When business mogul, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, Founder, Elizade Motors turned 80, the city of Lagos literarily shook to its very foundation-and the landmark birthday was celebrated with panache and grandeur.
Fondly called Nigeria’s “Mr. Toyota” and the nation’s numero uno Car Salesman, Chief Ade-Ojo who chose to combine his name and that of his much-loved late first wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Wuraola, to start his adventure into business, used the occasion not to celebrate himself but to thank God and give Him glory.
The wonderful 80th birthday celebration of this entrepreneurial giant began with an event tagged “Prayer Meeting with Pastor E.A. Adeboye” at the Raddison Blu Hotel, GRA, Ikeja.
First to arrive the venue were his children including Mrs Deola Sagoe, Mr. Demola Ade-Ojo and Mr Kunle Ade-Ojo before the celebrant and his gorgeously dressed, wife, Mrs. Taiwo Ade-Ojo stepped into the arena.
Formal proceedings began when famous fashion designer and couturier, Deola Sagoe, who is the celebrant’s first child was invited to deliver the opening prayers.
She was certainly moved by the spirit that morning as she showered praise on God for guiding and guarding her father all through the years.
It was not long after that the day’s special guest, Pastor Enoch Adeboye was welcomed by the Ade-Ojo family into the venue, and the atmosphere was upbeat.
The famous anointed man of God revealed his closeness with the celebrant thus “When he was 60, I was there, when he was 70, I was there, now he is 80, I am here. You are wondering what is so special about this Chief,? Well, let me tell you we met in the 60s in Nsukka (University of Nigeria, where the celebrant graduated in Business Administration).
“At that time, quite a few of us from the West where rascally but he was different, at that early age, you could see quality. So, we have been together since then and we are still together.”
Quoting numerous Bible passages, Pastor Adeboye spoke about heaven being the best place for anyone to aspire to and Jesus being higher than the highest and greater than the greatest.
He noted that the reason people are afraid to die was because they don’t know where they are going. He stated that heaven is so beautiful that children of God should aspire to go there.
He rounded off by inviting the celebrant and family for prayers. According to him “The Ade-Ojo family will know no sorrow, evil will flee from them and they will enjoy tremendous blessing of peace and success.
Thereafter, the celebrant cut a cake after the words: J-E-S-U-S was spelt by the compere.
Next event for this uncommon giver whom some fondly call “Mr. Philanthropy” was a thanksgiving service tagged “Unlimited Praise”
Held at the Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites, the event was attended by such personalities as Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Osile of Oke-Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuosho and his Oloris, Chief Samuel Adedoyin, Dr. Amos Akingba, Chief Sunny Asemota and wife, Ireti, Prof. Pat Utomi, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Ondo State Governor, His Excellency, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu , Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and wife, Florence, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, Dr. Babatunde Fowler, Prophet S.K Abiara, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Michael Ponle, Professor Wale Omole, Chief (Mrs.) Bola Obasanjo, the Osile Oke Ona of Egbaland, Chief Kenny Martins and Retired General Ike Nwachukwu.
Celebrant’s son, Mr Demola Ade-Ojo kicked off the event with an opening prayer. After that, there was no dull moment as seven gospel artistes took turns to thrill guests. The performers: Gbenga Gbenjo, Bois Olorun, Erujeje, Telemi, Demola Olota, BJ Sax and Tope Alabi were all superlative.
The day’s compere, Pastor Dele Balogun also conducted a quiz where guests had to indicate how much they knew about the celebrant. A couple of guests smiled home with gifts.
It was Pastor Tunde Bakare, who attended the event with his wife, Olayide that preached the day’s sermon. He described the celebrant as a man who radiates a rare level of humility.
He noted that he was happy that Chief Ade-Ojo had put God first in all aspects of his life as exemplified by the nature of his birthday celebration.
According to Pastor Bakare, who spoke about gratitude “instead of whining and complaining about your lot in life, stop and thank Him for what he has given you already. If we count and blessings and name them one by one we will amazed what God has done in our lives”
He urged all guests to emulate the celebrant’s passion for the word and his expression of immense gratitude to God for keeping him till 80”
What can be considered the highest point of the ceremony was when the celebrant mounted the stage and backed by Tope Alabi’s band; sang and danced to two songs. He rolled back the years with his deft dance steps, looking so young and agile. He was certainly wrapped in bountiful joy.
He was soon joined by his children and grand children, and as one big happy family, they all praised God in unison. Kunle Ade-Ojo’s closing prayer rounded off what was a pulsating, spiriting-lifting and inspirational occasion.
Hours later, guests were treated to a sumptuous reception at the 10 Degrees Events Centre, Oregun, Lagos.
Top Comedian,Gbenga Adeyinka1st was the compere while Wizkid and King Sunny Ade provided quality musical entertainment to the delight of some celebrated Nigerians who came to honour the great icon. Guests who came included: Otunba Michael Subomi Balogun, Sir Kessington Adebutu, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola,Chairman, Ovation Media Group, Bashorun Dele Momodu and former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
Others were Senator Daisy Danjuma, Erelu Abiola Dosumu, Erelu Bisi Fayemi and Retired General Ike Nwachukwu and Nollywood actor, Kunle Afolayan.
Born June 14, 1938 at Ilara-mokin, a town in Ondo state, into the family of the late Chief Solomon Ojo and Mrs. Beatrice Ademolawe Ojo, Chief Ade-Ojo is one of the few untainted Nigerian businessmen who believe that a good name is worth more that a billion naira.
Days after the celebrations which included a service at Archbishop Vining Memorial Anglican Church, Ikeja and a Golf Tournament, Chief Ade-Ojo had an engaging interview at his Lagos home with our team. Excerpts.