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#ReclaimBlackStories: Ifro

Thursday 20-10-2016 - 20:59

#ReclaimBlackStories is NUS Scotland Black Students' campaign to share the reality of Black history and what it's like to live in Scotland at the moment - as told by Black students. 

#ReclaimBlackStories: Ifro

Madam Juliana Ibiyemi Akinbinu Thomas.

She led a fulfilling and remarkable life. She was from Ondo state, and lost both of her parents at a very young age during her primary school years. Later in life she got legally married to late Chief R.B Thomas our father at the age of 18yrs and had four children for him. She was a full housewife for 18yrs to her Civil Engineering husband until 1953, when she, without any experience of working outside anywhere, took over his Civil Engineering construction company - "R.B. Thomas & Co after he travelled to the U.K to advance his studies. 

Within a few years, she became the most respected Civil Engineering contractor male and female of her level in Lagos and then Western Nigeria for quality and reliability. She was a hard working and a good provider, and within a yearn, had managed to single handedly take care of the family and sent her first daughter to join her father in London. She later managed to send the rest of the entire family to London.

She was responsible for the training and education of her children both in London and Lagos. Later her husband died of a stroke in 1959 after she managed to join her husband in London. Later on from this, she had to return to Nigeria and keep the successful company going to fund the education of her children. And she continued to run the company -"Ibiye engineering works & co" until she past the age of 70years old before finally hanging up her gloves. Even then, and beforehand, she had invested into real estate and selling land. She was one of the first developers to settle in Onigbongbo village which in now known as opebi. 

Madam Akinbinu Thomas is a matriarch who has had a remarkable and fulfilling life as the 1st born and head of her family in Ondo State- as a committed housewife to her husband as one of the 1st Civil Engineer contracts in Nigeria and chief executive officer of her company since 1953, as mother and provider for her children to the highest level of education. She is a woman who is used to having a wielding power, and persevering through all circumstances. 

What's most remarkable about her, is that she is a true mother of all children. She loves everyone. She has taken under her wing- family, friends and even strangers that until today call her 'Mama' - as these are the people who she has helped to raise up.

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