My Story

My name is Grace Modupeola Jadesola Ayanbimpe Adukeagan, wife of Adebowale Tade, I was born on the 17th of November, 1951, and I'm the last born of the family. I was born into the family of Pa Joseph Ayanlere of Ile Alubata Ijagbo and Madam Bolomope Ayanlere of Ile-Aja Ijagbo in Kwara State.

My mother was the only child of her parents. But I had two mothers, i.e., my mother and the senior wife of my father. I knew my stepmother as my mother because I was told immediately after birth that she had taken me in, so I didn't know my biological mother. My biological mother died when I was in form 1, so my stepmother took care of me and was with me throughout my education, marriage and childbearing. So, our love was perfect in our family.

As the last born of the family, my father loved me so much and was very fond of me. My father was a railway worker in the village back then, we had everything, we even used to drink Ovaltine, and he would buy lots of malt drinks for us. He; worked hard to provide for us; he once worked with a foreign (oyinbo) driver. He worked with them as a cook before becoming a railway driver. So, being the youngest of four, I was pampered a lot, although he lost some of his children and wives. They gave birth to me when they returned to Ijagbo from Lagos, and he was so happy, hence the pampering.

I attended Baptist day school, Ijagbo and finished my primary six education in December 1964. I got admission into St Amina Girls College, Kaduna. Still, my father didn't allow me to go because it was far away. Hence, I had to wait another year and then in 1965; I sat for another common entrance, gained admission into St Claire Girls Secondary School in Offa, Ilorin and finished form 5 in 1970. After that, I worked briefly at New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC), Kaduna, as an Accounts Clerk from 1971-1972 and then in 1972, I secured admission into Advanced Teachers College (ATC), which is NCE in Kano and was sponsored by the Northern Nigerian Government, so they were giving us free meals and little pocket money, so I spent three years in Kano and graduated in 1975. And after marriage, when I came to Lagos, I worked briefly for a year before attending university. I taught mathematics in a Muslim college, Surulere; afterwards, I gained admission into the University of Lagos, where I studied B.Sc Mathematics Education from October 1976 to June 1979. At that time, I was in full-time education and, at the same time, parenting

Well, my husband was not always around during those times, but my professors helped me because I didn't want to take it further; they wanted me to come and do my PhD, so they brought the form for me where I was teaching, they wanted me to go and do my masters. I didn't make any payment; it was free for me because of my university grades. They were literally begging me to come to do my masters. I can still remember Dr  Kalejaye vividly and Prof. Awosika or Awoyale; they tried for me, so I did my masters and was carrying children around. So after that, I told them that I needed to stay at home because my husband was not always around.

Do you have any fun memories of your time in school?

It was fun during my secondary school days; God was good to me. Coming from a village and attending a secondary school the first year was more complicated. We struggled, you know, learning how to speak English fluently then. But by the time I got to form two and form three, I was doing well, and God helped me; I did very well during my school set. I was a Prefect then.

Did you do any sports in school?

Well, they wanted me to learn javelin, but I found out that those that played the sport always missed school and they were failing, so I pretended not to know how to play javelin, so they left me, and my mom was already late then so I can't come to school and fail, what would I tell my dad, so after I left that sport, I didn't do any other one. I focused more on my studies so that I won't go home and say that I failed because the people they were taking around then weren't doing well in their studies.

So, tell us about the marriage plans and the marriage itself.

I remember I was in form five, my final year in secondary school, and he was in his final year in the School of Pharmacy. He came from Zaria to Kaduna to visit me. When he was going, that was on the 25th of April; he asked me when I wanted to marry; I said, marry? I told him I wanted to finish my exams and that I was not thinking about marriage now. Then he said, but I have to marry; I said yes, that we'd get married but not now, let me focus on my studies. That day, they were celebrating the 15th memorial of his mother's death, so he came to see his uncle and dropped by our place. He left disappointed; he thought that I wasn't serious or something, so he wrote me a letter saying that I disappointed him; I told him that that wasn't me disappointing him, that I was only telling him that I wasn't ready yet, that I need to finish my exams first, so that was when he told me about the death memorial. So after all that, we didn't have any problem; I finished my exams. I finished secondary school and did very well; by God's Grace, I topped my set.

