At about 3:00 pm this famous Sunday afternoon, the Alhaji Sule Onabiyi hall of the Association of Friends (Up Asso) one of Nigeria’s topmost social club, had almost been filled to the brim as the crème-de-la-crème of the Nigerian social circle and all members of Up Asso gathered under the same roof in celebration of a great accomplishment of one of their own, Chief Kesington Adebutu. Imagine an event where you have juju maestro, King Sunny Ade (KSA) on the bandstand; you are sure that maximum fun is guaranteed. Aside that, can you imagine the glamour and glitz in an event that has over six royal fathers and several popular Nigerian billionaires, CEOs and top business gurus! It was also an opportunity to make contacts of a lifetime for those who valued it. Sunday, October 13, 2019, is another day in the history books of the Association of Friends, City People’s DAMILARE SALAMI, was there and he brings you the behind the scene gists and as well as the details of the night of mega fun. Enjoy.
NATIONAL ANTHEM, UP ASSO ANTHEM RENDITION
The evening officially kicked off with the national anthem. This was immediately followed by the Up Asso club anthem. The roar in the clubhouse while the Up Asso anthem was being rendered only shows one thing… passion. Every member of Up Asso is passionate about the club; the reason for this, City People found out was the rich history backing this 40-old life-transforming social club.
PRINCE BISI OLATILO ANCHORS EVENT
Veteran broadcaster and CEO BISCON Communications, Prince Bisi Olatilo was the anchor of the event. Prince Olatilo as many have known has been in the broadcast industry for over four decades and he has been entertaining his faithful followers since then. The entertaining side of the brain behind the Bisi Olatilo Show (BOS) came to the fore as he spoke to the audiences fluently in different dialects and languages.
ABOUT UP ASSO
The Association of Friends was founded by some 8 young men who decided in 1978 to concretize their fledging relationship and dominance of social space into a sustainable institution that will outlive them.
The young men who are now in their late ’70s and early ’80s are Alhaji Sule Onabiyi, Festus Adeleke Adesina, Akinlawon Akanni Abiola, Oba FataiIrawo-Ogunsi, late Prince Ayinde Adesiyan, Evangelist Kola Sanyaolu, Mr Sunday Adigun.
As the name implies, the Association of Friends was formed by jolly childhood friends and you have to be recommended by two friends amongst other qualities before admission into probation in the club. That condition precedence is maintained as an integral part of its admission policy. It has in its membership an elected ex-governor, royal fathers, serving speaker and distinguished legislators (serving and past), captains of industries, retired top chiefs, commissioners, directors, senior management of corporate giants, high ranking politicians and commercial entrepreneurs. Up Asso is an equal opportunity club, where any member can aspire to any position once he can demonstrate capacity and competence. Like any formal organisation, the key to its continued leadership is discipline; it adheres to its constitution which provides the tools for both the management and discipline of the fledging club. It is worthy of note that every development that the Association of Friends has embarked upon from inception to date has been fully financed through the generosity of its members, while it is not averse to grants from government as a major social club; it has not been privileged for such yet, an inside source told City People.
ALHAJI (DR.) OLUROPO OWOLABI TAKES WELCOMES GUESTS
Alhaji (Dr.) Oluropo Owolabi is the indefatigable president of the Association of Friends. His warm smile was welcoming as he mounted the podium to welcome all members and guests. A man of few words but giant strides, Dr Owolabi noted that the event was unique because of the historic and epoch-making investiture of the association’s first Patron since it was founded 41 years ago. He further explained the activities highlight for the night, sang the praises of his predecessors at the club and welcomed the new members and explained the arrays of opportunities available for the members of Up Asso before taking a humble bow after his speech.
ROYAL FATHERS OF THE DAY
Up Asso is a club that is royalty tied. Little wonder some prominent members of the club are royal fathers. On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, 13 royal fathers were enlisted as the fathers of the day. They include HRM Oba Adewale Shotobi Adegorushen, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, HRM Oba Adeleke Idowu, BosiboOdoru II, the Alaperu of Iperu-Remo, Ogun State. HRM Oba AdulRasaq Adesina Adenugba, Ebumawe of Ago Iwoye, Ogun State. Oba Adewale Osiberu, Elepe of Epe, Ogun state, HRM Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi (Kusenla III) the Elegushi of Ikate Kingdom, HRM Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi, the Akarigbo of Remoland, HRM Oba FataiIrawo Ogunsi (JP) the Akinnumi I, Oba of Odi-Olowo, Mushin, Lagos State. HRM Oba Shakiru Kuti, the Elewu of Ewu land, Lagos state. HRM Oba Omosanya Abimbola Akinyemi, Fesogboye III, Ebi of Idana, Iperu-Remo, Ogun State, HRM Oba Abdulfatai Aremu Aromire, Ojora of Ijora Kingdom, Lagos state. HRM Oba Mufutau Sanni, AminisanOko, Sagamu, Ogun State, and HRM Oba Adeyemi Adeleke, the Abepa of Jopa Orile Kingdom.
