The Oyo State capital, yesterday, stood still, as dignitaries from all walks of life converged on the ancient city, to witness the final burials of Governor Seyi Mankind’s mother, Mrs Abigail Makinde and daughter of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Mrs Omotola Oyediran.
Among the personalities that thronged the burial service of the chairman of African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, Mrs Oyediran, include Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and his wife, Dolapo; the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu; former interim national chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande; Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ogun State governor, Mr Dapo Abiodun; Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu and other dignitaries.
Others were the deceased’s sister, Dr Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the APC chairman in Oyo State, Chief Akin Oke, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), Prince Adetokunbo Sijuwade, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, Alhaja Bose Adedibu, Mr Muyiwa Ige, Reverend (Dr) S. Fape of Lagos and Remo diocese and a host of others.
The burial which was held at All Saint’s Church, Jericho, Ibadan, also attracted captains of industry, academicians and other eminent personalities.
Delivering the sermon, the retired Archbishop of Methodist Church, Nigeria, Most Reverend Ayo Ladigbolu, said late Reverend (Mrs) Omotola Oyediran took after her parents, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Mama H.I.D Awolowo in her service to humanity, kindness and integrity.
He recalled that the virtues of Awolowo’s family really rubbed off on her exceptional traits through the immense impactful life she lived.
In his sermon titled: “Celebrating Saintly Womanhood as a tool for Nation Building,” Ladigbolu said: “Today, we gathered here to celebrate a pious, righteous woman, who symbolised a tool for Nation building.”
While quoting from the second book of Timothy, chapter 1, verse 5, Ladigbolu averred that: “We are celebrating a woman from great parentage. While celebrating Oyediran, we cannot forget the influence and massive impacts of her parents on the citizenry. Whatever attributes God had endowed Oyediran with, she got it from her parents.”
He stressed further: “You have to ask yourself what kind of parent are you to your children. What examples are you setting for them? What are you teaching or depositing in your children? What will your children be able to say about you? While we are talking about life and times of Oyediran, I am seeking to talk to Nigerians to rise up and redeem this country as Reverend Oyediran had sought to do.”
“I am aware that there was a time we were ruling this country with power over women. We are now in an era we are in power with women. That concept is the most proactive way of maximising womanhood for the benefit of our motherland. Womanhood is the origin and source of births, multiplicity and growth. Women in Nigeria are naturally durable, dynamic, resourceful and industrious,” Ladigbolu remarked.
Recalling the exploits of great Nigerian women, such as late Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Madam Tinubu, Efunsetan Aniwura, Moremi Ajasoro among others, the clergy said: “Today we are celebrating a woman of virtues and valour, who gave much love and support from her home base to Nigerians.”
“My sermon today emphasised the significance of women in redeeming Nigeria from its myriad of problems and place it on a solid Rock. The women are in charge of us men, even when we to suppress and oppress them. Omotola Oyediran was born great and lived great and she is being buried gloriously.”
Ladigbolu added: “She was able to do much and achieved greatly because she embraced Jesus as her saviour and Lord. She really loved her husband, Professor A.B.O Oyediran. She succeeded not only in nurturing her siblings but also raise to herself exceptional children for the world to applaud. She was a freedom fighter and human rights, activist.”
While speaking at his own mother’s burial, held at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Aremo, Ibadan, Governor Seyi Makinde, described his mother as irreplaceable, who taught him contentment, adding that her tolerance discipline made him what he is today.
The governor stated that he would forever remember the beautiful memories he and his late mother shared together for just 53 years.
Governor Makinde, who could not hold his tears while speaking, revealed that he inherited a lot of threat from his mother which transformed his life, while he was living a truant life during primary school days, noting that her late mum who could not hide her joy when he emerged governor of the state, was unsatisfied when he ventured into politics.
In his sermon, the Archbishop of Ibadan Diocese, Most Rev’d Segun Okubadejo, urged the congregation to seize the moment of being among the living souls to make amendments with God, adding that men only live in the atmosphere of own actions and benefit of fellow humans.
Ekiti State Governor, who doubles as Chairman, Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Ondo State Governor who is also Chairman, Southwest State Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu; Sokoto State Governor and Chairman PDP Governors’ Forum, Aminu Tambuwal, were among the dignitaries that paid their last respect to Makinde’s mother.
Other personalities were the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus; wife of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mrs Bola, among others, attended the burial.
Others include former governors, Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), Peter Obi (Anambra), Segun Oni (Ekiti), Rasheed Ladoja (Oyo), Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo), Raji Rasaki (Lagos) and Olagundoye Oyinlola (Osun) were also in attendance.