Ambassador Ibironke Adefope,a former Nigerian High Commissioner to Zambia and Malawi,clocks 70 years tomorrow, Wednesday,23rd February 2022. Praise be to God Almighty.
Born on 23rd February,1952,in Ibadan,Oyo State of Nigeria,her beloved hometown,to the illustrious Vaughan and Akinloye Egunjenmi Clans, little Ibironke Apinke Opoo,after her primary school education,attended the reputable Saint Anne’s School,Molete,Ibadan,then the capital of the now-defunct Western Region of Nigeria.
She also attended the International School of the University of Ibadan,(ISI)for her Advanced Level studies,after which she travelled to the United States of America(USA)for her first and second degrees.
While my focus is on the sound moral,human rights and political grounding Ibironke received from home,thanks to the late Papa Vaughan and his darling wife,the late Otun Iyalode of Ibadanland,High Chief(Mrs)Gladys Aduke Vaughan(nee Akinloye of Itutaba,Ibadan) and the founder/proprietress of the famous Omolewa Nursery and Primary School,Oritamefa,Ibadan,on which I am a member of the Governing Board,I shall leave the details of her matrimonial,(her darling late husband,Uncle Adebayo, hailed from the famous Adefope Family of Ijebu-Igbo,Ogun State), professional, humanitarian and socio-political life to her biographer.
Ibironke,is my dear aburo and a former classmate of my wife,Chief(Mrs)Adetokunbo Mojirade Alabi(nee Laditan of Ilaro,Ogun State of Nigeria)at St.Annes School,Ibadan.Till date,they remain bosom friends and confidants.
The world’s latest Septuagenarian and I share common grounds in cultural,political and socio-economic fields.I remember our beloved egbon at this juncture,the late Aare AbdulAzeez Arisekola Alao,CON.While we were both in the frontline of the struggle for the return of democracy to Nigeria during the jackboot rule of the military,Ibironke,it was who gave the name to our MKO Abiola Dynamic Group,of which I was the Secretary-General,and she an Executive member.
As we celebrate you formally here in London,United Kingdom,tomorrow,as we did 20 years ago in Lusaka,Zambia,dear Ibironke,your contributions to the return of democracy to Nigeria,vide our ASSOCIATION FOR DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA(ADIN)remain unforgettable.
Many happy returns of the day to you,the unassuming democrat and civil rights champion.
Top pic: 20 years ago….My humble self,High Chief ‘Lekan Alabi,Maye Olubadan-designate of Ibadanland and the new Septuagenarian,Ambassador Ibironke Adefope,at the celebration of her golden birthday on 23rd February, 2002,in Lusaka,Zambia where she was serving Nigeria as her High Commissioner to that country.I compeered the ceremony.
When Ibironke was appointed Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Zambia and Malawi in 1999,by the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-led Federal Government of Nigeria,and my friend of 48 years,Otunba(Dr)Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye,MFR,better known as King Sunny Ade(KSA)was also elected the President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria(PMAN),my wife and I hosted a dinner in their honour at our Akobo,Ibadan home.
Pic 2 bottom(R-L):My wife,Chief(Mrs)Adetokunbo Mojirade Alabi,(guest 1)Ambassador Ibironke Adefope,(guest 2)King Sunny Ade,MFR,my younger sister Mrs Bukola Okesola and my humble self at the 1999 dinner in our home.
Pic 3(R-L)Chief(Mrs) Adetokunbo Alabi,Ambassador Ibironke Adefope and Pastor Olabisi Kolapo at the 50th birthday dinner for Ambassador Adefope at the Nigeria House,Lusaka,Zambia in 2002.The 3 were classmates at the Saint Anne’s School,Ibadan and had adorned their old school anniversary gele and ipele(headgears)