- The Akannis: Fifty-three Years of Marital Grace
They are like inseparable twins, joined at the hip. Mr. and Mrs. Akanni simply stand out; him with his handsome looks and crown of white hairs complemented by his wife’s mature beauty and stately gait. The bond between them is undeniable, an evident manifestation of a successful fifty-three year old marriage.
A marriage as successful as theirs must have a ‘secret sauce’. They concur and readily give theirs away; a combo of God’s grace, perseverance, tolerance and endurance. On being able to keep the torch burning bright for so long, they simply stress the ability to stand upon the integrity of God’s Word.
However, it did not all fall into place from inception. A period of separation at the beginning of their relationship tested the depth of their affection. Having initially met in 1954, another two years elapsed before they had the opportunity to start a relationship while coincidentally attending Teacher Training College at the same time. That was not all, as they had to endure another period of separation between graduation from the college in 1957 and finally being together again while on further studies in the United Kingdom in 1962. This time around, he refused to let her out of his sight. They wedded in the UK two years later.
Looking back, Mr. Bola Akanni readily recalls the point at which he began to picture her as his wife. Describing the incident, he says “…there was scarcity of water … in the whole of Ibadan, and all students were asked to go and fetch water but what she did that impressed me most was that she told me not to bother. She took my pail and with her colleagues, she went and brought me a pail of water …”. Obviously smitten by her humility, homeliness and respect, he resolved to marry her. He emphatically restates, “…so that really, really gave me the impression that this lady, I should not toy with her, I should do all things possible for her to be my life partner and that was it…”
Fifty-three years and passage of time has not diminished Mr. Akanni’s hardworking and caring nature in the eyes of his wife. On his part, he still gushes about her faithfulness. Solemnized fifty-three years ago, this love story has become a cornucopia of marital insights and inspiration for the younger generations. In a gentle admonition to the younger folks, Mrs. Akanni has this to say, “…Marriage is about give and take. Also, let God be the foundation of your marriage and let God choose for you. Don’t be materialistic, because no one knows tomorrow. Love is enduring, once you are able to endure, definitely you will enjoy your marriage. Let your husband also be your best friend and confidant…”
Credits: Publications Department, Rhema Chapel, Oluyole