•The Story Of His Life Revealed!
When the late Olubadan Of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji came on the Throne, City People was one of the first media houses to interview him. It was the King of Fuji, K1 who facilitated the interview that was held in Ibadan. He and K1 had come a long way and so it was easy for Oluaye Fuji to take us into Baba’s bedroom where City People Publisher, Seye Kehinde grilled the Olubadan for 2 hours. After this interview, we again interviewed him when he clocked 90. Below are excerpts of the interview.
When the late Olubadan of Ibadan, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji turned 90, a few years back there was a big celebration in Ibadan. When he turned 90, Kabiyeesi did not look that age. He had this refreshingly robust, healthy look, that made him look younger than his real age.
How does he feel clocking 90, City People asked him. “I feel happy,” he said… “I feel elated. It’s a good feeling. Let me start by thanking you for congratulating me on my 90th birthday. It is my prayer that you will live longer in sound health to experience God’s goodness & mercy. Amen. If the truth must be told, I feel very great to attain the age of 90. As I said recently, to live long in life is not a right, but a privilege. Although I come from a family with an impressive record of longevity, I give glory to God because my dad who died in 1989, did not live up to 90.”
“As a matter of fact, he died at 89. I also feel fulfilled because when I look back at my life, I have every reason to be grateful to God in every way over my life, my family and Ibadanland. This was why I inaugurated my 90th birthday anniversary committee, coordinated by Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, former Minister of Sports and Special Duties. It is heartwarming to note that the weeklong programme was hugely successful.”
At 90, how come he looked refreshingly young? What is the secret? Is it his diet or exercise?
“Let me be frank with you. There are fundamentals of life that you and I do not choose. We did not choose when, where and how we were born. We did not choose our complexion. I eat no special diet and do no aerobics. I sleep and wake up naturally. I go for a walk within the palace almost every day. I drink plenty of water. When it’s time for fasting, I fast… I eat noodles, amala, pounded yam etc but the size of food I take is drastically reduced.
Also, I don’t toy with medical checkups. As I speak, my radio set is my companion. I watch quite a few programme on the television. Your colleague who is my PA. Adeola Oloko supplies me with newspapers every day. I also receive visitors and attend functions but I have reduced travelling.I enjoy the company of children, particularly my grand and great-grandchildren. I enjoy listening to music and palace poets. So, God is the secret. I derive a lot of satisfaction from the enormous amount of goodwill of the Ibadan people. So this is another secret”.
What has life taught Kabiyeesi at 90?”Over the past 90 (ninety) years,I have learned a lot of lessons about life. One, although your beginning may be small, your latter end would be great. Two, everyone in life needs a destiny helper at one time or the other to be what God wants you to be”.
It has been 2 years now that he became Olubadan, how has it been?
“The most appropriate way to look at the past two years of my being Olubadan is to say it’s a mixed grill. As you are well aware, life is about ups and downs. Just because you are Olubadan does not mean you are not going to have your own share of ups and downs. The consolation I have is that every challenge we encounter has an expiry date”.
His birthday party attracted a lot of dignitaries like late Gov. Ajimobi. What’s his relationship like now with him since the Obaship issue broke out?
“It has been cordial. It was not only the birthday party on Sunday, August 26 that attracted dignitaries from different walks of life, I discovered that each of the weeklong programme had its own character that makes it quite exciting.
For instance, the birthday lecture on Asa, Isese & Esin by Prof. Toyin Falola attracted lots of dignitaries from different walks of life. So also was the interdenominational Christian service and the special prayer by the Muslim clerics. People I had not seen for years were there. Yes, His Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajimobi & his wife were also present and I am highly honoured to be so honoured.
What will he say has been his achievements since he became Olubadan? “A lot of good things have been taking place since March 4, 2016. The greatest achievement is that Ibadan is peaceful and progressing in every way. Regardless of ethnoreligious and ideological persuasions, all of our people are living together like one big family. Educationally, about 3 new Universities, Precious Cornerstone University, Ibadan Technical University, Kola Daisi University, Dominican University, Ibadan have not only been licensed by the NUC but are open for academic activities. Ibadan city is becoming bigger.