I didn't want to stay, like, get married immediately. So I said no, he had to wait, thank God for everything. I said he should wait, that I must do something. I wanted to study accounting, that was my plan and I told him about it; but he told me that I should consider the fact that he's into the medical profession, that I need to be at home and take care of the children, so I should consider something else, I told him we're not married yet and your talking about children, I asked him what he was proposing, he said I should please go into the teaching profession. I said that wasn't my plan, but he said it was so I could take care of our children, so I took the ATC form. I wanted to take the Ahmadu Bello University form to study B.Sc Accounting, so I had to go through NCE first. So, after marriage, I went back to the University of Lagos to complete my B.Sc and M.Sc.

That helped us because he was always travelling every month. Sometimes he can be away for 2-3 months, he would come back today, and the following week, he's gone. So I was always left with our young children and all his relatives that stayed with us.

What made you follow the vision of a man that you're yet to marry and change your own plan

Because we had already decided that we would get married, that was the plan, but we didn't know when. So, when he said, "so that I can be able to take care of our children", they won't be just his children, they'll be mine too, so that was when I knew this was a serious man needing me, so I decided to drop my plan and follow his lead. I have no regrets because I had outstanding success in my teaching career. So he said I could teach mathematics, and that was what I was teaching - mathematics, further mathematics, etc.

So how was the wedding of this village girl?

It was a wonderful one. He came from Lagos with all his friends. When my father died, his first child, Pa Isaac Lere, who should be my brother, became my father because his children were older than me, with his wife, Mama Victoria Lere. So, when my father died, they just handed me over to him, so I wasn't staying at Ijagbo again because they were in Kaduna. So every holiday, I must go straight to Kaduna, so he always came around, and Papa thought he was just coming to greet him, not knowing that he was coming because of me. So, I told him to wait a bit longer and let me finish, but he insisted that we'd get married that year, so we got married in 1974. It was a wonderful wedding; God helped us.

Are there people present at your wedding that you're still in contact with? Apart from family.

Many are gone. I cannot forget my father, my brother who became my father, Papa Isaac and Mama Victoria Lere, who stood as my father and mother. I cannot forget his maternal uncle, Dr Adeoye; he was there for him, and they came as a family. And I can't forget his senior sisters, Mama Ifo and Mama Ilorin and his junior sister Mama Mayowa; everyone was there. And my own family also came and supported me too.

So, would you say you were an orphan for some time?

Yes, if that is the name. Because I lost my mom when I was in form 1 and 15 years old, and then I lost my dad when I was 17 years old, and I was in form 3. When I came to Lagos, I had my second child, Seun; it was mama, my second mother, that came and stayed with us throughout the three years. She couldn't travel by road because of the smell of petrol, which often led to her throwing up, so she always came by train. During the holidays, she'd go back home. She tried for me; I cannot forget her, Mama Yewande Ayanlere. 

So, one of your stories is that it's good for your children to know that there was a time when you were an orphan, but you were never made to feel like one.

No, not at all, but I was in the actual sense of it anyway.

When you married this young man who made you change your career path from Accounting to Teaching, tell us about your life when you started having your children and how the vision he predicted came into play.

Our union was unique because God ordained it, and the foundation is true love. I did not know the meaning of pharmacy back then; I only knew he was in ABU studying. So it wasn't because of what he was doing but out of pure love, and remember I said earlier that I prayed to God to give me a serious man. Whenever we go home and see those who used to write to me, I just laugh and thank God I didn't make a wrong decision. And our love was unique and pure; no one is perfect, and we had no problem. My husband is very caring, loving and accommodating, he's also a leader, and he'll lead you to achieve great things; he is a giver and a family man. My father was also a family man, and it took me a while to figure out those that are my father's children as he was a father figure for all; it was a big family. So, it wasn't difficult for me to adjust to my husband, given my background. God helped us.

Were there any challenging situations that you helped daddy to overcome?

The only thing I could do was to pray. Whenever my husband goes to the club with his friends, I would always put the children to sleep and wait for him to give him his food. He always meets me waiting for him whenever he comes home very late and that made him want to come home earlier because he knew I would be waiting. 

The day he was testifying that he used to drink, my children were asking me if their daddy used to drink, and I said yes; they wondered how because they never saw him drinking; I said it's because I always put you to bed and no one must come out when he comes back so I was the only one that saw him like that. We worked on it, so they never knew.

Did he smoke?

Yes, he smoked Havana Cigar. The one with pipe and so on.

