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MY ENCOUNTER WITH CHIEF AKINMOKUN – A TRIBUTE

Today, going the way of all mortals Chief Isaac Ojo Akinmokun OON, aka Ija o Lere will be committed to mother earth.
While he lived he was a foremost son of Ikeji Ile that others could be proud of and emulate.

There is no family in Ikeji Ile who was not touched by his benevolence. He symbolised everything good about Ikeji Ile, the place of our birth.
He was born in Ikeji Ile, I was also born in Ikeji Ile, like thousands of others.

For those who might not know about this God Own City, situated on a Hill, Ikeji Ile is in Oriade Local Government of Osun State or the State of Osun. A mother town to Ikeji Arakeji, the spiritual headquarters of Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide. The two are few kilometres from each other. Near Ipetu Ijesa.

As I said, there is no child of Ikeji Ile now in his 50s and few of the 60s who would not be touched by the good heart of Chief Akinmokun, especially those of us who were raised in the rural environment.

He was the man who single handedly offered us free writing materials in our primary school days without any discrimination. Then we had fellow students who were not from our town, the non natives. We had Igbos, Urhobos, Calabars wherever you came from was never a problem, as you are a registered pupil in the school, you are entitled to the privilege.

He was the man who God used to champion the establishment of our high school which all the products can be proud of today. Despite being located in a rural environment, Chief Akinmokun and his compatriots gave us one of the best Secondary School in the then Oyo State.

We were good all round, in composition, students were admitted from all parts of Nigeria, in academics we produced the bests, in sports and games our ambassadors stood out, even in leadership we had one of the best principals and vice principals who led us positively then.

Chief Akinmokun stood out.

Permit me to share this my unforgettable encounter with Chief Akinmokun.

Before then I had benefited from his kind gestures and scholarship from winning some cool cash as one of our brilliant boys then in Ikeji Ile High School. As one of the bests then I won some cash prizes in our promotional exams.

These were some of the things our elders did to encourage education among us then and we did not mess up the opportunity.

Education was a very good competition among us. Getting admission to higher institutions was our priority.

Then I was also fortunate to be admitted to University of Ife. There was no problem and everything was going very smoothly.

Yet there was this day, I cannot remember the date and there is no special reason for that. But I cannot forget the encounter anytime I remember Chief Akinmokun.

I just strolled out of my Angola Hall where I was staying when I saw Chief and some people at an open space under the tree. I looked at him and I said this is Chief.

I went up to him and greeted him in our local dialect. He could never miss the accent. After my greetings he asked me if I knew him, and I answered in the affirmative.

He asked for what I was doing there and I told him giving him more details. He was well impressed.

As I was just about to leave them he called me to wait, as I waited Baba reached out to his purse and handed me six crisp new naira notes. The six naira of that time is like six thousand of today if not sixty thousand. Then all I needed to have was just One naira to take me to my home town from Ikeji Ile.

This was a gesture I will never forget. Not because he gave me this money but the love and encouragement he showed.

Pa Akinmokun was a role model, and he will ever remain a role model to all who knew him.
In fact many of our colleagues have been thinking of how we would give him a departure befitting his stature. But as the family would like to respect his request, he would not like to be kept in any mortuary.

Today he will be committed to mother earth in his home town, the town he so much loved and worked for. Ikeji Ile, our homestead.

Well, for those who did not know him, Chief Isaac Ojo Akinmokun until his death was the founder, Chairman and Chief Executive of many blue chip companies like Isolak Motors, Paramount Bookshop, ISOGLASS Nigeria Ltd, a windscreen manufacturing company and the first in West. Africa, one of the pioneer directors of International Breweries Ltd, Ilesa. He was a national award recipient of the Nigeria’s Order Of the Niger (OON).

As a community leader he earned several chieftaincy titles, he was the Bobagunwa of Ikeji Ile, the Maiyegun of Ilesa and Otun Agba Akin of Ibadanland.

To all my fellow sons and daughters of Ikeji Ile, Omo Eleni Ateeka, Omo Eleni Ewele, all we can do is to keep the memory of his good work going, let us be united again and make our community stronger even than the aspirations of these fathers. Ikeji Ile can be great again. Chief Akinmokun, Chief T. A. Awe, Oba Arojojoye and others have played their various enviable roles, let us build on their structure and make our place of birth lovable and more dynamic again.

Ikeji Ile should produce many Chief Isaac Akinmokuns. Your prayers can do it and your love and unity can facilitate it.

May the soul of Chief Akinmokun and those of other dead patriots of Ikeji Ile continue to rest in perfect peace.

Please if you have any testimony and encounter with this iconic leader feel free to share it, even here. Let the reports of his good work and Celebration of his good life continue.

Feel free to drop your testimonies of your encounter with Chief Akinmokun and your tributes to his legacy.

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