 80?
I feel great and it is the grace of God because no human being has the power to determine his own life, except God. So, whatever God gives us, we should accept and thank Him.
What was your childhood like?
It was different from now. I remember going to the farm to help my father whenever I returned from school. Even before I started schooling, I used to go to the farm regularly. It was a normal thing for children to help their parents on their farms in our days.
The country has changed from what we met in our younger days. When I relocated to Lagos in the 60s, one could walk from Agege to Ikeja at night and no one would harass you. But now, there is so much crime. Nowadays, we are warned to lock our doors before going to sleep. Nigeria was more secure and peaceful and we all enjoyed living together. I would advise the government to do more to improve on the security situation in the country and eradicate corruption. If all our leaders were faithful, Nigeria would have become better than this.
Where were you during the country’s independence on October 1, 1960?
I was in Lagos. I was among the people selected to meet the Queen of England when she visited the country. It was great seeing her in person.
Which schools did you attend?
I attended Christ Church School, Ilaro, from 1949 to 1956. I was 12 years old when I started primary school. It took that long because parents didn’t send their children to school at an early age, like it is practised nowadays. From Christ Church, I went to Egbado College, Ilaro, from 1956 to 1959.
I was about to take school certificate examinations in Class Four when my father died. He had told me that if I passed the examination, he would sponsor me to the university. He had already paid my tuition for college in advance, but unfortunately, he died in April of that year. I had to struggle for myself. I left the school in Class Four. There was none to help with my education so I had to stay at home for two years.
What did you do afterwards?
I decided to look for a job. In 1961, I eventually got one as a steward in the house of one of the Assistant Division Officers known as Mr. Otuyelu. My salary was €1, 10 shillings per month. I relocated to Lagos when my boss was transferred from Ibadan, Oyo State. I followed him and continued working for him until 1964. Later on, I joined Wilmer Publicity in Yaba to work in their screen printing department. I was able to get the job because I used the two-year period I stayed at home after college to learn photography. I can’t remember the name of the person that taught me. But I was glad I learnt a vocation which helped me get the employment in the company at Yaba. I worked there for a few years and later joined Afro-media Nigeria limited, Lagos, as a photographer in 1966. A few years later, in 1971, I was employed as a dark room photographer in Litho Packages Nigeria limited, Ikeja, Lagos, where they make paint containers. I got the last job through a man who had worked in Wilmer Publicity. He liked my work and recommended me for the new job. I worked there for 18 years before I retired as a chief dark room technician in 1989.
Do you regret that you couldn’t complete your education after your father died?
I believe God allowed it to happen. It was the will of God. If God said my father would be alive, he would still be. I accepted it as God’s will. I don’t have any regrets in life.
What did you enjoy most working as a photographer?
I gained a lot of experience and took thousands of photos. I have lost count of the number. My work experience also taught me the importance of faithfulness in doing one’s job. In one’s workplace, one shouldn’t try to steal anyone’s or the company’s money or property. No one called me at any point to explain how I spent the company’s money.
What did you do after retiring?
I went into private business while I enjoyed my retirement. I moved to my house in 1975 and it is where I still live. In 2010, my wife and I were privileged to visit Jerusalem in Israel. I enjoyed every bit of the trip.
What advice would you give young people searching for white-collar jobs after graduation?
It is important for them to learn a trade or vocation which they can be doing for the meantime until they get a government job. All my children learnt a vocation after their education. Polytechnic students embark on one-year training after their first two years. Young people can use this period to learn a skill or vocation. I not only learnt photography in after the two years, I also learnt accounting. These skills helped me in all the places I worked. Every place I applied for, I got a job instantly.
What major photos did you take?
I did commercial photography. My works were used on billboards around the city. Four or 10 picture frames/papers can be used to make one billboard. But times have changed. Adverts on billboards are different now and papers are not being used as much like in our days.
When did you marry?
I got married in 1965. I met my first wife in 1968. She was a trader. In 1972, I married a second wife, who is late now. I am blessed with 10 children, two boys, eight girls; as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren
What makes a good marriage?
Patience is important, especially on the man’s side. Husbands should be patient with their wives. But some men are not, that is why they divorce their wives when issues arise. Finance is important in marriage too. Some women like wearing aso ebi for occasions. If the husband does not have money, he won’t have enough to give his wife to buy them. Couples should also learn to understand one another.
What is your favourite food?
It is ewedu soup and amala, semo or pounded yam.
You look fit at your age. What is the secret?
It is still the work of God. But my children are taking good care of me and I go for regular medical check-up and treatment. Also, I ensure I exercise regularly by taking a walk. I used to walk from my house to another street, but now I just walk around my compound four times every day.
What are you most fulfilled about in life?
I am grateful for long life. Some of my mates didn’t live to see 80. Some reached 80 but they cannot walk or eat well. I am still fit and can move around and eat well. I am grateful to God for good health, my family and what I achieved with photography.
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