Did you know about that before you got married to him?

Yes, I knew part of it because we weren't staying together except for when I visited him.

How did you feel when you found out about it?

At that time, being born again was in another stage, like I belonged to FCS (Fellowship of Christian Students), and that was where I learnt how to pray and manage myself in prayer. No rule says one shouldn't marry someone that smokes or drinks because we didn't understand what it meant to be born again; we only surrendered ourselves to God. It was in 1979 that I became born again, so I saw the difference between just hearing the gospel and trying to follow and know God. So, immediately after I gave my life to Christ, I knew the next person was my husband so that we could be on the same level, so that was when this fasting and praying started.

It's nice to know that you didn't judge him based on his attitude then.

I remember a friend of my husband who would always come home with him because his place was far away, and I would still take care of the two of them. He didn't misbehave or chase girls; they only went to drink. When he gave his life to Christ, everything stopped. On his 40th birthday, I begged him not to serve beer, and he agreed. Gradually, he stopped drinking.

My first child, Yetunde Adenike Ogunsakin, came in 1975 when I was writing my ATC final exam, and it was my last paper. Two days before that day, my husband flew in, thinking I would finish and we'd fly back to Lagos. So, he came, he took me to town because I didn’t have any paper that day; I stayed with him for some hours, he brought me back home because I had a paper the next day, that same night I fell into labour. The exam was supposed to start by 10 am, fortunately, we were there before 8 am. One of his cousins Miss Faderera Adeoye now Mrs Faderera Oyaoye, we were in the same hostel; she was at ATC, too; my friend told her to go and bring her brother, Mufta, that I was falling into labour; he arrived and stood guard at the entrance of the exam hall, luckily nothing happened because my friend and I planned it and we went with a wrapper in case anything should happen. I endured the labour pains for 2 hours and was writing, but it eventually stopped. I even finished before some people, and I left immediately, but I didn't later put to bed that day. On the second day, my friend and I went to the market in Kano; while my husband went out, he came back and started looking for me. When I came back, he asked why I went to the market when I was in labour; I told him I went to buy some things I'd take to Lagos. Later that night, I went into serious labour again and gave birth to my first child on the 30th of May 1975. Glory be to God. Five days later, we flew back to Lagos, and that's why she has been telling her younger siblings that she has been flying since birth. I started teaching when we returned to Lagos from 1975-1976 before I applied to the University of Lagos while I was pregnant with Seun. I was given admission and ,immediately after our first-semester exam, I gave birth to Seun, and that was FESTAC day, 15th January 1977. Mama was there for me while I continued my education.

Did you get help after your first childbirth since mama was there for the second

My mother-in-law's, elder sister - Mama Ogudu and my step-sister were with me. I had a marvellous time with them, and they took good care of my first child. They didn't allow me to do anything at all - cook, wash or clean. But I always cooked my husband's food whenever he was around. We waited a long time for our third child, “Foluwaso”, which is why I try my best to support and counsel those that wait on the Lord because it is not easy. 

One day, my husband wanted us to go and visit someone, but I didn't want to go, but he insisted because I hadn't gone out in two days; I went with him, we met a lot of people from Ijagbo, but I wasn't myself, I wasn't comfortable, so I tried to get him to look in my direction but, he didn't so I walked up to him and told him that we're leaving now. Immediately I stepped into the car, and my water broke. We got home, and he said let's go to the hospital, and I said no, that it's not time yet, so I took my time to pack, and after two hours, we went to the hospital, after one hour, my baby came out. People were surprised when they heard that I'd given birth. 

So, after Foluwaso came Toluwalope, he travelled and he knew that I was due, so he asked the driver to go and be sleeping at home, and Mama Afon was ready in case we called her, and she always came to the house every day but, I told her not to come every day. My husband was away for three weeks and Toluwalope didn't come till her father came back. I finally gave birth to her the day after my husband came back. Glory be to God. So he was happy that his child was waiting for him. 

