I give glory to God for making it possible for me to put into words something worthy of celebrating someone special who’s been not just my best friend & North Star, but that to so many others. Mum, Lady Yetunde Ekundayo Baiyewu is truly a virtuous legend. Born on the 6th of July, 1951 in Lagos, to Late Pa Ephraim Adesola Songonuga and Late Chief (Mrs) Dorcas Adefolabi Songonuga, the Beere of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Aiyepe, Ijebu. She was one of the ten pioneering Higher School Certificate (HSC) students, Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba. Lagos. She obtained her B.Sc (Hons) degree in Chemistry, from the University of Ibadan and a post-graduate diploma programme in Public Administration (PGDPA) at the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. She was a school prefect, President, Scripture Union and a House Captain at Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba.
The Bible includes ‘Honour your father and mother’ among the ten most important moral commandments for the reason that: ‘Gratitude is the mother of all virtues, without which humanity is fundamentally underdeveloped and wholly incomplete.’ I must first give thanks to God, after all these years, Mum is thankfully with a man, Dad, Sir Abiodun Baiyewu, who appreciates her and with whom she has built a life, business and stewardship in serving God together. I am ever grateful to dad for taking such good care of a woman, mum who always took care of others.
At the ripe young age of seventy, Mum Baiyewu, an adored matriarch of children and grand-children with her husband, Dad Baiyewu remains inspiration behind so much of me that is spiritual, decent, and good. Mum, happy renewing 70th birthday to you. I cannot equal you in nobility or heroism. Less so can I ever climb your heights of sacrifice. But know that I will never forget, for the length of my years, that I am blessed with a mother who is extraordinary in every way.
There are so many testimonies of mum’s sacrifices that I will never forget, but some missionally stands out. The emergence of Methodist Praying Partners, Methodist Professional Fellowship, Wesley School of Prayer and Discipleship (WESPLE), Coming Alive, a quarterly 24hours prayer and fasting were nurtured by Mum. She committed her time and resources to the successful hosting of these renewal encounters. Mum’s role in charge of the Kitchen during the 2000 Methodist Evangelical Convention at Orimerunmu remains unforgettable. Every delegates were fed well and there were many left overs after the conference. You can never see Mum complaining but, always bearing the most positive outlook on life and bidding others to do the same. Mum always endeavoured to bequeath to me and others that comes her paths positive and spiritual values. I remember, especially when we both lived along Oregun road, when she would call me and I would sound despondent because of ministry pressures, Mum would not let me off the phone until I heard her out completely.
Mum, it is my joy to share with the world stories about the kindness you exude. The strength that seeps into every ounce of your being. Mum is a true model of Proverb 31 woman and wife. I remember very well, when Dad was attacked by armed robbers and his new Prado jeep was stolen. Mum’s call to me was a song of thanksgiving for Dad’s safety and nothing more. When Dad was to settle down into private business, Mum was at hand willingly working with her hands supporting Dad. Indeed, Dad found a virtuous wife and companion whose worth is far above rubies. Dad’s heart safely trusts Mum, hence Dad have no lack of gain. Mum remains like the merchant ships and she continue to bring her food from afar, rising while it is yet night, providing food for her household (Prov 31:10-31). Mum, on your 70th birthday and every day, I adore you, look up to, and to love you and dad without bounds. Mum, my adored matriarch, you have the patience of a Saint, your calm spirit and lessons that could be scripted into a Holy book or carved into stone helps to temper me and others. Mum, while you may have been as saintly as any Saint most of the time, you are a woman of prayer, strength with conviction. Mum you cook. Every memory of my visit to you at Howson Wright Estate, Oregun is associated with some kind of yumminess. It’s because you always made sure I ate and take something home. Mum, everything you do is kind. You smile at everyone, talk to everyone. You make other people feel heard, worthy, and important.
I am so thankful that you taught us about what’s real and really important in life. Getting to know and love God, people, working as a team, moving towards a heavenly common goal. Mum, truly a legend, you make people feel smart, empowered and loved. Mum, sorry, I am not around you in time like this, please be assured that it is a privilege for me to celebrate you at 70
I know how to live my life, how to love my children, how to acknowledge an ordinary day as a good one, thanks to you Mum.
I know how to be selfless, how to value health, how to enjoy the sunshine, thanks to you Mum.
I know how to laugh, how to write, how to create, thanks to you Mum.
I know how to be kind, how to do crosswords, how to be patient, thanks to you Mum.
I know how to be a friend, how to be a husband, how to be a human being, thanks to you Mum.
I learned how to be strong, how to be generous, how to forgive, thanks to you Mum.
I learned, thanks to you Mum. Happy 70th birthday, Mum! Thank you for all the lessons. Thank you for making our lives better day in and day out. Thank you for sharing yourself so selflessly all these years. Thank you for the layers of love, richness, beauty, and depth you have added to our canvas with such deft brush strokes.
Happy 70th Birthday, Mum. We love you.