Search Site: OnlineNigeria


Alayande planned his funeral programme

Posted by By Akin Oyedele on 2006/10/29 | Views: 2459 |

Alayande planned his funeral programme

Children of the late founding President of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Pa Emmanuel Alayande, would have wished that he lived to celebrate his 100th birthday in grand style.

Children of the late founding President of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Pa Emmanuel Alayande, would have wished that he lived to celebrate his 100th birthday in grand style.

Alayande passed on around 9pm on Friday at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, few hours after he was admitted.

Born about 96 years ago to a polygamous family, Alayande was the only surviving child of the nine children of his mother.

Family sources said the last wish of the veteran teacher was for peace to reign in every section of the country and for every child to be educated.

He would also have wished that Nigerians did not suffer in the midst of plenty.

To avoid any mix-up, the late educationist was said to have, long ago, prepared the programme for his funeral service, which would likely hold at St.Peterís Cathedral, Aremo, where he was a venerable before he died.

When his wife died about 11 years ago, two vaults were prepared at the grave in Aremo, with the wife interred in one.

The children said their father would be buried in the second vault, by his wife, with whom he shared the best moments.

His last public outing was on September 23, during the inauguration of the first phase of Emmanuel Alayande Hall at Ibadan Grammar School, which was built by the Ibadan Grammar School Old Studentsí Association.

As if he had premonition of death, two weeks before he died, he was said to be shunning his food.

Whenever his food was served, he was quoted to have always said, "Christ is feeding me, you can take away your food."

Since his death last night, the modest one storey building located in the busy Oke-Offa area of Oke Ado, Ibadan, where he lived for several decades, had become a Mecca of sort, with politicians, family members and associates trooping in to pay their last respect.

His eldest child, 67-year-old Miss Olukeye Alayande, who had lived in the same building with him since 1971, said she saw him last around 4 pm on Friday when he was being taken out.

Popularly called Mama England, having spent many years in Britain, she said, "Nobody told me they were taking him to the hospital. More than one hour after his death, I was still weeping bitterly."

As the first child, she said their father pampered her in a way, following his readiness to always accede to her demand first among her three siblings.

She would like her father to be remembered as somebody who did not believe in class or race in his relationship with the people and as somebody who made sure his children had the best education in Nigeria and abroad.

To underscore her closeness to her father, she said Alayande gave her N10,000 during her last birthday as a gift.

But for the advice and insistence of her father, she said she would not have spent up to the 20 years she spent as a civil servant at the Ministry of Education, Oyo State.

With Alayande, she said none of her siblings lacked anything.

Olukeye said of her father, "He is a kind gentleman; very considerate. We were very close as he was always giving me advice. I travelled a lot outside the country and he was always prepared to pay for my passage.

On his unaccomplished tasks, she said, "He was a fulfilled man. His life was full of activities and he lovedf entertaining people."

In many of her sojourn with the late YCE patron, Olukeye would not forget the trip she made with him to Aba and Port Harcourt in 1954 for a meeting of the National Union of Teachers.

She said, "Oh I enjoyed every moment of that journey, because Papa would ensure that we checked into good hotels, He would buy shoes and clothes for me."

Olukeyeís younger sister, 65-year-old Mrs. Bukola Oni, a former Commissioner for Finance in Oyo State, would not want her fatherís death to be politicised.

As a devout follower of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, she said her father believed in live and let live.

Although he used to be consistent in his political view and ideology, he, nonetheless, respected the views of others.

She would not want to be dragged into whether or not the state government should be allowed to play any role in the burial, judging by her fatherís failed bid to stave off the removal of the former governor of the state, Alhaji Rashidi Ladoja.

It will be recalled that Alayande had expressed disappointment with the refusal of President Olusegun Obasanjo, to prevail on the opponents of Ladoja to drop the removal plot.

During a visit to Alayande in January in company with the governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Ladoja, shortly before Ladoja was ousted, Obasanjo had spurned the entreaties of the foremost educationist to spare the governor.

The President had pointedly told Alayande that he was visiting him on the occasion of his birthday and not to entertain any matter concerning the impending removal of the former governor.

After the departure of the President, Alayande had told newsmen in an interview, "Iím not happy at all. Iím not happy."

Against this backdrop, Oniís countenance had changed when asked whether the family would allow the Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala-led government to play active role in the burial. .

She said, "Please, I donít want to drag my fatherís death into politics. We will accommodate everybody. He might have his reservations on any issue; yet, his house was opened to everybody.

"And before his death, he made up with everybody he might have begrudged for any reason at all. He forgave all those that offended him from the depth of his mind before he died."

In his last days, she said Alayande was always telling his children that "I will not live you comfortless."

Oni said, "He never expressed any regrets to us, so we believe he had none. We will miss him. His last wish was that there must be peace in Nigeria.

The only son and the last child of the late sage, Mr. Bolude Alayande, 63, regretted that politicians had made it impossible for the late Alayandeís wish for the country to be an egalitarian society where everybody would be given opportunities.

He said his fatherís wish was that Nigeria would be a country where nobody would go begging.

Last week, when he last saw him, he said the veteran politician was weak, but that he kept praying to God to elongate his life to 100 years.

"But this (his death) is Godís wish. No mater how old, the natural thing is that when one loses any of his parents you feel sad."

The younger Alayande said his father had for so many years passed on messages to his children to follow his footsteps by living an honest life and to serve without asking or expecting any reward for the service.

Asked whether he would step into the shoes of his father politically, he said, "This was not the type of Nigeria under which my father practiced politics. When you think about people like Bishop Akinyele as his father-in-law and Bishops Howard and Jadesinmi as mentors, you will know what politics was all about then.

"And with the likes of Prof. C. O. Taiwo, late A. B Oyediran and late J.O. Awokoya as his friends, you cannot fail. To get this type of people today in politics is almost impossible.

He therefore foreclosed the possibility of his venturing into politics like his father.

Alayandeís driver of 27 years, Mr. Mukaila Yusuff, who got married and lived with the sage in his residence, said he would miss him mostly.

He was at his bedside until he breathed his last. Recalling his last moments, he said for about two weeks now, the nonagenarian had been encouraged to eat his foods.

He said, "As if he had premonition of death, whenever his food was brought, he will always tell us ĎChrist is feeding me, you can take away your food".

"When you started worrying him to at least taste the food, he would smile and eat little out of it. This had been his attitude in the past two weeks."

Yusuff said Alayande never related with him as a "common driver" as he would always treat him with dignity, even when they were outside the home.

Each time they took Alayade to the hospital in the last few years, he said he would always ask them what the doctors diagnosed as his ailment out of curiosity.

Since the doctors had never mentioned a particular ailment, except that it was sign of old age, he said they would tell him and he would not ask further questions.

Yusuff said of him, "He hated lies. Even when you offended him, he would scold you and that would be the end of it."

Prompt on appointments, he said Alayande would always tell him to increase his speed when running late for an outing.

On his modesty, he said Alayande only owned two cars, A Mercedes Benz and Toyota Corolla, which he interchanged for convenience.

"Baba married for me in 1987 and I did not for one moment regret living in his house since then. He was very king and generous. He will always say, ĎMukaila, Oya move fast, we should not be late to that placeí and I would comply. In fact I can say he taught me how to speed," his driver said.

Early callers at the residence of Alayande were the governor and the wife of the deposed governor of the state, Mutiat.

On arrival at the Alayandeís with retinue of aides, the governorís supporters turned the place to a campaign ground singing the governorís praise and endorsing him for 2007.

Read Full Story Here.... :
Leave Comment Here :