My husband loves children, so he wanted more. One day, my husband and I went to a Church program, and the pastor said to ask for one thing, and I said I wanted a baby boy and that was how Leke came. That was the only child I was induced for because he came late but he was a very big baby. We thought that was all but God gave us another surprise and that is Oreoluwa, we were not expecting that at all and I didn't even know but I found out later and that was God's gift to us. Then I was arguing with God, my husband was having issues at his workplace, we were always fasting and that was when I found out I was pregnant, and I asked God, why now? And God spoke to me thrice throughout the night, saying, it's my due. So I surrendered and said his name would be Oreoluwa, either a male or female. I asked God, don’t let this child disturb me and he didn't. Any challenge that we face, God always comes through for us. That's the story of my six children. But we adopted a son, my husband's younger sister, my dear friend, Mrs Christiana Fumilayo Ogundanas' only child. So when she passed on, Ore was 40 days old, so I told my husband to tell his father to give him to us instead of taking him to the village. He was just three years old then, so he was our only adopted child. He was between Leke and Oreoluwa, so people often called them triplets. God was so good to us, and my husband was there. Thank God we had free medical care where my husband was working. Glory be to God. Our lives have been very sweet, and it was all God's doing. We faced a lot of challenges, but God was there for us, and it looked as if we had no problems; if you look back, you'd know that we did. All Glory to God.

In those days, once you've entered secondary school and a senior boy approaches you for friendship, the other boys will leave you alone unless there is a disagreement and you say that you're free again before they can approach you. In those days, they respect that you're with someone, and they won't trouble you. So, because I lost my mom in December during my first year in school, I stayed home and didn’t do anything.

The following year, there was an annual event that we always came home to attend - the Ijagbo descendant union party. I participated that year with one of my cousins, Mr. Sule Fagbemi; he didn't have a girlfriend, nor did I have a boyfriend, so we came home and ate, and we went together that evening. He always accompanies me home the night before returning to his father's house. So, we went on this fateful day, we were just joking, chatting and dancing, you know, so I saw his young cousin, and he said to me, please ma, a brother wants to see you, so I asked who wanted to see me and where he was, he said brother Debo. He pointed at him; that was my first time seeing him anyway; I had never noticed him before. I told my cousin, and he told me to go, that he would be watching us where we were, so that was their approach back then. He told me his name and where he was from and wanted us to be friends. I didn't say anything; I was just looking at him, allowing him to pour out his heart because, at that time, I had so many suitors. During a party like that, people would come from neighbouring villages, when they're doing theirs too, we would want to go. So men would be coming to parties like that looking for a spouse. So, that was it; I didn't say yes, nor did I say no, so he went back to Zaria, and I didn't see him again, so I went back to school. 

That January, when I went back to school, I received so many letters from men, and I gathered all of them together and asked God; the only one that I would reply would be the serious one; I prayed a simple prayer like a child to God to help me so I won't go the wrong way. So I waited for all the letters to come because that was how they used to do, as long as they've seen you they'll write to you, whether during school or the holidays, so I collected all the letters. But in his case, he was straightforward; he didn't beat around the bush; he said he loves me and wants me to be his future partner.

I still have the letter he wrote on two or three pages, and he said many things about me. I never knew him, but I know that he's from this family and that was it, so that was the only letter I replied to. And the reply was, "thank you for writing to me; it's okay, we can be friends", so that was how we started. Because there was no telephone then, we had to write to each other. And we were careful too because in girls' school they can open our letters and if your letter is inappropriate, you'll be disgraced in the assembly hall. So it was just, how are you and your studies and everything, but when we meet at home, that's when we discuss since we're from the same place. And I had no regrets at all.

Anything to say about your husband

As I said earlier, my husband is so caring and a family man. In those days, whenever he travelled, I would make a list, starting with his sisters, and I would always know their needs, and they were teachers back then. In fact, I called and tagged the two sisters twins; they would always look up to me, saying I'm their mama. Whenever he came, he would load boxes of goods for all of them, including the children; everybody in the house must get something. He always made sure he got all everything I put on my list by walking around all the shops ticking my list one after the other. My husband is a family man to the core, and he is very caring. Sometimes it would affect our family, but no one would know. Even now that the children are all grown-ups, they still look for their big food coolers whenever they come around making jest. God provided for him and our family, and he also helped me to manage what he gave us.

Would you say being married to a giver husband is a blessing

Well, God made it like that that he united our hearts together because where I came from, my father would give his last wrapper to anyone. So now, joining with my husband, all Glory belongs to God. That's why we don't like talking about it; we didn't do anything; we're just God's vessels, all we've been doing it's God doing them. 

I know that God blessed us. Those that came into our lives have now become small uncles and aunts to our children. When we grow old and go to be with the Lord, our children will have people they can look up to as their uncles and aunts.

