By Leke Adeseri, Regional Editor, South West
Another feather of honour has been added to the hat of the former Military Governor of the defunct Western Region, Major General Robert Adeyinka Adebayo (RTD) CFR OFR LL.D as the Igbimo Agba Yoruba(Yoruba Council of Elders) at its recent meeting in Ibadan, Oyo State unanimously conferred the prestigious title of Asiwaju of Yoruba Land on him.
In a joint statement by the Secretary General and National Publicity Secretary of the group, Chief Idowu Sofola SAN, OFR and Chief Oluyemi Falade respectivelly, “this decision was taken after a long period of consultations with the members of the state chapters of our esteemed body, leaders of thought and other interest groups in Yoruba Land.”
The statement added that, “This is another feather on the cap of the former Military Governor of the defunct Western Region, a man that has distinguished himself in service to humanity and widely honoured within Yoruba Land and beyond. He has been bestowed with 25 chieftancy titles from all Yoruba States….Nationally, the national have been conferred on him. It is hoped that this will spur him on to even greater service to the Yoruba people and Nigeria as a whole.”
His comments at Tinubu’s investiture in 2008
General Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd) had said at Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s investiture three years ago that the inability of the Yoruba to reach the height of their potentials was caused by internal squabblings.
Gen. Adebayo spoke at the investiture in Lagos of the immediate past governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as National Ambassador of the World Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture (WOFEYAC).
The programme, a brain child of Alaroye, the Yoruba weekly, is scheduled for April 17_21 in Lagos and Abeokuta.
It is to reawaken Yoruba culture and language across the world.
Gen. Adebayo who offered traditional prayers asked the Yoruba to emulate Tinubu’s spirit of excellence and commitment to the Yoruba cause.
According to him, Tinubu’s performance as governor and the cue taken from him by Governor Babatunde Fashola were signs that Lagos would take take soon its rightful position in the nation..
Chairman of the occasion, Chief Molade Okoye_Thomas described Tinubu as “the symbol of Lagos State being called the Centre of Excellence.
“Across the state, there are landmark achievements to show for his hard work and commitment to the development of the state and the people,” he said.
Welcoming guests, the Alaroye Publisher, Mr. Alao Adedayo said Asiwaju Tinubu’s political network in the country placed him head and shoulder above any other person to be given the award.
On the occasion, the Director of Centre for Black and African Arts and Culture (CBAAC) Professor Tunde Babawale introduced the WOFEYAC calendar, while Governor Fashola of Lagos State unveiled the calendar.
The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo performed the investiture. Also in attendance were and the Ooni Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II and Oba Rilwan Akiolu. 1 of Lagos
In his acceptance speech, Asiwaju Tinubu said “What we seek to do is to use our cultural diversity as a tool for national development. We should be able to convert our rich cultural heritage into a tool for economic development.
The Yoruba culture is unique and very important. We need to work to correct the anomaly of our children at home and in the Diaspora not being able to speak Yoruba language nor appreciate our culture.”
He promised his personal commitment to the vision of Yoruba cultural reawakening emphasising that “it is not just in the area of culture, we have so much to do in the area of language.”
Tinubu lamented a situation whereby many Yoruba sons and daughters cannot even read Yoruba language.
On his part, the Ooni Oba Okunade Sijuwade renewed the call for mother tongue education. He reminded the audience of the research and recommendation of Professor Babatunde Fafunwa in the 1960s and UNESCO’s conclusion that education in mother tongue was the best.
Dignitaries at the ceremony included the first military Governor of Lagos State, Gen Mobolaji Johnson (rtd); former civilian Governir of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Dr. Razak Okoya.