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Kingdom marks 50th anniversary of late Oba 

By Rosemary Ikwuje
15 October 2022   |   3:48 am
Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, will be agog on November 15, this year, as the family of one of the longest-serving traditional rulers in the history of Owu Kingdom, Oba Salami Adewunmi Ajibola, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of his passing with the launch of two books in his honour.

Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, will be agog on November 15, this year, as the family of one of the longest-serving traditional rulers in the history of Owu Kingdom, Oba Salami Adewunmi Ajibola, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of his passing with the launch of two books in his honour.

This year’s annual family convention will come with great pomp as the sons, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other relatives of the late Oba will converge on his ancestral home to pay their respects to him.

According to the organisers of the event, they decided to make this year’s event unique with the launch of two books in appreciation for the innovation and progress the late king brought to the family and the community as a whole.

One of the late Oba Ajibola’s illustrious grandchildren, who is a lecturer, Mr. Tunji Ajibola, said: “We usually converge on Abeokuta, Ogun State, annually since November 1972 to commemorate the death of our grandfather, an epitome of wisdom, a unifier and a pragmatic leader. He joined his ancestors on November 15, 1972.

“The date is symbolic to us because that was the day one of our founding fathers, Oba Salami Adewunmi Ajibola, Olowu of Owu, Abeokuta, passed in a blaze of glory. He was born in 1949 and joined his ancestors in 1972.

“Our iconic father worked in the Nigeria Police during the colonial era for 32 years. He retired as Police Inspector in 1947, and later became Olowu of Owu in 1949. As a police officer, he contributed to the peace and orderliness of society. In 1952 when Queen Elizabeth II was on her way to Ibadan, the capital of the old Western Region, our father was one of the Obas who received her in Abeokuta.

“During his reign between 1949 and 1972 as Olowu of Owu, the community witnessed many developmental projects, because our father loved his people with a passion, which he exhibited by his kindness and generosity.

“His kind and generous attitude was attested to by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the current Balogun of Owu, in his recent letter to the late Oba Ajibola’s descendants on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebration and the Family Tree book launch.”

Explaining the rationale for the event, Ajibola added: “Our family is a very large one, with our family members domiciled all over the world. It is important that we meet annually and then document our genealogy for the coming generation.

“Our departed fathers and mothers institutionalised the annual family anniversary, a time we reunite as family members to celebrate living life and then to remember our founding fathers.

“This year is the 50th edition of the Oba Salami Adewunmi Ajibola Remembrance Anniversary or family reunion. It is a one-week event, from November 14 to 20.”

He stated that the Family Tree book, which was edited by Prince Adetunji Ajibola, would be launched on Saturday, November 19, 2022.

According to him, the book traces the family from the first generation of the late king’s household to the fifth generation.

Ajibola further said: “A great family will definitely make a great society and enviable country. He was a practicing Muslim during his lifetime. Nevertheless, he loved his people. He didn’t make distinctions of any kind.

“As the longest-reigning Olowu of Owu, he was on the throne for 23 years of peaceful reign. Even during the Western Region’s political crisis, he maintained his neutrality as father to all.

“It was to his credit that the declaration under Section 4 (3) of the Chieftaincy Law, 1957, setting out customary law regulating the selection of ruling houses in Owu section of Abeokuta became effective.

“The first private hospital, built by the late Akin Olugbade, an illustrious son of Owu and frontline Nigerian politician, was inaugurated during the reign of our father. He facilitated many other projects, such as access to education and employment.

“In those days, an Oba lived perpetually in the palace and our grandfather turned his palace to a home for all and sundry throughout his reign.”

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