Celebrating Senator Yinka Omilani at 80

WE are interrupting our serialisation of the beautiful book of Dr. ‘Wale Adebanwi on Mama H.I.D to write a tribute to Senator ‘Yinka Omilani on his attainment of 80 years. Senator Omilani is a distinguished Nigerian leader to deserve such an honour.

On July 18, 2016, Senator  Omilani from Ode-Omu in Osun State turned 80. The day was marked with a church service and a heavy party in Lagos. The ceremonies were very well attended.

Before the July 18 festivities, Senator Omilani had donated a library and an events centre he had built to his Ode-Omu community at a ceremony attended by a large number of people. The ceremony had taken place on Saturday 9, July, 2016. The commission of the two centres had been held under the watchful eyes of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State. The commissioning of the events centre and the library had triggered the 80th birthday celebrations of this great Nigerian citizen.

Ode-Omu is an Oyo-speaking town in Osun State; it is about one hour of travel to Osogbo, the capital of the state. Ode-Omu has strong traditional and cultural affinities with the Modekeke people near Ile-Ife, the ancestral town of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It is a beautiful town that equally serves as the birthplace of Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, a gifted and brilliant pastor in Nigeria’s pentecostal family.

Writing about Senator ‘Yinka Omilani is painless and quite interesting. Senator ‘Yinka Omilani is a politician who inspires a lot of his countrymen and women. I met him 24 years ago and I have never regretted ever meeting him since that time. We were both senatorial aspirants on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). While he came from the Osun West Senatorial District, I came from Osun East (Ife and Ijesa) Senatorial District. Dr. Olu Alabi was the Osun Central Senatorial District candidate at that time. Both Senator ‘Yinka Omilani and Senator Olu Alabi made it to the Senate of the Babangida era at that time. My own ambition to be a senator was terminated by a sudden announcement from the Babangida government that I had been disqualified from the race.

One remarkable event happened that I will never forget. Before the senatorial elections, Senator ‘Yinka Omilani had sent donations of N100,000 to both myself and Olu Alabi as financial assistance to us (the other Senatorial aspirants of the SDP in the state). After my disqualification from the race by the General Ibrahim Babangida regime, Senator Omilani refused to collect his money (N100,000) from me. The man (Omilani) is ever so generous and kind. I have noted that gesture till this day.

When I was young, I was an avid reader of a book written by Anwar Sadat (a former President of Egypt). The book was titled “THOSE I HAVE MET.” The book contains facts on world citizens who had made marked impressions on the life and times of the Egyptian president. President Anwar Sadat was assassinated shortly after writing the famous book. I still remember till this day that the Anwar Sadat book was bought for me the same time with a book “THE ROAD TO RAMADAN,” written by Mohamed Heikal, an Egyptian journalist and editor of the famous Arab News Agency, AL AHRAM, by my late friend, Comrade Niyi Oniororo. Comrade Oniororo had bought the books for me while in Cairo on his way back from Kim Ill Sung’s North Korea. I have concluded that were Senator Omilani to be in political movement at the time of Anwar Sadat’s book, he (Omilani) would have qualified to be mentioned in the book “THOSE I HAVE MET.”

Senator Omilani, apart from his greatness as a political practitioner of note, apart from his being a patriotic and generous philanthropist, has equally been a successful businessman having made a name in the Insurance business in Nigeria. Senator ‘Yinka Omilani’s name is a popular name in the Insurance business in Nigeria and the world.

Despite, all the important life achievements of Senator  Omilani, he is very humble and simple to deal with. He carries himself gracefully and takes all matters and problems with poise and equal minds. You can never catch Senator  Omilani involving himself with matters that are related to pride and arrogance.

He was at one time in his life appointed the Vice-Chairman, South West Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He had taken over the office from Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George, the Atona Ooduwa and Omilani, like Bode George did make a great success of the position.

I love and respect this man. I love him not because he is married to an Ijesa woman (from my base). I love and respect him for the very simple and highly exemplary life he leads. He has no time to nurse any animosity against anyone. He has no time to carry grudges to a ridiculous extent. His life radiates love and justice to all mortals.

“Egbon”, (Senator ‘Yinka Omilani), you will forever remain blessed! This Baptist born Ode-Omu politician means many positive things to many people.

We are highly proud of you!!

Senator ‘Yinka Omilani is 80. May God continue to bless him with more productive years on earth.


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