Reaching the Milestone In Life: Fgcw Old Boy Charles Ojo Hits Diamond Age.


By Sule Ahmed Oyofo (the newspaperman)

There is an adage that says “when a child shoots an arrow that reaches the top of a tall palm tree, then it must be that an elderly person that carved the arrow for him”. The ordinary meaning of this adage is that success is achieved faster when a man moves with the wise! For the man popularly known as “smiling Jo”, Mr. Charles Ojo alias “Oh men”, who celebrates 60 years today, it is suspected that he had been groomed by the wise. They may not have come in the form of men protecting him wherever necessary.

Remember that in “Things Fall Apart”, Okonkwo had his “chi”. No one knows, but the reality is that it as though those “spirits”, “wise men” cracked his “palm kernel’ for him, gifting him with an extra-ordinary measure of life. “Charlie” moved with admirable ease and noticeable charm that broke resistance no matter where—he is formidable too. Unknown to him, perhaps, he might just be a good case study of a man blessed with tremendous wisdom and understanding– these two attributes are unmistakable for those who know him over the years.

Added to that is the inescapable fact that he has two powerful fixtures going for him—his bulky frame and oily face. In those days it was easy for people to conclude that the young “Charlie ‘could not run because of his big frame. But he surprised many by becoming an exemplary lawn tennis player although not in the mold of the likes of Rafael Nadal and Nova Djokovic!  As for his oily smiles, he used that to great advantage disarming friends and foes alike!

There is a big joke in town and it is not bad to let it out here after so many years. In 1996, Charlie was in Benin City where he encountered men of the underworld; they caught up with him in his brand new Honda Civic sedan and proceeded to drive off with him in tow, Amidst terror, Charlie’s oily smile was said to have come into good use; he reportedly managed to “charm” his captors who unwittingly let him off the hook, but not his car they escaped with! In the process, one of the robbers was said to have told him “old boy no think say because you dey smile for us naim make make we leave you-, oyaa…jump out”. His charm had worked!

Along the way, Charlie had grown up in the knowledge and avoided the needless vices of life. Of course, his father was instrumental–a no-nonsense–disciplinarian who was strict to the core. A former principal of Hussey College, Warri, it is possible that his strong-arm tactics toughened up Charlie in character molding because Charlie grew up to become a man of integrity, strong character, and budding potentials. The Bible says train a child the way you want him to grow and when he becomes an adult, he will not deviate. Truly, Charlie drew closer to God abiding by the tenets of righteousness.

He became trustworthy and with that comes responsibilities and what have you! I remember in 1981, Charlie and this reporter had visited his uncle who was then residing in Victoria Island beech front. He was a Bank Manager with the usual appurtenances of luxury. As teenagers, we dreamt of becoming like him. Not surprisingly, dreams hardly die. Many years later, Charlie surpassed that dream and retired as Managing Direct of a banking Institution earning for himself a renowned reputation. All the while he took his friends –old and new—along.  it is not surprising that the drums have been rolled out for him as he celebrates the diamond age.

It seems just like yesterday when he came into the limelight at a tender age from the Annunciation Catholic College, Irrua, Edo State, in the early ’70s, when he was just 12 years old, and then on to the Federal Government College Warri, then the University of Ibadan and Benin respectively.  Blessed with an unprecedented jewel in the woman fondly called “Ede” Charlie cannot be more than grateful to life—and his God. At 60, with his children around him and his beautiful sisters and brother, Charlie really has everything to thank God for. May God continue to bless him and prolong his life even unto the next generation!