“this enlightened ruler is worth meeting … jovial, tolerant and extremely generous … He can contribute to a conversation on any subject under the sun … has a delightful sense of humor.” – Ulli Beier in “Special Independence Issue of Nigeria Magazine. Nigeria 1960.
If the success of a monarch is measured by the progress his town records during his reign, then Papa can best be described as the Oba who took Osogbo into the modern era. Add to that his contributions in the fields of education, arts and culture, and you have a selless and forward-looking Oba who was well ahead of his time…
What did Papa achieve for Osogbo? … What was the difference between the town that he inherited in 1944 and the one he left in 1975? To know how his achievements are perceived by those outside his immediate family, and what people believe his contributions to Osogbo were … among others, Venerable J.L. Omigbodun for whom :”two incidents will always stand vivid in his memory”::
“Kabiyesi’s selflessness was legendary but I will recall only two that keep recurring even after all these years. We wanted to grade the field for Osogbo Grammar School and somebody had informed me of the presence of a bulldozer at Gbongan. I arrived at the Palace as Kabiyesi was having ogi for breakfast. He left the food and got dressed. We drove in his car along Ede-Gbongan Road but the bulldozer was not there; neither was it at Gbongan nor Ife. We finally found it between Ife and Ilesa, anyway, and led it back to the school. Kabiyesi did not leave till the job was completely done and he got back to the Palace at 6.00 p.m. That was when he ate.
The second incident was when I went to Kabiyesi to submit the plan for this very house. You know that Obas used to approve plans in those days. I had taken along the customary one guinea (one pound and one shilling) and a bottle of Schnapps. Kabiyesi opened the Schnapps straight aay and asked for cups. It was amazing that what was meant for him as gift he shared straight aay.
Such selflessness! Osogbo was blessed to have him.
[Ven. Omigbodun joined the Saints Triumphant two weeks after his 100th birthday last year 2012.]