Thursday, October 29, 2015

Meet the Woman Extraordinaire: Madam Juliana Tolani

Madam Juliana Tinuoye Tolani, popularly known as, "Eye Bibi" was born in 1936 to late Pa Osasona Ojodagbalukuta Agbalokeoja and Late Madam Ige Adubi Agbalokeoja of Ile Eisa, Osun Ekiti. Her paternal grandfather was High Chief Agbalokeoja Alasobioye 1, the Obaisa of Osun-Ekiti who reigned in the 18th Century. Her father was the head of drummers (Olori Ayan) in his days while her mother was nicknamed Iya Olobi because of her success in kola nut business. Madam Tinuoye had sisters, and half-brothers and sisters, notable among whom are the reigning Obaisa of Osun-Ekiti, High Chief Gabriel Ayanwale, Madam Bojuwola Oni and Mrs Oyegbenle Omotoso.
The third child of her mother, the young Tinuoye enrolled at St. Augustine Primary School, Osun-Ekiti at about the age of ten. However, she withdrew from schooling in the second year because of sight problem (later diagnosed to be short sightedness several years after). She joined her mother in the kola nut processing and trading business and remained in it till she got married. Having been betrothed to her husband from infancy, she got married to late Pa James Tolani in 1956 and relocated to his trading base in Emure-Ekiti where she gave birth to all her children.

      Being the youngest wife of her husband, Madam Tinuoye realized early in life that the fortune of her children lied more in her hands than her husband’s. She had the ambition of raising highly educated children. This motivated her to opt for her own business. She started by helping palm wine tappers to convey palm wine from the farms to sell in the town. She progressed into trading in consumer goods which she bought from local wholesalers and sold at home and at different markets on market days. Due to persistent hard work, she advanced to going for wholesales purchase in Ibadan and having her own shop at Emure until she returned to Osun- Ekiti in 1981.
During the Burial Celebration of Madam Juliana Tolani

Madam Tinuoye’s commitment to the education of her children was legendary. As far back as early 1970s she made up her mind to work hard and make substantial financial and moral contributions to her children’s education. This ensured that the death of her husband did not truncate the education of any of her children. When Pa James Tolani died in 1988, only Bodunrinde her first child was a university graduate, two other sons were undergraduates of law and medicine while the remaining youngest three children were in lower schools. Due to God’s help and her hard work, all her children are professionals in their various fields today. To God’s glory, even her second child and first daughter Bibianah who was not given the opportunity of attending secondary school when she was due in the early 1970s is a force to reckon with in her business and family lives today.

Mama was a God-fearing and devout Christian in the Catholic faith. She was baptized and confirmed in the church, and was also receiving Holy Communion till shortly before death. Upon her return to Osun–Ekiti from Emure in 1981, she became the leader of St. Julianah’s Society of St. Augustine Catholic Church, Osun–Ekiti till her death. Although none of her children are Catholics today, it should be noted that all her children and their families are committed Christians. 
During the burial ceremony of Madam Juliana Tolani in 2015
Not only did mama build her children, she also emulated her mother by ensuring that she had her own building in Osun– Ekiti. She further surpassed her mother by visiting and spending about three years with her children in Canada, United Kingdom and USA. Considering the extraordinary blessings and grace of God on Madam Tinuoye, her life could be summarized thus; she came, she trusted God, she worked hard, she achieved, she left great legacies, and she returned to her maker peacefully.


I consider myself privileged to come to this world through you. You were really a rare mother. In spite of your lack of formal education, you were ambitious, visionary and a hard worker. Mama, I can never forget how from my childhood you instilled in me the virtues of fear of God, hard work and being my siblings keepers. Your words “ori ole kii buru ki ale male” whenever I wanted to refused any errand in my childhood years still rings in my ears today.
Mama, you bestowed your virtues and greatness on the world through me and my siblings. With God’s help, I promise to sustain your great legacies. Keep resting in the lord my great mama.
Bodunrinde John Tolani  


Mama rere, mama daadaa, iya alalubarika.You came you saw and you conquered. Your life was a life well spent in Christ Jesus. Even in your last hours, you remembered the Lord and prayed in a heavenly language we did not understand as humans. I love you; but Jesus loves you more. I’m happy and blessed and highly favored to have had you as my loving and adorable mother. What else can I ask for? Maami, e ku oro omo, e ku ifarada. My life reflects the mercy and the love that the Lord God Almighty had bestowed on you. The glory of your latter days were obviously greater than the former. Iya mi, iya Bibi, Omo eesa Oye, Omo amogbon inu j’aye, Sun re o.  
 Mrs. Bibianah I. Adedoyin (Daughter)


This is my special Tribute to an indefatigable and tireless woman who bailed me out of ignorance and poverty. Perhaps due to the combination of old age, fatigue and apathy, Baba (as we used to call our Dad) could no longer consider education to be very important to the children; but you decided to solely become responsible for my entire education after the primary school education where the intellectual journey would have ended for me. The journey was tough; but you were undeterred. I failed and faltered; but you insisted that I belonged to no other place other than the top. Mama, the ladder you provided for me and my siblings is still there today and we are still climbing and aiming for the top. Thankfully, your grandchildren are also climbing that ladder distinguishing themselves in their chosen career. I am sure you are glad that in our little ways, we your children are lending the ladder to others to climb into their destiny in different climes.

