– Why she was buried in Lagos
– ‘Her last moment’ – Children
– ‘What we will miss about her’ – Friends
LATE Chief (Mrs.) Adetayo Adunni Bankole, the Iyalode of Gbaguraland, Abeokuta (Ogun State) was, on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, laid to rest at Yaba Cemetery, Yaba, Lagos amid tears and eulogies.
The 55 year-old philanthropist and high society woman was praised to the high heavens by those who had encountered her, with many extolling her virtues of kindness, generosity, knack for giving good counsel, never-say-never attitude and warmness towards people.
The multi-chieftaincy title holder passed away on Saturday, January 3, 2015, which incidentally was her second daughter, Mopelola’s wedding day.
THE TWO-DAY FUNERAL AND FIDAU PRAYER IN HER HONOUR
As she was a practising Christian, a service of songs (Christian wake keep) was held in her honour on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, at Anchor Events Center, Agidingbi, Lagos at 5pm. Triumphant Christian Centre (TCC), a church she was a known member of, conducted the service which drew family, friends and well wishers from far and near. Celebrities, especially Yoruba movie stars, were not left out as they came to pay their last respect to a fallen doyenne of the industry at the service which culminated to a Praise Night.
The funeral service was held on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at the same Anchor Events center at 10am -this time it was conducted by the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Ago-Igbala.
At the funeral were royal fathers who were represented by their staffs of office as they, too, came to pay their last respect to a true daughter (an ‘Omoluabi’ as they call her).
The interment followed immediately afterwards at Yaba Cemetery, Yaba, Lagos.
A Fidau prayer was also held in her honour on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at her Oregun, Ikeja home at 10 a.m.
Sheik Moriraz Muhibdeen of Ariyat Mosque, Ikorodu and Solihudeen Ibrahim of Maryland Central Mosque, Mende, Maryland (Lagos) oversaw the prayers which witnessed only a handful of people.
RAIN OF EULOGIES
CLEARLY, Iyalode Adunni Bankole positively touched the lives of everyone she came across. What many had to say about her is proof of this…
‘I didn’t know my mother was dead during my wedding’ – Newly-wed daughter, MOPELOLA JATO
+ ‘She was closest to her creator in her last days’
Tearfully, Mopelola Jato, Adunni Bankole’s daughter who got married on the same day she passed on (January 3) spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly…
What would you miss most about your mom?
Her calls, my mom used to call me every day. I’m used to her calling me.
How would you describe her last moments?
She was closest to her creator in her last days. She was closest to God. That’s how I’ll describe it.
Of all the experiences you had with your mom, which is your most memorable?
There are too many memorable ones. I mean I’m over 30, I can’t even start to talk about that, they were too many.
Some are speculating that she died of heart-related disease. What exactly did she die of?
I’ll rather not talk about that.
Also at the at the Service of Songs, Mrs. Mopelola Jato, newly-wed daughter in her eulogy said:
“I know my mom has gone to rest in a better place. She lived a good life. To everybody she was Iyalode Adunni Bankole, but to us, she was mummy. She pulled everybody close. She used to call me sweet names, like mumsy, sweety, darling. She was a strong woman that would stand her ground on anything. She would say the truth and would stand by it. She had so much energy. She was full of life, nobody really knew what was going on because for her it was important that everything was in place and everybody was happy. She had four biological children but I know she had over a hundred children. Many times I would ask my sister who is that person again and she would say that’s mom’s new daughter and we would accept them. She taught us to accommodate, to pull people close. She was a mother indeed, because everything that I know my mom taught me. For every situation my mom was the person because she always had the perfect answer. She would worry about everything and everybody, even on her sickbed. I remember I asked why I was not told she was sick and I was told that mommy said they should not tell me because I may not be able to handle it. Against all odds, she insisted that my wedding should hold.
