President Muhammadu Buhari; Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila have paid glowing tributes to the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, 40 years after his death.
Aderemi, who was also the governor of the defunct Western Region between 1960 and 1962, reigned as the Ooni of Ife from 1930 to July 3, 1980, when he died at the age of 90.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement said Buhari eulogised the late traditional ruler in a letter addressed to the deceased’s family.
Buhari said it was heart-warming that the late monarch’s memory remained evergreen.
He urged family members of the late first class traditional ruler to keep his memory alive for the guidance and inspiration of the current and subsequent generations.
According to Buhari’s letter, “It gives me deep sense of pleasure and fulfilment to do this brief tribute in memory of the illustrious Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Tadenikawo Aderemi, who reigned between 1930 and 1980.
“On this 40th remembrance of the great man, the country recalls the imprints of a foremost nationalist, very successful businessman, former governor, Western Region (1960-1962), and traditional ruler, on the sands of time.
“To the benefit of his memory, Ooni Aderemi built schools, dispensaries, churches, museums, and attracted the establishment in his domain of waterworks, electricity projects, and the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife).
“It is also on record that the respected monarch was a member, Legislative Council of Nigeria (1946-1951); delegate, African Conference, London (1948); President, Western House of Chiefs (1952-1960); member, Federal House of Representatives/Minister (1952-1954); led Nigeria’s delegation to Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation (1953); and member, Nigeria Constitutional Conferences (1953-1958).
“As the family remembers this awesome personality, knighted twice by the Queen of England, it gladdens the heart that his memory remains evergreen. Please, keep this alive, for the guidance and inspiration of the current and subsequent generations.
“May God give us more illustrious people in the mould of Ooni Adesoji Aderemi. Amen.”
Governor Oyetola, while remembering the late Ooni Aderemi, said he paid tribute “a life and reign that typify exemplary service and a rare admixture of traditional, political and administrative leadership skills.”
The Osun governor in the letter he personally signed, extolled the virtues of the late monarch, adding, “In a world where political pundits hold that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Oonirisa Adesoji Aderemi exhibited uncanny leadership prowess, combining traditional and administrative powers as the Ooni of Ife, the Supreme Representative of Oduduwa, the founder of the Yoruba race and First Class Ruler with the position of Governor of Nigeria’s Western Region (1960- 1962) with unblemished regal civility and finesse, administrative ingenuity and political sagacity.
“In his 91 years on earth, Oba Adesoji Aderemi served humanity relentlessly and selflessly. His tenure as the Ooni from 1930-1980 was golden in tenure and achievements, having ruled for 50 years and brought golden achievements to Ile-Ife, Yoruba land and the Western Region where he was Governor.
“His conduct and administrative style dignified royalty and nobility, and venerated political leadership, leaving his successors in these critical aspects of Nigeria’s post-colonial leadership an encyclopedia to learn from.
“Oonirisa Adesoji Aderemi was a study in the handling of political adversity. Oonirisa Adesoji Aderemi’s values and legacy are a library for a nation in search of political identity, ideology and sustainable development to learn from.”
The Osun governor prayed to God to continue to keep the family left behind by the late monarch.
In the same vein, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gbajabiamila, described the late Oba Aderemi as “a father to many.”
He described him as a leader who led a life of service worthy of emulation.
The Speaker in his tribute conveyed in a letter he too personally signed and sent to the Aderemi family, praised the late Ooni as one of those founding fathers of Nigeria’s independence.
He described him as “a businessman, politician, a paramount ruler,” adding, “His path in life touched a lot of people and some of the projects he initiated are still with us today.”
“He was part of the elite group of Nigerians who spearheaded Nigeria’s push for independence and contributed to the Independence Constitution of 1960.
“He also served as a Member of the House of Representatives and was equally appointed Governor of the then Western Nigeria.
“As the Ooni of Ife, he drove an agenda of education for his people, a drive that led to the establishment of Oduduwa College and the foundation of the University of Ife.
“On this day of his 40th Remembrance Anniversary, I join all and other millions of Nigerians to celebrate an exemplary man whom we must all emulate.”