What haven’t they said about my face being a true reflection of my father’s familiar face? Spitting image. Carbon copy. Chip off the old block. I have heard it all. When I was young, and we used to go out together a lot, people will see us and say: “Ah, ah. Did you think your father was running away? Why do you look like him so much?” Let’s get started. I was born and bred in Lagos over two and a half decades ago. Originally from Ipetumodu, in Osun State, I’ve lived all my life in Lagos, save for a few stays abroad: France, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, South Africa, Ghana, and many other places. I grew up knowing my father, Femi Adesina, as a journalist. The house was a forest of books and newspapers. Books, books. Newspapers. Newspapers. And I started reading them. Scratch that, Dad forced me to read because I preferred watching TV (LOL). Little Red Riding Hood changed it for me—now this is a family secret.
In the early days, Dad was reporting for the Weekend Concord. I didn’t like the fact that he was away from home most times. We would plan family holidays and at the last moment, Dad wouldn’t be able to go. One thing or the other had come up at work. I and my brother, Tobi, my senior by two years, loved going to Ipetumodu, to spend time with our grandparents, but more often than not, we went with Mummy, as Dad would be busy at work. That’s the life of a journalist, which I was to experience briefly. Mum is a nurse. A passionate and dedicated one. She’s the matron of a private hospital in Lagos. She has always been there for us. Firm, godly and dedicated. I remember me and Tobi used to nickname her “Mrs Oboye” behind her back. How did it happen? We attended Caleb International College in the Magodo area of Lagos, and one Mrs. Funmi Oboye was the head teacher. Tough and strict. Every morning, at the Assembly, she subjected us to lessons from the word of God. As young people, we felt her homilies were too long, and we often grumbled. When we came on holiday, and Mummy was also taking all the time at morning devotion, we would look at each other and whisper: “Mrs Oboye.”
Tobi is a pilot and has been for the past nine years. He is a specialist in the Boeing 737, having trained in South Africa and Sweden. He also has the Airline Transport Pilot Licence from Boeing Centre, Miami, Florida. Dad was Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers when he was invited to serve as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former President Muhammadu Buhari. We are a private family. Though a journalist, my dad was not loud and honestly really didn’t change from who I knew him to be. He lived a quiet, modest life, and brought us up that way. Never mind how people portray him in the media and social media. Suddenly, working with the President brought him out there, in the glare of the nation. And there followed the good, the bad and the ugly. There were times people would meet me and say: “Adesina? Ah, you resemble Buhari’s media man.” At times, I own up, some other times, I duck. It’s better to leave them wondering. I was silent about our relationship for the better part of the administration because I really wasn’t interested in the hassle that came with it. The good times opened us up to opportunities we might not have had without the position. Thank God for it all. The bad and ugly were people saying all sorts of rubbish about my dad and not being able to trust anyone. In the beginning, it worried me. But later, the Holy Spirit helped me overcome it all.
Dad really loves Buhari. No doubt about that. He would defend him anywhere, any time and on any issue. At home when gisting with the family, you could feel his loyalty and love for his boss. He speaks well of him everywhere. In and out of office, Dad is a Buharist to the core. I studied French at the University of Ibadan. Lived in France at different times, and did my NYSC as a reporter and presenter with Channels Television. I was given a job after, which I held for about a year. Now, I have a media and publishing company called LOTW Group (Living Out The Word) which holds LOTW Network, LOTW Kids, LOTW Studios, LOTW Publishing, Shop LOTW and LOTW Travel. The focus is really to put God at the centre stage of our lives because He tells me He doesn’t like it when people seem to remember Him only on Sundays. So He wants to be a part of our lives even on Mondays to Saturdays and I’m the one He is giving the responsibility to. He said: “Tosin, I want you to put me in the centre of people’s lives.” Well, His wish is my command. I also run a French language agency and resource centre called Ma Petite France. M.P.F. teaches French to kids and adults and provides French learning resources to schools.
Once upon a time, I wanted to be a journalist like Dad and I did in fact venture into it for a while. I won’t say I’m completely out because I’m still in media and publishing. My life’s goal and focus is to influence people to know God and do life with Him. Every other thing I do is a means to that end. I have been blessed by God tremendously. He allowed me to be born into the home of Femi and Nike Adesina where I was taught about Him, shielded, cared and provided for. Dad is a responsible father, he is present. I can call him at any time and share any idea or plan I have with him. I can talk to him about work, men, life, God, anything. I have been blessed with a father not a lot of people get to have on this earth and I am proud of him regardless of people’s opinion about him—good or bad. Every young lady aspires to matrimony. So do I, and it’s coming soon. My mom and dad are probably the happiest about it. Mom can’t wait for me to leave her house so she can finally fill my wardrobe with all of her extra clothes. (LOL)
We laugh a lot. Just as my dad is famous for his tendency to laugh often. While we were all in Ipetumodu for the holidays, a friend of my dad’s sister came for the weekend. When she was leaving, she remarked: “It’s been an experience being with the Adesinas this weekend. They laugh as if they have no care in the world.” That in a nutshell is my story.
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