Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
Senate President Bukola Saraki, sitting governors and their deputies, former civilian and military governors and Yoruba leaders yesterday gathered in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to pay their last respects to the former military Governor of Western Region, Major General Robert Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd).
The eminent Nigerians paid flowing tributes to the late leader at a special ‘day of tributes’ held at House of Chiefs, Agodi, Ibadan.
The remains of the deceased retired general had earlier been received around 2p.m. at the Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
It was accompanied to the venue around 2.48p.m.by four governors- Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Rauf Aregebsola (Osun), Akinwumi Ambode (Lagos) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo).
General Adebayo died on March8, 2017, at the age of 89, a day to his 90th birthday.
The scion of Adebayo family and former Governor of Ekiti State, Adeniyi Adebayo, accompanied by the widow of the deceased, Mrs. Modupe Adebayo, led the pack of family members to the colourful event which lasted over four hours.
Also at the event, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga; Deputy Governor of Osun State, Chief Grace Laoye Tomori, former Governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande, former military Governors of the old Oyo State, General, David Medaiyese Jemibewon, Col. Oladayo Popoola, Real Admirer Akin Aduwo and former civilian Governor of the old Oyo State, Dr. Victor Olunloyo; former Deputy Governor of Oyo State Chief Iyiola Oladokun.
Others included the Olubadan of Ibadanland who was represented by his chiefs led by High Chief Owolabi Olakulehin (Balogun of Ibadanland), Secretary to Ogun State Governor, Taiwo Adeoluwa, and Commissioner of Police in Oyo State Mr. Abiodun Odude.
Also on the list were the senators representing Oyo Central and North, Alhaja Monsurat Sunmonu and Dr. Abdulfatai Buhari; members of Executive Councils in Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Lagos and Ekiti.
The Provost of the Cathedral, St. Peters Anglican Church, Ibadan, Venerable Wale Adebiyi, and representatives of Chief Imam of Ibadanland Sheik Abubakri Abdulganiy Agbotomokekere prayed for the soul of the departed leader.
Saraki, while speaking urged the gathering not to mourn but to celebrate a life well spent.
He said: “I stand here not to mourn but celebrate General Adebayo, it is not common for six state governors to celebrate an individual, let me commend the efforts of the organisers.
“I think Baba Adebayo deserves more than this, on behalf of entire Senate, General Adebayo is more than South-west.
“That is why the entire Nigeria is here to honour General Adebayo.
“The only tribute we can have for people like him is to sustain the labour of our past heroes and make sure they are not in vain.”
Ajimobi while speaking on behalf of his colleagues, described Adebayo as an illustrious son of Africa.
“Papa fought a good fight. I congratulate us all for the good works of the late Adebayo.
“Papa has carved a niche for himself and his name remain indelible in our hearts, his legacy will always remain in our heart. May his gentle soul rest in peace.”
The Secretary to Oyo State Government who is also the Chairman of the planning committee, Alhaji Olalekan Alli, earlier said the demise of Adebayo though heartbreaking, but was a thing of joy for a life well spent.
He said the choice of Ibadan for the day of tribute was in recognition of his contributions to humanity in general.