Marian Ayeyemi Ogunwusi
Matriarch of the Ogunwusi royal family in Ile-Ife
Olori Agba Marian Ayeyemi Ododa Anipele Ogunwusi, who has died aged about 104 years, is the mother of Prince Ropo Ogunwusi, the father of Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the current Ooni of Ife who mounted the throne of his forefathers on December 6, 2015.
She was born into the family of the late Prince Joshua Omibeku Ishadipe, a prince of the lineage of Ogboru Ruling House, Alaka Compound in Ilode quarters of Ile-Ife, Osun State.
In his tribute to the late matriarch, Yinka Olabisi wrote that some of her children would be inconsolable as her body is interred today.
“No amount of consolatory words and teary, heartfelt empathy can soothe the pain of the death of their beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother. The centenarian died peacefully in her sleep. Their grief is understandable. She was not a run of the mill mother. Mama was a cut above the rest, an epitome of venerable motherhood. She was not just their biological mother; she quadrupled as their friend, confidante, adviser and role model,” Olabisi noted.
He recalled that since the late matriarch lost her beloved husband, the late Prince Joseph Adefisibe Olaobaju Ogunwusi, a successful produce buyer, transporter and farmer from the Giesi Ruling House, and grandson of Oòni Òjájá, about 18 years ago, she had been the nexus of the vast, prosperous family.
He added: “Though frail due to old age, she remained firm and decisive till her last days. The Ogunwusi children are especially conscious of the fact that with Mama’s glorious transition, they have lost that singular person they could turn to in times of adversity or when they need direction through the labyrinth of life. They know, more than sympathisers from far and near can ever imagine, that the only person on earth who knew them from the day they were born was no more and, in effect, whatever is left of their childhood was gone with her. It is a tough but bearable epiphany. The Ogunwusi children are consoled, however, by the fact that she lived a good life, impacted the people that crossed her path and was known to love God unconditionally. Given the peace and prosperity of her family and living to the age that she did without losing a limb or experiencing senility, it would not be a misnomer to state that Mama was one of those select few that God showed off with. She was indeed an apple in God’s eyes.
“In and around Ile-Ife, Iya Alaso, as she was popularly known, was a devout Christian who committed her time and resources to the service of God. While Mama was alive, it was common knowledge that except due to circumstances beyond her control especially the occasional illnesses that came with old age, she never missed the daily morning prayer in her church, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Aiyegbaju, Ile-Ife. She was an active member of the ‘Egbe Cornelius, Obinrin Moore’ and the ‘Egbe Ajumo Gbadura’ of her church. Also a redoubtable community leader, Mama was very accommodating and was reputed for freely dispensing with whatever she had for the betterment of humanity. Nothing was too big for her to give out. Thus, till her last days, her house was always a beehive of activities as people trooped in and out. Everybody was her child. She never discriminated.
“In the midst of this grief, however, is an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the Ogunwusis. Mama lived a fulfilled life. Apart from making peace with her creator, she lived long enough to see her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her offspring prospered and multiplied before her very eyes. And the culmination of her glorious life would be, unarguably, the crowning of one of her grandsons, Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, as the Ooni of Ife few months before she joined her makers.
“Mama was a lover of children who did not limit her caring disposition to her own biological children alone. In return for her exceptionally good character and deeds, Mama was well respected by all and sundry including her numerous customers and neighbours, both in the secular and religious circles.”
Olabisi further added that to ensure a proper and befitting burial for their departed matriarch, all the Ogunwusis, particularly Prince Adetunji Adeyemi Ogunwusi, the chairman, Primewaterview Holdings, a conglomerate of diverse companies based in Lagos, were leaving no stone unturned.
The remains of the late matriarch will be buried today after a funeral service at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Aiyegbaju, Ile-Ife, Osun State, at 11a.m. Thereafter, guests will be entertained at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) Ground, Phase 2, Gate, Ile-Ife.
“Adieu, Olori Agba. This is a long night that will never find a day!” Olabisi mourned.
Olori Agba Marian Ayeyemi Ogunwusi died on February 8, 2016
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