In one of the ‘ember’ months of 1996 , I walked into an accounting tuition house in Abeokuta ( South-west, Nigeria) to register as a student for an accounting technician examination, l was late to the class as lectures had already started three months before l joined.

Looking back now, l didn’t know what had given me the courage to join the class at that time as all odds were against me. Firstly, I had a science background in the high school with no knowledge of any accounting related subject and the lectures had reached an advanced stage. Maybe it was just by sheer grace as God had gone ahead to prepare an angel for me in the class or will I say it was just to end the frustration of sitting at home for two years without an admission to a higher institution that gave me the determination.

I met my angel in the person of Olubunmi Tope Ajayi. All my life before then I had never met a friend that will accept me speedily, shower me with so much love as she did and she was not only helpful, she actually demonstrated she was a friend in a million. She saw that I was a novice to financial accounting and so, without asking her, she became my private tutor, my after-class teacher, whom l have never paid a dime to. Before I could say Jack Robinson , she had taken me to her house and guess what , she took me to her bedroom on my first visit and even pleaded that I sleep over, the invitation to which I declined politely . Sleep over ke, my aunt will skin me alive! It will become a full scale family matter immediately. Soon, i became a regular caller to her house and church just to maximize every available opportunity to be taught.

To be candid, the early days of those private teachings were not pleasurable but i flew on the wings of God’s grace and you know going through an awful experience with a good friend on your side can make a profound difference to the experience. The examinations came and we started counting days to the release of the results. Some weeks later, the result was released and to my utmost amazement, i passed in flying colors. My heart was gladdened by the news but my dearest friend failed one of the subjects. If you were in her shoes, how would you have reacted to your “student” who had passed while you failed? She not only congratulated me but her countenance was also not sad, honestly, l did not even know how to comfort her, i was surprised by her positive attitude and open display of love. It was written all over her face that she wished me well. She felt my success was her success too.

Today, we are both Chartered Accountants working in different countries which are thousands of miles apart but i will never forget her immense contributions to my life. She walked into my life and was a ray of hope in the gloomy times and her smile chased the dark clouds in my heart away. She was a lifeline to me in one of my darkest moments. I celebrate you, my dear friend and i use this medium to show my appreciation for all your efforts, l might have said thank you those days but i want to shout my ‘thank you’ from the rooftops now. Finding you was akin to finding a needle in a burning fire. You are a kind-hearted lady and it’s really an honor to be your friend. Even in 2009, when I found myself weeding out the friendships no longer needed in my life, l could not help but remember your supportive and meaningful roles in the journey of life. You are one of the few friends who give my life a sparkle, a depth and enrich my life immeasurably. Truly, a connection with a true and trusted friend can be like the light of a ship at night in the endless black ocean.

To my dearest friend, Olubunmi Tope Olusanya (nee Ajayi), who showers me with so much love and care, i say thank you! I use this quote of William Penn to summarize the friendship we have together “A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues as a friend unchangeably”.

Till next time, stay passionate, optimistic and loving.