Governor Yahaya Bello's Tribute to The Late Oba (Dr.) Micheal Folorunsho Segun Olobayo, OON, JP, Obaro Ero The Second of Kaaba





'It is hard to eulogize any man - to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person - their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone's soul. How much harder to do so for a giant of history...' - President Barack Obama

Tributes and eulogies are difficult. One never gets used to them, no matter how many one delivers. President Barack Obama captures this difficulty with his usual eloquence in the quote above, taken from his Tribute to the late iconic freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela. 

I feel the same difficulty very keenly right now. The man we are gathered here today to give our last respects to was indeed a giant among men. He was distinguished, not so much by his physical stature as by his gigantic efforts.

His Royal Highness, Oba (Dr.) Michael Folorunsho Segun Olobayo, OON, JP, Obaro Aro The Second, The Oba Of Kabba, Chairman Okun Area Traditional Council And First Class Traditional Ruler In Kogi State was born into the Ajinuhi Royal Family of the Ilajo Ruling House in Oweland on 4th March 1945.

Oba Olobayo graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He built a distinguished career in the Civil Service of the old Kwara State, rising to become a Permanent Secretary before his appointment to the position of Chief Protocol Officer to the then Military Governor of Kwara State, Colonel David Bamigboye.

Oba Dr. Michael Folorunsho Olobayo ascended the Throne of his fathers on October 17th, 1985 at the age of 40. He drew from his considerable success in the Civil Service to pilot the affairs of Kabba and its people. He was a sincere and genuine leader whom his people grew to love greatly for his extraordinary commitment and vigor for creating lasting legacies in the social fabric of Okunland.

I do not fail to note that Kabiyesi was crowned at 40 years old - the same age that I was when I took my Oath of Office as the 4th Executive Governor of Kogi State. Incidentally, Almighty Allah also entrusted the Glorious Message of Islam to Prophet Mohammed (SAW) at the same age. 

If God and our traditional institutions have no qualms bestowing leadership on the youth, we must refuse the attempts of our political class to exclude this most energetic and creative demographic. My Administration will continue to spiritedly enlarge the space for our youth to participate in leadership at all levels. 

Recognition came for His Royal Highness Oba Dr. Michael Folorunsho Olobayo, OON, JP from the Federal Government of Nigeria when the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo conferred on him the prestigious National Honours of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).

In the short time that has elapsed since I took Office, my dominant impression of His Royal Highness is of a sincere Royal Father who, though incapacitated by illness, cared so deeply for his people that he always fought fearlessly to defend them and demand their welfare. 

He also sought creative ways to modernize the trado-cultural architecture of his domains in order to position his people for success in a rapidly changing world. Oba Olobayo was a rallying point for peace and unity, and a tireless advocate for even development of the entire Kogi State. 

This Administration will remain true to his ideals for the development of his Kingdom. We will commit as much of our resources as equity will allow to see that Oweland and Okunland experience peace, security and unprecedented infrastructural development, along with the rest of Kogi State.

As the Almighty God alone will have it, this week, on Monday the 20th to be precise, the Supreme Court affirmed my election as the 4th Executive Governor of Kogi State. That judgment laid to rest the agitations by some against my mandate, along with the distractions they put in the path of governance. 

Now we know where we stand and Kogi State will see the purposeful governance they voted for, and for which Kabiyesi yearned so much in his lifetime. We have mapped out a NEW DIRECTION AGENDA and BLUEPRINT for our journey to greatness in Kogi State. I assure you it includes Kogi West very comprehensively. 

Our victory is not a winner-takes-all jamboree. We need all of us. I have since not stopped calling on all Kogites to close ranks with me so we can take our State to the heights I know she can attain. I repeat that call again today in Okunland. We are better together.

Today, as we celebrate the incredible achievements of Kabiyesi's 30 years reign over Oweland, I declare myself and Kogi State bereaved, not just of the person of Kabiyesi, but also of the incalculable wealth of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of which he was custodian, and for which he was known.

I wish His Royal Highness had tarried much longer on this side of eternity because we still have so much to learn from him. I am consoled however by the knowledge that his successor will have the foresight to tread in his paths and consistently put our overall interests over any others.

Once again, my heartfelt condolences to Oweland, Okunland, Kogi State and Nigeria on this sad event. 

I pray for the eternal repose of the soul of Kabiyesi, Oba Dr. Michael Folorunsho Segun Olobayo, OON, JP, Obaro Ero the Second, Oba of Kabba.

Thank you all for coming. I pray the Almighty God to guide everyone safely back to their homes. 

 You are appreciated