Osun’s oldest man, 136, buried
THE city of Iragbiji, an ancient settlement in Boripe Local Council of Osun State, came alive recently, when the oldest man in the state, Chief Amos Olarinde Moronkeji, who died at the age of 136 , was finally laid to rest. It was one moment residents of Iragbiji would relive for a long time because of the fitting celebrations that accompanied his burial.
For the community, that Pa Moronkeji, referred as ‘Soldier of Christ’, lived for 136 years in a country, where live expectancy for men is less then 50 years, was by no means an easy feat.
The story of the late Moronkeji has become a reference point for residents because of the peculiarity of his birth. He was born a pagan in 1879, but his father, the late Moronkeji Alabi, an idol worshipper, willingly gave him the approval to become a Christian in 1914 through the Church Missionary Society (CMS) intervention.
Since then, he never looked back, and by 1924, he joined the Baptist denomination and was later baptized before he adopted the name, Amos.
Described as an astute grassroots politician, who left his mark in the first republic under the Action Group, led by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Moronkeji had remained a leading figure before his demise. He had in 1963 contested and emerged the “King Councilor’ for his Ward 1 in Iragbiji.
Aside this, he was also a member of the Tax Assessment Committee of the old Ifelodun District Council, which the community said led to the “development and transformation” of the town.
He got married after over 50 years because no idol worshipper in the town was willing to give his daughter to the new convert, until 1938 when the late Ojuolape Dada “damned the consequence” and married him.
The chairman, Osun Baptist Conference, Reverend M.A. Olusina, who delivered the sermon held at First Baptist Church, Iragbiji, harped on the impartiality of death, while urging those present to embrace Christ. The clergy, who described late Moronkeji as a man who sought the Lord throughout his life, stressed that death has no favoritism and whoever dies without Jesus would end up in eternal pain.
Pa Moronkeji is survived by his wife, Monilola, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The burial was attended by dignitaries, which included Pastor Olagunoye Erogun, Pastor-in-Charge, Lagos Province 42, of The Redeemed Christian Church of God; Rev. S.A Idowu, the host Pastor; Rev. S.O. Oluwoye of Precious Baptist Church, Iwo; and Rev. E.K. Alabi of Molete Baptist Church, Ibadan.