Goodnight, Papa Bayo Aluko of Ijeda

W  HAT is clear about human life is that death is a price all of us must pay. No matter how long a man will last on earth, he will surely die one day. And so we all live and die.

Very recently, the death of Papa Bayo Aluko of Ijeda in Ijesaland, also known and called Bros Bayo Aluko Ijeda, was reported. He died at the ripe age of 91. He was a well-known supporter of the Avatar, Papa Obafemi Awolowo. When one talks about the politics, life and times of Awo, Bros Bayo Aluko Ijeda was a pillar of pillars. He never compromised anything with Papa Awolowo’s name until the old man breathed his last.

Ijeda (his home town) is in Oriade Local Government Area of Osun State. It is an Ijesa town that is about 20 minutes drive from Ilesa (the chief city of Ijesas) in Osun State. Ijeda town is very near both Iloko and Ijebu-Jesa in the same Oriade Local Government. Papa Bayo Aluko Ijeda joined the Action Group (A.G) in 1951, shortly after the party was established in Ibadan. He embraced immediately the leadership of Papa Awolowo. When the Action Group died after the January 15, 1966 coup, Papa Bayo Aluko Ijeda moved to every political association Papa Awolowo was present in. This was why he joined the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in readiness for the politics of the second republic. The UPN was also a political party founded and led by our immortal Awo. Papa Ijeda was with the late Cicero of Esa-Oke, Uncle Bola Ige, Dele Ige (Bola Ige’s brother), the late Papa Omole, the late Papa Ajanaku, Senator Mojisola Akinfenwa, the late Chief Michael Omisade a.k.a. “OMI OMI,” the late Papa Osunloye, the late Papa D.D. Layinka, and several others in both the Action Group and the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in the politics of the first and second republics. “Bros” Ijeda became the reference point of the politics of the two political parties that had Papa Awolowo as their leader and founder.

My story is virtually the story of “Bros” Bayo Aluko of Ijeda. I will talk about this very briefly. I was a secondary school student during the days of Action Group in Nigeria’s first republic.

God, however, made me play a prominent role in Nigeria’s second republic. Papa Awolowo was the instrument used by God to ensure my effective participation in the second republic politics. Awo had named me as the UPN’s National Director of Organisation for the second republic politics.

Despite all my active participation in the UPN story during the second republic, it was very clear to me that something was missing in my C.V and profile as UPN’s Director of Organisation. My political journey and arrival had been heralded by Papa Awo at the top without any electoral base from my Ijesa roots. After the December 31, 1983 coup, the field was left open for my critics to say that though I was the Director of Organisation of the popular UPN, I lacked a political base to lean on to back my position in politics.

When the General Ibrahim Babangida regime came on the political scene, launching the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Convention (NRC), it was clear to me that I just must use the opportunity to create a political base for myself. When the IBB regime ordered elections into the National Assembly on the basis of the two political parties, I then saw the opportunity to create a political base for myself.

I immediately announced my interest in contesting the Ijesa-Ife Senatorial seat on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Osun State. I knew if I won the election, those criticising me of having no electoral base would no longer have grounds to stand.

The question immediately then came. How do I win the SDP primaries and consequently the Senatorial ambition to justify my ambition? I had to turn to old politicians of the Action Group in my area to achieve this purpose. “Bros” Bayo Aluko Ijeda immediately came to my mind. I went to him and fully explained myself to him. The old man listened to me attentively and told me in no unmistakable terms –“Ebino, I will support you. You have been a most loyal political son of our leader, Papa Obafemi Awolowo. We must not let you down.  Go to the field. You will meet our hands there. Have no fear because Awoists do not have fear to take initiatives.” I listened to the old man and with tears in my eyes, I publicly announced at Ilesa my desire to seek and contest the Ife-Ijesa Senatorial seat on the platform of the SDP. Papa Bayo Aluko of Ijeda never wavered in his support for me. He ensured that I won the nomination. He contacted all the Action Group and UPN supporters in our Ife-Ijesa district and rallied all of them to my support.

My victory was “Bros” Bayo Aluko Ijeda’s victory. I will never forget it until I too answer the supreme call.

My victory was, however, short lived as the IBB regime, within three weeks of my victory, disqualified me from the race.

I broke down in tears but I had God and “Bros” BayoAluko of Ijeda by my side. Papa Aluko warned me never to comment adversely on what the IBB regime had done to me. He said (in his words): “Your victory was ordained by God; wait until you hear the verdict of God on what has just happened. If you comment adversely on it, you will be neutralising God’s supreme verdict. There is a purpose for it.” I took Bros Aluko’s advice. His advice later became manifested after I had been announced as a Federal Minister by the General Sani Abacha regime, about a year after my disqualification from the Senatorial race by the IBB regime. I thank God that I never parted company with Bros Bayo Aluko Ijeda until he died. I remain grateful to him and Senator Moji Akinfenwa till today for what God had made them to do in my life. I now live in peace with my Ijesa people because Bros Bayo Aluko Ijeda, Senator Moji Akinfenwa, Chief Biodun Opebiyi, among others, never left me alone until I had established a political base for myself in Nigerian politics. Until “Bros” Bayo Aluko Ijeda died, he never discriminated against anyone. He built many young politicians into what God has made of them today. You are only his political opponent if you did not recognise Awo as your political father and mentor. Caleb Ojo, ‘Feg Agro”, Ebenezer Babatope, are all political creations of Bros Bayo Aluko Ijeda and they will continue to sing ‘Bros” Bayo Aluko Ijeda’s name for as long as they live.

Apart from politics, Bros Bayo Aluko was an Apostle of God. Anytime you came across Bros Bayo Aluko, his first words to you would be: “Let us pray.” He never lost faith in his prayers. He was an Apostle of God till he died.

“Bros” Bayo Aluko never tolerated “failure” in his vocabulary. It was ever his belief that once a man has faith in God, he will never fail in whatever he has set his hands to accomplish. A modest man now sleeps peacefully with His Creator. He was buried at Ijeda in October 2016 (a few weeks ago). It was a decent and dignifying burial.

Sleep on uncle, and may your life continue to remain a blessing to humanity!!

Bros Bayo Aluko Ijeda has now joined the ages. We will not forget him!!!

EBINO TOPSY – 0805-500-1735