Soun, Akala, others’ deaths: Leaving the stage for new heroes
The last forty days or thereabouts have been theatrical and hysterical in Ogbomoso; the princely city was hit bombastically with deaths of some of his notable persons among who indeed could be described as the finest in their categories as at the time of their passing. The first to die in the period under spotlight was that fabulous king, the Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba (Dr) Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, JP, CON, CFR. He joined his ancestors on December 12, 2021 at the ripe age of 95. He had spent 48 years on the throne of his forebears. His eminence was eloquently confirmed by the preponderance of eminent personalities his passage has been drawing to Ogbomoso and who had paid tributes. Without sounding bombastic he was truly a great man and monarch. Amid the mourning of his transition, on a bewildering day after the turn of the year, on January 12, the demise of that fascinating, enigmatic politician, Otunba (Dr) Christophe Adebayo Alao-Akala, a former governor of Oyo state, hit the airwaves. It was unbelievable. Nobody heard he was sick or on admission in a hospital, he had previously been junketing across the country on political meetings, for private issues and other matters, to now confront such a people just smarting from the painful death of their greatest king in the last 170 years with the loss of their greatest politician in contemporary times was an occurrence too many. The last time a similar thing occurred in the city in recent times was in 2016 when on January 26, the Asiwaju of Ogbomoso, Chief Sunday Adewusi, a former Inspector General of Police, passed on and a little over a month later, on March I, that inimitable philanthropist, Chief Ladiji Abidemi Gbadamosi, who was the Ajebamidele of Ogbomoso, also “changed address.” In fact, in the last six years some of the greatest men that ever walked Ogbomoso died. On the heels of the exits of Oba Oladunni Oyewumi and Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala was the demise of Professor Alex Gboyega (76 years), a retired don at the University of Ibadan, who contributed hugely to the progress of Ogbomoso via his expertise. He articulated many papers to advance the cause of Ogbomoso. He died the same day as Akala. And on January 17, Mogaji Adisa Adeleye, a former President of Egbe Omo Ogbomoso Parapo Agbaaye, similarly passed away at 88. He was also a patriot who contributed immensely to the evolution of Ogbomoso. As an instance he published a bilingual magazine of Ogbomoso from 1986 until his death. In addition, he served the community exceptionally as president of Ogbomoso Parapo with fascinating achievements between 2007 and 2014. May their souls rest in peace.
Nonetheless, their deaths though painful will serve to ignite opportunities for new heroes to emerge. Indubitably, there would be persons who have other talents and focuses, but who were hamstrung by the presence on the stage of the departed heroes. It is now left for them to depart from the wings on which they have been perching and make bold appearances on the stage. The community is in dire need of new heroes. The greatness of Ogbomoso has been sustained over the years by the unending stream of outstanding supermen. They all always come with different flairs. From time to time the Ogbomoso landscape is straddled by dominant heroes who achieved prominence by their incredible accomplishments and which inspired reverence and pride in favour of the city. Though there have been times too when dominant heroes did not emerge. The stage is now laid bare by the departure of these recent heroes thus there will be a profound struggle for the mastery of the land. Therefore, the city may wait sometime before the emergence of new dominant figures. Some 22 years after the passing of Chief Adebayo Amao Alata, Babalaje of Ogbomoso, the community is yet to get another dominant entrepreneur; before the coming out of Alao-Akala, the community waited forty years after late Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola GCON, Premier of the defunct Western Region; it was a longer period for the town to have a strong monarch like Oba Oladunni Oyewumi; since the passage of Chief Adewusi, no other individual of Ogbomoso origin has attained his level both in the police force and subsequently his influence that permeated the whole country; so also, a philanthropist like Chief Gbadamosi has not truly appeared.
Ogbomoso must therefore move into a new age of heroes. Heroes are forged in the furnace of adversity. For those who will gain mastery of the land, they must be special breeds, they must be of fine quality, they must study great men of the past and improve on their weaknesses, and they must see beyond themselves, eschew selfishness and a have a wide broad view. Leadership gravitates only to the worthy, those who paid the price and made great sacrifice. While not discarding the element of luck, he who aspires to be a dominant figure in whatever field must be ready to serve the people genuinely, must be inclined towards courageous deeds, must be of noble character, driven by humility, be charismatic, operates at the level of the lowly, be kindhearted, avoid building fortresses round himself or aloof but rather be available and accessible at most times, not go about with an aura of superiority, not have haughtiness written all over him, be at ease with the proletariat etc. The hero is always someone who is daring, who risks his safety, comfort and everything he possesses for his people. We commend the men (and women) who have the wherewithal to strut into the stage to make themselves available for the good of the community.