By Tunde Oyedele –
A simple life with hard work and contentment are what shaped the life of Pa Andrew Owei, who was born on 27th August, 1942.
“I was born on the 27th of August, in the year 1942 at the General Hospital, Warri by then. I was the only child that was born then in a hospital with the help of a British Doctor. Meanwhile, the rest of my father’s children were born in Sangana.
A skilled, knowledgeable and creative artist during his active days, Pa Owei is knowledgeable in many subjects but he chose Fine Arts and Graphic Designs because drawing gives him pleasure and fulfillment.
“It was my late elder brother Fabian Owei, who inspired me to go into full scale Fine Arts. He was a very good Artist, his expertise encouraged me. I followed his footsteps and secured an admission at Yaba Tech, where I trained under Professor Yusuf Grillo, who was a guru in the profession back then”, Pa Owei told eyeonthenews.com in an interview.
After undergoing his Arts and Graphic Designs education at Yaba College of Technology in Lagos, Pa Owei had his industrial training at the Arts Department of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Victoria Island in Lagos State.
After his education, he had some job offers but chose to work with OBM, a United Kingdom-based company that has branches in Nigeria, Holland and other parts of the world.
“I worked at a branch of OBM here in Lagos back then. When my employers saw my experience and dedication to duties, I was invited to study at the headquarter of the company in London. During my period with OMB, I also traveled to Holland on a study trip briefly at the branch of OBM in that country. I later returned back to my company’s office in Nigeria and then retired many years ago.
“Sadly, the job I did at OBM was not pensionable, that’s why I’m not on pension till today because the company does not belong to the government, it’s a private firm. This is a reason I always advise the youths of today to pick up pensionable jobs so they can rely on something during their old age”.
Looking back into his childhood, Pa Owei said: “I was not born with a silver spoon, so my childhood was very rough and harrowing because I lost my father when I was just about nine years old in Sapele, where we were living that time. Our mother was just a petty trader who could not shoulder high our financial responsibilities. I can recollect some hustling times when we had to board a boat to Yenagoa from our home town in Sangana”.
“So, it was not easy coping with other siblings. In the family, we have Augusta (4th born) late, Stella (5th born) who is also late. Our first born Beatrice is dead, Mercy (2nd born), our last born is Timothy. However, my late elder brother Fabian Jubilee Owei, who schooled at St Peter Clevers College, Aghalokpe in Delta State, became my sole financier. The good news is that I managed to navigate through life”.
Pa Owei sure had some cheering moments as a young man who has special love for some brands of cars; “I bought some cars that I cruised around town during my hey days. I preferred Toyota Corolla then but I enjoyed my Peugeot cars than the others, though, I also used a Volvo car but it’s damn too expensive to manage”.
Having stayed in Lagos for some time, Pa Owei had some funny experiences. He said: “Ha! I have many stories about Lagos, but this one stands out. There was this day I tried to emulate those real Lagosians… I tried to jump off a moving bus in Yaba, and pewww…I tumbled and rolled like a Tyre before the drainage slab stopped me from entering the gutter (Round of laughter). I won’t forget how my body ached that day but I survived it, that sound funny but I was scared and never jumped out of the moving bus again…(another round of laughter)”.
Pa Owei, an honourary member of Tinubu Estate Sports Club (BATECDA) in Odonla, Ikorodu, Lagos State, does not joke with exercise despite his age. “I like to walk out. That’s why I’m in support of what BATECDA is doing to keep all of us in shape. Kudos to the President Kyari, the other executives and most importantly; the Coach Muideen (Alata) for sustaining the sports arena. I’m using this opportunity to call on other aging people in Tinubu Estate here in Ikorodu to come out and join BATECDA. Exercise is good for the body, and in a way, it is the secret for long life and a healthy living”.
Because of his competence on the job, Pa Owei has met and mingled with notable people in the publishing industry such as Michael Ibru and Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers Uncle Sam Amuka Pemu, who incidentally was his late brother’s friend Fabian.
Pa Owei also spoke about his family and love life: “I got married earlier in my life and we had our five children. I got married to Gloria but I lost the woman I love shortly after our last born. I lost my dear wife to breast cancer, and since she died, I have been living alone, though my children are there for me.
.Pa Andrew’s wife, late Mrs Gloria Owei
“People have been asking why I didn’t remarry. I didn’t remarry because I don’t want any distraction from my children. I’m living a good life here, though not easy but I’m better off staying alone and I have peace of mind. Such peace may not be achievable if a woman is staying with me, it’s either a fight today or one quarrel or the other the next day.
“I have lovely children, my first born were twins (A boy and a girl) but the boy didn’t survive. My second born were also twins (two boys) before we had our last born a girl, who is based in the UK”.
“My happiness about life is that I’m living a comfortable, portable and healthy life with the help of my children and I’m fulfilled, yes, I’m a fulfilled man, all glory to God Almighty who gives me a healthy life”.