The death of His Majesty, The Olubadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade I, came as a rude shock to all and sundry. He joined his ancestors on January 19, 2016, three months before his 102nd birthday slated for April 14. His passage unarguably has robbed the Yoruba race as well as the country, Nigeria of one of the most humble, humane and forthright traditional ruler in modern times.
The late monarch’s passage however calls for celebration of not only a life well spent, but that of an impactful life, which is still reverberating across the nation’s geo-political zones and even in the diaspora. Oba Odulana, no doubt was an uncommon monarch, as his life and times were characterised by service to humanity, which he did in truth and indeed.
He not only demonstrated a strong character with leadership acumen, but was always willing to listen to others, thus making him accessible to his people. Aside this, he was a bridge-builder between cultures of one generation and age to another as well as political leanings. The Olubadan ascended the throne at age 93 on August 17, 2007 with utmost patience, perseverance and loyalty to the hierarchical structure of ascension to the throne of Olubadan. He became the 17th Olubadan, a title that was upgraded from that of Baale Ibadan to Olubadan in 1930.
He became the fourth longest serving monarch in Ibadan history, having risen through the ranks, that is, in the hierarchical method of selecting the Olubadan, which often are from the two classes of High Chiefs representing the civilian and war chiefs (military lines), that is the Balogun line. This system over the years is devoid of partisanship or the usually ferocious competition among the ruling houses in other traditional societies.
His was an eventful and peaceful reign, as his non-partisan stance and advocacy for fairness, incorruptibility in mediations, competence and administrative qualities endeared him to many of his subjects. Besides, he was reputed for being quick-witted, endowed with native intelligence and was a great influence in the Olubadan-in-council.
The late Olubadan served his fatherland in many capacities as a teacher, public administrator, soldier, politician and traditional ruler to mention but a few. And as a lover of education, he was instrumental to the release of the land on which the nation’s premier citadel of learning-the University of Ibadan, was built. In the words of the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, “Right from the beginning of the institution, he showed tremendous interest in its activities and will remain one of the towering figures in the history of the University of Ibadan. Even when he became frail in health, he continued to encourage the enthronement of good governance in Nigeria through intellectual discourses and contributions.” Little wonder, then, that in recognition of his invaluable contributions to education in Nigeria, he was honoured with the Doctor of Letters, LL.D Honoris Causa of the University of Ibadan in 2010.
The late Olubadan, no doubt left an enviable track record which will be difficult to equal in this era, particularly, his fatherly role in ensuring that long lasting peace will reign not only in his domain, but in the entire Yorubaland, and Nigeria at large. Despite his fame and honour, the late Olubadan was humble and was known for his conviviality, camaraderie, sense of judgment, non-partisan posture and frankness in dealing with issues. His successor must work hard to not only sustain this noble tradition, but as a matter of necessity nurture it and take Ibadan, unarguably the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa, to enviable heights of socio-cultural and economic development.
We therefore join the world in sending our heartfelt condolence to his family, the government and people of Oyo State and other Nigerians. We are certain that his successor will not only build on the foundation of peace and tranquillity laid by the late Olubadan, but emulate the sterling qualities that endeared him to all. This we believe will be the best tribute to pay the late Olubadan, Oba Odulana Odugade I. We pray that God will grant his gentile soul succour.


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