“When I realized she was ill, I said mommy, let’s shift it. She said no, that it was my day and I should have it. Over the years, she would call me and ask ‘Don’t you want to get married?’ And I would tell her that it would happen at the right time. She planned and waited. She used to talk about the day every time. I remember three years ago when she fell ill and my greatest fear was that she wouldn’t see that day. But who are we to question God. For the past four or five years every time she fell ill my prayer has always been God let her see that day, because it was a day she wanted to see so badly. But like I said, who are we to question God because she chose to leave on the morning of my wedding. I remember few days after my wedding my friend called me and said somebody has posted on a blog asking, ‘What would you do if your mom died on the morning of your wedding?’ My initial reaction was anger, that why would someone do that. But I sat back and prayed for the person that she and all those who commented on it would not know what it feels like. On the night after my wedding, I was telling my husband that I want to go and see my mom. I had prepared to go and see her, then some people walked in. I just knew something had gone wrong. They didn’t have to tell me before I knew that my mom had gone to rest. From the deepest part of my heart today, I’m saying it for the first time, rest in peace mommy.”
‘My mom’s last moments were very peaceful’
– OWOLABI BANKOLE, Son
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with Adunni Bankole’s only son, Owolabi Mohammed Bankole, who is a 27-year-old farmer. He revealed what life would be now without his mom and what her last moments were like…
What would you miss most about your mom now that she’s gone?
I’ll miss the way my mom laughed at my jokes. She had a very radiant laugh which was very contagious.
What character traits would you say stood your mom out?
Her generosity. I’m happy that even now that she’s gone, a lot of people still remember that about her. I believe her generosity and kindness would make her survive even now that she’s gone.
Of the experiences you had with her, which would you say was your most memorable?
I remember when I was about seven years old and I had an asthma attack; I was in the hospital somewhere around Alausa for close to three months. I remember I was unconscious and each time I woke up it was my mom smiling, telling me it was going to be okay. And now I’m fine, much stronger than I was before that. For that, I’m going to remember her.
What would you say your mom has taught you that you’d never forget?
My mom taught me never to judge a book by its cover. She also taught me to be kind.
What were her last moments like?
I think my mom’s last moments were very peaceful. She was calm. She seemed ready.
People are speculating she died of heart-related disease. What did she die of?
My mom was ill. That’s as much as I can say.
Now that she’s gone, how would you cope?
I still have my siblings, that’s my sisters, my dad, my mother’s friends, people like you and everyone my mom carried along. I like the fact that everyone is being warm to us. And I know my mom is still there somewhere watching, praying and protecting us like she always did. I’m sure we’ll be fine.
You are a Muslim and your mom was a Christian. Was there ever any friction between you two based on that?
Absolutely not! My mom respected the fact that I was and still a Muslim and I also respected the fact that she was a Christian. I had no problem whatsoever with her religion.
FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES EXTOL HER VIRTUES
ENCOMIUM Weekly also spoke with a number of her friends and colleagues; they all raved about her virtues…
‘She’s was a pillar of support’ – ABIOLA ATANDA (Madam Kofo), Friend
How and when did you meet Adunni Bankole?
I met Adunni Bankole over 30 years ago and ever since, we’ve been very close. She’s been a pillar of support. She’s a dependable friend and she did a lot for me.
During that time, how did she impact you?
In so many ways. As has been said, if I have any problem or challenge I would just call her or go to her and she would tell me what to do. Also, if I have any important personality I want to see, she would just give me their number. She was the one that gave me ex-President Obasanjo’s number. She’s like that, she will not think twice. Some people will not want to give you like that. Even when she gives you the number she would follow it up, to the extent of calling the person before you get there.
What will you miss about her?
I will miss her company. She was a jolly good fellow, fun to be with. I also bear Adunni like her, so we used to jokingly ask who would pay the other for the name. She was always happy, pleasant and loved to be in the midst of people. Adunni did not keep grudges. If you have a misunderstanding with her, which is normal, and she sees you the following day, she would be the first to talk to you and make fun of the quarrel you had with her.
‘We were each other’s admirers’ – FLORENCE ITA-GIWA
What are you going to miss about her?
I think her smile. She was a very sociable person. She was a lovely lady.
How did she impact you?
We were each other’s admirers.
‘Adunni was loving, caring and very accommodating’ – PRINCESS TESSY YEMBRA, Friend
How and when did you meet Adunni Bankole?
We’ve been friends for a long time, over 30 years. We were very good friends. The last time I saw her was at her daughter’s engagement ceremony at her husband’s house in Abeokuta on September 27.
You were friends for a long time, in what way did she impact your life?
