When beggars die there are no comet sign, but heaven itself announces the passing of great icons. So it was with the final burial rites of Olori Modupe Omolere (Nee Ojatuwase), the Alidan Apehi Woye of Osooro Kingdom, whose burial programme and reception party would remain a talk of the town for a very long time. The funeral programme which began with a wake keep on Thursday, the 5th of February at her home along Erinje road, attracted dignitaries and people of means and substance to Okitipupa.
In fact, the ceremonial procession from the State’s General Hospital, Okitipupa where the deceased was embalmed down to her house along Erinje road was grand and filled with pomp. The golden casket was stylishly balanced on the shoulders of the pallbearers all the way to the deceased house as the pallbearers engaged in a coordinated dance steps that appealed to musical aesthetics. The long convoy behind the pallbearers, the huge crowd that danced as the procession extended into Okitipupa town from the state’s specialist hospital and the fleet of cars all spoke volume of the way late Olori Omolere was appreciated and celebrated by her people. For a very good number of minutes, the ancient town of Okitipupa stood still as the remains of Olori Modupe Omolere was being taken to her house for the Christian wake keep.
The service of songs which was coordinated by the priests of Methodist Church Nigeria Ode-Ayeka also had in attendance Bishop Steven Ogendengbe, presiding Bishop of Wisdom Chapel.
At the Christian wake, prayers were offered for the repose of the soul of the deceased, her family, the land and Nigeria as the cycles of election beckon.
The funeral and outing service in honour of late Olori Modupe Omolere Ayelomi commenced at 11:00 hrs on Friday 6th of February at Methodist Church Ode-Ayeka. As expected, the auditorium of the church was filled to capacity with dignitaries from all walks of life. The processional hymn “Hark, hark my soul angelic songs” was interspersed with bible verses. Bible verses for the funeral programme were taken from Psalm 130, which was read ‘responsively’ between the priest and the church and Revelation 7:9-17 was also recited.
In his sermon at the funeral service, The very Revd F. T. Makinde brought greetings from the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Igbobini, Most Rev Amos Akindeko. While quoting from 2nd Timothy 4-6, the cleric said in the days of Apostle Paul, towards the end of his evangelistic mission, he said with conviction that he (Paul) had fought a good fight, finished his course and had held unto the faith. Very Rev’d Makinde said the deceased having accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour can also say with confidence that she had fought a good fight. The priest reminded the church that the book of Ecclesiastes stressed that “the day of death is better than the day of birth”. He said when a child is born, there will be challenges, inequality, strife and serious human encumbrances, but when a human being dies, it is an end to all human strife, maintaining that for a Christian, death opens the door to a glorious hereafter. He challenged the Christians of this contemporary time to be conscious of the Lord’s second coming. He said, ‘’Olori Modupe Omolere has gone to be with the Lord, but for us whom she left behind, how prepared are we if the end comes?”
“While Jesus has gone to prepare the paradise, it is for the saints and not for sinners,” Makinde admonished. As he closed the sermon, Rev’d Makinde asked the people to be wary of this particular period in the history of the nation. “We need to be very careful because this period is harsh and unfriendly and kidnappers for ritual purposes and for ransom purposes are on the prowl. A notable highlight of the funeral of late Olori Modupe Omolere Ayelomi was the significant fund-raising which was chipped into the proceedings by the ebullient and amiable General Olu Bajowa in his characteristic generosity. When he was invited to make a remark, the retired General and Jagunmolu of Ikale land was full of praise for the Methodist Church, which he noted came to his rescue when the Anglican church, the church of the deceased, rigidly denied the deceased, a staunch member of the Anglican communion, a Christian burial. He said he was raising fund for the church and he was confident all his friends in the church will join him to raise the fund for the church development. General Olu Bajowa donated a quarter of a million naira on the spot. Interestingly, over a million naira was raised within such a short notice towards the growth of Methodist Church Ode-Ayeka.
While paying a glowing tribute to his mother-in-law, General Bajowa mourned the sudden loss of Olori Omolere Ayelomi. He said she was the best mother – in –law he could ever had and he never had a dull moment with her. He stressed that his association with Mama was very good and a most cordial one. He however condemned the Anglican Communion for its inflexible dogma which made the church to deny a Christian her right to burial.
