…and commiserated with late Olubadan’s family Saturday,
Ogbomoso was agog last week, when Vice President Yemi Osinbajo joined thousands of sons and daughters of the ancient town for the Thanksgiving Service held in honour of the late Alayeluwa Oba (Dr) Oladunni Oyewunmi, Ajagungbade II, the Soun of Ogbomoso in Oyo State. MURITALA AYINLA writes
No matter how long a beloved king lives, people will always want him around for his wise counsel and royal blessings. Everyone prays for the king to live a little longer, especially when such a king has been so consequential and made such a significant impact on the lives of his subjects and when his reign has brought so much progress.
This was the case of the late Soun of Ogbomoso Alayeluwa, Oba (Dr.) Oladunni Oyewunmi, Ajagungbade II. Although many will argue that the highly revered monarch departed this world at the ripe old age of 95, the illustrious citizens of the ancient town, friends and close associates of the “Kabiyesi”, would still have wanted the legendary king around.
Having ascended the throne on October 24, 1973, the Soun of Ogbomoso had delivered four decades and eight years of exceptional and transformational leadership, leaving behind the indelible marks of peace and prosperity.
It is little wonder that torrents of tributes have greeted the news of his demise since Monday, December 13, 2021, with the ancient town playing host to scores of eminent personalities.
Hence, last Saturday, the tempo of activities was unusually high with the arrival of the Nigerian Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, for a thanksgiving service held in his honour.
It was a carnival- like visit for the residents of the ancient town who trooped out to receive and welcome the nation’s number two man, who was accompanied by the Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde. Speaking at the First Baptist Church, Ogbomoso, venue of the thanksgiving,
Osinbajo said that it was a very special privilege for him to join the family of the dearly departed monarch, the illustrious citizens of the great town, and the government and people of Oyo State, to thank God Almighty for the blessed memory of the legendary king.
He described the late Soun as a respected monarch, an astute statesman, and a great leader among Yoruba Obas, saying that Alayeluwa Oba Ajagungbade III, would be greatly missed.
The VP said: “I know that no matter how long our loved ones live, we all still want them around for longer, especially when they have been so consequential and have made such a significant impact in our lives!
But these things are for God to order, with the assurance that God loves him even more, the best we can do now is pray that his transition shall herald a time of more abundant grace and goodness in Ogbomosho, and in Nigeria as a whole.
I, therefore, join the whole town in saying, ‘eyin baba a dara o’ “On behalf of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and the entire government and people of Nigeria, I express my deepest condolences to His Excellency, the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, the Gbagun Ruling House of Ogbomoso, the wives and children of Soun Ajagungbade III, the entire Royal Family, as well as all the people of Ogbomoso.”
According to the VP, the late Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi, had an exceptionally long, peaceful, and progressive reign, for which everyone must just continue to give thanks to God Almighty. Having ascended the throne on October 24, 1973, he said that the monarch had delivered four decades and eight years of exceptional and transformational leadership, leaving behind the indelible marks of peace and prosperity.
“Without a doubt, the Oba’s passing has created a big vacuum among the league of traditional rulers in Nigeria. And this is not just because of his age and almost half a century on the throne.
It is because he was not just there, he made remarkable contributions to Ogbomosho and to Nigeria, for which the nation honoured him twice, first as Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and then as Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).
His time certainly brought commendable development to this great and ancient town of Yorubaland, so we can say confidently that the Scriptures are fulfilled today – “Didun ni iranti olododo.” Harping on the historical perspective the late monarch brought into the town, Prof. Osinbajo, said that it is worthy of note that upon his ascension to the throne of his forefathers, His Royal Majesty, Soun Ajagungbade III, became the first Soun of Ogbomoso land to wear the beaded crown.
“This introduced a new historical perspective into the Obaship system, which he went on to amply justify.” But the event also went far beyond mere symbolism. “By his illustrious and noble reign, Ajagungbade III has established and affirmed the place of Ogbomoso among the great cities of Nigeria, and proved over and over again that the honour was well deserved,” he added.
