This is a story adelove fan (ALF) shared with me last month but somehow I never got around to publishing it.
Today, he is celebrating his wedding anniversary and to celebrate with them, I am putting this out – to encourage someone out there and to, hopefully, send a message to both ladies and gentlemen of this generation and many others to come.
This is more than a love story, it’s a life story of patience, virtues, hard work, trust in God and choosing quality over quantity in relationships.
Chris Ade’s Story:
I was an active member of my students union in my days in UNIBEN, from 1988 to 1992, I took a Bsc Economics & statistics degree and then ended up in Elf Petroleum on Kofo Abayomi, Lagos where I worked in the Information Systems and Telecommunications department.
This was my invite into postgraduate in Computer Science, which I excelled in with honours.
My good fortune changed in 1994 when my contract was not renewed because Elf Was facing an uncertain future in Nigeria.
I was just 25 years old and just when I started thinking my life was settling into a nice rhythm, it was punctuated by this unfortunate event.
Days turned into miserable months as I couldn’t secure another job. Eventually, I lost my flat and had to move in with a friend.
At the time, I had become a committed Christian worshiping in Winners Chapel, Raji Oba, Lagos.
I learnt from Bishop Oyedepo that there’s is no food for the lazy so I secured N190,000 loan and got an L 300 Mitsubishi bus (danfo).
I drove my bus and got a conductor but discovered I could control my money if I conducted myself. (Bless ‘Friday’ my conductor when I started, he couldn’t believe I will survive).
It was t this time my girlfriend of 5 years from university ditched me.
But, fate was kind to me. About this time, I met the woman who would eventually become my wife.
Foluke and I met in church. We were both members of a service group (Sanctuary keepers) and true to form, Foluke loved the TOILETS Sub unit of the group.
I spent time observing her but did not approach her as I had my handicap of no job and have lost my house.
She was also very reserved and well mannered, very beautiful and humble, plus, her love for God was evident.
When I eventually asked her out, she was aware I had lost my job and accommodation but was in the search for something new and I shared the idea of starting a danfo business, which she supported. What was more interesting was she had other suitors and some with very professional background, putting pressures on her as she was from a middle class background.
Her parents were heads of institutions and my danfo driving did not conform to her world… but she gave up and joined me.
She was also a banker with then Equity bank, she managed the shipping desk in Marina and my bus route was Ikeja to CMS, so this gave my wife the opportunity to join my bus if she misses her staff bus.
The preference she gets is she sits in the front and pay her N50.
Ok, back to my job search. You see, my desire for excellence meant that I could not compromise my standard. Opportunity arose from my contacts to engage in businesses that had corruption written all over them, I mean government contracts etc, which would mean giving and receiving bribes to push my project through, but I rejected them.
Long story short, I had the opportunity to travel to England as my younger brother had travelled two years before. That was when I discovered that my girlfriend was born abroad but never thought of living abroad.
The relationship between this ‘danfo’ driver and Lagos banker blossomed even more. We courted for almost two years.
Proper Christian courtship, no sex but prayers and proper social networking and interaction. I proposed to her in church and against all odds, she accepted.
We layed the foundation for a marriage and on 11/04/99, I departed for England. On the first of September 1999, she joined me and we got married on the 10th of September 1999.
Two events always come to mind. Our desire to live happy within our means. Our wedding in the United Kingdom at the time cost a total of £400.00 with 25 guests. Foluke had a budget of £100.00 because we had limited funds at the time. Secondly, we were sure that God is on our side and if we work hard we will get all the world has.
We were blessed with Samuel (our first child), two years after marriage and bought our first property after.
14 years of belief and help from God means we enjoy a successful marriage with Foluke, remaining my pretty princess.
It’s been a journey. When I look back to what Jehovah brought us through, it can only be God. I remember days when my wife refused to listen to anybody, saying to me by her actions that she believed in me. She saw the best in me when everyone surrounding me could only see the worst in me. What was obvious was that she was mine and I was hers and it did not matter what anyone thought of her.
We started rebuilding, both returning to Universities in England for postgraduate studies. We became blessed with Samuel Anjolaoluwa and David Iyanuoluwa. With all this started our journey into properties and investments from Lekki in Lagos to prime location’s in London.
Today, I hold down a top government position (in the UK) and my darling impacts her mathematics knowledge unto children up to A level. We have been blessed. Both boys attend top schools with excellent grades. Only God can take the glory.