By Mutalubi Ojo Adebayo, SAN,
Very recently, the fiery and controversial, but very audacious Ibadan irredentist pan Nigeria nomadic legal practitioner, Asiwaju Adeniyi Akintola, Senior Advocate of Nigeria hosted a unique wedding reception for his high flier daughter and her heartthrob at the expansive garden of the Alumni Centre of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. The wedding reception turned out to be a convergence of all those who matter in Ibadanland and in the Nigeria legal profession. The doyen and the numero uno of the largest Bar in Africa and our reverred Leader, Chief Wole Olanipekun, CFR, Senior Advocate of Nigeria was the Chairman of the occasion which also had in attendance , of course, the quintessential Prince Lateef Fagbemi, Senior Advocate of Nigeria who is now the ” Ilufemiloye” brand new Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federation as well as the Obasuyi of the Benin Kingdom, Chief Charles Uwensuyi Edonswan, SAN and my great and respected Egbon, Mr. Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN among other top echelons of the Bar and the Bench in the country.
That very same day, the iconic International Arbitrator per excellence , the amiable and noble Mr. Adebayo Adenipekun, SAN was also giving out his daughter in marriage at the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan. I was therefore shuttling between the two venues , more so that both venues are not far from each other.
As I was about to do my fourth shuttling between both venues on that day, precisely at exactly 17: 15 HRS ( 05:15pm) Nigerian time, I ran into a great Ibadan man by all standards one may choose to assess nobility, elegance, grace, carriage, handsomeness and impeccable dress sense, Senior Chief Lateef Oyedoyin Oyelade at the car park with his retinue of entourage all of them gorgeously and well-dressed in flowing agbada with fitting “awa lo kan” local caps to match.
Papa Oyelade beckoned to me and said ” SAN Ojo , omo Abiola Ajimobi, let me release Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle since I have met you. O ya , lead mi lo si ibi wedding party Niyi” . I threw a soft joke back at him and said that ” Daddy, it is Akintola SAN’s daughter wedding o and not the SAN getting married Sir” . He retorted with a great laugh and enthused ” Eyin lawyer SAN yi sha. O ga fun yin o. O fe ma fi mi practice ofin. A ko si ni Court o”
While leading him and his entourage from the car park to the venue which distance ordinarily should take us about 3 minutes to cover actually took us close to 15minutes and I also noticed that Papa looked somehow frail. I asked him, ” Daddy, I hope you are fine? ” In his characteristic manner, he replied that , ” Commissioner, just thank and appreciate God for me, I just recovered as I have been under weather for a while now”. We continued our banters and I prayed for him that , ” Baba mi Obalola, igba odun, odun kan ni o. Oluwa a mu yin de ori apere awon Baba wa” and he responded heartily with a thunderous “Amen” . All members of the entourage also chorused Amen with him.
Our Ibadan and the Ibadans have been always very closely knitted. In our Ibadanland, anybody know everybody and everybody know anybody and everything about anything in the big city which we all agree among ourselves is indeed a single room or parlour apartment.
Like my great principal, Senator Abiola Ajimobi was fond of saying, we are all cousins to one another in Ibadanland as all of us in Ibadan are related. Senator Ajimobi said that he decided not to marry an Ibadan lady as a wife because of the likely fear of getting married to a female cousin of one since we are all blood relations and one big family. Happily enough, I also married outside Ibadan and from Iseyin in Oke-Ogun part of the state.
I love my City of Ibadan and her people and I took deep interest in all that are going on in the ancient city. In my quest to familiarize myself with the history of my Ibadanland and the Ibadans, I have some very older friends ( my Papas and Uncles) that I relate with from time to time to unearth such historical facts, events, information, gists and even gossips about the city and her people. My historical sources and archivists were and are people who have their ears to the ground. Whatever you heard from them are from the grapevines and you could not get it more authentic elsewhere and anywhere else. They included Chiefs Oyelakin Balogun, Baale Ekanola, K. O. Olatunji, Ambassador Ebun Sanu, Chiefs Lekan Are, Akin Akinyemi, Lere Adigun, Otun Omowale Kuye, Pa Adegboyega Arulogun, High Chief Olufemi Olaifa, Alhaji Mufutau Lanihun, Alhaji Muili Azeez, Aare of the Universe, Alhaji Abdul Azeez Arisekola Alao, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Alhaji Isiaka Iyanda Sawaba all of blessed memories to mention just a few of them.
Senior Chief Lateef Oyedoyin Oyelade who was also one of them just departed and joined them on the other side of the divide. May Allah continue to expand and illuminate their graves and continue to admit them into Aljannah fridaus.
