No news, they say, is good news. In the last six years, the only news items in the worldwide media about Nigeria have been reports of abysmal and deleterious events. Notable amongst these are:
1. Boko Haram and Chibok girls
2. Murder of British soldier on East London Street by Nigerians Adebolajo and Adebowale.
3. The attempted bombing of the Detroit bound US airliner by Nigerian banker’s son, Mutalab
4. The trial and conviction of former Governor James Ibori in London
5. The contagion of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Lagos, Nigeria
6. Various scams, 419 and credit card fraud committed by Nigerians.
Nothing good, it seems, ever comes out of Nigeria. Now a Lagosian (Omo Eko proper) has put paid to this sequence of bad news by proving, against all odd, that a Lagosian can prove the pundit and pervious of bad news wrong. The Lagosian is Margaret Ebunoluwa Aderin-Pocock. Ebun is a Lagosian whose mother is nee Wey and whose father is Aderin from the source of the Yorubas, Ile-Ife. Her mother, Carol Bisi, was born in Lagos to the Wey family and her mother was Miss Ebun Wilson. Coincidentally, we recently announced the passing away of octogenarian, Chief Mrs Dosunmu Ogunbi, wife of late Professor Ogunbi. The deceased was the younger sister of Carol’s mum and Margaret’s grandmother (probably the reason for Margaret’s appellation of Ebun at birth). Before delving further into the Ashley, Wey and Wilson family history, let us parade the impressive achievements of Margaret Ebun Aderin-Pocock:
- Maggie, at age eight, was discovered to be dyslexic like Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airline, and when she expressed her interest to be an astronaut in future, her teacher advised her to become a nurse because, she said, this was also a science—more derogatory than career advisory.
- Margaret graduated in Science in the United Kingdom.
- She later attended Imperial College, London and graduated with BSc Physics and PhD Mechanical Engineering.
- Margaret is married to Martin Pocock and they have a young daughter, Lauren, who travels round the world with her mum. The family reside in a lovely tree-lined street in Guildford London and as most mums do, Carol, her mum, goes over from her East Sussex home to Guildford to babysit Margaret’s daughter.
- Margaret, now aged 47, worked for many years in the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) in a sensitive position. This was unusual for a non-native Briton and she had excelled humongously to obtain the highest rating for this cloak-and-dagger appointment. Her scope in MOD included missile warning systems and handheld instruments to detect landmines.
- After leaving the MOD, she became a Research Fellow in the Department of Science and Technology at University College London (UCL). She is also Honorary Research Associate in UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy.
- She has since been awarded Fellowships in Astronomic Gadgets, Satellite Technology, Science Communication and Science and Society and Particle Physics and Astronomy Research.
- She later joined the Sky at Night television series on BBC as a specialist space scientist and TV presenter.
- With the flying colours achieved and encomiums received for her service to scientific work, the Queen of England awarded her the prestigious Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 2009 and she was decorated with the award at the Buckingham Palace, London. On that occasion when she replied the Queen’s enquiry as to her line of work that she was a space scientist, the Queen could not hide her shock.
- She was listed recently as one of the top 10 black people in the United Kingdom.
- A Google search with the key words “Margaret Aderin-Pocock” will show how much respect, admiration and credibility is given to her achievements by the powerful British media, print and electronic.
Now, how many Nigerians have won the MBE on meritorious scholarly performance? We can’t recollect any. We recall awards of Knighthood to business moguls, Sir Odumegwu Ojukwu, Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony and politicians/public servants, Sir Kofo Abayomi, Sir Abubakar Tafewa Balewa, etc. Honorary MBEs were also awarded to music maestros Victor Olaiya and late I. K. Dairo. Consequently, the MBE award to Margaret is a testimony to her devotion to duty by her dint of hard work and cerebral perfection in the field of science. Lagos Blog is proud of her achievements even if the Lagos State Government, nay Federal Government of Nigeria have not found them worthy of recognition. It is noteworthy that she has never travelled to Nigeria.
Now, Lagos Blog (trust us, we know) tells you more about her Lagos family connections:
- Margaret’s is a direct descendant of the Ashley/Wilson families of Central Lagos.
- Her grandmother, Mrs Ebun Wilson, had two siblings, the Ashley brothers.
- Ebun Wilson was the mother of Modupe Wilson, Kingsley Lola Wey and Carol Bisi Wey.
- Her granduncle, Fredrick Wey was the father of Mrs Yetunde Johnson (nee Ashley).
- Her other great uncles, Johnson Ashley was the father of Chief Mrs Dosunmu Ogunbi, Mrs Ibiye Bickersteth and Mrs Bunmi Kushanu.
- Margaret’s aunty was Mrs Modupe Johnson nee Wilson, mother of Lagos chief and ex Commissioner, Chief Abiola Johnson and Arc. Biodun Wilson of Lagos State Ministry of Works.
Margaret’s mum, Carol, had controversially married late popular Lagos Chief Magistrate Ogunmuyiwa (Baba Ewa) and had a child, Alhaja Aminat for him. She later met Bayo Aderin, who died in 2013, in London and bore him five daughters including Helen, Susan and Margaret. After separating from Aderin, she later met a man of the cloth, an Anglican Priest, Rev. Thrill and she later married the Reverend gentleman. This was a controversial and media publicity-filled union as the Reverend was a drunkard who was getting picked up from the sidewalks and condemned by passers-by for putting his religious garment to shame and derision. UK newspapers were agog with stories about this lovely young Nigerian, Carol who pitied this supposedly Reverend gentleman, took him home to her Isle of Dogs London residence and, amazingly, married him. Fortunately, that bad publicity has been obliterated by the good deeds and achievements of Carol’s daughter, Margaret. However, the marriage to the English Reverend had floundered and Carol is now Mrs Carol Philips, happily married for over twenty years to her British telecoms engineer, Derek Philips and they live in an idyllic countryside bungalow in rural East Sussex, England near ex Beatle Paul McCartney.
- Coincidentally, or perhaps genetically congenital, there is an array of artistic intellectualism in Margaret’s family descent. Her mother had not only written a book, The Dispossessed Daughter of Africa, to narrate and catalogue the events of her birth and life with particular reference to the English Reverend episode, she has since written several other books and is a successful poet, gardening expert and art aficionado. Carol’s niece, Arc. Biodun, is also a poet, a novelist, an art collector and art gallery curator. Carol’s nephew, Biola, the ex Commissioner, is also of the artistic leaning having been variously a Jazz musician, the leader of the Jazz section of the Island Club, publisher of the Modern Home and Better Living magazine and the operator of Lagos Number 1 online political blog, Lagos Politics. It runs in the family, doesn’t it?
- Margaret’s uncle (believed to be deceased), Lola Wey had been in England working in Harrods since 1963. He married a Spanish woman and they had only one child, Emmanuel Wey, who is a medical doctor in London and specialises in tropical diseases.
Lagos Blog is joyous that a Lagosian has, to some extent, made some reparation to the name of Nigeria from the no-good to pretty-good.
While writing this article, we attempted to obtain some comments on the telephone from ex Commissioner Johnson but he was abrupt with us insisting that he does not talk to nameless social media sites and certainly not about his family.