Oba Gbadebo: Celebrating A Symbol of Egba Unity at 80

By Yusuph Olaniyonu
Oba Gbadebo always wears that gentle, genial look of a man who is never bothered by anything. He speaks gently, very articulate, and eloquent. He bears the visage of a man who has seen it all. A golf player who must be missing the company of his younger friend and brother Oba, the late Oba Saburi Babajide Bakre, the Agura of Gbagura-Egba who joined his ancestors earlier this year. They both played golf together. Oba Bakre invited me several times without success to join the duo at the Abeokuta Golf Course where he was ready to teach me the game since I own a complete Golf kit.

Oba Gbadebo is very free with everybody. I usually enjoy the tough jokes between him and Kabiyesi, Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, anytime the Obas had a meeting in the Governor’s Office, Oke Mosan when I was Commissioner for Information and Strategy in the State. The Alake would laugh heartily as both of them trade banters.

The Egba monarch speaks in a measured, persuasive tone to implore, encourage, or motivate anybody who will bring in development projects, industrial concerns, or business ideas that will generate employment opportunities, aid the continuous modernization of Egbaland, and draw international attention to Abeokuta city and its growing communities.

The traditional ruler believes he has a pact with destiny as there is the talk of an enduring divination that the era of the 10th Alake would bring rapid physical and economic development to Egbaland. Incidentally, Oba Gbadebo, a holder of the military’s service medals of Force Service Star (FSS) and Defence Service Medal (DSM) as well as the national honour of the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR), is the 10th Alake of Egbaland. Like his name, ‘Adedotun’ suggests, his ascension to the throne has brought renewal, modernisation, and great shine to the glory of the Egbas in the Nigerian milieu.

His era has witnessed an Egba son who was President of Nigeria, (his fellow Baptist Boys High School, BBHS, old boy, Obasanjo) and a speaker of the House of Representatives (also a BBHS old boy, Dimeji Bankole). Under his reign, an Egba man, late M. K. O. Abiola, also an old boy of BBHS, was recognised post-humously as the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. Also, under his reign, the Egbas have produced a second governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Before then, veteran journalist and the Akinrogun of Egbaland, Chief Olusegun Osoba had been the first governor of Ogun State of Egba origin.

Oba Gbadebo is from the Laarun Ruling House. His great-grandfather was Oba Okukenu, the first Alake of Egbaland. His grandfather, Oba Gbadebo was the sixth Alake who ruled from 1898 to 1920. His Uncle, Oba Samuel Adesina Gbadebo was Okukenu III while the incumbent Alake is Okukenu IV. Oba Gbadebo’s Laarun ruling house was established by an Alake who reigned in the 1700s before the Egbas relocated to the present Abeokuta.

Oba Gbadebo is the chairman of the board of Oando PLC and Chancellor of the Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo (FUNAI), Abakaliki in Ebonyi State. A royalty who is at home with the common people, he has proved to be the true father of all Egbas and, by extension, the good people of Ogun State and all Nigerians who come with good ideas for the development of the country.

Oba Gbadebo is truly the epitome of an apolitical royal father. His measured interventions and contributions on national issues are always respected and taken seriously by all. At 80, the monarch still looks well-kept, strong, and ready to play golf any day. In him, the Egbas and their friends across Ogun State, Nigeria, and around the world, truly have many reasons to celebrate the 80th birthday of a revered royal father. The fact that today is a Thursday may not disturb anything.

A good number of activities had taken place to celebrate the monarch, including the prayers in the mosque and churches, particularly the Cathedral Church of St. Peter’s, Ake, Abeokuta, the first church in Nigeria, which also houses the first copy of the holy bible ever brought into Nigeria. I am sure it has been a colourful festival in honour of a monarch in whom the subjects and their friends are well pleased. Happy birthday, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, omo Ara Ake Majo. Majo meji. Omo Eru ni nsin ni. Eko ki nsin eniyan. Oju a ma ri Odun. Ajinde ara ma je o.

Olaniyonu writes from Abuja.

FOOTNOTE: You want to share story with us? You want to advertise with us? You need publicity for product, or service, or event? Contact us on WhatsApp +2348073463653 or email [email protected]

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button