Anxiety Saturday pervaded Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, over the death of the 13th Iyalode of Ibadanland, Alhaja Aminat Abiodun.
Abiodun, the only female member of the Olubadan-in-Council, died in the early hours of yesterday, about a fortnight to her 94th birthday on December 24.
Efforts to get official confirmation of her death from the palace of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, did not yield any positive result.
An aide to Olubadan, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there were processes to follow before the palace would officially announce the demise of an High Chief of the Iyalode’s status. As the news of her death filtered into town, top dignitaries started trooping to her residence to commiserate with the family.
THISDAY gathered that a traditional message was sent to the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, to inform him of her demise.
One of the sources said her family was yet to officially inform the palace of her death. Other sources at her family compound in Idi Arere and her Bodija residence confirmed her death.
With her position as the Iyalode, she represented the women in the Olubadan Advisory Council which is made up of 10 High Chiefs in the city as well as the Olubadan himself.
Iyalode Abiodun was greeted like a king in her lifetime with senior chiefs prostrating to pay her homage at public functions.
Apart from being a contractor of note right from the 1960s, Iyalode Abiodun was well invested in properties with many describing her business acumen was exemplary.
She became Jagun Iyalode in 1971the first position on the ladder and eventually became Iyalode on October 19, 2007, following the demise of her predecessor, Iyalode Wuraola Akintola.
Iyalode Abiodun had been around the social and political circles right from the days when the likes of High Chief Adisa Akinloye, Alhaji Busari Adelakun and other prominent Ibadan indigenes held sway in Ibadan politics.
She would be remembered like her predecessors including Iyalode Efunsetan Aniwura, who was so wealthy that she maintained a private army and Iyalode Wuraola Esan, a teacher, educationist and politician as well as Iyalode Humaani Alade known for her people-oriented principles.
Her children, led by the first born, Alhaja Asagidigbi, who described the late matriarch as a very caring mother, led other of her siblings to welcome guests that include Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and some members of the state executive council who came on condolence visit.
Some of the members of the state executive on the entourage of Governor Ajimobi include the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Olalekan Alli, Head of Service, Mrs. Lawunmi Ogunesan, some commissioners, Chief Lateef Oyelade and Alhaji Lamidi Ajadi among others.
Ajimobi then held a brief meeting with the some members of the family on the burial ceremony which comes up today by 4.00 p.m.
After the brief meeting, he described the late Iyalode as a mother of all, stating that she is irreplaceable in the history of Ibadanland.
According to him, with her commanding respect, figure and relationship with all indigenes of Ibadan and even Yorubaland, Alhaja Abiodun was a colossus in her lifetime.
He said, “Let me on behalf of the people and government of Oyo State extend condolence to the nucleus family of Mama. By tradition and relationship, Mama was my mother. I knew mama since I was like nine years old and she was an exemplary mother, very elegant, very beautiful.
“She had presence both in character and in carriage. She epitomised mobility. She epitomised elegance and consequently became the queen of Ibadanland, if you like Queen of women if that is accepted.
“She rose through the ranks and paid her dues. She was successful in all ramifications. So for me I think it’s the passage of a titan of Colosus who has made her mark in the sand of time.
“I think for me it’s a great loss but let’s take solace in the fact that she lived well, left good children, left me, left us. And Ibadan will forever remember her. She was the Iyalode of Ibadanland, and for many years, she was and she is irreplaceable. We are going to miss her.”
Also, Chief Bode Ayorinde (SAN) and the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic party (SDP) in Oyo State described her death “as an end of an era.”
According to him, it is a shock to all of us although she was well advanced in age. But it was so shocking and we’re all very sad in Ibadanland. We know that we have lost a mother, an icon, it is actually the end of an era. It is shocking but we bless God for her life, she has lived a good life, served her community, she served her God. Her life is worthy of emulation.”