My name is Adebowale Robert Eyitayo Ojo Amooaran Tade. My father, Revd. Solomon Ogunmola Tade was born and bred in Oke-Erigbe in Ikogosi (Ekiti West in Ekiti State, Nigeria) My mother, Beatrice Adetoun Tade was born in Ile-Agbegba in Ijagbo in Oyun Local Government in Kwara State, and I of course claim both, I believe that the two are important and when people ask me, I always tell them Paternally I’m from Ikogosi in Ekiti State and Maternally I’m from Ijagbo in Kwara State because both two came together to give birth to me by the grace of God. Our family name is called “Alutade” - it originated from drumming and coincidentally my wife's surname “Ayanlere” also has to do with drumming. It became “Tade” when my Dad went to the seminary, to make it easier for the Whites since it was too long for them and they may not be able to pronounce it well, so, he changed it to Tade.
My birth as I said was in Ogun state, precisely at Ifo because my Parents worked at Ifo, thereafter we moved to Abeokuta. My Parents were too generous, they allowed me to do as other children will do - play around with oranges.I can say that my parents pampered me probably because I happened to be the only male child, and to some extent I abused the pampering because I was doing it too much, but all I knew was that the cane was there for me, my dad disciplined me verbally by using the cane. In Abeokuta at that time, people of my age group, we enjoyed our own association of fellowship and we had our fellowship on the field of football, we didn’t joke with that no matter the cane awaiting us, we will still meet in the evening and do all those things, that was very interesting. It was okay for us at that time because security was not as tough as it is now, all these armed robbery, all forms of deterent measures weren’t there at time, we were free, we played around, we did not fear any terrorism at that time, no cultism, it was a free atmosphere for us to operate and demonstrate our youthful exuberant. We enjoyed it, I still remember vividly those people that we played together, many of us are still alive today by the grace of God.
Being the son of a clergyman made no difference because I still indulge with my colleagues most especially people of my age group. The only thing that I made sure I did was to attend church services, I dare not miss that because the caning will be more severe than any other offences I committed, my upbringing was good when it comes to religion.
I lost my mum when I was ten years old in 1955, I remember vividly that she loved me so much and as I told you earlier I’m the only male child, but she didn’t overdo it, not at the expense of the other children who are females, but she loved me so much and she pampered me.
My dad was very industrious, and from his background, he was very hardworking, he was involved in farming and he was into hunting, in fact, he had a double barrel gun, and at that time before you could get a license for a double barrel you must be somebody that is well respected in the society, even the issuing authorities will examine you, your profile and make sure you are not the type of person that will misuse the gun. He will go virtually every night between Monday and Tuesday if I remember vividly, but by the weekend he won’t because he had to prepare for church. So I can tell he was a good hunter. That is why when we talk about bushmeat I take a lot when my wife cooks meat, she does her best because she understands my background about meat.
I schooled in Abeokuta, Baptist Primary School, Oke-Saje, Abeokuta in the year 1953 through 1958, in between I also schooled at Baptist Modern School Alabama in Saje, Abeokuta where I spent one year and transited to Baptist Boys High School nulli secundus (meaning second to none), at Okeegunya, now in Saje. I finished secondary school in 1963. Then my higher institution was in Zaria, School of Pharmacy, Institute of Health, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, where I qualified as a Pharmacist. Thereafter I worked in Lagos as a Pharmacist Intern.
I was a good sportsman (footballer) in fact I was playing inside right. They relied on me for goals. I was also into a long-distance rate of 440 yards and I also tried my hands on 220 yards.
My music life was not as strong as it is now, I took interest in it while I was growing up. I happened to be a chorister in the church even though it wasn't voluntary because my dad was the chaplain so I wasn't a chorister by choice, it was by force but it's now natural to me now.
What is the difference between Modern school and the High school
A modern school is just preparatory, but I don't think there are still modern schools now. After modern school, most of the graduates will go to teacher's training, that's grade three teachers college to grade two teachers college, while some of them will go for clerical work (vocations/trade).
“Grade three has to do with the levels of qualification of a teacher and they will advance to grade two”. And this depends on the compensation paid by the government at that time.
The high school, they have hopes of advancing into the University
Secondary school “Nulli secondus” second to none.
At that time there were not many secondary schools but I could remember vividly three of them, Abeokuta grammar school, African church grammar school, Macjob grammar school and Premier grammar school. I remember all those and if at all there are any that are not as popular as those ones that I've mentioned. There was always a popular sports festival in Abeokuta at that time which brought these schools together and we met at Ibara playground where there are varieties of sporting activities like athletics and field sports at least once a year and also football matches.
Apart from the hill to Oke-Egunya (where I am located), I think academically we are at the top, we have very professional teachers - people that actually went for training, graduate teachers and lecturers and they taught us well. Baptist Boys High School Oke-Egunya Abeokuta were known and still known to be academically up relative to others.
