My Name is Ayo Irochi. I’m 67 years old. I’m a father of four boys. My last son is 36, my last three boys are married, so I’m a grandfather, three times over by the grace of God. I retired from the United Nations 14 years ago – that’s 2002 – consulting for the federal government.
Ayo: Yeah, In life whether we like it or not, we must have some bit of regrets here and there…When you look at the trend of things today, then you ask yourself where were you when the Dangotes were building up their billions, where were you when all these people were making their billions and millions? You find out that you’ve only just worked for other people to enjoy the fruits of your labor, that’s just it. My happiness today is that all my children are graduates, they are doing very well for themselves, that is the legacy I am happy to be bequeathing to my children, I mean that they are whatever they are today themselves, they are father’s in their own right, they are breadwinners in their own right. That is sufficient for me.
On the issues of marriage, I am divorced. Sometimes when I think about it, I know there were some things I could have done better
DANG: What advice would you give married men now, since you know there are some things you could have done better
Ayo: Well, my dear, marriage in itself is not something you jump into. There is no 100%. I hear these days when men say “I want a woman that is complete in herself”. No one is complete in him or herself. When you find 50% in a woman, don’t go looking for 100 because you yourself are not 100. Merge your 50% with her 50% and you will create a solid home.Also in our days, there were family hangouts. Friends visited each other’s homes so it was more of a family setting, we were always having families altogether. These days, the guy wants to hangout with his friends 80% of the time and the remaining 20% he gives to his family. It was the other way round in my time. How can a family thrive like that?
You people want everything to work like magic these days, including marriage, I don’t get it. Even your lifestyles are becoming faster and more ridiculous. I’m not part of this generation; your ambitions, aspirations, goals are much more different from our own time because in our own time, I was quite happy to live in Surulere, Ikeja, Anthony Village or Ilupeju. It’s not the same thing now, your age group want to live in Lekki, Ikoyi and V.I. I have this very good friend, he lives in Surulere, you need to see his house, gigantic! If you decide to carve out block of flats in that house, we’ll have nothing less than 8 blocks of flats
I got talking to two of his sons, they’re looking for houses in Lekki and I said “so what is going to happen with this house?” They said “Maybe our daddy will turn it into a hotel” For me that is ridiculous. You have that but you go rent a house on the island?
This man has worked and slaved for them and you now want to abandon this Surulere house and go to Lekki. I don’t get it.
Some of us are living in Lekki or Ikoyi or V. I today because we have worked hard and now are proud to relax.
DANG: So we lack family values?
Ayo: Oh yes! These days, you have maybe three children and you have maybe a driver for each child, the wife has her own driver, the man has his own driver so at what point do they meet? The man is not worried about going to pick his child at school because he thinks that’s the driver’s business and probably by the time he gets home, the child is asleep, by the time the child is going to school in the morning, the man is still asleep or he has woken up and gone to work before the child has woken up so the only time most families spend together now is probably weekends or Sundays. In fact most cases they say look woman, take money for your ticket, take the children and go abroad and that is their own way of spending valuable time with their family. This is so wrong. It makes me sad to see how things have turned out.
DANG: You’ve been around for 67 years, I pray God gives you more of that.
DANG: What lessons have you learnt?
Ayo: Like I said, I have learnt to believe in God in all that I do. God is paramount, if you don’t have faith in God then you are just wasting your time. Humility is very essential, a lot of us today are living from our goodwill because we were humble when we were growing up. We genuinely valued our friends, showed up for them when they needed us and did the same for our families too. If you don’t value people, you will grow old and have only yourself as real companion