Despite his initial indifference to hosting his 55th birthday anniversary because of the economic situation of the country, Engr Dotun Sanusi on Tuesday got more than he bargained for as he was overwhelmed with about 10,000 guests and well wishers who stormed one of his stadiums and the Olugbade Hall of the Ilaji Resort to felicitate him.
Sanusi, a man variously revered for his humility and simplicity and described by many as rare philanthropist in the State, clocked 55years on Tuesday.
His friends from Rivers, Lagos and those in the Diaspora had bombarded the celebrant with several birthday gifts including several Cows, and other items with which the guests were treated to a lavish party.
Scores of journalists led by the Oyo State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Ademola Babalola observed the influx of traditional rulers across Yorubaland and Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi who was represented by three monarchs from Ile-Ife, including captains of industries, boardroom gurus; the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon Debo Ogundoyin and members of the House; the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in the State, Dr Wasiu Olatubosun and the Assistant Inspector General of Police (zone XI).
Others were members of the National Assembly including Rep Shina Oyedeji; members of the Olubadan-In-Council who were all clad in their royal majesties; countless number of Ibadan Senior Chiefs; Mogajis; Baales; former and present leaders of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII); leaders of social clubs and associations across the State; State Chairman of the Park Management System, Alhaji Tomiwa Omolewa and traders across markets in the State led by the Iyaloja-General of the State.
The void created by the non-attendance of the Governor of the State, Engr Seyi Makinde was largely filled by his aides and presence of crème de la crème who could not hide their love for a man whose life is defined by his giving spirit and empathy to the people across race, colour, tribal and religious persuasions.
Amidst heavy presence of policemen; Civil Defense Corps: Road Safety and OYRTMA officials including the army of non-State Actors like Agbekoya; OPC; Soludero and a host of others, the event despite large turn-out of politicians across political divides and religious leaders including Pastor Arabsiola, a representatives of RCCG General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the event did not record any security breach as people were treated with courtesies and fanfare.
Sanusi in a chat with newsmen on the sideline of the event, was full of thanks to God for the grace to attain 55years, despite his many struggles and challenges of the past years which prepared him for stardom.
According to him, “like every mortal, I have gone through a lot in life but God has been faithful all the time. I am a God’s project and work in progress.
“Many of you would remember that I made it clear days ago that I won’t be throwing any party for my birthday because of the situation in the country.
“But my friends in Rivers and Lagos States including those in the Diaspora felt otherwise and said, “Dotun you recently got elevated to the position of Jagun Olubadan of Ibadanland without celebrating it. Your birthday provides opportunity for us to show our love to your kindness and support to humanity.
“They said I deserved the best and would therefore celebrate me whether I like it or not. And just last week, my friends in Rivers State sent five Cows and opened the floor for the floodgate of more Cows and other numerous birthday gifts from other people including market leaders and several government officials at the State and National levels.
“Since I can’t afford to let them down, I gave the nod on the condition that my constituency, the grassroots people including but not limited less privileged and disables should all be allowed to participate in it and that was what informed opening up of our 10,000 capacity stadium for them.
“It was those considered as VVIP that were allowed in the Olugbade Hall. I appreciate everybody who made this a birthday like no other and an unforgettable experience for me.
“May God rewards everybody that came and those who sent representatives for their love and support. I am overwhelmed with this crowd. The last time we had semblance of a crowd as this was during the build ups to the last general elections when I hosted supporters of both President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Governor Seyi Makinde, on several occasions soliciting support for these great leaders,” Sanusi added.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of a specially-made silver plated statue of head of Oduduwa to the celebrant by the Ooni of Ife who described the gift as “uncommon and specially made for Dotun Sanusi” in appreciation of his uncommon pro-Yoruba race and legendary philanthropy.