Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
PROFESSOR of African Oral Literature and Head of the Department of English, University of Ibadan, Professor ‘Bimpe Jegede, her siblings, families and associates have bidden their mother and matriarch of the Lakunle Dynasty in Saki, Chief Mrs Ayanyoyin Abeje Foluwaso Lakunle, adieu, amid glowing tributes.
The three-day colourful funeral, tagged: ‘Celebration of Life,’ began on May 17, 2023 with a Commendation Service at the Victoryland Baptist Church, Mokola, Ibadan, and ended with a Thanksgiving Service at First Baptist Church, Oke Adagba, Ajegunle, Saki, Oyo State.
Stonix News had reported that Chief Ayanyoyin Abeje Foluwaso Lakunle, who was born on January 2, 1928 into the family of Late Pa Badmus Atilola Ayansiji (her father) and Late Madam Jinatu Bilewumo Ayansiji (her mother) in Fitila Compound, Saki, Oyo State, Nigeria, passed on January 11, 2023 at the very ripe age of 95.
Fondly called ‘Foluwaso’ and ‘Yoyin’ by her late father and husband respectively, Chief Mrs Lakunle, who was berthed into a Muslim family, was described as the only daughter and the second of four children by her mother.
Saki was agog, and a beehive of dignitaries from all walks of life at the glorious funeral during the lying-in-state on Thursday, church burial service at First Baptist Church, Oke Adagba, internment and reception on Friday.
Well-represented from members of the academia, especially teaching and non-teaching staff of the Department of English, University of Ibadan, which is the immediate constituency of Prof Jegede, were erudite dons such as award-winning poet, Professor Remi Raji-Oyelade, amiable sociolinguist, Professor Dele Adeyanju, humane Professor Babatunde Omobowale (Director, UI Distanced Learning Programme), critical theorist, Professor Nelson Fasina, and Ekiti Princess and good-life-loving, speech trainer, Professor Mrs Adenike Akinjobi.
Others were Dr Adesina Sunday, Dr Mrs Adedoyin Aguoru, Dr Tunde Ojegbuyi (Department of Communication and Language Arts), Dr Charles Akinsete, Dr Kehinde Oyetimi, Miss Rita Okonobo, Mr Gbenga, and Mrs Iyabo Ladipo, among others.
Ministers of God from Victoryland Baptist Church, Mokola, Ibadan, and First Baptist Church, Oke Adagba, Ajegunle, Saki, who were at the funeral service at Saki included, but not limited to, Rev’d Dr. A.O. Popoola, JP, Rev’d Dr. Sunday Adeleke, Rev’d Joseph Adelakun, Mrs C.F. Popoola, JP, Rev’d S. Adesola, Dcns A.A Olaoye, Dcn Femi Ojediran, Dcn Tunde Okegbola, Dcn Olu Onifade, Dcns M. A. lshola, Dcn Olakunle Olusegun, Dcn Gbemi Akanji and Engr. A.E. Adepoju.
He drew his Bible references from Luke 16:19-31, Hebrews 12:1, Luke 15:10, Luke 3:23, 26, Matthew 26:21, Rev. 20:10, Romans 10:9 and Luke 14:22 with utmost emphasis on why eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire is not intended for man and should be vehemently avoided at all cost.
“Death has no parking space. Some people are waiting for us in heaven. Come you may, but go you must.
“You can cause heaven to rejoice today by accepting Jesus. Try to cause heaven to rejoice by coming to God in repentance. Don’t reject God’s provision for your salvation.
“No one is looking for your arrival in hell because it was not made for you. Whosoever rejects Jesus Christ goes to hell. It’s a must not go to hell. No hope of reunion for anyone who rejects Jesus.
“Hell was created for Satan and his cohorts. We’re destined for eternity in heaven. Surrender your life to Jesus Christ. Commune with Him daily,” the cleric admonished while describing the deceased as a clear example of a life well-lived in Christ Jesus and who’s taking her deserved rest in the bosom of father Abraham.
In her remarks during the church service, soft-spoken Prof. Mrs Jegede said she was the only child out of five siblings privileged to be physically on ground before the deceased passed early in January 2023.
