Gen Popoola joins club of octogenarians: How the world celebrated the icon (PHOTOS)

Gen Popoola joins club of octogenarians: How the world celebrated the icon (PHOTOS)




Former military governor of old Oyo and Ogun states Major General (Dr) Oladayo Popoola (rtd) Monday, February 26, joined the gracious Club of Octogenarians as he turns 80.

From left: Gov Makinde, Gen Popoola and his wife

The Ogbomoso-born icon though of the quiet breed led an impactful life redolent with glorious achievements, which has made him a celebrity.


It’s no wonder his 80th birthday was celebrated in an amazing way.

Two special programmes were held in Ibadan, where he resides and lives as an entrepreneur running Daybis Ltd, a printing press.


Family and friends staged a thanksgiving service at Vine Branch Church, Mokola, attended by the creme-de-la-creme in the society including the Oyo state governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, who attended in person along with top functionaries of his government such as Secretary to the State Government, Prof Olanike Adeyemo; Deputy Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Mohammed Fadeyi; and the Chief of Staff Chief Segun Ogunwuyi. Also in attendance was Ogun state governor Dapo Abiodun who was represented by his deputy, Noimot Salako-Oyedele.


Later in the evening a gala night dinner was held in collaboration with the Nigerian Army at Ibadan Civic Centre.


Engr. Makinde paid glowing tributes to one of his predecessors in office capping it with presentation of a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser SUV to him.


“I will, on behalf of the good people of Oyo state, wish you a happy 80th birthday and many happy returns in good health and abundance of grace.

The Land Cruiser

“Even the Bible promised us 70. The general was governor when he was 40 years old. Now, he has doubled that age.”

In a lighter mood, Makinde remarked, “I became governor at the age of 51 and I am expecting that I will get to 102.”

Prof Mrs. Alice Jekayinfa, Hon Chief Michael Abioye and another guest

He added, “I also want to say that you are a very rare personality. You invited me twice to your residence and gave me quality advice. You did not ask me for anything personal and when we were having challenges with the issue of Soun of Ogbomoso and LAUTECH ownership, you came out boldly to make your position known.

From left: Engr Dayo Lawal, Dr Saka Balogun and Hon Michael Abioye

“You fought gallantly and you and the team – Prof (Daud) Sangodoyin and others brought back LAUTECH to Oyo State. This is an opportunity for me to openly say thank you. May your years be long.

“As for the children and grandchildren, you have a name that must be cherished and that you can be proud of anywhere in the world.”


Praying for him, Makinde said, “His children had inherited a name to cherish for life.”


The National President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Francis Wale-Oke, recounting his first encounter with Popoola in 1984, described his humility as touching.


According to Wale-Oke, the celebrant is a blessing to his generation, noting his contribution to the take-off and the survival of Precious Cornerstone University and ensuring it remains debt-free is noteworthy.

“He is a man who fears God and believes in prayers; no wonder God has given him the grace to achieve so much.”


In his sermon, entitled: ‘Grace: Lessons and Response’, the Senior Pastor of Vine Branch Church, Pastor Dọtun Ajayi, urged all to make their lives count.

Gov Makinde

Ajayi noted that Popoola has every reason to be thankful at 80, especially in a country where life expectancy is 47 for males and 52 for females.


He acknowledged that the newest octogenarian had made his mark, having retired from active service in the military untainted, without scandal.

The cleric alluded to Popoola’s humility and simplicity, adding that he was very accommodating.


In his response, General Popoola lauded Governor Makinde for what he called his commendable strides in the state.


He appreciated the hands of God upon his life, stressing the grace of God had brought him far through the journey of life.


Recalling his past experiences, he thanked God for attaining the age of 80, having singled him out for the various positions he had held.


“I look back and I still continue to say it is God’s grace in my life.


“I have learnt a lot from my military years, and I thank the Almighty for making it possible for me to attain this height in life,” he said.


Individuals and groups also issued congratulatory messages to eulogize the ‘People’s General.’


Soun of Ogbomosoland, His Imperial Majesty Oba Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye Orumogege 111, in a tribute, stated, “You have been a great blessing to Ogbomosoland. You have written not only your name but Ogbomoso’s name in gold with your immense achievements. And you have defined what leadership should be.


“The trajectory of your life depicts a true service to God and humanity…


“Everything about you shows that after you have retired from the Nigerian Army, you are not tired. Even at 80, you are still very concerned about how Ogbomoso would be better than how you met it.


“Once again from the entire sons and daughters of Ogbomosoland, I wish you an energetic 80th birthday. Long life and greater prosperity in all ramifications.”


Similarly, a socio-cultural organization, Ogbomosoland Consultative Council (OCC), that he leads alongside Dr Saka Balogun, sent a congratulatory message.


“We celebrate you today as always a great icon and a true son of Ogbomosoland. A consumate professional and highly decorated military officer, an inspirational leader of men, an astute administrator, a visionary per excellence, a principled personality, a respected community leader, a promoter of peace and harmony, a humble man dedicated to the service of humanity.”


It is indeed a remarkable day for a remarkable icon. Long may he live!

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