A age 50 is Golden. It is no sheer surprise therefore that
those who reach this milestone are seen as special. Among these special people
is Ilupeju- Ekiti born Entrepreneur and Founder of Grenville Schools, Mr. Moses
Olajide Babalola who rolled out the drums of celebration, hosting numerous
guests and dignitaries to a classy party.
The celebration began with a thanksgiving service at the
Redeemed Christian Church of God, Salvation Centre Parish, Oba Akinjobi Road
G.R.A Ikeja in Lagos. The Church service kicked off with a praise worship
session, with friends, Church members and well-wishers dancing to a series of
melodious Gospel music by the Church choir.
The birthday boy danced with so much joy,
looking resplendent in his Royal Blue traditional outfit along side his wife, Mrs. Bolatito Babalola
and children, praising God for His mercies. Afterwards, Pastor Olarinmoye, who
was one of the Officiating Ministers showered the celebrant with encomiums due
to his immense contribution to the Church and role as an Usher.
According to the
man of God, his work in the vineyard of the Lord shows that the celebrant is filled with
humility. The Pastor also advised the celebrant to increase his passion for
God’s work. Butressing his point with a
quotation from the Bible, he added, that serving God was a very worthy
enterprise. Then, prayer was rendered for Mr. Babalola by the entire congregation.
During the Church
service, some of his friends and associates testified to his humility,
reliability, trustworthiness, loyalty in friendship and business and they also
expressed their love for him.
They wished him a happy birthday and prayed that he would
live long to enjoy the fruits of his labour on earth. Thereafter, a vote of
thanks was delivered by the celebrant’s amiable wife, Mrs. Bolatito Babalola.
The Church service was rounded off with the rendition of the
popular hymn ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’.
The next port of call was a grand reception held at Grandeur
Events Centre, Oregun Ikeja where guests were awe-struck by the beautiful decor
by Infiniti Events who created a convivial ambience in the venue. There was also a screen which displayed the
pictures of the celebrant and his family members.
The colours chosen for the day were Yellow, Blue and White
and guests looked elegant in their different outfits. Grenville students
mounted a guard of honour at the entrance of the venue as they awaited the
arrival of their Chairman. Thereafter, J.B. as he is popularly known, made a
spectacular entry amisdt pomp accompanied by his pretty wife and their
Guests rose in honour of the celebrant as he danced joyously
in the midst of his students. He was obvioulsy enveloped in joy. As the event
rolled by, the celebrant’s wife was invited to say a few words about her
Mrs. Babalola talked about their journey from grass to
grace. She went further to narrate how her husband could not afford an
engagement box on their wedding day.
This was quite touching as guests reeled in astonishment.
The celebrant’s wife looked deep into her husband eyes and gushed, ‘If I say I love you, it is an
understatement’. Then, she prayed for the celebrant and lovingly planted a kiss
on his lips.
Immediately, selected dignitaries were invited to launch a
magazine which contains the details of the celebrant’s life which was followed
by the cutting of three special cakes.
The first cake was crafted in the shape of a ship in honour of
his profession. The second cake was courtesy of Guaranty Trust Bank while the
third cake was provided by members of his staff. Guests were pampered with
mouth-watering dishes and assorted drinks while everyone rollicked to the music
of the popular Faith Band.
Guests also went home with exciting memorabalias courtesy of
the celebrant. Shortly after the celebration, we were guests of the Babalola’s
and we spent quality time discussing the birthday, his life and more.
THE CELEBRANT, MR. OLAJIDE BABALOLA
Congratulations on your 50th birthday
Thank you very much.
How has the journey been these 50 years
A lot of water has passed under the bridge but we thank God.
What was your birthday wish or special prayer
Well, the prayer was for God to continually keep me in
How does it feel being 50
Well, age is a question of the mind. The years you spend on
earth does not matter, it is life that is in the years that matter.
The turnout at your birthday was very impressive, how did
In fact, I was highly elated and in Eldorado of life. My joy
knew no bounds.
What special gifts did you get from friends and family
I got numerous gifts, surprises and prayers from friends –
physical, emotional and any other gift you can think of. I think of nothing
more to add.
What has been the role of faith in all of this, I spoke to
your wife earlier and she said you are a very spiritual man and a prayer
Yes, I am. Even the Bible says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom
of God and His righteousness and every other thing shall be added unto you.”
The problem with our people is that they misplace their priorities. You need to
put God first in every other thing, then, prosperity, long life, peace or
comfort will follow.
