BY DELE MOMODU
The Chief Launcher
The Olori ebi of the Adeyinka Ijaiye Kukudi Dynasty
The entire Adeyinka family
Please, permit me to apologize for my absence. It is not in my character to make promises and not keep my word but this situation was definitely and apparently beyond my control. I would have done almost anything to be here after communicating my willingness and readiness to review this important book first to my friend and brother, the famous GbengaAdeyinka the 1st, your very illustrious son. I had also spoken to the family and re-assured them but AS THEY SAY, MAN PROPOSES AND GOD DISPOSES. I WILL CALL IT THE BURDEN OF FRIENDSHIP.
My life is indeed a roller-coaster. I love my friends with all my heart. One of my closest colleagues, Mayor Akinpelu, had told me long ago that I will definitely chair the wedding of his eldest daughter and it was a tacit agreement we reached. But I never envisaged his date to clash with this book launch. When he called to remind me of my promise and I double-checked my itinerary for the date, I screamed aloud and did not know what hit me like thunderbolt. Meanwhile the wedding was billed to take place in the US. Within the same week, I was requested by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to be on the delegation of Lagos State to the Toronto International Film Festival. Toronto was definitely closer to North Carolina where the wedding took place yesterday. I’m very sorry that I disappointed you and I pray you will forgive me. Thank you for your kind understanding.
What the Adeyinka family has done is very similar to what was done thousands of years ago in the Old Testament which was to publish a family tree in the book of Genesis with Adam and Eve at the apex. At a time our history has died or dying, it is certainly a worthy effort. This book is about a great and self-conscious family taking pride in its glorious heritage and documenting it not just for generations unborn but for eternity.
We know very little about our contemporary history not to talk of our ancient past. It is indeed doubtful if most of us can trace our family trees up to one century. Brothers and sisters and cousins don’t know one another and it is so easy to commit incest these days mainly out of ignorance about whom we are and where we come from. This book seeks to correct all that and set the records straight the family trajectory. It is a very ambitious work that should be the envy of so many other families.
It is strange that biographies and memoirs are rare to come back in our clime despite centuries of Western education and our sojourning in foreign lands. We have blatantly and studiously ignored the need to preserve our family trees for many generations in the future. As a matter of fact, this is the first book of its kind that I have seen in Nigeria that sets out deliberately and meticulously to record its first family tree. This is definitely a salutary work that should ignite many more of such interventions.
This book had been a work in motion based on the original effort of one of its forbears, The Odofin of Egbaland, Chief David AdebowaleAdeyinka, who prepared the first original Adeyinka family tree. The family had resolved to expand the scope of his work at a family meeting in 2013 and the result is this book we are launching today. As noted in the foreword which is written by Deacon (Engineer) Samuel AdisaOlanrewaju Adeyinka: “This is our first attempt at a comprehensive compilation of our up-to-date historical records of our family’s emancipation, greatness and popularity. In the past, we had always had the impression that we were the only family bearing the “ADEYINKA” in Egbaland but most recently, we have discovered that there are other Adeyinka families who are in no way related to us…”
This foreword encapsulates the very essence of the book. It reinvigorates the fact of the Adeyinka family as belonging to royalty right from Oyo and the nobility of its roots in Ile-Ife, “The source”. The book is expected to educate and encourage every member of the family on its obligations towards promoting its best image, culture, tradition, mannerisms, behaviour, integrity, royalty, and so on.
There is also a Preface written by Elder Titus Adelani Adeyinka, who is the Chairman of the Family Publication Committee. He finds very worrisome and troubling the fact that our young ones have refuse to grab and take advantage of the digital revolution to rediscover their roots by gaining a knowledge of their past. This sets the tone and tempo of the book which seeks to correct this unfortunate anomaly. According to Elder Titus Adeyinka:
“Any generation that can trace its sources or pedigree to a century can be referred to as a dynasty… the publication is, therefore, meant to serve as a wake-up call or to herald in advance, the centenary celebration of our progenitor, Pa (Prince) Ajakaiye Adeyinka, a Prince of Oyo and a nnobleman from the source, Ile-Ife…”
The 237-page book 15 chapters is closely followed by references, appendix and annexures. Chapter I quotes copiously from the Holy Bible to serve as template for its rejection of what they consider idolatry. Chapter 2 delves into the history of Yoruba internecine wars that led to the dispersal and disruption of many families. Many were forced to flee their homes to seek refuge in other places. I find this chapter very revealing as it explains how many families became dual or multiple citizens and embraced religious syncretism.
Chapter goes deeper into the history of the war that dispersed and scattered the Oyo people to far and near. Wow, it must have been a very difficult and agonising period for many families who must have lost contact with their loved ones. As I read this book, I could still feel the pains and the pangs of war. Chapter 4 deals with the culture of polygamy, as Pa (Prince) Ajakaiye Adeyinka had three wives, and it presents a diagram of the family trees from different mothers. Interestingly they were mostly Christians and Muslims too. Yet they lived in peaceful cohabitation.
Chapter 5 is garnished with pictures of family compounds. Chapter 6 unveils the torchbearers of the family including the earliest to travel to London. This is revealing and inspirational. The pictures of prominent family members reveal civility and aristocracy. It is like who-is-who compendium. Chapter 8 celebrates the family stars including the accomplished ladies. I was most delighted to see my great friend and brother, Gbenga Adeyinka the 1st, Comedian of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, extra-ordinary Master of Ceremonies, in that powerful family. Now I know why his art is refreshingly different; he has an impeccable pedigree. This is one of the longest chapters in the wonderful book.
Chapter 9 is devoted to the story of Ijaiye Kukudi in Gbagura, Abeokuta. Gbagura brought back tears of nostalgia as I remembered my mentor Chief MKO Abiola of blessed memories. Chapter 10 shows the coat of arms of the Adeyinka family and the symbolic royalty, faith in God and professionalism represented by the icons of crown, eagle and the spanner respectively. The motto of the family is “Hardwork is the antidote to poverty.” So didactic.
Chapter 11 eulogises the family praise-names, otherwise known as panegyric. It elicits in family members a sense of pride and hope. It commands them not to diminish the family influence and power. The Yoruba Oriki of the Adeyinka family is elaborately displayed. Even the family anthem is not left out and in Chapter 12 we see a confirmation of its adoption and ratification. This chapter shows the painstaking efforts made by the family to produce its family book. The Adeyinka Jubilee family harvest selected its songs and so on. The attention to detail is amazing. Chapter 13 is a reproduction of the famous Egba National Anthem LORI OKE ATI PETELE.
Chapter 14 lists the onerous tasks ahead for this forward looking family while Chapter 15 summarises the entire project.
I must confess that I’m highly motivated by this book and strongly recommend that the family should not keep it guardedly to itself alone. It has been a privilege having a sneak preview of this great work. Like all printed matters, the book is not free from what we call the Printer’s devil. The typographical should be corrected in subsequent editions. The family should be commended for this uncommon grace and favour.
Sent from my iPad