The former Head Of State of Nigeria, General Olusegun Obasanjo, the Lambos, and Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola are all my seniors now who also attended Baptist Boys High School. We have old student associations and we still meet.
My International education was specifically for advanced training. I was in a business school in Boston Massachusetts, and that was specifically for marketing because I worked with Pfizer and when they recognise the future in you, they will want to develop you, and under that auspices, I was in Boston because it is an international college to train potential company gurus. I was also at Columbia University for management training that is mainly for people that are to be or have been scheduled to head businesses worldwide.
In those two good experiences because we meet with a lot of people who are up there and we see ourselves as God's own people whom God has blessed and is moving up. We had to concentrate more on the training because they are valuable training that really helps when we are on the job in leadership training and managing people.
I was qualified to study in Zaria, School of Pharmacy, Ahmadu Bello University because my mother, like I said earlier, came from Kwara State Ijagbo (as a northerner). I was able to mix with a lot of people there.
The Northern government instituted the School of Pharmacy, Amadu Bello primarily for Northerners because the number of pharmacist in the north were so little and they needed to train pharmacist, because they sponsored us we didn't pay any school fees, (like we were being pampered by the Northern government) but anyone who didn't do well in the first two years will be asked to leave. So, we spent five years there and it was interesting. Mixing up with the Northerners, the core Hausa and the Fulani, people thought they were lazy, but they are not, there are some who are really ready to learn and to mix with people from other tribes. I have friends among them and I was in the same department as them, we were okay together, and we did things together appropriately because most of them were Muslims but they tolerated Christians, and we tolerated them too. I enjoyed my time in the North, I also worked in the North afterwards (Kano, Maiduguri and Chad area).
Were there any memories you would like to share with us about your awareness of Nigeria getting Independence?
Yes, I was involved, you will be surprised what I mean by that, as far as we were concerned as students then, we ate rice, they gave us rice to celebrate independence, we dance, there was a parade at Ibara playground for all student at that time, we ate rice and chicken - that was the memory I had, I was part of the history of Nigeria getting her independence.
How did you and Mummy meet and when did you got married
As God would have it, it started in 1974 - it was a very joyful time, I was at Ijagbo, I am a very sociable young man and there was a get-together organised by the Student Union, at that get-together, my eyes caught a young girl at that time, I was thinking to myself, how would a young girl like this be in this city of Ijagbo and people like me don’t know her, I begin asking questions, who is this lady? This young lady was very quiet, and unassuming but tall and very pretty. I looked at her and I saw some people clamouring around her, I said to myself I would beat them to it, I showed one of my cousins, I need her, I want her, I need to know how to get her, and that was it, and I implemented my plan. We later met each other, but then I was in a hurry to go back to Zaria and I wrote a letter (2 pages and a little poetic), there was nothing like prayers then, but in my heart, I wished to have this lady and I remembered I said that I know many people have been clamouring around you but I am different, and my unique selling point was that I was not among the bad wagon, that I am a serious man - those were the few things I wrote in my letter.
We met thereafter, she was in Kaduna then (not too far from Zaria) I visited her, she resided with her uncle, and the uncle happens to know me and my relations (in fact very close family). The uncle thought I came to visit them not knowing that I had a good purpose until later when my visit became regular it became obvious to the uncle, through our frequent meetings, that was how I knew she is the one for me.
We got married on 21st December 1974 and the planning was very smooth because we knew it would happen and the preparation was normal, we married in Ijagbo and my people alongside my father came from Ikogosi for the marriage.
Daddy, tell us about your marital life as a young couple and a young family
The marriage changed my life, from bachelorhood to a married man, and you know the life of a bachelor, you will cook yourself, when there is no food you will go and buy, or you go around with boys, eating here and there, go to clubs, all of those changed and I adjusted to it when I know someone is at home waiting for me. Though it took some time to adjust because some friends still want to take me out, responsibility made me manage that area very well, when you are not responsible in your marriage, it shows the beginning of failure
How you integrate your career into your family life
I give credit to God and my wife because she knew I was very busy, I travelled virtually every month at a time, and Pfizer at that time had a lot of responsibilities, businesses, meetings and seminars everywhere (New York, UK, etc) But having a responsible woman at home, she understood it and corporated, she makes me happy anytime I came back from work. At times I work at midnight just to complete some assignments from work. Having the right woman in my life is part of my success. I will rate her 99.9%. So I will encourage people to choose the woman that supports their vision.
How did you manage the family when the family started coming
All thanks to God, when they started coming, responsibility increased, a lot of demand in bringing up the children, most importantly when they were growing, at night they will disturb us, but with the nature of my job, when they come to my room my wife would take the children away to cater for them somewhere else so as not to disturb me, that was understanding and corporation on her part and it made progress in my life and career. My children had a very healthy upbringing, God gave them excellent health as well.
