In an age when business/career families, homes and marriages are common and challenging, Sir Dr Yemi Sanya and Lady Prof Arinola Sanya provides us a model of a Christian home. A former President of United State of America, Abraham Lincoln rightly declared that ‘the strength of a nation is the home of its people.’ This statement about the importance of home resonates with the secret of the numerous testimonies and tributes said and written about Sir Dr Yemi Sanya’s legacies. Sir Dr Sanya first hung his heart to God, his and children in order to open his hands to bless humanity. Out of the abundance and blessing of a Christian home is what it means to be Sir Dr Yemi Sanya. A model of a Christian home where the Bible is loved and taught, where the Master’s will is sought, a home crowned with beauty God love has wrought is Sanyas’ home. Their home is where the father and mother are true and strong. Their home is where the mother and father, in caring quest strives to show others God’s way is best, where the Lord is an honoured guest. Sanyas’ home is where the children and grandchildren are led to know Christ in His beauty who loves them so.

To the glory of God, Dr Sir Sanya was born as the second of the seven child of his father and mother and got educated. To know what it means to be Sir Dr Sanya, is to know how as a Methodist he won an Anglican soul as the wife of his youth, Lady Prof Arinola Sanya during his Youth Service year in Borno State, Nigeria. Sir Dr Sanya did not made himself. He was not just an achiever, he was a receiver of God’s Redemption At Christ’s Expense (GRACE). He received redemption of his soul, redemption from poverty, redemption from polygamy, redemption from sickness, and redemption from eternal perdition.

God made, redeemed, and graced Dad Sanya by first blessing him with a wife of his youth. He found a wife and obtained God’s favour for the rest of his sojourn on earth. Their marriage remains an example of for better for worse. Christian marriage between a man and a woman is not devoid of storms, but with Christ in the storm tells the full story of the Sanyas. As a former Commissioner for Health, Oyo State, Nigeria, Mum Sanya’s heart as a godly spouse love her husband devotedly even in the midst of distractions and challenges. When the appointment was in the making, Mum Sanya made everyone involved to know that her husband, Dad Sanya has the final say either to accept or not. Mum Sanya’s appointment as a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) of the Nigerian premier University, University of Ibadan was not without Dad Sanya’s blessings and support. Mum, thank you is a small word for all that you have done especially in given dad wings to fly and fulfilled his potentials and aspirations to God and humanity. For 42 years, devoid of the elitist women’s superiority complex, Matriarch Arinola Sanya honoured and released her husband to be known at the church, communities, cities and corporate gates, where he sat and helped the elders, the vulnerable, the poor, and the needy (Prov 31: 12, 23). Mum Sanya’s sense of self worth comes from her marriage and not external sources. In their humble beginning, while dad as a pharmacist mixed and packaged the pharmaceutical items, mum did the marketing and selling.

Hear this everyone, your wife will either double your ministry, business or cut it in half. While serving in Bornu State, Dad Sanya was not just looking for a wife, he made sure he married someone who doubled his vision and loves Jesus more than she loves him. First, a business magnate doesn’t have to be married to thrive. But if a business magnate is married, their spouse is the single most important human relationship he or she has. Thank you Mum ‘for making compromise and compatibility seem like a cake walk’ in your marriage to dad. Thank you Mum, you work hard, you sacrificed your happiness and compromise your wishes so that your home remain godly. In the moments tones were hurtful, you believed in the depth of God’s love for your home. When you were on the verge of giving up, your faith in God and in your family’s welfare makes the difference, even in celebrating dad. Thank you for never letting go. Thank you for regaining hope after despair, resuming life after obstructions, restarting journeys after detours, reviving strength after the defeat and resurrecting dreams after rejection. Thank you for sticking with dad through good and bad days, 

Marriage isn’t always easy, the alternative isn’t much better. A dysfunctional marriage beyond being a major distracter that affects the company negatively, it destroy homes and legacy. Being married to an academic, enterprenuer, business magnate, and a philantropist is not a joke (especially Ijebu or Ijesa) and it is beyond coping with the stress and uncertainty. The problem with being a CEO’s wife is that there’s no handbook or guide to help you anticipate different situations and to tell you what to do in them. Lady Prof Arinola Sanya has no handbook of being a business magnate wife of over 42 years.

Mum Sanya, the first female professor of physiotherapy in Africa, and the second ever professor of physiotherapy in Nigeria specialises in ‘the physiological principles of therapeutic exercises for preventive, curative, rehabilitative and health promotive purpose in human subjects’ and not about marriage. What shapes and guides Prof Sanya being a godly wife, mother, and grandmother with the right priorities  is the Holy Book, the Bible (Matt 6:33), ministering to her husband (Prov. 18:22, 19:14), nurturing her children (2 Tim1:5), and keeping her home (Titus 2:5). Mum, devoid of materialistic mindset, remains a portrait of an ideal wife of a philantropist endowed with pleasant and humble appearance. Efficent in home making, Mum, you gave dad a sense of pride, respect and freedom for him to fulfil his vision. Mum, your understanding of the awesome task of producing the next generation of doctors distinguished you from “contentious” wife (Prov 19:13; 21:9, 19).

Executives, especially a Christian executive like Sir Dr Yemi Sanya deal with everyone’s problems both personal and professional. Many executives are directly responsible for productivity or responsible for management. Many executives deal with collection, human resource, accounting, and legal issues on a daily basis. Small business owners, deal with all of it with little help, and are the last to be paid. A fruitful and flourishing example of a CEO like a flourishing orange tree is Sir Dr Adeyemi Sanya that provides drink for the weary and thirsty. Dad Sanya is a father and husband, blessed with the grace to heal the wounds of yesterday and give wings for a happier tomorrow. Dad’s special 69th birthday card present captioned ‘To my WIFE’ will for ever remains a cherished reminder of genuine love.

