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OYINLOLA AT 60: Nigerians converge on Okuku to celebrate former gov

BY LEKE ADESERI, Regional Editor, South-West
Events of Thursday, February 3rd Prince Oyinlola hosted about 400 widows and the less-privileged.
The former governor who said that he became an orphan at the age of nine years stated that he loves to provide assistance to the less privileged in the society.

From left: The celebrante,former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State; his wife, Omolola; former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Military President Ibrahim Babangida and Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State during the 60th birthday of Oyinlola at the Cathedral of Saint Michael, Okuku,Osun State, Sunday.

Said he “when I became governor in 2003, I told the people that I came to serve and I told them that I would divert all my salary to charity and in the first four years, I did not take a kobo as salary.”

Also on that day, Yeye Odua, Chief (Mrs) HID Awolowo, commended the former governor on the development of education while he was the governor of the state.

Chief(Mrs)Awolowo spoke at the programme that kick started activities to mark the 60th birthday of the former governor.
The Yeye Odua, who was represented by Rev. (Mrs) Omotola Oyediran, said Prince Oyinlola’s reign in Osun State witnessed tremendous growth in the education sector, saying he deserved to be commended by all well-meaning people.

She also urged students across the country who witnessed the event to continue to be committed to their studies so as to justify government’s huge investments in the sector.

Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu, who delivered a short sermon stressed the need for every man to learn to give out from whatever God gave them explaining that even the poorest person has something to give someone else.

Sunday events
The birthday programme ended on Sunday, 6th February, 2011 with a thanksgiving service and a grand reception in Okuku, his home town.

Former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida were among top politicians, state governors, top politicians and retired military officers who attended the thanksgiving service.

The ceremony was held at the Cathedral of St Michael Anglican Church, Okuku, Osun State. In his sermon, Rt Rev Abiodun Olaoye called on leaders in the country to show greater commitment to the development of the country.

He said it was the duty of all leaders to make the nation a better place to live, noting that Oyinlola, as governor of Osun State, left the state better than he met it.

At the ceremony also were Governor Adebayo Alao Akala of Oyo state, former governors Olusegun Agagu (Ondo), Olusegun Oni (Ekiti), Virgy Etiabba (ex-Anambra deputy governor), Erelu Olusola Obada (Osun) and wife of former Ekiti State governor, Mrs Feyi Fayose. Others are former military administrators, Navy Captain Anthony Udofia, Col. Daniel Akintonde (retd), Col. Ozodinobi (retd) and senior retired military. officers, including AVM Hamza Abdullah, AVM Funsho Martins, Col. Emmanuel Shoda (retd) and Major Saliba Mukoro.

Service Chiefs also sent representatives with Navy Captain Oladipo Olanrewaju, standing in for the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief Air Marshal, Oluseyi Petirin.

Traditional rulers across Yorubaland were also there including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who was in Abuja but sent a delegation of Obas.

Others were the Olowu of Owu Egba and Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, who sent his chiefs just as the Shoun of Ogbomoso and the Alaran of Arandun and the Olofa of Offa both in Kwara State.

In his remarks, Prince Oyinlola thanked God and all persons God used in making him achieve self actualisation.
Prince Oyinlola, fondly called “Oyin Ni O” across the country was born on Saturday, February 3, 1951 in Okuku, Odo Otin Local Government Area of Osun State into the royal Oyinlola family. His father, Late Oba Moses Oyewole Oyinlola was the Olukuku of Okuku between 1934 and 1960 and has a record of a peaceful and successful reign. Olagunsoye’s mother, Late Olori Comfort Ololade Oyinlola, hailed from Otan Ayegbaju. Her family migrated from Otan-Ayegbaju to settle in Okuku.

Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s mother died in 1959 when he was barely eight years old while his father died a year later. Following the loss of both, at a very tender age, the task of nurturing Olagunsoye fell on the elderly members of his family.

The formative stages of his educational career saw Olagunsoye attending four primary schools between 1958 and 1963 due to the fact that he was moving from one guardian to another as they moved from one settlement to another. He, however, completed his primary education at St. Michael’s Primary School, Okuku in 1963.

He thereafter proceeded to Odo-Otin Grammar School, Okuku, from where he obtained the West African School Certificate in 1968. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, out of love for the military profession, enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1969 as a private Soldier and was posted to the Signals Corps, then headed by Late General Murtala Ramat Mohammed. He had turned down an admission offer into the Ahmadu-Bello University, Zaria, as a result of his love for the uniform. He later attended the Nigerian Defence Academy as a participant in the Short Service Course 11 and was commissioned as an officer in 1971, into the Armoured Corps of the Nigerian Army at the prime age of 20.

In quest of knowledge, Olagunsoye Oyinlola attended the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife from where he bagged a Diploma in International Relations in 1979. He later proceeded to the University of Madras, India, where he graduated with M. Sc. Degree in Defence Studies in 1988.

Olagunsoye, in consideration of the fact that knowledge is power, also attended the University of Ibadan where he added the Masters Degree in Strategic Studies to his academic achievements in 1999. Not yet satisfied with his academic attainments, Oyinlola again proceeded to Buckingham University, United Kingdom where he graduated in law in 2003. His decision to study Law was influenced by his desire to provide free legal services to the poor.

Prince Oyinlola had a fulfilling career in the military. He trained at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, Command and Staff College Jaji, where he also served as a Directing Staff, and in Military Institutions in India, United Kingdom, Pakistan, France and the United-States.

The roll-call
1.Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
2.Former military President Ibrahim Babangida
3.Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo
4.Former Ondo governor, Olusegun Agagu
5.Former Ekiti Governor Olusegun Oni
6.Virgy Etiaba, Anambra ex-dep. gov.
7.Erelu Olusola Obada, former dep. gov, Osun
8.Wife of former Ekiti State governor, Mrs Feyi Fayose
9.Former military administrator, Navy Captain Anthony Udofia(rtd)
10.Former military administrator, Col. Daniel Akintonde (rtd)
11.Former military administrator, Col. Ozodinobi (rtd)
12. AVM Hamza Abdullah (rtd)
13. AVM Funsho Martins (rtd)
14. Col. Emmanuel Shoda (rtd)
15.Retired Major Saliba Mukoro.
16.Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Oluseyi Petirin
17. A delegation of Ooni of Ife
18.Olowu of Owu Egba
19. A delegation of Oba of Lagos
20.Shoun of Ogbomoso
21.Alaran of Arandun – represented
22.Olofa of Offa – represented
23.Representative of Yeye Odua, Chief (Mrs) HID Awolowo
24.Rt Rev Abiodun Olaoye
25.Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu


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