•Oba Otudeko; Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Govs Fayemi, Akeredolu, Abiodun; Subomi Balogun; Amosun; Olojudo, others pay tribute as Toyin Akomolafe, siblings bury father
All roads lead to Ido-Ekiti, Ekiti State between Wednesday, May 11 and Friday, May 13 as Omooba (Dr) Adepoju Akomolafe will be laid to rest. The funeral promises to be ‘Ekiti burial of the century’, going by the huge stature of Papa during his life time. Aged 104, he was among the oldest in Ekiti. And not only was he a consummate educationist, he was also a political giant.
The funeral isn’t just a family affair. Preparations are also in top gear by the Anglican community and the old students of Ekiti Parapo College, Ido-Ekiti, the second oldest secondary school in Ekiti State, where Pa Akomolafe was pioneer Principal to organise a befitting transition.
The burial is a celebration of the life of a man full of accomplishments. Tributes have been pouring for Pa Akomolafe. One of such tributes came from Dr Oba Otudeko, captain of industry, and his wife. In a letter of ‘commiseration’ to the Adepoju Akomolafe Family, the Otudekos described Papa as “an inspiring gentleman of those genies of yore”.
They added: “Baba was very special and very dear. A distinguished Nigerian, he was uniquely cosmopolitan. His career transition from the educational sector to the Nigerian political landscape was monumental of his time. He left his footprints on the sands of time of both the educational and Nigerian political spaces. He was a man of strong character and discipline. He was also an embodiment, intellect, hard work and excellence; with strong affirmation on the Christian faith”
The Olojudo of Ido-Ekiti, Oba Ayorinde Ilori, on his part, said Papa impacted significantly on the Ido community in particular and Ekiti in general especially in the educational sector as many acquired education under his tutelage.
Others who extolled the virtues of Pa Akomolafe include the Minister of Trade and Commerce, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun); Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Otunba Subomi Balogun and Ambassadors Olufemi Ani and Moses Ihonde. The Adepoju Akomolafe Dynasty had announced, in a statement in January 2022 , “with a heart of immense gratitude to God and in celebration of an impactful life of enduring legacies, the triumphant transition to glory of its dearly and deeply beloved patriarch, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and cousin” on January 4th, 2022.
According to a burial arrangements released by the family, the obsequies begin on Monday, May 9 with Service of Songs at All Saints Church Hall, Jericho, Ibadan where the body of Pa Akomolafe will also lie in state after which a Commendation Service holds on Tuesday, May 10.
On Wednesday, May 11, there will be a lying-in state at the Akomolafe Family house at 1, Onala Street, Ido-Ekiti while on Thursday, May 12, the body will lie in state at Ekiti Parapo College, Ido-Ekiti. Christian Wake Keep holds same day at Ora Road, Ido-Ekiti.
On Friday, May 13, there will be a funeral service at St John’s Anglican Church, Ido-Ekiti where Pa Akomolafe was Baba Ijo.
Omooba Akomolafe was a consummate teacher in Western Region of Nigeria for 25 years, teaching at various schools such as CMS School and Igbobi College, Lagos. He was the pioneer Principal of Ekiti Parapo College, Ido-Ekiti for 15 years, from 1954 to 1968.
A community man, he served Ekiti in different capacities. In 1954, he was elected the first Chairman of Ido/Osi Local Council. He was a founding member of the Action Group (under the leadership of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo) on whose platform he was elected a member of the Federal Parliament in 1959. He was a shadow Minister for the Federal Ministry of Establishment and Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Parliament during the First Republic.
Akomolafe, a devout Christian and a genuine lover of God, served in different positions in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). He, along with others, worked for the establishment of the Anglican Diocese of Ekiti, serving as its first Registrar. He was Lay President of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) for 15 years.
He was either the Chairman or a member of many government corporations and parastatals chief amongst which was The University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu where he was the Board Chairman. His tenure witnessed several developmental projects, including the construction of a modern theatre where the first open heart surgery in Africa was performed. He was also the Board Chairman of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos.
Akomolafe was the Chairman of the Statutory Corporations Service Commission in Western State which was supervisory body for all corporations including the WNTV/WNBS, the defunct WNDC etc. He was a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and a prominent member of the Nigerian Red Cross Society.
He was married and blessed with several children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren among whom is Otunba Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, Executive Chairman of Index Brook Limited and National President of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce.