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Olupo of Oluponna: Transition of a people’s monarch

By Rotimi Agboluaje (who was in Oluponna) 
09 January 2022   |   4:03 am
He was a king. But three days before he transited, specifically on the night of December 31, 2021, he was full of life, singing and dancing in appreciation of the King of kings.

• Oluwo, Senator Oriolowo, Olurode, Bowen Varsity, Others Mourn
• ‘He Drove Us To Crossover Night On Dec. 31’ 

He was a king. But three days before he transited, specifically on the night of December 31, 2021, he was full of life, singing and dancing in appreciation of the King of kings.

At the crossover service that Friday night, nobody had the premonition that the Olupo of Oluponna, HRM Oba Emmanuel Onaolapo Oyebamiji, Fadare II, was having his last show on earth, as he passed on Monday, January 3, 2022 at age 72.

His younger sister, Princess Oyenike Oyebamiji Opawande, told The Guardian that the late royal father drove them to the crossover service where he danced and rejoiced profusely for making it into the New Year.

“On Sunday, we had a get-together for the town, but we asked him to stay behind in order not to stress him. On Monday, around 5:00pm, we heard that he had high temperature. So, we took him to the hospital, but he gave up around 7:00pm.”

The princess said the late king’s love for his family, community and humanity was unprecedented, reason he would be sorely missed.

“He was pure diamond and gold for Oluponna that cannot be destroyed. He dedicated his life to people’s welfare and community development. People are sad that they lost their king. We cannot question God, but thank Him for his life.”

He was installed on Saturday, May 22, 1999 by the then Military Administrator of Osun State, Col. Theophilous Bamgboye, and reigned for 22 years.

Across the sprawling town, which is the headquarters of the Ayedire South Local Council Development Area, the atmosphere is that of melancholy, with many reflecting on his impact before he ascended the throne of his progenitors. Markets have been shut in honour of the revered traditional ruler, just as indigenes, residents and friends from far and near, have been visiting the palace to condole with the Olupo-in-Council and the royal family.

Among those who have visited the palace to commiserate with the family and the Olupo-in-Council were the senator representing Osun West in the National Assembly, Engr. Adelere Oriolowo; the Oluwo of Iwo land, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, Telu 1; the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State on Budget and Economic Planning, Hon. Bisi Ogunkale; Bowen University management, and a personal friend, Mr. Rufus Akinrinwale.

Oluwo, who was accompanied by the Oloja of Agbarire, Oba Alajide; Otunba of Iwoland, Chief Sikiru Wahab Atanda; Oosa of Iwoland, Chief Yekini Orobimpe; princes and other chiefs was received by the Olupo-In-Council.

Oluwo described the late Olupo as a distinguished monarch, whose lifetime was committed to the development of Oluponna throughout his 22-year reign, saying the late monarch symbolised industry, resourcefulness, who prioritised his subjects’ welfare and future.

Oba Akanbi, who said Olupo’s legacy had immortalised him, tasked princes and chiefs to sustain the deceased’s tempo through appointment of worthy successor, adding that Olupo was one of the few monarchs, who did not sell the lands of his subjects.

Speaking on behalf of the town, Otunba of Oluponna, Chief Julius Ademola Akinlabi appreciated Oluwo and his entourage, saying the death of Olupo has created personal vacuum. Chief Akinlabi, who is also the President, Oluponna Development Association (ODA), assured that due process would be followed in consultation with Oluwo in ensuring the tempo of successes in Oluponna are sustained and improved.

The Chairman, Ayedire Local Council, Hon, Adigun Adejare Omotayo, in a statement, described the late king as a peace loving, development passionate monarch and respected royal father.

“On behalf of the good people of Aiyedire Local Council, I commiserate with Osun Traditional Council, Olupo-in-Council, royal families, Oluponna Development Association, Ayedire Traditional Council and members of the entire Oluponna community over the demise of Oba Emmanuel Onaolapo Oyebamiji, Fadare II.”
Omotayo encouraged family, friends and associates of the late monarch to remain steadfast in sustaining his legacies.

Senator Oriolowo described the death of Olupo of Oluponna as a personal loss to him.

The senator, in a condolence message by his media aide, Oluniyi Isamotu, described the monarch as a peacemaker, whose imprint will never be forgotten in the sand of time.

“I’m saddened by the news of the death of Olupo of Oluponna, HRM Oba Emmanuel Onaolapo Oyebamiji, Fadare ll. This is more of a personal loss to me, as I shared close ties with Kabiesi beyond what is known to the public.”