Others are still alive and I prayed they live longer in good health and prosperity. They include but not limited to my my great Uncle, the very witty, Solomonic, cerebral and cosmopolitan Chief Bayo Oyero and his twin brother, Papa Diti Ladapo, Alhaji Lamidi Ajadi, Alhaji Musibau Larodo Adeleke, High Chief Eddy Oyewole ,Oloye Ismaila Akinade Fijabi, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and others which time and space will not allow me to mention. Oba Abiodun Kola-Daisi, Chief Ismaila Akinade Fijabi, Compol Fatai Owoseni (Rtd) and my own Egbon, Engineer Abayomi Lekan-Salami are all of the next generation after those wise old men, but they are also veritable sources of information for me.
My relationship with Senior Chief Lateef Oyedoyin Oyelade really started in 1989 during my undergraduate days at the University of Ibadan. My bosom friend, Semiu Abolade had a course mate in the Faculty of Technology then known as O. O. ‘Lade but whose full name really is Olufemi Oyelade. O. O. is a nephew of Senior Chief Oyelade and through him, we attended several lavish parties that the Senior Chief Lateef Oyedoyin Oyelade had way back then. Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister was always on bandstand and at the party were always all those who matter in Ibadanland . Since those years, I have known that Senior Chief Oyelade, Chief Lamidi Adebayo Ajadi( Ajadi onitaya) and Retired General Raji Rasaki are tripod that are always seen together. Again, the trio are Ibadan irredentist. To them, Ibadan come first before any other thing else, including Islam. There is nothing under the sun that the trio could not do for the cause of Ibadanland. They are all decent and great Ibadan illustrious sons. Lagosians and LASU will never forget how General Raji Rasaki shielded and protected our very own Professor Jadesola Akande when she was the Vice- Chancellor of the Lagos State University against the chauvinism of the so-called Eko indigenes when the amiable General was the Military Governor of Lagos State. By the same token, the Lagosians will never forget how the Ibadan indigenes businessmen( including Senior Chief Oyelade, Alhajis Lamidi Ajadi, Yisa Afodeso, Saka Eso etc swarmed on Lagos State and were the beneficiaries of all the juicy contracts during the regime of General Raji Rasaki’s ” Who built this Gada?” in Lagos State
Senator Abiola Ajimobi was a very painstaking observer and a great manager of men and resources. He was very quick to identify my extreme closeness to notable Ibadan personalities, especially those that were not politicians but technocrats and businessmen. He therefore used me effectively as the go-between him and those great men during his unprecedented glorious reign as the Governor of Oyo State. He hardly visited any of them without my good self accompanied him on such visits.
It was during the tenure of Senator Abiola Ajimobi that my relationship with Senior Chief Oyelade and Alhaji Lamidi Ajadi further and greatly blossomed. Both of them adopted me as their biological son and I enjoyed their confidence and over-pampering. There was nothing that the duo could not oblige or do for me.
With Senior Chief Oyelade, our common passion, undying and fanatical love for Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister further cemented our father and son relationship. It was through him and later Alhaji Sule Akinigoin that I had personal and intimate relationship with Alhaji Agba till he breathed his last. Senior Chief Oyelade told me about the defunct Advocate Printing Press of Late Chief A. M.A. Akinloye and newspapers saga, the Chief Lekan Salami’s Laban Textile and the late Parakoyi of Ibadanland connection, Sir Bode Akindele. Through him, I also had detailed knowledge of the Eba Odan Industries Limited of Late Chief N. O. Idowu and many more of such great old stories.
To the glory of God , but with Senior Chief Oyelade’s unflinching support that the World Lilies Event Centre of my bosom friend and learned brother Silk, Abiodun Adediran Olatunji, SAN( Bellumi) became a reality . Abbey is also an adopted and favourite son of Papa Oyelade .
Though , Senior Chief Lateef Oyedoyin Oyelade was originally a Christian, he later converted and became a very devoted and pious Muslim when he embraced Islam and he held the title of Baba Isale Musulumi of Yorubaland till he answered the call of Allah last week. He was very religious, godly and an humanitarian per excellence. Senator Abiola Ajimobi was fond of throwing a jab at him that , ” Uncle, you don’t have the locus to teach us the tenets of Islam because we were Muslims before you. Christian ni eyin ni ijoun now. You met us in Islam and as Muslims”
Senior Chief Lateef Oyedoyin Oyelade lived his all for his City, his people, for Islam and for humanity.
My heart and prayers are with Alhaji Lamidi Adebayo Ajadi and General Raji Rasaki ( Retired). I pray to Allah to sustain and uphold those two remaining legs of the tripod . I also commiserate with the immediate and the extended family of our departed father, Senior Chief Oyelade and most especially my two younger Sisters Shekinat Oyelade-Oloso and Ms. Aishat Oyelade .
May Allah accept the homecoming of Papa, forgive his shortcomings, admit him into aljannah fridaus, uphold and sustain all that he left behind. Amen.
Dated this 16th September, 2023
JCI Senator Mutalubi Ojo Adebayo, SAN,
Asiwaju of Ita-Ege and Idi-Aro,
Ibadan South-East Local Government Area,