She had a lot. For instance, when I had an attack on my health, she was there for me, she bought all my medication. Also, when my daughter gave birth to her first born, she named him ‘Jagaban’. All the clothes he wore from day one till he was one year old, she supplied it. We were in her house at Jajo for three months.
What would you miss most about her?
She was a genius. Adunni was loving, caring and very accommodating. She touched lives. I will remember her for life.
‘I will miss her advice and encouragement’ – SAIDI BALOGUN, Nollywood actor
How and when did you meet Adunni Bankole?
I met her several years ago through Her Excellency Remi Adiukwu Bakare.
What was your most memorable experience of her?
When I was planning a launching in 2008. I was unsure if it would work out and I felt everything was down, but she stood by me and it worked. She was such a nice person.
How did she impact you?
She made a lot of impact on my life. Whenever I was down, she was there for me.
What will you miss about her?
Her advice and the way she pushes me. She didn’t believe it could not work. I will also miss her prayers.
‘I will miss her humility and kindness’ – IYABO OJO, Actress
How and when did you meet Iyalode Adunni Bankole?
I met her a couple of years ago. My first encounter with her was at an event some five, six years ago. I went to say hello to her; she hugged me and encouraged me to keep up the good work and that the sky is the starting point.
During the years after, how did she impact your life?
She had so much impact on my life. I remember when I wanted to expand my business and I went to her, she encouraged me to go ahead with whatever I wanted to do. I should take the risk. She told me of how she used to travel about to buy clothes and come back and sell. Also, when I wanted to start my NGO, Pinkies Foundation, and there was a lot of controversy. She called me, encouraged me and even supported us with many baby stuffs. She has been a sort of pillar.
What will you miss about her?
I will miss her humility, her kindness, her prayers and her words of encouragement.
‘I tapped out of her strength and zeal’ – OLUWASEYI ARIYO (She baby)
How did you meet you Adunni Bankole?
I met Adunni Bankole about six years ago. I met her through one of her daughters, that’s Oluwatoyin, who was my colleague in school and ever since she has had positive impact on my life.
What did you gain from her during those years?
I think I tapped out of her strength and her zeal. Even when there was no way, she would tell you there’s a way. I think these will live with me for the rest of my life.
‘She was like a pillar I relied on’ – OLUWAFERANMI EKISHOLA (Pero Sayemi), Actress
How did you meet Adunni Bankole?
I met her five years ago when we were about having the 16th anniversary of ANTP (now TAMPAN), Ikeja chapter. We wanted to have high society people and Adunni Bankole was suggested. Fortunately for us, she lived within our local government. As I was a member of the committee, I was asked to go see her. The reception I got when I got to her house was wonderful. You would think I knew her before then, but that was actually my first time of meeting her. On the day of our event, she was there and she gave us her full support. She even gave us contacts of some people who could also help us. Ever since, whenever she had an event to attend she would call me to attend with her -she picked interest in me. When I wanted to produce my movie, Pero sayemi, I went to her and gave me 100 percent backing. All the contacts and connections I have today in media houses and others, I am proudly saying it that she gave them to me.
What was your most memorable experience with her?
The sweetest story of my life was when she said: ‘Feranmi, we are going to Obasanjo’s (the ex-President) house.’ We stayed there for five days. I dined and wined with ex-President Obasanjo. What more could I ask? She was everything to me. Yoruba people do say that those who are at the top do not want those who are coming behind to get to the top, but Adunni Bankole was not like that. She would want you to get to the top, to go places. You can see it yourself, people are celebrating today.
What will you miss about her?
This is not the time I will cry. My tears will come when I need her and I realize she’s not there. She was the kind of person that if you wanted to see an important personality, say a politician and you call her, she would tell you to hang up so she could call the person right away. If you then go to see the person, there would be no protocol. Who will do that for me now? She was like a pillar I relied on.
What are those things she taught you?
She taught me to accommodate people, to be independent, to be bold and to be a woman of dignity and honour.
‘People should emulate Adunni’ – BIODUN KUPOLUYI, Journalist
“She was a great woman. As everybody knows, she was quite close to we, the media guys. She was someone you would love to have around you. She was a woman of substance. Like her daughter said, she came, she saw, she conquered. She believed in people. I think people should follow the kind of life that she lived. She was a cheerful giver and brought life to an occasion. She was a beacon of hope.”