I am particularly grateful to the Lord that you had the opportunity to visit with us in our different countries of domicile. You saw us, you saw your grandchildren and they even attempted to teach you some English. You gave all; but asked nothing. There was nothing we gave you that was too small. You tasked no one and you appreciated all. What a virtuous woman you were! You taught us hard work, discipline and humility. Your epitaph should be: you came, you saw and you conquered and left indelible legacy behind. Adieu, Eye Bibi. Rest on in the bosom of your Lord.

Patrick Olayinka Tolani (Son)

                   TRIBUTE TO A TREASURE
        Dear Mama, as we remember you today, we reflect on your life and legacy. Yours was a life of hardwork and dedication to family.
I am privileged to be one of the seven children that you raised. I remember you had to place the completion of your building in Osun on hold so that we can complete our university education. At a particular point there were  three of us in the University at the same time and with the help of God you bore the burden with grace. You sacrificed your life and comfort for all of us. For this we are eternally grateful.

In spite of all that you sacrificed for us, you never demanded anything in return from any of us. You were such a rare gem. A mother of mothers. Exemplary in Character.  You bestowed on us all the value of hardwork and integrity. You were bold; never afraid to stand for whatever you believed in. 'Iya ti eniyan fi ngbadura'. Mama, you left us too soon. But we take solace in the legacy that you left behind. We will strive to continue your legacy. We will always honor your memory. Your memory is indeed blessed. Sun re O Mama, Eye Bibi, Omo Eye Lobi. Till we meet again at the feet of Jesus. Adieu.
Felix and Feyi Tolani
My Mom…Epitome of Selfless Love, Sacrifice and Faith
Igba ta ba fi le E lowo ki i fo, ikoko ta ba fi le E lowo ki i faya (meaning whatever we hand over to God always comes out successful): was a key line in your prayers. You trained us to work as if we did not believe and believe as if we will not work. With your doggedness, you engaged in different local business activities just to be able to give us quality education. As a result, you were known to many as Iya Bibi Alate (Trader), Iya Elero (running food grinding business; helping folks iin this community to grind their foods such as cassava, beans and pepper) and Iya Oni Kerosene among others. In spite of the stress associated with these business activities, you never spoke a harsh word to anyone. 

I have your hunger and respect for education to thank for my academic success. I remember among other things the steady flow of foodstuffs and allowances you provided to me when I was an undergraduate at Ife. This support was a key factor that helped me to stay focused to earn a first class degree.

I recall a big sacrifice you made for us a few years after our father died. Then I was a teenager just struggling to gain admission with two siblings already in the university. Even though you had laid the foundation of your house then, you told me you were more than happy to abandon the project to ensure we all finished our education. You succeeded in that: you sacrificed your personal dream to ensure my siblings and I received quality education which you did not have the privilege of having.

In as much as we are not happy to see you leave us at this time, we all have a feeling of proud thankfulness for  your sacrifice, selfless love and being a great mother. In ages to come, centuries and maybe millennia after us, we and our future generations would always remember your legacy. Sleep on my lovely mom.  Dr. Femi Tola


Mama, you were a very loving, caring, virtuous, diligent, hardworking, pleasant, excellent, determined supportive, reliable, dependable, strong and courageous Mother and Woman. You did all you could to ensure that we succeed in Life. You made positive impact in the life of everyone that crossed your paths, that’s why we and our entire generation will not forget you and the legacy you left behind. Mama Rere, My Sweet Mother, Abiyamo Tooto. Your act of love will always linger in our hearts. Mama, Sun Re O, till we meet to part no more.  
Sam and Dupe Sanni (Daughter and Son-in-law) 


Dear mama, it’s really unbelievable that you have left us for eternal rest. A rest well deserved! We, your children, will forever remain grateful for everything the Lord did in our lives through you. As we move forward in life, with only your memories to hang on to, we will carry on the great legacy you left us.
 We will continue to reach for the stars, knowing that you are the GIANT on whose shoulder we stand. Amongst mothers you stand tall. Mothers of your caliber come one in a million but you lived as one in a lifetime. Your love, kindness, generosity from your huge heart, and tender nurturing words has left us a legacy that can never be erased. It is hard to accept the fact that you are no longer here in person but we remain ever comforted in the assurance that we shall meet to glorify our father in heaven together someday. Having you by our side when we gave birth to both Yemi and Toba in America was a great blessing to Toyin and I. The joy you displayed, as a proud grandmother, was inspiring to our friends and us. Opeyemi, Jesu-Toba, Toyin and I thank you for your sacrificial show of love. We are eternally grateful for the precious times we spent together. We will truly miss you. We love you. Rest in perfect peace at the bossom of your Savior till we meet again.  
Gboyega and Toyin (Son and Daughter-in-law)

Special Announcement!!!

       Juliana Tolani Scholarship 

In honor of the first year departure of our dear mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Juliana Tolani Scholarship program is hereby established.

Award amount: up to $500 per applicant

Scholarships awarded yearly for up to 15 students. 

Application does not guarantee award.

Applicant must demonstrate financial need 
Applicants should submit a 1-2 page essay demonstrating  the reason they should be awarded the scholarship.             
The essay should make reference to Madam J. Tolani's biography
Applicants should email— attention: Director of Financial Aid, subject:  Juliana Tolani Scholarship
Application deadlines are January 15, May 15 and September 15 for the Winter, Spring and Fall enrollment period respectively.

  Please note that this blog page is still under construction for more updates.



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