Omotola Oyediran goes home in blaze of glory

VICE President Yemi Osinbajo; national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu; a former interim national chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande; governors of Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo and Sokoto states, Mr Babajide SanwoOlu, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, Mr Dapo Abiodun, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and other dignitaries, on Friday, stormed Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, for the burial service of the chairman of the African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, Reverend (Mrs) Omotola Oyediran. 

The burial service, which was held at the All Saints Church, Jericho, also attracted captains of industry, academics and other eminent personalities from all walks of life. Delivering the sermon, retired Archbishop of Methodist Church Nigeria, the Most Reverend Ayo Ladigbolu, said Mrs Oyediran took after her parents, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Mama H.I.D Awolowo in service to humanity, kindness and integrity.

He maintained that the virtues of the Awolowo family rubbed off on her exceptional traits hence the immensely impactful life she lived. In the sermon entitled ‘Celebrating Saintly Womanhood as a tool for Nation Building’, Ladigbolu said “today, we are gathered here to celebrate a pious, righteous woman who symbolised a tool for nation-building.”

Quoting from the Second Book of Timothy, Chapter 1, Verse 5, he said: “We are celebrating a woman from great parentage.

While celebrating Oyediran, we cannot forget the influence and massive impacts of her parents on the citizenry. Whatever attributes God had endowed Oyediran with, she got from her parents.

“You have to ask yourself, what kind of parent are you to your children? What examples are you setting for them? What are you teaching or depositing in your children? What will your children be able to say about you? While we are talking about life and times of Oyediran, I am seeking to talk to Nigerians to rise up and redeem this country as Reverend Oyediran had sought to do.

“I am aware that there was a time we were ruling this country with power over women. We are now in an era we are in power with women. That concept is the most proactive way of maximising womanhood for the benefit of our motherland. Womanhood is the origin and source of births, multiplicity and growth. Women in Nigeria are naturally durable, dynamic, resourceful and industrious.”

Recalling the exploits of great Nigerian women such as the late Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Madam Efunroye Tinubu, Efunsetan Aniwura and Moremi Ajasoro, the cleric said: “Today, we are celebrating a woman of virtues and valour who gave much love and support from her home base to Nigerians.

“My sermon today emphasises the significance of women in redeeming Nigeria from its myriad of problems and place it on a solid rock. Women are in charge of us, men, even when we try to suppress and oppress them. Omotola Oyediran was born great, she lived great and she is being buried gloriously.

“Women are very important. Without them, the society, and even the church, cannot be interesting. I am not being derisive of men. The day is coming when women would stand in their rightful place in the church and the society at large. Let’s stop excluding women in the scheme of things so that that they can explore their full potentials to make Nigeria a great nation.

“She was able to do much and achieved greatly because she embraced Jesus as her Saviour and Lord. She really loved her husband, Professor A.B.O.O. Oyediran. She succeeded not only in nurturing her siblings but also raised herself exceptional children for the world to applaud. She was a freedom fighter and human rights activist.”

He suggested that Nigeria should stop excluding women from decision-making and lauded the Word Communication Ministries (WOCOM) headed by Apostle Sunday Popoola for ordaining Mrs Oyediran as a Reverend.

According to Ladigbolu, Reverend Oyediran was a freedom fighter and a human rights advocate. “She cared and cooked endlessly. She laboured and entertained tirelessly. She gave and sacrificed ceaselessly. She counselled generously. She lived gloriously. She died peacefully,” he added.

Other eminent personalities who graced the burial service included sister of the deceased Mrs Oyediran, Ambassador (Dr) Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu; immediate past governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and wife; the APC chairman in Oyo State, Chief Akin Oke; Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN); Prince Adetokunbo Sijuwade; the vice president’s wife, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo; JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, represented by Alhaji Najeem Jimoh; Alhaja Bose Adedibu, Mr Muyiwa Ige and the Most Reverend (Dr) Olusina Fape among others. Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described the late Mrs Tola Oyediran, as a very kind, warm and welcoming person just as she was interred today in Ibadan after a church service at All Saints Church, Jericho. Prof. Osinbajo made the statement in a video tribute where he recalled his earliest memories about the late Chairman of the African Newspapers of Nigeria, publishers of the Tribune Titles.

According to the Vice President, “I have known Mummy Ibadan as we call her, from when I was a child. All my earliest memories of her was of a very kind, very warm and always welcoming aunty. Of course, when Dolly and I got married, she became more mum to us than aunty. She never forgot birthdays, she was always first to call to congratulate, to cheer you up in difficult times, and to offer all her support always.”

Thanking God for the exemplary life lived by the deceased, the Vice President said “we give God all the glory for the life of caring about others, of remarkable kindness and generosity that she lived. I pray that the Lord will comfort Daddy with whom she shared such an exemplary love story, and all of us her children, family and friends, in Jesus name, amen.”

Recalling her devotion to the gospel as his most enduring memory of the late Oyediran, Prof. Osinbajo said “my most enduring memory of her is when she became a firebrand born again Christian. Her prayers, her counsel, her love for God, and her devotion to the gospel, which is why even as much as her warmth and love will always be missed, we are so confident she is now with the one to whom she gave her life, Jesus, in everlasting peace and joy.”

Mrs Oyediran, Awolowo’s first daughter, was married to Prof. A.B.O.O. Oyediran, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan. She died on October 16,, 2020 and was buried on Friday.

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