Remembering 38th Olubadan Adeyemo Operinde 1 (1905 – 1999)

Last Monday, April 8, 2019 marked the 20th year that the 38th Olubadan of Ibadanland, Alayeluwa Oba Emmanuel Adegboyega Adeyemo, Operinde 1, joined his ancestors.

Born on January 1,1905, in Ibadan, Oba Adeyemo Operinde 1,was crowned the 38th Olubadan of Ibadanland on January 14,1994. He transited on April 8,1999 at the age of 94.

Four years earlier, April 20, 1995 precisely, his biography entitled, Verdict of God, authored by veteran television Programmes Director, Ayo Fasoro was presented at the Banquet Hall of Premier Hotel, Mokola Hill, Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria. My humble self was the book reviewer and the compère of the book presentation ceremony.

Since I entered Ibadan, my beloved hometown, with my head and not on foot, on Friday, October 27,1950, the late Oba Adeyemo Operinde 1, was the 11th Olubadan to reign before my very (korokoro) eyes.

I had witnessed the dynamic reigns of Olubadan Fijabi 11; Olubadan Alli-Iwo; Olubadan Apete; Olubadan Akinyele; Olubadan Kobiowu; Olubadan Aminu; Olubadan Oyetunde 11; Olubadan Adebimpe; Olubadan Akinbiyi; Olubadan Asanike 1.

And since Olubadan Operinde1 joined his ancestors in 1999, I also witnessed the progressive reigns of Olubadan Ogundipe Arapasowu 1; Olubadan Odugade 1 and the reigning 41st Olubadan, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1. Long live our revered King!

It was the late Olubadan Adeyemo Operinde 1, who led me inside the sacred inner chambers of the Olubadan Palace vide my formal installation on Monday, November 30,1994, as the Mogaji (Head) of my great Oyetunji Olundegun family of Ile Oye, SW2/486, Ita Aregbe-Omo, Isale ‘Jebu Area of Ibadan. I was promoted the Jagun Olubadan of Ibadanland on December 14, 2002 by the late Olubadan Ogundipe Arapasowu 1.

Kabiyesi attended Saint Cyprian School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Methodist Central School, Lagos. He obtained the first and second Class Pupil Teachers Certificates.

He was a pupil teacher in Enugu until 1930, when he joined the Central Government Civil Service as a clerk in the Prison Headquarters, Enugu.

He later worked in other central government departments across the country and rose to the grade of a 1st Class Clerk in 1940.

The same year, he joined the British Army as the Training Officer of the newly recruited army clerks in Kaduna, during the Second World War. He was later promoted as the Communication Liaison Officer of the Army.

During the second World War (1940 to 1945), he served in East Africa, Burma, India, Somalia and Malta. He was demobilised in 1946 as a Staff-Sergeant. In 1947, he was seconded as the Treasurer to the Ibadan Native Authority.

In 1956, he became the Sole President of the Ibadan Customary Court, Oke Aare until 1960, when he voluntarily withdrew his services.

Following the declaration of the state of emergency in the Western Region of Nigeria in 1962 by the Tafawa Balewa-led Federal Government of Nigeria, he was appointed the Western Region of Nigeria’s Commissioner for Local Government Affairs by the Administrator of the Western Region of Nigeria, the late Dr. Moses Adekoyejo Majekodummi.

Olubadan Adeyemo Operinde 1 later retired from public service into private real estate development business.

During his reigns, Ibadanland witnessed peace, revival of moribund industries such as the Leyland Motor Company, which assembled light trucks and ventured into manufacturing of baby dresses.

His refusal to go to Abuja to watch the so-called ‘Gens Diya/Adisa’ coup video remains a reference point in how monarch should resist being manipulated by the State-power. May the late Kabiyesi’s noble soul continue to rest in perfect peace. Amen.

• Oloye Alabi is Agba Akin Olubadan of Ibadanland

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