“I was the only child around when mummy passed. I had to call the rest of them. We started with prayers and continued with prayers before the burial planning proper. God helped us. Victory Life Baptist Church, Ibadan, the pastor was very helpful,” she noted.
The Professor of Literature specifically recognised and appreciated Dr Mrs Adedoyin Aguoru of the Department of English for volunteering herself as the chief planner for the very successful burial event.
In her glowing tributes contained in the burial brochure, she averred: “Writing a tribute on a departed loved-one is a very difficult thing, especially when the loved-one had been very dear to your heart.
“My mother was my friend and confidant, a truce breaker and a peace lover. We were together until she finally passed on.
“I recall and treasure the moments I shared with her especially in her last days. She kept telling me that it was time to go. The way she called my praise-name still echoes in my memory. “Adunni, toju awonaburo e”.
“She was so caring and loving, a peace lover, an astute follower of Christ and a lover of all. She was my teacher and role model, so I listened to her instructions very carefully and accepted her directions with utmost respect, especially in her last moments.
“She told me so much. Sometimes in the middle of the night, after I moved over to her house, in order to care better for her, she would wake me up and give me instructions about life and living. I learnt so much from her. I will forever cherish the memory of those long talks!!!
“I had the singular honour of being her only child who was around in the last one month of her life. She sang, she prayed and she preached.
“Her final key messages centred around unity, forgiveness and love. My mother was a true child of God, a sincere Christian and doer of God’s word.
“She knew when it was time to go and she transitioned to the great beyond so seamlessly. As I write this tribute, my mind keeps racing to the discussions we had during our shared moments in the last one month of her life.
“She saw Jesus; she preached about Him and lived a life worthy of Him. My mother enjoyed so much of God’s grace; she was the first in many things.
“Although she looked fragile, she was stern and disciplined. She was a devoted Christian, soft spoken woman with a gentle disposition, meek as a dove and lover of all, a totally faithful wife and devoted mother.
“She was a great cook with little appetite. She lived an impactful life. I will forever cherish the grace of being mothered by her…”
One of the grandchildren of the departed, Temi Fashesi, in his tribute, said: “Grandma brings back a few memories for me. Her house was warm, and we were always greeted by delicious meals in the kitchen. She makes the best Gbegiri and Ewedu with smooth amala. Even though you are no longer with us, your memories will live on inside of us forever.
“I am thankful for …you have made, the care you have shown, the love you have shown, and everything you have done and I know you are in a better place.”
From a member of BYKOTA Society of the First Baptist Church, Oke Adagba, Saki, mama once led is this tribute:
“Lakunle, you left us, when no one of us expected. You are one of those members, who started in 1961. You played your part in the society well. The society will surely miss your motherly advice. We will surely miss you in our midst. May the Almighty God give you internal rest.”
The BYKOTA Society of Victory Land Baptist Church, Mokola, Ibadan, also celebrateed Chief Ayanyoyin Lakunle “for a life well spent and dedicated life to the service of the Lord. We will surely miss you but we know you are in a better place. Rest on our dear Mama.”
Ibadan chief and poet, Prof Raji-Oyelade, fondly called RemRaj by his admirers, dropped these lines as a tribute on behalf of his colleagues in the department of English: “To the entire membership of the Department of English, University of Ibadan, Please accept our condolences on the peaceful transition of mama unto glory. May her soul rest in perfect peace and give you and all members of the family the fortitude to bear the loss.”
For Jide Lakunle, one of Mama’s children, “we (children rise) up and call you blessed; your husband, as well, praises you. Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” We thank God for a life well spent of eternal legacies. May the Living God grant you eternal rest. Love you, mummy.”
Relishing the good and exemplary life mama lived, Prince Bisi Ogunsola and family could not help but thank God for her life. “Thank God for your life; yours was a life well-lived. We also thank God that you knew Christ till the end. We pray that all that you have left behind will continue to flourish. You have lived a fulfilled life and impacted many lives. Rest in perfect peace till the resurrection when we shall meet to part no more.”
Highlights of the church burial service was the presentation of a cash gift to First Baptist Church, Oke Adagba, Saki by children of the deceased and a posthumous award from the church received by Prof. Jegede on behalf of the deceased for her unwavering and untainted devotion and service to God and His vineyard while alive.