Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, wore a mournful look yesterday, as report of the death of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Samuel Odulana, filtered round the state capital.
The monarch died in Ibadan on Tuesday at the age of 101.
Sen. Lekan Balogun, one of the High Chiefs of Ibadan, confirmed the death on Wednesday in Ibadan. Balogun, who is the Otun Olubadan, also said that the traditional chiefs were meeting over the burial arrangement.
“The death of the Olubadan has been confirmed; it is true that the monarch is dead,” he said.
One of the daughters of the monarch, Mrs Folasade Bankole, said that her father was a rare gem.
“He lived the way he wanted to live and died the way he wanted to die. He achieved all he set out to before his death. We thank God for his life,’’ she said.
The Aare Alaasa of Ibadanland, Chief Lekan Alabi, described the demise of Odulana as a big loss to the people of Ibadanland.
“ He was a repository of history and an icon of culture, education and justice. We will miss a great king in the entire Yorubaland, Nigeria and indeed Africa.
“He was among the rare kings of the century in Africa and the world. He was 101 years old and we pray his soul would find repose in heaven,’’ he said.
Odulana, the 40th Olubadan, ascended the throne on August 17, 2007 at the age of 93. He died 86 days to his 102nd birthday, April 14.
Odulana was born April 14, 1914 in Igbo Elerin, Ibadan to Pa Odulana Ayinla. He began his elementary education at Saint Andrew’s School, Bamigbola, Ibadan in January 1922 and transferred to St. Peter’s School, Aremo, in 1929.
The traditional ruler completed his middle school education at Mapo Central School in 1936 and was an army officer during the 1939 World War II. After returning from World War II in 1945, he was appointed to be in charge of the demobilisation of returning soldiers in Lagos.
He briefly worked with United Africa Company as a produce clerk before commencing his teaching career at the Church Missionary Society Elementary School, Jago, in 1938. Odulana also taught in several schools from 1939 to 1942 and was with the Colonial Office Education Department in 1964.
The late monarch went into politics in 1959 as a member of the House of Representatives and was appointed parliamentary secretary to the late Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
He was Minster of State for Labour and in 1964, he led the Nigerian Parliamentary delegation to the London Constitution Conference to restructure the former British colonies of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia).
Odulana joined the royal chieftaincy line in 1972 as the Mogaji of Ladunni compound in Ibadan, and in 1976, he was conferred Jagun-Olubadan. He was a co-founder of several organisations such as the Ibadan Economic Foundation and the Ibadan Progressive Union.
The monarch was conferred with the honorary degree of Doctor of Management Technology by the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, in December 2005.
Saraki, Ekweremadu mourn
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday expressed sadness over the news of the passing on of Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade I.
Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, described the late monarchs as a great and courageous monarch who fought valiantly to preserve the dignity of the Ibadan traditional stool and by extension the nation’s traditional institution.
He described the late traditional ruler as a highly accomplished parliamentarian, frontline politician and a statesman who was a member of the Federal House of Representatives in the First Republic and remained till his death a role model for current members of the parliament at state and federal levels.
The late Olubadan, the Senate President stated, was a personality who became an inspiration to the entire Yoruba nation in particular and the country in general.
“Looking at the life and times of the late Olubadan, I cannot but hold my breath considering his achievements. This was a man who started as a Clerk, became a teacher, soldier, politician, educationist, parliamentarian, philanthropist and first class traditional ruler in a span of about 100 years.
“I will simply say he lived a worthy and exemplary life. His was a true life story of grass to grace. This I believe would remain a great source of inspiration to all of us and the upcoming generation”, Saraki stated.
The senate president therefore commiserated with the immediate family of the deceased, the nation’s traditional institutions, the government and people of Oyo State and the entire Yorubaland; and prayed God to grant the soul of the late monarch sweet repose.
He urged the family of the late monarch and all those in grief over the death to take solace in the fact that the late Olubadan lived life to the full and made positive impact on all those who met or were close to him during his life time.
Also, Ekweremadu described Oba Odulana, as a patriot and sage, saying the monarch had left a big void that would be difficult to fill.
He said: “There is no doubt that the Olubadan was a man of integrity who spoke his mind and was always ready to defend the truth.
In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Uche Anichukwu, the Deputy Senate President said the royal father was “a patriot and detribalized Nigerian who worked for the peace and development of the nation”.
“Although we all have to take solace in the fact that the respected royal father lived to a ripe age and led a life of service to God and humanity, we certainly would have been glad to continue to benefit from his fatherly counsel”.
He prayed God to grant the soul of the Olubadan a peaceful repose, and the nation, especially the government and people of Oyo State the inner strength to bear the heavy loss.
Jonathan condoles with Oyo Govt, family of Olubadan
Former President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has condoled with the people and Government of Oyo State over the death of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade, describing the late monarch as a cultural enthusiast and great nationalist.
In a condolence message to his family and Oyo State Government Jonathan said:
“The late monarch was a peace lover and bridge builder eminently reputed to have devoted so much energy to the pursuit of national unity.
“He certainly stood out as a cultural enthusiast who contributed so much to his people’s civilisation by applying his full strength to the vocation of serving as a custodian and spiritual guide of the iconic Yoruba culture and tradition.
“He will also be remembered as a dedicated scholar, politician, an accomplished public servant, as well as a statesman and consummate nationalist who remained prominent in the crusade for Nigeria’s independence.
“My personal recollections, from many interactions, with the revered monarch set him apart as a cultured, modest and pragmatic sage. He will indeed be missed by his family, the good people of Ibadan, and the entire nation.”