Your wife was a bit emotional when she talked to us about
the early days. She spoke of times when you could not afford three square meals
Yes, that is life for you.
What was it like back
Well, when you have a vision, you can actually buy a
television. I had the belief that tomorrow would be better than that present. I
thank God today, that our story has changed.
What are the values that have kept you going
Well, first of all, you have to believe in God and have faith. I see faith as a heavenly
currency for earthly purchases. That is the way I see faith. I have faith in
God and I know that God became poor so we can be rich. I see it as a crime to
be poor. That is what God told us.
Tell us your journey
Well, it has been from one stage to another. I have toiled
day and night, working for people in various organisations. I started my career
in Nigeria National Shipping Line and worked there for some years, then the
company liquidated. After that, I joined a Finance House during the era of
Babangida when Finance Houses were enjoying their honeymoon. The honeymoon was
short-lived and the company closed down. I then joined the Federal Government
Withholding Tax Monitoring project, but after Abacha’s death, the project we
were working on was cancelled and I made up my mind not to work for anyone
again. That was when I started something and that is where we are today.
Tell us about Lamip
Lamip Investments is a wholly-owned Nigerian company that
specializes in Petroleum, Shipping and Trading. We own some fleet of vessels –
Coastal vessels that trade on the coast to lift Petroleum products which we
supply to vessels. As you know, there are no filling stations on the high seas,
so we have created our own filling stations on the sea by using small vessels
to supply them bunkers. Vessels coming from other parts of the world like
Germany, China and South Korea need to refuel to go back to their destinations
when they come to Nigeria. That is where we come in.
How has the business been for you
Well, initially it was very interesting, but nowadays, we are facing lots of challenges.
What are these
The government has not created a conducive environment for
the shipping business to thrive. Then, there are the challenges of piracy and
adulterated products. Those are the
challenges that are confronting the business.
If you were in a position to change things in the industry,
what would you do
I have to make sure that I proffer solutions to all these
problems by making sure that our law enforcement agents are more on their toes
while at the same time providing them with the equipment they can work with to
successfully monitor the coastal areas. I would at the same time strive to
provide jobs for people that are jobless so that the level of crime can reduce.
Where did the passion for founding a school come from
By virtue of where I come from, I am an Ekiti man, and the
only industry that we have in Ekiti is education. Maybe, the only thriving
industry we have at the moment is the Warm and Spring Resort cum Water Bottling
Company at Ikogosi. I feel that when you are developing the youths, you get a
lot of joy from it. Education is very good and the best legacy a man can give
his children is education
When did you
establish Grenville Schools
Grenville was founded four years ago in 2011. We are running
our fourth year now. We have graduated three sets because we started from
pre-school to A-Level. We have people from other institutions who joined us.
The youngest pilot in Nigeria, Daniel Adeyileka who works with Arik Air graduated
from Grenville Schools. We have lots of Grenville products in other parts of
the world like Canada and the United Kingdom, schooling in higher institutions
there. Even my daughter finished from the school. She is in the University of Toronto in Canada as I speak.
How would you love to
Well, I do not want to be remembered by my fleet of cars or
houses but lives that I have touched positively. Even, Mother Theresa is being
remembered all over the world today.
Some countries are still fighting for her graveyard because of the
legacy she left behind. I want to be remembered for touching lives and adding
value to lives. That is my primary objective.
CELEBRANT’S WIFE, MRS.
Congratulations on your husband’s 50th Birthday
Thank you very much.
How long have you
been married now
We have been married for over 18 years.Honestly, at the
initial stage, it was so rough. I mean it, when I tell you that it was rough,
because then, we could not afford three square meals. It was so difficult but
to the glory of God, all that is history now.
How would you describe your husband
My husband is a God-fearing person – an epitome of humility;
a caring and loving husband and father. He is
a man of integrity and a man of his words – a prayer warrior and a
Christian to the core.
What role has he
played in your life
God has made him to be the light that clears the darkness of
my life, because I lost my parents at a very tender age. Since I met my
husband, my life has changed. Things have never remained the same, because I
said yes to him that day.
How did you meet him
It was God that ordained our coming together, because we are
from the same village in Ilupeju-Ekiti. His younger ones are my friends. I used
to visit their house and they would come to mine. I never thought of getting married to him – never thought of it
in my life, but God ordained our coming together.
How did he propose to
He proposed the normal way.
What made you say yes
Well, you know I had been praying to God to give me the bone
of my bone and the flesh of my flesh. So, when he proposed to me, I said yes
immediately. I thought about it and I prayed and God led me and that is what
you are seeing today.
What do you do