Tell us about your Children
My first child is Dr Yetunde Ogunsakin, she was born in Kano, my wife was in her advanced teacher's college in Kano, so, I had to fly to Kano, as a young man, your wife delivers your first child (first daughter) it was a great celebration for me and my friends in Lagos. In Kano, I had a friend, a Hausa man (Fulani to be precise - Alhaji Yakubu) who took her to the hospital on my behalf, that’s why I said earlier that some of these Fulanis are very good, he is my very good friend, just that the communication has not been regular, he took care of her.
My second child is Oluwaseun Tade, he was born on a historic day FESTAC 77 in Lagos -he was delivered at a teaching hospital in Lagos during the festival, which was symbolic for me, each time I talk about FESTAC 77, I always remember I had a son then which happens to be my second child.
My third child was also born in Lagos Foluwaso Tade in the year 1980, Toluwalope Tade was born in 1982, Oluwaleke Tade was born in 1986 and Oreoluwa Tade was born in 1991. Thank God for their life, they are all alive and well, all to God almighty and they are all over the world from far to the near.
Anything to say about your Life Partner (then and now)
What I would say now is the same as I have said earlier, but let me put it this way, she is a good manager - managing people, managing resources, managing me, because she manages me well and that is why everything is going well. Up till the present, she manages me well to my satisfaction, she manages me so I won’t go astray or do the wrong thing, she manages me so I can focus on my main objectives in life and for the family as well.
Love is the key, when you love someone with everything in you, there is no bit of dislike, when you have total love for a woman, she will definitely submit to good gestures, she will not submit to you if you are doing the wrong thing, rather a good woman must correct you, and my wife always corrects me in love without any abusive words. Love also determines the type of submission, but submission to wrongdoing is foolishness. When correction is done, it must be appreciated. My wife is very caring, she cares for my people - some women will not care for the relations of her husband, but my wife cares for my relations so much beyond any human reasoning. When a husband is being visited by his relatives, if the wife does not treat them well, they would never want to come back, but in my home, they always love to come because my wife will take full care of them, they are always itching to come back and that’s a remarkable attribute.
Tell us about your Career in Nigeria
I always believe that, whatever will be will surely be, nobody can temper against your destiny, destiny has been ordained by God only one has to work towards its realisation of its goals. I had some challenges at work but God was so faithful, the bible says “The battle is not yours, the battle is God’s, I had a challenge in my place of work, some people did not want me to progress, it was as if they already knew I was going to be successful, they could see I’m on that pathway to achieving it and they want to prevent me from making that progress in my career. There were different ways they could have done that, either by transferring me somewhere else or doing things to annoy me and make me resign from my job, but God is always on the throne. I remember vividly I was asked to resign - to pave way for someone else, then I always say one thing “Telephone from Heaven”.
Where I work, we report to New York, they heard I was told to resign, there was a call from New York to my company in Nigeria, ordering them to stop my resignation, they said “he is our favoured manager, he must not leave”. So, I called the incident “Telephone from Heaven”. About five years later I became the overall head, Chairman and Managing Director of the organisation, that was what human beings wanted to stop, but, Telephone from Heaven came and said No, this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased, he must not go. Even the person who thought he had power locally here was hands down. I retired as the Chairman and Managing Director of Pfizer Specialities Limited and also Chairman and Managing Director of Livestock Feeds Plc both combined.
We retired but were not tired. I retired from active corporate work, but I still do a bit of consultancy, meetings or people who want to borrow from my experience. They have established companies, and it is more like adhoc sort of job. So, I am not idle, I attend meetings two or three times in a week, from one meeting or the other in which the sessions last two or three hours.
Also in Christendom, I am still active there, of course that is for life until one departs from this earth to heaven. Lastly, my wife and I travel specifically to see our children that are scattered around the globe and also for us to relax and see things and appreciate God’s creation. It is always a joyful occasion.
My first trip to KeyLargo in Miami Florida was through Pfizer for a seminar. I got attracted to the environment, it was so nice, looking fresh, then I prayed to God that one day my wife would be there, and God did it, we were in KeyLargo and we toured the whole place - God answered my prayer and my heart's desire.
What are the unforgettable things in life for you?
The day I gave my life to Christ was a great day, another great day in my life was when I transitioned from worldliness to Godliness. Another great day was my marriage to my wife. Then I would say another great day in my life was the incident of ``Telephone to Heaven”. The birth of my children are other great days in my life that I cannot forget.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Someone from a low beginning now rose to wine and dine with the Kings and Princess; a biblical example is Joseph - how he started and ended. What is important is who will make that happen is God, and dependability on God by working on your faith.