Because the demands on a CEO’s time are enormous and the boundaries between personal and professional life can be blurred, a healthy marriage is critical. “A happy marriage is not measured by the number of dates or the exotic honeymoons; rather it is how well the couple can cross the hurdles of life.” Mum, Adesola, Oluwatoosin, Adetutu, Olusiji, thank you for being dad’s source of inspiration. You are the shining light along dad’s personal and professional life, path and source of integrity to the family.

To know Sir Dr Sanya is to know his wife and celebrate her. To know Sr Dr Sanya is to know his children and celebrate them. I first met Sir Dr Sanya when I met his first fruit – Adesola. In obedience to dad, whenever the family are in Lagos, they worshipped at Methodist Church, Abule Oja. For distance and quest for youth friendly worship, Adesola got a place of worship that aligned with Methodist liturgy at Chapel of Christ the Light (Interdenominational), Alausa, Lagos, where I was the pioneer Presiding Chaplain. Adesola took the good news of a church with a Methodist minister to the family house at Berger, Lagos. By Dad’s first fruit, Adesola, I sensed a Spirit-filled Christian home, model of godliness, an open book, gracious in trial, and a living testimony with spiritual priority. In Adesola, a model for her siblings, I came to know the Sanyas intimately. Adesola and her siblings surrendered themselves for parental training and discipline. In Adesola and her sibling, we can see clear that, it is better to train a daughter than to train a wife and better to train a son than training a husband. They were trained and received parental blessings. Dad did not spoilt his children but even deny them somethings in love. The girls are now queens to their kings and, the boy is now king to his queen.

Thank you Adesola, Oluwatoosin, Adetutu, Olusiji for you have always listened to dad and mum without judgment, spoken without prejudice, helped and supported them without entitlement, understood them without pretension and most importantly loved them without conditions. Thank you for sharing your dad with everyone that came along his path. Only children like you made a king in dad just as you have made in mum, his wife, a queen. Thank you for being the pieces that completed dad’s life. Thanks to your spouses, Seun, Folarin, Dayo, and Diekola. You guys made dad and mum proud; you gave them the honour of becoming grandparents of eight grandchildren. I cannot thank you enough for affirming the family’s testimonies. One of dad’s dreams and prayers was to find persons who will love his daughters and son more than him. To Seun, Folarin, Dayo, and Diekola, you remain answered prayers to dad’s dream. Thank you. Thank you for making the queen in your wives – Adesola, Oluwatoosin, Adetutu, and for Diekola making king in your husband, Olusiji.

Executives, especially a Christian executive like Sir Dr Yemi Sanya deal with everyone’s problems both personal and professional. Like many executives, Sir Dr Sanya was directly responsible for productivity and responsible for management of his companies. Like many executives, he dealt with collection, human resource, accounting, and legal issues on a daily basis. Spouses of CEOs have an extraordinary life, Sir Dr Sanya’s wife, Lady Professor remains a model. Mum, in the darkest of days, you remain the root that nourishes Dad’s home.

A godly, supportive spouse will enhance your gifts, talents, and ability to flourish. A selfish, unsupportive spouse will inhibit you significantly. In an age that is heartbroken at the stories of friends and acquaintances whose marriages have dissolved. Countless reasons exist for the dissolution of marriages. Mum Sanya remains a model of wife’s love, pillar, and devotion in thick and thin.

Mum Sanya was a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) at the Universty of Ibadan. She attended Salvation Army Primary School in Surulere Lagos. Upon Completion, she attended Queens College, Yaba, Lagos where she was made Head Girl. She trained as a Physiotherapist at the University of Ibadan, the Premier Physiotherapy Training Institution South of the Sahara. She joined the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of Ibadan as a graduate assistant in 1978 where she remains as professor since 2000. Mum Sanya is a Consultant Physiotherapist to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. She sits on several management level committees at the University of Ibadan such as the Appointments and Promotions Committee.

She served as Graduate Assistant, Physiotherapy Unit of Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ibadan between 1978-1981; Assistant Lecturer, Department of Physiotherapy, College of Medicine,   University of Ibadan, Nigeria, 1981-1983; Lecturer II, Department of Physiotherapy, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria between 1983-1986; Lecturer I, Department of Physiotherapy, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, 1986-1990; Senior Lecturer, Department of Physiotherapy, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, 1990-2000; Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Science, College of Applied Medical Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, (On Sabbatical Leave), 1990-1992; Teaching Locum at the Physiotherapy Department, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar, 1997; Visiting Professor, Department of Physiotherapy, College of Medicine,   University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria, 2004-2005; Professor, Department of Physiotherapy, College of Medicine, University of     Ibadan, Nigeria, 2000- till date.

Join me to prayerfully commit Mum Lady Professor Arinola Sanya as we ask God to renew her with grace for the journey ahead. Let us sing the hymn by Baylus McKinney, to pray for healing of home and marriage:

God give us Christian homes
Homes where the Bible is loved and taught
Homes where the Master’s will is sought
Homes crowned with beauty Your love has wrought
God give us Christian homes
God give us Christian homes. God give us Christian homes.

Homes where the father is true and strong
Homes that are free from the blight of wrong
Homes that are joyous with love and song
God give us Christian homes
God give us Christian homes. God give us Christian homes.

Homes where the mother, in caring quest
Strives to show others Your way is best
Homes where the Lord is an honoured guest
God give us Christian homes
God give us Christian homes. God give us Christian homes.

Homes where the children are led to know
Christ in His beauty who loves them so
Homes where the altar fires burn and glow
God give us Christian homes
God give us Christian homes!