In a week-long celebration that commenced on September 11, 2023, the paramount ruler of Egba land, Alake Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, marked his 80th birthday today, September 14, 2023, with a series of remarkable events and festivities. The grand occasion was attended by dignitaries from various sectors, and it showcased the rich cultural heritage of Egba land.
The festivities kicked off on Tuesday, September 11, 2023, with the unveiling of several significant projects, including the Egba museum, Egba ICT center, and an administrative block. These edifices signify the commitment of the Alake to the development and preservation of the cultural heritage of Egba land. Additionally, a portable borehole water system was launched to enhance access to clean water for the community.
The climax of the celebration was on Thursday, September 14, 2023, the Alake’s birthday. A special thanksgiving service was held at the historic St. Peter’s Cathedral Anglican Church in Ake, the first church in Nigeria. The event commenced at 12 PM and was followed by a grand luncheon combined with a book launch at the Ake Ballroom. The title of the book is “The Alakes in Abeokuta Since 1854”. Musical entertainment was provided by the legendary Chief Ebenezer Obey.
The church event saw the Alake himself reading the first Bible lessons, underscoring the importance of faith in his life. It was attended by an array of distinguished guests, including former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, and former Ogun State Governors, Olusegun Osoba and Ibikunle Amosun. The current Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, graced the occasion with his presence.
Other notable dignitaries in attendance included Senator Solomon Olamilekan, Senator Soaya Salisu, and Prince Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka. Prominent religious figures were also present, including Jasper Akinola, the retired primate of the Anglican Church; a representative of RCCG’s General Overseer, Pastor Adeboye; Pastor Akande; and a representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ogun State, Akin Akinsanya.
Both the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, and the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, sent congratulatory letters to celebrate the Alake’s milestone birthday.
Governor Abiodun’s letter expressed gratitude for the Alake’s unwavering support and guidance and praised him for being an exemplary monarch. The governor extended warm regards and best wishes for many more years of healthy and inspirational leadership.
President Bola Tinubu also sent a heartfelt letter, acknowledging the Alake’s wisdom, compassion, and dedication to his people. He described the Alake’s reign as a testament to exemplary leadership that extends beyond his community.
Governor Obaseki congratulated the monarch on his remarkable milestone and commended him for his dedication to education and economic empowerment, as well as his commitment to unity and progress.
The highlight of the book launch at the Ake Ballroom was “The Alakes in Abeokuta since 1854,” a significant publication that delves into the historical journey of the Alakes of Egba land. This book offers a comprehensive insight into the lineage and contributions of the Alakes to the development of Abeokuta and the entire Egbaland.
Alake’s Remarkable Journey: From Military Service to Monarchy
Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo’s life journey has been nothing short of remarkable. Born into the Taiwo family, his early life was marked by a thirst for education. He began his educational journey at the age of four and continued through various prestigious institutions, including Abeokuta Grammar School, Baptist Boys’ High School in Abeokuta, and the University of Ibadan, where he graduated in 1969.
In 1959, at the age of 26, he was commissioned into the Nigerian Army and underwent rigorous military training. Over the next 15 years, he served in various roles within the Nigerian Army Education Corps, furthering his leadership skills.
His life took a different turn when he married Tokunbo Odunjo, with whom he celebrated 52 years of marriage in 2023. This union produced four children, a testament to his commitment to his marriage vow of one wife.
After leaving the military in 1985, his journey in the private sector led him to establish successful businesses and work with leading conglomerates in Nigeria’s key sectors.
In 2005, the opportunity to ascend the throne of his forefathers beckoned, and he was crowned as the 10th Alake of Egbaland. Since then, his reign has been marked by a commitment to preserving traditions, promoting education, fostering unity, and driving development within Egbaland and beyond.
Through his unwavering dedication, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo has not only preserved the cultural heritage of Egbaland but has also contributed significantly to the progress of Ogun State and Nigeria as a whole.
On his 80th birthday, the Alake’s subjects and well-wishers celebrate a monarch whose legacy continues to inspire and uplift the people of Egbaland and beyond. They wish him many more years on the throne, filled with joy, good health, and continued blessings.