Hear him:”I never knew that I would be paying a tribute at the funeral of Mama so soon! Mama was with me in Lagos mourning the death of Tope, her last son, before she returned to Ikale and was admitted in hospital at Okitipupa. The third day after her discharge from the hospital, she was kidnapped from her house and brutally murdered on Christmas day 2014, despite paying a huge ransom! I was devastated to see her lifeless body in the morgue at Okitipupa, on the boxing day, 26 December 2014.’’
‘’Mama was my mother-in-law for 32 years (1982-2014) and she was the best mother-in-law I could ever had. Some people have a mother-in-law’s horror story that they could tell. I honestly did not have any tale to narrate. My association with my mother-in-law was very good and cordial.’’
‘’Mama was the wife (Olori) of His Royal Majesty, Oba Bode Ayelomi, the Lumure of Ayeka (Lulare II), and a chieftaincy title holder of Alidan of Osooro Kingdom, by His Royal Majesty Oba (Dr) Gbadebo Bajowa, Lubokun (IV), The Rebuja of Osooro. Also as a descendant of Oba Nigwo Okungbemi Ruling House of Lubokun Dynasty, Mama welcome and accepted me as a distant cousin and son-in-law, right from the time I started dating her daughter Princess Yemi, in April 1982, long before it became legal in March 1986.’’
‘’Chief Alidan, as she was fondly called by Bajowa Royal Family, is a devout Christian of Anglican denomination. She kept faith with Sunday services, immaculately dressed going to the church regularly. Mama was quiet, kind and loving. She simply blessed every one that crossed her way.’’
‘’I cannot thank Mama enough for receiving me as a son-in-law the day I married Yemi, an excellent choice, a precious Princess, with whom to share my life, a woman I am proud to say has become a Proverbs 31 wife.’’
‘’Mama’s living legacy will be seen in the lives of her daughter Princess Barrister Yemi, the Iye-Lumure of Ikale land,grand children: Adekunle, Adebayo , Adeleke, Adeyinka, Adetokunbo and Adebowale; and great grandchild Adenike Modupe. She helped me to nurture them both in Nigeria and with us both in the United Kingdom. She was a wonderful mother-in-law and will be missed by all of us. I am honoured to have had her in my life and her courage in the hands of wicked abductors and her Christian testimony will always be remembered.’’
‘’Also, the rigid and inflexible dogma of Anglican Communion to deny a Christian burial to a devout and financial adherent of the Church, who was dastardly murdered by evil men, is not only unsympathetic and anti-Christ, But a sad commentary that will NEVER be forgotten!’’
‘’The Bible doesn’t give instructions on how a body should be handled or buried after death, not even that of a gruesome killing still under criminal investigation! Is the church not expected to treat the body of the dead with respect and charity, in faith and hope of the Resurrection?’’
‘’Mama, I am convinced that you met your untimely death because of us your children, though to be successful in life is not a sin or crime!’’
‘’So long Mama! Goodnight and farewell! You are the best mother-in-law a man could want. Adieu, sleep in perfect peace in the bosom of the Lord, till we meet to part no more, (Amen)’’
In her own words, Chief Mrs. Remi Odusola, daughter of the deceased and Iye Oba of Ayeka Kingdom, said her mother was epitome of motherhood who touched her children’s lives positively. She said she will sorely miss her mother.
Words of tribute of Princess Barr (Mrs) Yemi Bajowa (Iye – lumure 1 of Ikale land) dripped with nostalgia and a tinge of dirge. She lamented that her call to her mother two days prior to her kidnap would be the last time she talked to her. However, she appreciated her mother for being a unifying factor among her children. While she admitted that the sad news of her mother’s death was a rude shock, she thanked God that Mama lived a good Christian life.
Her words: ‘’ I remember that expression of joy and happiness on your face when you came to England, United Kingdom (UK), after the birth of my last child and your several trips to me in the U.K. Your first question whenever you arrived was: ‘when am I going back to my people? As you know, I can not leave them for long!’
‘’I remember two days before you were kidnapped, you called and I jokingly said you are rich woman now to put a call across to me in England. I asked you to drop for me to call you back which I did and you prayed for me.’’
‘’I never knew that it will be the last time I would hear your voice. ‘’Yeemi’’ you were a unifying factor between all your children. You made all of us leave with one another, compromising with one another, in peace and harmony.’’
The reception and entertainment of guests at the Government Field, Okitipupa was yet another gathering of A-list dignitaries as well as well wishers from within Okitipupa. The Ikale born highlife maestro, Ademola Suzzy and his master blaster musical group were on ground to serenade the receptive atmosphere.