Recalling one of those attributes that distinguishes the monarch, the VP added that he was content. He noted that despite being contented he was never one to sit idly doing nothing, adding that the late Soun always made his plans diligently and meticulously. “Then with remarkable diligence, he always made all the efforts necessary to see them to fruition.
Thus, Ajagungbade III didn’t just live through his 95 years of sojourn on earth, his entire existence, both private and public, encapsulates a noble life of transparent leadership and service.
“He was a thoroughbred leader who dedicated himself to the people of Ogbomoso, for both their social and human capital development. “Clearly, Oba Oyewunmi Ajagungbade III loved his people and loved Ogbomoso. The progress of his domain meant everything to him. Indeed, he was once reported as saying, ‘the progress of Ogbomoso is my motto’,” he said.
The VP said when the monarch ascended the throne of his fathers in 1973, there were only three schools in Ogbomoso, adding that late Soun’s passion for education was so much so that after his 40 years on the throne, the town could count at least 150 secondary schools.
Meanwhile, Prof. Osinbajo also visited the family of the Late Olubadan of Ibadanland, HRM Oba Saliu Adetunji, in Ibadan to commiserate with the revered monarch, who also passed on recently.
Speaking during a condolence visit to the Palace of the Olubadan of Ibadan, where he was received by the palace chiefs and wife of the late monarch, Olori Rashidat Adetunji, among other members of the royal family, Prof Osinbajo described the late Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji, as a man that loved his people, demonstrated genuine commitment to the progress of society and lived an accomplished life.
The Vice President, who was received on arrival at the Oyo State Government House Arcade, Ibadan, by the State Deputy Governor, Rauf Olaniyan, extended the condolences of President Muhammadu Buhari to the late monarch’s family and people of the state. Describing the late Olubadan as a caring and honest leader, the Vice President, who spoke in Yoruba said: “It is very necessary for me to come here because our father who departed was someone who was deeply kind; he loved people and everyone.
“All through his lifetime, when we visited, even when we spoke with him during phone calls, he always showed his love and kept praying for us.” Testifying to the late paramount ruler’s forthrightness, Prof. Osinbajo said: “It was President Buhari who mentioned it first that when we were campaigning, Olubadan was someone who would speak his true mind with you on what he had decided to do, he wasn’t a betrayer, who would tell you one thing and do the other.” He observed that: “There are different types of people; but for Olubadan, he was a straightforward leader.”
Speaking about the late Oba’s virtues and legacy, the VP noted that: “All through his lifetime, he fulfilled all his set goals, beginning from when he was a tailor, to starting a record label and the rest of his plans.
“Even his ambition to become the Olubadan became successful; just as we know that it is God who crowns a king. For anyone to be crowned a king, it is only by God’s will, and we thank God; it aligned with His will for our father to be crowned a king. “God willed it, and he made him a king.
Besides this, our father also left an inheritance for his children, which, in this sense, are not the money, houses and cars, because all these will still perish; but the heritage I’m talking about is the good name and legacy he left behind, which all of us will continue to speak about and stay with.
“We thank God for the good name he left behind as a mark of honour and goodwill for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and all of us will benefit from it,” he added.
He assured the royal family and guests present during the visit that the legacy and efforts of the late monarch for a progressive Nigeria shall be fulfilled.
“I wish to thank you all here gathered, everything our father did for Ibadan, and even, our nation, Nigeria, we know all. And we will continue to speak about them. We can’t tell it all about someone who was that outstanding in his lifetime.”
Giving assurance about the future of the country, the VP said: “I assure you that our country, Nigeria, will be better than this. It will be a very comfortable place for all of us to live in, and we shall all be alive to eat the good of this land. We shall all see how good it will be, and it is very soon.
“It may look as if there are challenges now, but God will solve them all.”