Encomiums as Late Pa Iri Ayo is Finally Laid to Rest

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Mary Ekah
Fondly called Iri Ayo by his children and family members, late Pa Isaac Folorunsho Ogunniyi was known for his stylish and humorous lifestyle, which brought sunshine to a lot of lives. And so this earned him the name, “Iri Ayo”, which in the Yoruba language literally means, ‘A man whose sight/presence brings joy/happiness.”

Iri Ayo’s slept in the Lord since last year, precisely on November 21, 2015 but activities to mark an elaborate final burial ceremony for him will kick start today Friday November 25, with an Evangelical Film Show by 7:00pm at the Christ Apostolic Church, Oke Isegun Okenisa Ilahun, Ijesha, Osun State. A Thanksgiving Service will follow this tomorrow, Saturday, November 26 at same church at 10:00am while a reception will hold after the outing service at the deceased residence in Okenisa Ilahun, Ijesha, Obokun Local Government Area of Osun State.

As the children of the late Oguniyi finally bid goodbye to their father, what they would miss most about him is his gentility, the welcoming ambience he was known to provide and most especially his attitude of not sparring the rod and spoiling the child as he believed during his life time that a child needs to have grounded rules so that he/she can comply with them throughout his/her life according to the Bible injunction in Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

So as preparations are on high gear for late Iri Ayo’s final burial, his children could not but pour encomiums on him. For his daughter Akinlade Morolake his father Iri Ayo was so kind and friendly. “No sad moment when you are with him, he is a bold man who is never scared to tell the truth no matter how hurtful it were.” Akinlade who recalled that her father taught her to appreciate every little favour, added, “My last visit to him in the village still lingers in my mind because he prayed for me continuously till I boarded a vehicle. I never knew that was the last time I would see him.”

Another daughter of late Ogunniyi, Afolabi Olayinka, described the father as a great disciplinary. “I knew my father to be a very strict man. He was a no nonsense man. And that was how I grew to know him and he has remained so till death came calling. He was so disciplined that no one tells me to behave myself whenever he was around at home. He taught me to always appreciate every little favour that was being done to me. There was never a dull moment with him each time he came to visit my children when I got married. So it was a rude shock when he passed on because he was not really sick,” she said.

“I called him Iri Ayo because that was his alias, said another of his son, Oluwaniyi Banjo. Banjo who described his late father as a very strict man, noted, “I got uncountable strokes of canes from my dad when I was growing up because I was very stubborn.” My dad was bold and never afraid of saying the truth,” he said, adding that, one thing he will miss most about his dad is his proverbs. “There was no time my father spoke without using a proverb to back up his words. I learnt most of the proverbs that I know today from him,” he recalled.

For Demola Oluwaniyi, late Oguniyi’s pastor son, “Iri -Ayo is man of high integrity. He was straightforward and sincere. He would always say the truth not minding whose ox is gored.”
Speaking further, Oluwaniyi a high rank pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG), noted, “Although, he was not opportune to acquire formal education, his demonstration of native intelligence and philosophical saying is no doubt acknowledged by all, that perhaps he could have been in class of the likes of Noble Laurel, Wole Soyinka. It’s so painful to lose you at this point in time Iri Ayo, we love you but your maker loves you most.”

Oluwaniyi who explained how his father got the nickname, Iri Ayo, said “He was highly humorous. There was never a dull moment with him. He was a socialite, who was always noticed at any social gathering. And because he always brought laughter and joy to as many that came across him, he was nicknamed, “Iri Ayo, because anywhere he was, was never short of joy at all and so every one called him, “Iri Ayo”.

His late father, Oluwaniyi said was a stylish man who was known for his good sense of dressing. “Whenever he dressed to go out in agbada and a walking stick, you would see him walk with this special kind of steps and while people call him by his nickname, Iri Ayo, he would respond simply, ‘May it come upon you’. My father was a very handsome man, even in his old age,” he added.

For Olajiire Ogunniyi, his late father was simply a strict disciplinarian. “He instilled in us the spirit of appreciating every little help, support or favour done to one by others, I love his hunting escapade as we don’t need to go to zoo to see animals like, squirrel, antelope, giant snakes and many more. Although my father didn’t go to school, his wisdom on any subject baffled me.”

Late Isaac Folorunso Ogunniyi was born at Ilahun-Ijesa about 80 years ago to the family of late Alahun of Ilahun-Ijesa, Oba John Ogunniyi Odejobi and his mother was late Olori Felicia Tinuade Ogunniyi. Late Ogunniy did not have the opportunity of attending elementary school, but by his self effort, he learnt how to read and write through the adult educational scheme of late Obafemi Awolowo of Old Western region, He learnt Carpentry work at Ilesa in 1956 and practiced his carpentry work in many places like Ilesa, Osogbo, Ijebu-Ijesa and at his home town Ilahun Ijesa where he combined his carpentry with farming. He also took hunting as a hubby; He was the Chairman of Carpenters Association of Ilahun-Ijesa till his death.

Late Ogunniyi was a devoted Christian and was baptised at the Apostolic Church but later joined Christ Apostolic Church. He contributed his quota towards the development of Ilahun and was so prominent in the social activities in Ilahun, which earned him the appellation, Iri-Ayo. He was happily married to Deaconess Eunice Bamidele Ogunniyi (Nee Obembe) and Aduke Ogunniyi. They were blessed with prominent sons and daughters.