By Ayo Ajayi
Remember Mrs. Evelyn Enakimio? She was the oldest graduate of Covenant University in 2018 (Master’s Level) at 65.
Family, friends and loved ones across the globe have not ceased celebrating the woman popularly referred to as ‘Grandma’, since she turned 70 years on August 17, 2023.
Encomium kept pouring in from children, grandchildren, friends, groups and individuals whose lives have been touched in one way or the other by the woman who most people described as a ‘beautiful and wonderful soul.’
Talking about herself in a chat with EDUTORIAL, Grandma said, “I believe in myself because I am God wired. So I tell myself I can do all things because of His strength in me. I take on challenges with Trust and Hope for Success through Prayers. Especially of Gratitude, and my Thank You Jesus Rosary. So I am always forging on regardless of obstacles.”
When asked to briefly explain how did she see life? The energetic and fashionista noted that “From my life and others I have witnessed, life remains a challenging phenomenon on a daily basis. However, it can give you some success that will gladden your heart, and propel you for more. Knowledge search empowers and expands one’s horizon for good and adds belongingness. I love to belong.”
She told her story this way, “I was born to Chief Thompson Omatsebi Idedevbo, my Father, and my mother, Alice Egwoyerevuwan Idedevbo, who both worked in unity to train and raise a dutiful, caring child in me, through the DUKE KEME in Effurun principle of being your brother’s keeper and its entire philosophy of being a village and tight-knit community.
“I am the firstborn of my Father who put the thirst for educational success and pursuit of excellence in me at a very early age when I was in St Teresa’s Primary School, Marine Beach, Apapa, then later to St Teresa’s College, Ibadan in 1966.
“I later went to Baptist Boys High School BBHS Abeokuta where the HSC was mixed in 1972. Later tasted teaching English at Lisabi Grammar School Abeokuta as Miss Thompson.
“I had a stint at the Federal School of Science around 1973, worked in the Ministry of Transport as a clerical staff in 1974 and transited to NBC/TV in 1975, and a course in Television floor Managing and Productions, where I met and later married my husband, Ihria Enakimio in 1976.
“In the course of the marriage, my husband had a scholarship for his MFA at New York University. That period offered me an opportunity to be certified in my long-time passion for Food and Catering at the New York Institute of Dietetics graduating as the best overall student. I worked at Salvation Army as the chef, Kentucky Fried Chicken Best Sales girl for several months in 1978 and 1979. I returned with my family to Nigeria in 1979.
“I started work in Nigeria at Ovaltine West Africa and later opened my own restaurant ADAM & EVE HOME OF BANGA SOUP in Apapa in 1980. The drive for financial viability propelled me into first Catering Services to Banks and Organizations. A notable opportunity was engaged with Union Dicon Salt as both a Distributor and Caterer in charge of their Food supplies and catering for all official events and more.
“Still as a caterer running the restaurant, I was drawn to the pursuit of another passion of mine, Education. Through a classmate of mine at St Teresa’s College Ibadan, Idiat Amusu, my journey to Yaba College of Technology began. I finished OND with a Distinction, and HND as the overall best student in 1990.
“Journey to MBA in LASU followed in 1995. I had inspirational high grades and was voted AWIMBA President for Women before graduating in 1997.
“Through what I would describe as God’s intervention and providence, I was accepted into Lecturership at Yaba College of Technology- a most satisfying spiritual, teaching, counselling, and parenting role from in 2004 till 2019. Within that period, I undertook a program of PGDE with NOUN and another Master’s MA in Counselling with Covenant University.
“To the glory of God, all my biological and extended children are doing marvellously well with their lives.
“I thank all who have one way or another participated in enhancing, encouraging and assisting my journey of life this far.
What would you like people to know and remember her for? “Thankful person. To my Parent’s nurturing of being a part of, if not the village where necessary. In giving you receive joy that radiates back to you,” she said.