The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, Comrade Ademola Babalola on Sunday recalled with nostalgia the warm reception the late Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji Ajeogungunniso accorded him when he sought the royal father’s blessing to contest as the Union’s chairman in the year 2019.
Babalola in a statement he released hours after the demise of the first class monarch, said, ”amidst fanfare, Oba Adetunji in his Majesty welcomed us to the palace in what seemed like a triumphant entry of a conqueror, reminiscent of Ibadan warriors of the days of yore; weeks to the said election.
“Kabiyesi recited Quranic verses and muttered Yoruba words in the form of prayers to my hearing that ‘you would win and brings development to the Union and Ibadanland.
“When his Personal Assistant and Director of Media, Adeola Oloko reminded him that I, alongside two other journalists, escaped gun shots fired into the palace when we came to cover an installation ceremony of some Mogajis and Baales, earlier that year, Oba Adetunji whispered to my ear and said, ‘my son, no weapon against you shall prosper’, just as he waived the antics of the then hoodlums who were political thugs sponsored to destabilize the event at his place.
“Two years after he gave his blessings to me and others who were on our campaign train, Oba Adetunji’s prayers had remained so potent that we had always invited him to our programmes forthwith, the last being our 2021 press week where he was fully represented with full paraphernalia of his office.
“My fears for his alleged failing health were confirmed on Sunday, December 22, 2021 when my executive members visited the Popoyemoja palace in company of some US-based medical practitioners who we invited to give free medical mission and supports to 1,200 journalists in Oyo State.
“Unlike Kabiyesi who was always in charge of receiving and blessing his visitors, he was nowhere to welcome us. His vivacious queen in her Majesty, Olori Rashidat Ololade Adetunji welcomed us and specially acknowledged me as Kabiyesi’s son to the admiration of US team.
“Baba was a very colourful king who brought candour to the throne. He was a consummate and cosmopolitan king and well loved by his people.
“Gifted with large heart and sense of forgiveness, Oba Adetunji welcomed his estranged chiefs back to the palace after a court judgment that their beaded crowns and elevation by the government of late Governor Abiola Ajimobi were done in error.
“He made tremendous landmarks as a very successful businessman and shone brightly as a paramount ruler of Ibadanland.
“May Allah grant Oba Adetunji Aljanah firdaous. Baba was a great monarch who would forever be remembered for his resistance to efforts at bastardizing Ibadan chieftaincy system and tradition.
His last major official assignment was the installation of Mogajis and Baales on 6th December, 2021.