INVESTITURE OF CHIEF KESINGTON ADEBUTU AS PATRON
Not too long into the event, as one of Nigeria’s music living legend, King Sunny Ade (KSA), himself a proud member of the Association of Friends was raising the roof with good vibes, the name of Chief Kesington Adebutu sounded in the speaker to mount the podium for his investiture as the patron of the prestigious Up Asso. It was a moment to behold as he walked with his head up to receive a title many Association of Friends members agreed he truly deserved, having considered his contributions to the development of Ogun State and Nigeria at large.
SPORTS MINISTER, SUNDAY DARE, HAILS ADEBUTU’S ULTRA-MODERN SPORTS CENTRE
One of the Association of Friends’ contributions to its immediate environment was the commissioning of the Kesington Adebutu Ultra-Modern Sports Center in Maryland, Lagos. Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Mr Sunday Dare, who also graced the occasion and anchored the segment as Chief Adebutu single-handedly donated the sum of 52 million naira to complete the project. In his speech, Mr Sunday expressed excitement and gratitude to the philanthropist for his contributions to the development of sports.
“I’m excited and humbled to be here. I only got to know about this event about four hours ago and I cancelled all my plans to be here and honour our own Sir Kesington Adebutu.”
“When it comes to sports development, government alone cannot do it. We need private individuals, communities, schools and organisations to do it. What Baba has done today is exemplary and admirable.”
“We thank him for this. It is also instructive that people in their elderly ages value sports as an important activity and it says a lot to our youth. Sports is important to our health and I’m glad to be here to commission this.”
KSA ON THE BANDSTAND
King Sunny Ade (KSA) needs no introduction to most of the members of the audience at the event. He is not just a Juju king but also recognized worldwide. He was the first-ever Nigerian to be nominated for the Grammy awards. He got nominated first in 1983, in the Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording for his album ‘Synchro System’. And again in 1998 for his ‘Odu’ album in the Best World Music category. He manned the stage with his band members all through the event and it was fun for both the royalties present and every other individual, as well.
CHAIRMAN OF THE DAY ALSO DONATES BIG
The Chairman of the day was Mr Kunle Soname CEO of one of Nigeria’s biggest betting company, Bet9ja. He was unavoidably absent at the event, but he also showed his love by donating the sum of N2.5 million to the club for its project.
HRM Oba Adewale Shotobi Adegorushen, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu kingdom is now a legitimate member of the Association of Friends. He was inducted at the 40th presidential gala night and he came amidst a colourful entourage. All members of his entourage at the event shone in wine caps, they took the centre stage during the Ayangburen’s royal dance as KSA thrilled everyone.
AKARIGBO OF REMOLAND’S GRAND ENTRY
The father of all entries at the event was that of the Akarigbo of Remoland, HRM Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi, who also came in the company of four other royal fathers. His entry was announced by the sound of his trumpeter and everything was put on hold to welcome his royal majesties. In his speech, Akarigbo said it was an honour to be within the clubhouse and was pleased with the edifice and facilities. He promised to salute Sir Kesington Adebutu for contributing generously to the association.
PIONEER PRESIDENT SALUTES ROYAL FATHERS
the pioneer President of the Association of Friends, OtunbaAdelekeAdeshinawelcomed all the Royal Fathers especially those who just walked in. He emphatically thanked them for being present despite the short notice and on behalf of the entire Up Asso members wished them a memorable night.
VP OTUNBA KOLE OLATUNJI TAKES VOTE OF THANKS
The Association of Friends Vice President, Otunba Kole Olatunji appreciated all the guests, dignitaries, Royal Fathers, members and other individuals that graced the 40th presidential gala night of Up Asso. He prayed for all the royal fathers present and the nation at large. Finally, he thanked all the members of the club for their tenacity and drive to ensure that Up Asso keeps moving and thanked their wives for not being selfish with their time.
The special guests of honour on the night are Alhaji Rasaq Olanrewaju Shittu, Chairman, Lanre Shittu Motors, Chief Mike Inegbese, Chairman, Ine-Mic Holdings, Chief Goziem Chibeze, Chairman, Gubabi safes, Lady Ibiyemi Adesoye, MD Opic, Engr. Toyin Adeyinka, Sparklight Nig. Ltd., CP Lateef O.A. Sholebo, Mr Olalekan Adebiyi (LARALEX), Mr John Momoh, Chairman Channels TV, Mr Segun Dawodu, Lagos Commissioner for works, Sen Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon (GOS), Barr. Dr Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman Sifax Group, Asoju Oba Dr Kazeem Ogbara, A.V.M. Dr S.O Smith, Chief Niyi Williams, Chief Kenny Martins, Engr Olawunmi Gasper, Chief Jide Damasio, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro and Mr & Mrs Kolawole Ayanwale.
Invited clubs include Island Club, Country Club, Ikeja Club, Yoruba Tennis Club, Eko Club and Favourites Club.