Read more about my husband here →

Mummy, can you tell us about your teaching career

You know students don't like my subject - mathematics, it's not an easy subject. God gave me the Grace that there's no class I'll teach that will not like my teaching. I try my best to simplify it for them, and I always tell them not to be scared of the subject; it did not come from heaven. Thank God, I’ve seen some of them in London prostrate to me. I would know they're my students. It gives me joy whenever I see them like that. Thanks to my husband for making that choice for me; my family benefited from it, and everyone else too. 

Mummy, what's life like since retirement

One day, my husband and I sat down to discuss and he said we are both salary earners, and there are so many responsibilities around us, would it not be good if one of us started doing something, my husband knows that I love trading, when I was younger, I used to sell Ogi (pap) manufactured by myself. I will sell it before going to school in the morning, and after my lesson when I come back in the evening I learnt how to make rice with fried stew - one of my aunt who sells rice in Ibadan taught me how to make the stew. So I will make rice and sell, make zobo and sell. I also make the combination of melon and beans to form bean cake back then and I loved doing it. 

They gave us accommodation in GRA and there were 3 gardens, so I begged my husband to let me use one for poultry and he said no, that it would be smelling but I said I will make sure it doesn't smell and he agreed because he knows I love trading, so that was how I started my poultry farm. From there we bought a land at Ajasa where I was working in command, then I was carrying the eggs laid by the chicken in my car, but my worried husband would beg me not to carry the chickens to Oshodi, I responded to him at least it is for sale not that I am stealing them. The chicken was not just sold alone, we also used it for evangelism, specifically for people that were in need and can’t afford it. So, the poultry was not all about us alone but also about the people. God helped us, we had a farm, we started with rabbitry, to fishery and got to poultry, I had about fifteen thousand (15,000) layers and I was still teaching at command. It was then that I said let me resign because my husband is the breadwinner of the family, he can’t resign. So I resigned after 20 years in service earlier than my retirement time and I faced the farm and God provided the supermarket (called MASTOOFY). 

We were looking for a small shop where I would be settling leftover big chicken because they look like turkey because they are broilers, but we didn’t get a good shop. One day, my husband came and said, MASCO supermarket is empty, I thought to myself, what’s my concern about the emptied supermarket, he never stopped mentioning it, it was on the third time, it dawned on me and I told him to ask how much the building would be sold for, he sent one of his managers and liaised with them, a month after we got the building. 

Eventually, the farm was not growing because to run a farm one needed to be present there, so we closed the farm down and faced the supermarket from March 1997 - December 2016, until when God affirmed and confirmed that we close the supermarket down, that was the final retirement.

Mummy, what are the unforgettable things in your life

I cannot forget the day I got married, it was a glorious one, and I looked at myself with all that had happened and that day, I remembered my parents. But when they took me to him, he consoled me, and that was it. God helped us in planning everything. 

Another unforgettable scenario is when I gave birth to my first child, and I saw the resemblance to mama; I was very happy, and it couldn't be denied. We were happy that we had a baby girl that looked like mama. 

Another memorable thing was when Yetunde got married; it was a wonderful day for me that I sat with my husband in the front; it was a memorable day, 

There were so many memorable days, there were times we had to cry unto God, and the Lord would answer - there was one we tagged Telephone to heaven, a time that my husband was asked to resign for an offence he did not commit because they had their own plan. We prayed for seven days. My husband's cousin Sis Moradeke whom everyone thought was my sister, would always come in the evening with a cup of pap to drink. Everyone prayed on our behalf; we were instructed to forgive them. All thanks to God,  a telegraph came in from the New York office, stating they should not do anything to my husband, that they were aware of everything. I went to see his boss's wife and begged him, and he told me to go and that God was in control, and before I got home, we got the call. It was a phone call to God, and he answered us that; that was when he gave his life to Christ completely. God gave us victory. It was a miracle, we prayed, and God answered.

When generations after you listen to your story, what would you want to be remembered for?


I want them to remember that God is number one in everything and to hand over everything to God. I always say that whoever has Christ has everything. Whenever you think a door can't open, when you have Christ, you'll walk in straight. My children know that is our belief and practice. People should also be humble. We should also know that Christ is life, and we should endeavour to live our lives as Christ would. We should always tell the truth.

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