What neighbours said about IYALODE ADUNNI BANKOLE
‘She was an amiable woman’ – Igbasan Kehinde Francis
“Iyalode Adunni Bankole was an excellent woman. A woman with non-negotiable integrity. Very loving and amiable. She was the one who actually developed this community. She was a sort of encouragement to me when I bought my land here. She loved seeing people around her. She brought light to this community and she was the light. She would be remembered for all her good works and the legacy she stood for.”
‘She was our benefactor’ – Mrs. Bunmi Aderibigbe
“I was very close to Iyalode in this community. She was a very nice and peaceful woman. A philanthropic and God fearing woman. She was very loving and kind. Her death was a blow to all of us in this community. Iyalode was the one who opened up this place. This place was a bush before she settled down. It was when she came here that this place started developing. To be precise, she brought electricity. We will continue to remember Mama for all her good deeds. There was no time anybody walked up to her for assistance and the person would return empty handed. She was also there for us. May her soul rest in peace.”
‘She was a cheerful giver’ – Samsideen Adejumo
‘Iyalode Adunni Bankole was a very nice and accommodating woman. She was a cheerful giver. She spent all she had for the development of the people around her. Her death was painful to all of us in this community. And we will forever, remember her for all she had done. She was a peaceful woman and a role model.”
‘Her death was a great loss’ – Mrs. Adewokun
“Mama was a very nice woman in this community. She was our beloved mother in this Jajoland. She was always there for us. Anytime our children took ill, she would invite nurses to take care of them. She was a woman of peace. Her death was a great loss to this community. I pray God will meet all the children she left behind at the points of their needs. We will forever miss her.”
‘She was a nice woman’ – Prince Adelaja
“Iyalode Adunni Bankole was a woman all the residents of Jajo will never forget. She was very good to all and sundry. She was too good to die now but nobody can query God. May her gentle soul rest in peace. And may God forgive all her shortcomings.”
‘She was a good counsellor’ – Mr. Tajudeen Adewokun
“Iyalode Adunni Bankole was our mother in this community, and we all loved her in return. She lived all her life, helping people. She was a good counselor. Just meet her on any problem, the problem is solved. She was always there for my family. I can still recollect when I relocated to Bariga, she was the one who advised me to come back to this place and be with my family. Even when I had problem with my commercial bus, she was the one who gave me money to repair it. Her impact on this community as a whole was enormous and she will be remembered forever.”
Her unfulfilled dreams
ONE of the ultimate dreams of the Iyalode of Gbagura, Chief (Mrs.) Adunni Bankole was to become a politician so that she could be availed the opportunity to help the people in a bigger way. Unfortunately, this was cut short on Saturday, January 3, 2015, when death took her away.
In one of her chats with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the amiable socialite had promised to change the face of politics and governance in her little capacity and make life better for the people if she gets the clarion call from her people to serve them. Iyalode Adunni Bankole, who had touched so many lives will surely be missed by many.
Why she was buried in Lagos
ALMOST all Iyalode Adunni Bankole’s close associates expected her remains would be buried in her husband’s compound in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Wednesday, January 14, 2015. But their expectation was dashed as it was announced the body of the society bigwig would be laid to rest at Atan Cemetery, Yaba, Lagos. One of the reasons for the sudden change in the burial arrangement, a close source revealed to ENCOMIM Weekly, was not unconnected with Iyalode’s unresolved differences with her husband, High Chief Suara Alani Bankole till she breathed her last. She was even said to have been barred by the latter from having access to his Abeokuta residence, allegedly on the ground that she moved out of his Oregun, Lagos home without his knowledge.
This and perhaps, few more, were said to have accounted for the reason the children buried the famous socialite in Lagos.
Meanwhile, what was on the lips of many, especially those who attended the funeral of the late philanthropist was that she had instructed her children not to take her body to Abeokuta, Ogun State anytime death beckons, instead she should be buried in Lagos.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s effort to seek clarification from the family was not honoured as no one wanted to talk on this.
– Stories and interviews by TADE ASIFAT and MICHAEL NWOKIKE