Parents Celebrate Oba Oladele Olashore's Life


On Sunday June 17, 2012, parents of students of Olashore International school, OIS, Iloko-Ijesa in Osun State, Nigeria, had an extra-ordinary meeting at Oba Okunade Sijuwade Hall situated in the school to pay their last respect to the founder of the school, the Ajagbusi Ekun, Owaloko of Iloko, the late Oba Oladele Olashore (CON). The monarch died at 77 in a hospital in London, United Kingdom on Friday 1 June 1 2012.

Prior to the commencement of the assembly, the parents were seen standing in groups, after signing the condolence register, discussing the passing away of the traditional ruler, among other things. They were mostly key players in both the public and private sectors.

After a minute’s silence in honour of the late great monarch and victims of the recent Dana plane crash in Iju-Isaga, Lagos, respectively, the newly appointed PTA Chairman, Mr. Niyi Agbola, set the tone for the meeting as he repeatedly emphasised that the moment was specifically meant to honour Oba Samuel Oladele Olashore and not to mourn him. Agbola who disclosed that the new executive members had looked forward to meeting the late monarch that day, however, noted that the deceased was a steadfast man and a grassroots individual who was committed to the development of human capital. His words: “He used his money to develop his community unlike other people who banked the money they make here in Nigeria in Swiss banks all because they want to hide their identity from the people.”  Agbola allayed the fears of the parents over the sustenance of the school, saying that the school is self-sustaining and has come to stay and will maintain the quality that it is known for worldwide.

The commissioner for Education, Science and Technology in Ekiti State, Dr. Mrs. Eniola Ajayi who described the late Owaloko as a quintessential monarch soberly exclaimed, “What a loss!” Noting that words could not express her grief over the demise of the monarch because Oba Olashore still had so much to give, the  commissioner said that  “Kabiyesi loved building things; his latest project was a botanical garden at Iloko. He only just completed another set of staff quarters, hostel for Lancaster University foundation students at OIS and the building he donated at Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU).”

Using some stories in Oladele Olashore’s autobiography, The Joy of Service as reference points, the Executive Editor of TheNews magazine and P.M.NEWS, Mr. Kunle Ajibade, described the late monarch as a disciplinarian. He urged the parents to emulate the late monarch’s example of serving humanity passionately.

Ajibade further described Oba Olashore as a humble man who never looked down on the poor in the society. He added: “Kabiyesi had a slender frame but his mind was magnificent.” He prayed that God would grant the inheritors of Oba Oladele Olashore’s legacy the wisdom and grace to maintain the best practices of the school.

Also, Mrs. Morounke Orunesajo, a former staff of American Embassy, Nigeria, and International Officer, Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, Jamie Vegad, in their tributes described the foremost monarch as a principled, down to earth person.

Mrs. Orunesajo affirmed that the Oba was an upholder of tradition and culture said the Oba consistently for a year refused to remove his royal cap to take a picture at American Embassy, a pre-requisite condition for the issuance of visas. “When we told him that he had to remove his cap for his passport photograph to be taken, he refused saying that he would not remove his cap for the white as a reputable monarch. When we could not resolve the issue for a year, we had to send a cable to Washington DC in the United States of America (USA) to rule on it and they ruled that we should allow him to take the passport photograph with his cap on his head as a royal father.”

Another parent, Honourable Pascal Michael described the late monarch as a financial icon, adding that he found a father and a nationalist in him.

The PTA Vice Chairman, Mr. Ayoade Aderele implored everyone to ensure that the school keeps waxing stronger.

In a brief response, the Principal and CEO of OIS, Mr. Stephen Valentine, who appreciated the tributes from the parents stated that earlier, the school had paid its own tributes and celebrated the  life of the Oba with a procession to the royal palace where a festival of songs, prayer session for the whole school, a video show charting the monarch’s life and a mime drama showcasing his life and a candle lit procession were held.

Admitting that the death of the monarch was a painful loss, he, however, noted that they had consolation in the fact that the Oba lived very well and bequeathed to humanity many legacies which include the prestigious OIS. Also allaying  fears of the parents, he said, “We shall continue from where Kabiyesi left off. The question of continuity is not an issue to us at all. OIS has come of age and is able to stand on its own two feet. We understand the terrain and we know the path we wish to take. Consequently, I am giving you all one hundred percent assurance that OIS will not experience any setback due to the demise of our founder. It will maintain its advancement and progress steadily; stronger and better. I repeat, we shall continue from where Kabiyesi stopped, we shall run with his vision, we shall implement his ideas, and shall improve and raise the standard of teaching and learning at OIS”.

In his remarks, the first son of the monarch, Prince Abimbola, representing the Oba Olashore’s family, spoke on the future of the school. Reiterating that the school is a global house-hold name reputed for quality and high standard, he said that his father’s great passion for education, and his vision of what a standard foundation education should be for young ones is what he translated into reality.

Abimbola who said that the standard the founder set for the school would be surpassed pointed out, “The vision of Baba was to give a second to none standard of education to children of the school. Now he has gone, where do we go from here? The school lives, so do all of us. It is now the duty of every one of us to first work towards sustaining the legacies left behind and strives to surpass the legacy. Oba Olashore was a man of high taste and standard.  Therefore, the high taste and standard in terms of personnel and infrastructure already set for the school must be maintained and even surpassed.”

Oba Olashore, a renowned banker turned traditional leader was the former managing director of First Bank Nigeria and International Bank of West Africa, Secretary of Finance (Minister) under the Interim National Government headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan in 1993, founder of the Lead Bank Limited, chairman of the G24 in Washington on behalf of the Nigerian government and 2002 recipient of Commander of the Order of Niger, (CON).

He was an alumnus of Offa Grammar School, Kumasi College of Technology, Ghana, University of Ghana and Leeds College of Commerce, Leeds, England.

—Gbenro Adesina/Iloko-Ijesha

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