Yes, yesterday, Sunday, October 29, a 94 year old Iroko tree, in the manner of speaking, fell!!! Yesterday, an institution, also in the manner of speaking, fell. All manners of mannerisms: intelligence, intellectual, philosophy, innovativeness, kindhearteness, wisdom, rascality, peace-advocacy, et cetera fell. In deed, a tree with wide shade for all the Egbira people across the globe, being venerated as son of not just lion but a lion with heavy pregnancy fell; the one being venerated by millions admirers as the ancestor of Bongiri, with its cultural imbued meaning fell; the one who alone bore the only unique name in the whole of the Egbira land fell, bringing to the end, the eventful era; the era in which every event or action drew currency in tandem in equal term to him.
It took me this whole 24 hours, from yesterday, to come to terms with the reality that Ado Ibrahim; that name that had assailed our youthful era, had finally ended with the owner committed to mother earth like every living soul.
… his new home, 6 feet hole
The name, Ado or Adogu, itself is unique only to the man who subsequently swam through all manner of tides to become the King (Ohinoyi of Ebiraland) and died and buried in a six feet deep ground, in his palatial Azad palace late yesterday. The name, Ado or Adogu was ensconced in the history and culture within which he was born. Adogu, meaning literally “father of wealth” (Ada Ogu) was given to him by his beloved father, the second central King of Ebiraland, late Atta Ibrahim Onoruoiza, in honour of the King of Eganyi (Adogu of Eganyi) who arrived his Palace in Okene from Eganyi in the present day Ajaokuta local government area of Kogi State, in time to help in delivering baby Ado on February 7, 1929, long after his mother, Hauwaawu Ozianuva, had gone into long tortuous labour.
… his palatial Azad palace
We were growing up in the early 60’s to know Ado as the only wealthy person in Ebiraland. He made no pretentious about his wealth and greatness, for, he always came home, from God knew where, with the best car, mainly long limousine. We, the young ones, would troup into the palace to have a glimpse of the car and would remain on the corridor of the palace, admiring the car mostly for a whole day.
Adogu displayed raw intelligence, a characteristic of an every growing Ebira boys and girls then, by not only rising rapidly in his job at the Amalgamated Tin Mines Nigeria Limited in Jos, Plateau State, but also engaged in studies for a degree course at the London School of Economics, using it to do a master’s degree at the famous Business School of Harvard University in the United Kingdom. He was a man of innovation, with an eye for beauty, because only a few professional architects could design the kind of structure he put up as Azad palace, one of the best in Africa.
Being the man that had his eyes firmly on the ball, Ado had bluntly turned his back on politics in 1979 when he had all it took to campaign and win the Governship election of the then Kwara State, to which Ebiraland belong: all his thought was to wait for vantage time to become the King of Ebiraland, which his late father obviously prepared him for. Instead of vying for the Kwara State governorship position, he helped his brother, late Adamu Atta, who eventually clinched the post.
…. his people in grief
At every point in his life, Ado had this unique ability to wait, and he never missed the target after the waiting. He was a typical example, to his beloved mother, of person using one tooth to break kernel.
So it came in 1997 when he finally obtained his long time ambition, of becoming the King of Ebiraland, not without controversies however. But, being a positively crafty man, who combined humility with wisdom, he soon overcame the tempest storm and turned to be the most widely accepted and loved by his people.
Alhaji Dr. Adogu Ibrahim Onoruoiza was really a detriberlised man, who married his first wife in 1959 to a Yoruba woman, Abimbola Solomon, with whom he had equally sound children in all departments of human estimation. Ado was a renown philanthropist, who floated Ado Education Foundation in the 70’s through which he funded educational pursuit of numerous indigent students.
Late Ado was never found where there was unseriousness in the matter of men, where seriousness was required. This was demonstrated recently when he turbaned some illustrious sons of Ebiraland. As the occasion was going on in his palace, the Master of the Ceremony (MC), Mr. Emmanuel Ohinoyi wanted to digress by joining those engaging in side comedy, King Ado asked him (the MC) to concentrate. I was there watching.
….all the handsomeness, the power, gone…
The manner in which he handled the query issued to him by the State government in regard to the circumstances surrounding the official visit to the Okene, of the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari, attested to his priceless wisdom and fatherliness.
As a matter of fact, there were a lot of positive achievements that can be attributed to his adroit leadership: Ebiraland producing the first Governor in Kogi State, presiding over the launching of the first Holy Qur’an into Ebira language, presiding over the launching of the Standard Ebira English Dictionary, first in 1998, a year after his turbaning as Ohinoyi of Ebiraland in 1997 and second, in 2022 and the general peace and love that pameated Ebiraland, etc.
In all, late Ado raised disciplined, highly educated, industrious, innovative and kind-hearted immediate children. One of them, Malik, vied for the Presidency of Nigeria in the February 2023 election.
It is not for nothing, in holistically looking at his life and his 94 years sojourn here on earth, that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu described late Paramount Ruler of Ebiraland, Alhaji, Dr. Ado Abdulrahman Ibrahim Onoruoiza as being “in a class of his own.”
I sing Robert Louis Stevenson Requiem for my departed King, our departed Ohinoyi Alhaji, Dr. Ado Abdulrahman Ibrahim Onoruoiza:
“Here he lies
Where he long’d to be
Home is the sailor
Home from sea
And the hunter
Home from the hill”
Adieu King Ado!!!!