As Demola Suzzy sizzled the air with his rhythmic numbers, there was wining and dinning, as choice menu filled the tables.
Olori Modupe Omolere (Nee Ojatuwase) was born on 1st of June 1938. Her late father is the Most Rt Rev’d Apostle Ebenezer Ade Ojatuwase from Mahin Kingdom, while her mother is Princess Ige Nigwo. While Mama was an only daughter, she has numerous siblings from her father. She was by profession a fashion designer and a successful one at that. She was married to HRM Oba Fred Bode Ayelomi, the Lumure of Ayeka Kingdom. She was a devout Christian and an active member of Anglican Church Okitipupa where she fellowshipped until her death.
Among the dignitaries at the funeral were: Asiwaju Soyewo, the Olori omo oba of Ago Iwoye; Rear Admiral Osondu, Olori Faduyile ; Otunba Benson Akindeju, CEO Ak Media; Hon. Diran Iyantan, former commissioner for local Govt and chieftaincy affairs: Otunba Biyi Adegborioye, Princess Lola Bajowa, Princees Oyin Akindele, Dr. Ayodele, Barr Adeolu Ayelomi, Dr Dayo Faduyile Erelu Jadesola Henshaw and many more.
Further investigation by our correspondent into the reason the authorities of the coastal Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Okitipupa denied late Olori Modupe Ayelomi the benefit of a befitting Christian burial in her home church revealed that there is a system of belief in the diocese as espoused by the diocesan lord bishop which gives a time limit of forty days for the burial of any deceased Anglican Communicant from the day of his or her death. According to a reliable source who spoke with reporter, the coastal diocese clerics don’t attend any burial of their own members whose funeral exceeds the forty days time lag.
However, in the case of late Olori Modupe Ayelomi, several representation and appeal were made to the Diocesan but to no avail. Reliable family source revealed that the Lumure of Ayeka, HRM Bode Ayelomi suffered double bereavement with the loss of his cousin who was to be buried on the 29th of January, and the death of his wife, Olori Modupe Ayelomi, which sad event occurred on the 25th of December, 2014. As a concerned family member, it will not be appropriate to bury both the cousin and the wife of the Kabiesi within the same day as the pains will be too much to bear for the octogenarian King, said our impeccable source.
We gathered that the burial of late Olori Modupe Ayelomi which was fixed for the 6th of February exceeded the Anglican diocese of the coast’s forty days burial limit by just two days yet the diocesan bishop will not have anything to do with the burial.
The death of late Olori Modupe Ayelomi bothered on culpable homicide which requires thorough investigation by the authorities of Nigeria Police and had it not been for the timely intervention of General Olu Bajowa, the corpse would not have been released to the family for burial. Thus, it was expected that the bishop and his clerics would extend a hand of fellowship, show Christian love and avowed sympathy for the family rather than playing up the unsympathetic card of an inflexible dogma which has neither basis nor foundation in the Holy Bible.
It will be recalled that Gen . Olu Bajowa the Jagunmolu of Ikale land and his wife Princess (Barr) Oluyemi Bajowa, the Iye – Lumure 1 of Ikale land are both Anglican Communicants and dependable stakeholders of the Anglican church. In fact, General Bajowa is Aare of Igbotako Anglican Archdeaconry and a financial member who has contributed in no small measure to the growth of his archdeaconry and the entire diocese of the coast. The General is surprised that the church of God can chose to be mean to their own members in their trying time.
While condemning the whole dogma of forty days time limit for the burial of communicants, General Bajowa stressed that clerics who establish dogma for the church of God which cannot be hinged on any known bible principle or doctrine deserve to seek God’s face for forgiveness for leading their congregation based on their own whims and caprices as against bible injunction.
Late Olori Modupe Ayelomi was an Anglican communicant till her death but was buried by the Methodist Church clerics and laity who serve the same God as the Anglican Priests.
According to an elderly Anglican communicant from Ikale who prefers not to be named, he stressed that the fear is rife in the diocese that if the bishop and his priests can do this to General Bajowa who is a reliable stakeholder in the Anglican communion, then only God knows what will happen to them in case compelling circumstances warrant an extension of their burial beyond the forty days time lag. our source said it will be unfair for the Church to collect and tithe offering from a member in his life time and deny such a member a befitting Christian burial at death because of the ‘forty days burial dogma’. he advised that Christian doctrine should not be made to inconvenience Christians lest a mass exodus of communicants to other churches is not encouraged by a stiff, needless and unsympathetic dogma.