by Jane Osamor
The Oba Gbadebo that I know- Buhari
President Bola Tinubu has sent warm greetings to the Alake of Egba Land, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo III, CFR, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, felicitating with the revered royal father on the milestone.
In a letter personally addressed to the Alake of Egba Land, the President wrote:
“Please accept my warm felicitations on the auspicious occasion of your 80th birthday, taking place on September 14th, 2023.
“I share in the joy of so many Nigerians in celebrating another milestone with you and your family, the Council of Chiefs, sons and daughters of Egba Land, as well as friends and associates from the public and private sectors.
“Your Royal Majesty’s track record of service to our nation has been inspiring, exemplary, and commendable, most notably beginning with your distinguished and meritorious career in the military, which saw you winning many medals.
“Since ascending the throne of Your Majesty’s forefathers in 2005, your wisdom and charismatic leadership have brought peace and progress to your domain, and the impact has been felt at both state and national levels.
“At 80, Your Royal Majesty, we will continue to cherish and rely on your experience, foresight, and guidance to take Nigeria to greater heights, all while acknowledging your sacrifices and selfless service.
“I pray the Almighty God will grant Your Royal Majesty many more years of joy, health, and strength to continue serving the country we love.”
Meanwhile, The Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, CFR, turns 80 September 14, 2023. And what eventful years they have been, filled with service to motherland, Nigeria, and to his people at Egbaland.
I had the rare privilege of knowing the first class traditional ruler in our first calling as military officers. We even served at close proximity, as when fate thrust it on me to become military head of state between December 1983 and August 1985, the then Colonel Gbadebo served as Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to my deputy, Major General Tunde ldiagbon, who was Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters.
Though he was royalty, having been born as a Prince with the possibility of ascending to the Egba throne in future, the then Colonel Gbadebo had no airs about him. Rather, he subjected himself to the rigorous discipline of the military. No wonder he was able to rise from junior officer’s ranks to that senior level, before fate intervened, and he had to retire.
Beyond working together at Dodan Barracks, the then seat of power, it is significant that I and the monarch retired from the army the same day, after the military coup that ousted our regime in August 1985.
He went into private civilian life, maintaining his regal status, and eventually ascended the throne of his forefathers as the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland.
There are fair weather friends, who stay with you only when things are smooth and jolly. Not Oba Gbadebo. He has remained with me through thick and thin, smooth and rough times. I salute his sense of loyalty and respect.
Before and all through my 8 years as President of Nigeria, Oba Gbadebo showed uncommon loyalty and fidelity, for which I thank him. I remember the principled position he; took on the 2019 election that brought me into second term in office, standing even against his prominent kinsman and prominent Nigerian. The Oba said:
“I am part of the campaign team soliciting that Buhari should be given another chance to lead for another four years to complete the great work he has started. Those who drafted the Constitution to allow for a second term have envisaged that while a leader takes time to formulate policies and put programmes in place, he needs more time for them to germinate before they begin to translate such to benefits for the people.
“Unfortunately, policy somersault has become a prominent feature in the history of governance in the nation. When a leader goes after four years, virtually everything he has done will be turned over by whoever comes after and we can no longer afford this wastage.”
Like they say, the rest is history. Nigerians massively voted me into office for a second term.
As Oba Gbadebo turns 80, I wish him longer life, good health, and a more prosperous future on the throne of his fathers. Egbaland, where I first served as a young military officer, will continue to move from strength to strength. Amen.
Also, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has described the Alake of Egbaland, His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr) Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo 111 as an exemplary monarch, whose reign has led to the socio-economic development of his domain in particular and the state in general.
Prince Abiodun, in a broadcast to mark the 80th birthday of the royal father, said Oba (Dr) Gbadebo has contributed immensely to the successes recorded by his administration since its inception in 2019.
The governor said the contribution of the Egba monarch to the peace and tranquillity, being experienced in Ogun State cannot be overemphasized, even as he described him as a rare gift to his people.
Prince Abiodun said: “On behalf of my family, the good people of Ogun State, I, Prince Dapo Abiodun felicitate the Alake and Paramount ruler of Egbaland, His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr) Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo 111 on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
“Baba, I am happy to testify that Egbaland has witnessed a lot of socio-economic transformation since 2005 when you ascended the throne of your forefathers.
“Kabiyesi, you are disciplined, dependable, consistent, cerebral, urbane and quintessential. Egbaland and indeed our state has benefitted from these great attributes of yours. I want to thank you for the rock-solid support you have given me from the inception of this administration. You have been a champion of Our Build Our Future Together agenda and we remain very grateful.
“Your unique way of resolving conflicts in collaboration with other royal fathers has brought peace, unity and stability to our state. This must be the leftover of the military training in you. You are indeed a rare gift to our people. “I join millions of Egba and Ogun State sons and daughters to congratulate you and wish you many more healthy, prosperous and fruitful years ahead.