From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, 11 serving governors, and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, were among eminent personalities across all walks of life that stormed, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Friday to honour Governor Seyi Makinde, as well as the family of the former Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Law enforcement agents that controlled traffic diverted many motorists to alternative routes away from the roads that lead to venues of the programme. The situation culminated in intractable gridlock in many parts of Ibadan.
They came to pay last respect to Makinde’s mother, Madam Abigail Makinde, who died on October 15, 2020, about three weeks to her 81st year birthday, as well as the eldest daughter of Awolowo, Rev’d Omotola Oyediran, who would have turned 80 years on December 1, 2020, but died on Friday October 16, this year. Until her death, she was the Chairman of African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, the publisher of Tribune titles, founded by Awolowo in 1949.
The funeral service for Makinde’s mother was held at the Cathedral of St. Peter, Aremo, Ibadan, which was presided over by the Diocesan/Archbishop of Ibadan Province of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev’d Segun Okubadejo, who urged all and sundry to live Godly life and train their children with the fear of God. The interment followed immediately at the church’s cemetery.
Also, the funeral service for Rev’d Oyediran was held at All Saint’s Church, Jericho, Ibadan, where a retired Archbishop of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Most Rev’d Ayo Ladigbolu, delivered the sermon. The deceased was given a private burial thereafter. She was the wife of Prof Kayode Oyediran, a former vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan.
But most of the dignitaries shuttled between the two places. Vice President Osinbajo, on getting to Ibadan, paid a condolence visit to the Government House, Oke Oyinbo, Agodi, Ibadan, along with his wife, Dolapo, who is a granddaughter of Awolowo, as well as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, where they met with Governor Makinde for some minutes, before the moved to All Saint’s Church, Jericho, Ibadan.
But Tinubu, former Interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, could not leave the All Saint’s Church for the Cathedral of St. Peter, Aremo.
But the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Chairman of the South West Governors’Forum and Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and their counterparts from Ogun, Dapo Abiodun; as well as Lagos, Sanwo-Olu, attended the two programmes.
The serving governors that also graced the funeral service for Makinde’s mother included the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal; as well as Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Ifeanyi Okowo (Delta), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and Umar Fintiri (Adamawa).
Former governors in attendance in honour of Makinde also included Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Otunba Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo), Chief Segun Oni (Ekiti), Dr. Peter Obi (Anambra), Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun) and Raji Rasaki (Lagos).
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was represented by his wife Bola, while Sir Olusegun Adekunle represented Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha. National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus; deputy governor of Oyo State, Rauf Olaniyan; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin; Chief Judge of the state, Justice Munta Abimbola.
The roll call also included the General Officer Commanding, 2 Division of Nigerian Army, Major General Bamidele Omozojie; Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi; former Minister of Education, Prof Tunde Adeniran; the three senators representing the state in the National Assembly, Teslim Folarin, Abdulfatai Buhari and Kola Balogun; Chief Executive Officer of Wema Bank, Adebisi Adebise; a legal luminary, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and former Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, Most Rev’d Sunday Ola-Makinde.
In his tribute, Makinde, who betrayed emotion, noted that his mother was irreplaceable, saying: “Someone once said, do not be sad because it had to end, be happy because it happened. Mama, today, I chose not to be sad because you passed away. I prefer to rejoice because you lived a fulfilled life, and I got to share nearly 53 years of my life with you. I am happy because I I will forever treasure the beautiful memories I have of growing up as your son. You died a satisfied woman.
“I inherited so many traits from you. Some people will say we are stubborn, but I will rather say we know what we want, and we will go all out for it. Thankfully, anything we insist on doing almost always ends up in praise. You did not want me to go into politics. But I stubbornly refused. I remembered that day in 2007 when you cried because policemen invaded my house and I had to be rescued by the army. But in 2019 after winning the governorship election, you laughed, you said: ‘Now, I am the governor’s mother, and I deserve all the privileges that go with that.’
In the sermon, entitled: ‘Celebrating Saintly Womanhood as a Tool for Nation Building,” which he delivered at All Saints Church, Most Rev’d Ladigbolu, said: “You have to ask yourself what kind of parent are you to your children. What examples are you setting for them? What are you teaching or depositing in your children? What will your children be able to say about you? While we are talking about life and times of Oyediran, I am seeking to talk to Nigerians to rise up and redeem this country as Reverend Oyediran had sought to do.”
“I am aware that there was a time we were ruling this country with power over women. We are now in an era we are in power with women. That concept is the most proactive way of maximising womanhood for the benefit of our motherland. Womanhood is the origin and source of births, multiplicity and growth. Women in Nigeria are naturally durable, dynamic, resourceful and industrious,.”