Today, the remains Chief (Mrs.) Flora Olamide Harold- Sodipo were committed to mother’s earth today in Lagos. Prominent dignitaries, drawn from every facet of the society! Defied the heavy downpour, as they turned out in large numbers to pay their last respect to the grand Dame of the Nigerian social establishment. Mama Harold-Sodipo (née Adefope), was the mother of Oloori Ladun
Sijuwade, the beautiful wife of the His Imperial Majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse 11, the Ooni of Ife. She died on Thursday, July 24, at the ripe age of 92. She held the traditional titles of Iyalaje of Ikija, the Ajibade Alate Esuru of Igbeyin, among several titles.
The funeral rites of the grand matriarch of the Lagos society began on Wednesday, August 27, with a Service of Songs, which was held at Yet’s
Court, Maryland Crescent, Maryland, Ikeja. The Christian Wake Service took place on Thursday, August 28, at the Anglican Church of Ascension, Omodara Street, Opebi, Ikeja. The funeral service took place on Friday, August 29, at St. Peter’s Church, Ajele Street, Faji, Lagos Island.
Chief Mrs. Flora Olamide Harold- Sodipo was born on the 23rd of November 1922 in Kaduna to Chief Nathaniel Oshokoya Adefope. Her father was a merchant Prince of Ijebu Ode and Odogbolu. She was the third of five children of Mama Alice Arajonwo Adefope.
Mama Harold Sodipo attended a missionary school in Kaduna, called St. Michael’s. Her father had established a trading business in Kaduna that dealt in the importation and wholesale of various goods from England to both work and further their education. She attended the Polytechic of North London and completed a dress-designing course. She also completed a course at the London/ Paris Academy that culminated in her being able to design and sew wedding and evening dresses and ball gowns.
In 1952, her eldest son, Adedapo was born. Four years later in 1954, she was delivered of Ladun and Bayo was born in 1962. All her children were born during her time in London.
In 1957, Mama established a business that designed and produced dresses and quality women’s wear from Fulham and delivered them to several highbrow establishments and boutiques in London, including Harrods and the House of Fraser. When Mama returned to Nigeria in 1962, she established an identical business in Lagos, located in Yaba. She called her new business La Mode de France and immediately began producing tidily furnished and well-designed outfits for amongst others ERELU Odua, Chief Mrs Ojuolape Ojora, Chief Mrs. Olaperi Shonibare, Mrs. Ayo Sangster, Mrs. Toyin Olakunrin, Mrs. Flora Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Mrs Hilda Ogunbanjo, Mrs. Aguiyi Ironsi and other trendy ladies of the 60’s in Lagos.
In 1962, Mama returned to London to give birth to Bayo, came back to Nigeria and continued elevating her business. During this time, Mama also provided support for her husband and they established a construction company called Harold-Sodipo & Company, which successfully completed Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Complex, Jubril Martins Grammar School and Ebuite Ero Market in Lagos, amongst others.
In 1970, Mama returned to England to set up a bed and breakfast hotel called Sungold Bed and Breakfast Hotel. During this period, she continued her penchant for trading and business and imported fabric and gold for sale in London and Lagos from Italy and Austria.
In 1980, Mama returned to Nigeria and established Arajownwo Trading Company in Fadeyi, a wholesale distributor of food stuffs and agent for companies such as Wapco, Carnco, NBL and PZ. At the same time, she supported her husband in setting up Finniger & Co, a second construction business.
Mama further ventured into yet another business and along with her daughter, Ladun Sijuwade, she set up Dalora Ventures, which was situated on Allen Avenue, Ikeja. The company imported various consumable food items from the United Kingdom and supplied them wholesale to various large hotels, supermarkets and restaurants in Abuja and Lagos.
Mama’s husband passed away on the 26th of July 2011 in London and it is fair to say that his departure had a monumental effect on her. Mama lived a fruitful life during which she touched countless lives and continued to be the Matriarch who provided an anchor for the family and the Lagos social establishment.
Chief (Mrs.) Flora Olamide Harold-Sodipo is survived by her children and in-laws, Adedapo and Funlola Harold- Sodipo, Oloori Oladunni and His Imperial Majesty, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse 11, the Ooni of Ife and Adebayo Harold-Sodipo; her grandchildren-Adedayo, Ayodeji Adebiyi, Aderenle, Aderemi, Olamide and Jemima and her great grand –child, Oluwadarasimi.
Mama Harold -Sodipo will be sorely missed by all.