The senator urged everyone to take solace in the fact that he lived a worthy life dedicated to the service of God and humanity.

“I specifically commiserate with a noble friend and associate, Chief Solomon Oyerinde, Odofin Agba-oye of Oluponna, and my younger brother, Dr. Niyi Oriolowo, who the late monarch bestowed a prestigious chieftaincy title on several years back, over the demise of kabiesi.”

Lawmaker representing Ayedire/Iwo/Ola Oluwa federal constituency, Amobi Yunusa Akintola, said the community is grateful for the late king’s contribution to the development of the local council and Osun State at large. “God will grant you eventual rest and the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

On his part, a former National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Lai Olurode said his death was shocking.

Olurode, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Lagos, said: “He looked so radiant and was full of life when I led a delegation of Ayekooto to his palace early December. May he be forgiven? We pray for the repose of his soul. May God be with the family that he left behind and choose for the good people of Oluponna in Ayedire South Local Council Development Area of Osun State.

“His peace loving initiative is the envy of many similar kings. His reign witnessed many developmental landmarks. Ayekooto sincerely commiserates with the people of Oluponna at home and in the diaspora. A unique and an exceptional king is no more. Goodnight to Olupo of Oluponna.

“We commiserate with the paramount ruler of Iwoland, Oba (Dr.) Abdurasheed Adewale Akanbi over the loss of a close confidant in the person of Olupo, all the chiefs, religious clerics and the entire people of Oluponna. The immediate family of the Kabiyesi had lost a gentleman.”

The immediate past lawmaker, who represented Ayedire State Constituency, Pharmacist Leke Ogunsola, who condoled with residents of Oluponna, eulogised the many virtues of the late monarch. The Oluponna-born legislator, who is now Board Chairman, Primary Health Care, Osun State, adjudged the transition of Oba Emmanuel Onaolapo as monumental loss and a devastating development, especially at this time.

He recalled the numerous noteworthy antecedents the royal father left behind, stating that the late monarch would be immensely missed, especially his peaceful disposition and unbiased counsels.

He specifically submitted that the passage of the royal father caught him unaware while reiterating that the departed monarch did not only live a life worthy of emulation and impactful, but also was able to successfully engrave his name on the sand of time.

He prayed Almighty God to comfort the children, family, friends and the people of Ayedire South LCDAs as they mourn Oba Emmanuel Onaolapo Oyebamiji Fadare II, just as he prayed God to grant him eternal rest.

The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State on Budget and Economic Planning, Hon. Bisi Ogunkale, said: “We are going to miss him in so many ways. He was kindhearted. He was somebody endowed with a high sense of community service; he was a man of peace, who loved his family, his people and anybody that came across him.

“Before he became king, anyone who visited him in Lagos would be well fed and be given money to address issues confronting him. The entire Iwo land would miss him. He was a devout Christian. He died in Christ. He died while some pastors were praying for him on sickbed.”

Bowen University’s management was led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Tosin Atobatele. In the university’s condolence message, the Head, Public Relations, Bowen University, Hon. Toba Adaramola, wrote: “Kabiyesi, in his days, was a very pleasant person, very warm and accommodating. He was a giver. A good baptist and genuine child of God. We will miss you, but our consolation is that you are resting in the bosom of your saviour.”

The Men Missionary Union, First Baptist Church, Oluponna, described the monarch as the father of all as his role in the group will remain evergreen.

The Chief Imam, Anwarul-Islam Movement of Nigeria, Oluponna Mission, Shaykh Abdulhakeem Yusuf, while mourning the monarch, said all human beings came from God, and to Him shall all return.

Members of the royal family and chiefs who spoke with The Guardian also described the traditional ruler in glowing tributes.

Prince Ayo Oyedokun said: “Olupo’s death is a personal loss to me. He was a good father and king. Oluponna witnessed lots of transformation under him. He lives forever.”

On his part, High Chief Oladapo Ogunrinu, the Oosa of Oluponna noted that the late king was kindhearted and embraced all. The Basorun of Oluponna, Alhaji (Chief) Saliu Akanni said: “He was a knowledgeable and well traveled king. He traveled all over the world, using the exposure to bring development to this town. He was loving, patient and respectful. He cherished education and was empowering people educationally. He had foresight. He started the new palace. He ensured that Local Council Development Area (L. C. D. A) headquarter is brought here.”

According to Princess Opawande, burial ceremonies have been slated for April 8, 9 and 10, 2022 coinciding with his 73th birthday anniversary.