Yemisi Ajayi, Ibadan
Eminent personalities including the Senate President Bukola Saraki, serving and former governors, deputy governors, former civilian and military governors and Yoruba leaders yesterday gathered in Ibadan to eschew the virtues of a former Military Governor of Western Region and Western States of Nigeria, Retired Major General Robert Adeyinka Adebayo at a day of tribute held at House of Chiefs, Ibadan.
Leading the family to pay last respect is the scion of Adebayo family and former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo who was accompanied by the widow of the deceased Mrs. Modupe Adebayo.
The corpse, led by Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos state had earlier been received at the Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by the governors of Oyo, Osun, Ondo and deputy governors of Ekiti and Ogun states.
The motorcade later depart the Toll Gate for Government House Arcade for a salute before being led to the House of Chiefs, where eminent personalities were seated for the lying in state.
It was accompanied to the venue around 2.48pm by four governors- Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Rauf Aregebsola (Osun), Akinwumi Ambode (Lagos) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo).
General Adebayo, it will be recalled died on 8th March, 2017 at the age of 89, a day before his 90th birthday.
Saraki while speaking urged the gathering not to mourn but celebrate a life well spent.
The senate president while condoning with family of the late elderstatesman, urged the younger generations in leadership position to sustain the legacy of peace and unity Adebayo left behind.
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 organizers.
“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 them is to sustain the labour of our past heroes not to die in vain.”
Ajimobi while speaking on behalf of his colleagues described Adebayo as an illustrious son of Africa whom dignitaries are being giving final farewell.
“Papa fought a good fight, and we take solace, I congratulate us all for the good works of the late General Adeyinka Adebayo.
“Papa has carved his name on our heart, his legacy will always remain in our heart. May his gentle soul rest in peace.”
Secretary to Oyo State Government who is also the Chairman of the planning committee, Alhaji Olalekan Alli earlier said that the demise of Adebayo though heartbreaking but a thing of joy for a life well spent.
He said the choice of Ibadan for the day of tribute is in recognition of the late governors contributions to the development of the region.
Members of the Yoruba Council of Elders who spoke through Chief Idowu Sofola described the demise of Adebayo as a hugh loss.
“He was an embodiment of what has been said here. As a Military Governor, he contributed to the betterment of his people and as Chairman of YCE he worked diligently for the betterment of people.”
Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka represented by DVC (Admin) Professor Emilolorun Ayelari said the tremendous achievements by the former Pro Chancellor of the university will continue to be remembered by the university.
At the lying in state apart from Saraki and governors are 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 old Oyo State, General David Medaiyese Jemibewon, Col. Oladayo Popoola and Rear Admiral Akin Aduwo and former Civilian Governor of old Oyo State Dr. Victor Olunloyo, former Deputy Governor of Oyo State Chief Iyiola Oladokun.
Others include the Olubadan of Ibadanland who was represented by his chief led by High Chief Owolabi Olakulehin (Balogun of Ibadanland), Secretary to Ogun State Governor Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa and Commissioner of Police in Oyo State Mr. Abiodun Odude.
Also in the list is 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 Abdulganiu Agbotomokekere prayed for soul of the departed octogenarian.