Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Alani Bankole @ 75: 21 things that happened at ex-Speaker’s father’s bash


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 Saturday September 17th, the City of Abeokuta, Ogun State (South West Nigeria) came alive with the presence of several dignatories  from all walks of life. Indeed, it was a gathering of people from all parts of Nigeria (South, West & North) as veteran Nigerian Politician and elder statesman, Alhaji (Chief) Suarau Olayiwola Alani Bankole, the father of ex-Nigerian Speaker, Rt. Honorable Dimeji Bankole celebrated his 75th year on planet earth.
The event with started with a birthday lecture delivered by a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher in the early hours of the day at Park Inn (Formerly Gateway Hotel) Abeokuta ended with a grand reception at the palace of the Alake of Egba Land, His Royal Majesty Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo (Okukenu IV) with Juju Music maestro turned Evangelist, Commander Ebenezer Obey mounting the stage.  The event was indeed a very huge one.  In this PART ONE of the rare event, your Africa’s number 1 Celebrity Encounter Blog, Asabeafrika brings you snippets from Chief Alani Bankole’s 75th birhday bash. Enjoy.
The Venue of the Lecture…
For guests and journalists who stormed Park Inn, the venue of the birthday lecture of Chief Alani Bankole, it was an entirely new scene marched with class and panache. The entire environment of the old Gateway Hotel, Abeokuta has changed totally with the color white adorning the exterior and lots of art works and beautiful scenery adorning the interior of the 5 star hotel. It was such a great sight to behold. The place which is rumored to have been leased out to veteran business man, Mr. Oba Otudeko’s Radisson Blue Hotel Services is indeed being handled by professionals who know their onions. Although, other sources told Asabeafrika that the place which was initially sold to lotto magnate Chief Kessingnton Adebutu of Baba Ijebu lotto fame under the administration of Governor Gbenga Daniel  has been resold to Mr. Oba Otudeko the owner of Honeywell Group under the regime of Senator Ibikunle Amosun. However, the gist remain unconfirmed.  On Saturday September 17 morning, legion of guests who came for the Bankole’s birthday and lodged in the hotel the previous night were seen taking their breakfast inside various dinning segments of the expansive hotel. 
Tight Security at the venue…

The venue of the lecture was manned by a team of security experts ranging from members of the Nigeria Police force, the Civil Defense Corps and the State Security Services. Right from the main gate, cars and other vehicular objects were checked thoroughly before being allowed in. The security check was conducted by members of the Civil Defense Corps while a team of smart, gentle and courteous police officers checked guests who made entry into the hotel. Bags, purses and other items were thoroughly checked before allowing their passage.
Why event started two hours behind schedule
The event which was slated for 9 am couldn’t start until 11 am when resident guests in the hotel started coming down from their respective rooms and external guests arrived in droves with arrays of different automobiles adorning the entire premises of the hotel. While issues like taking of breakfast by resident guests was linked to the lateness in starting the event, other issues like late night rest, fatigue and make up activities for the lady guests were linked to the late arrivals of guests for the event. However, at 11 am dot, it was as if a uniformed agreement was reached that all the guests should converge at the lobby of the hotel. A massive crowd soon converged and before one could say ‘Alani’, they all marched to the Olubori Banquet Hall of the hotel where the lecture was to take place.
Meet the Charge De Affairs
Call him the Charge de affairs and you won’t be saying otherwise. The scion of the Alani Bankole’s political dynasty, Rt. Honorable Dimeji Sabur Bankole was the lead man for the event as he took charge of strategic positions of the Olubori Banquet Hall, directing activities with his security details about four in number; all suit-up with dark sunshades to drive maximum fear into the mind of anybody that might want to be funny at the venue. The white colored attire loving ex-Speaker of Nigeria’s Federal House of Representative was in his humblest mood as he calls the shot and directed every segment of the event from the  beginning to the end.  Many who saw Dimeji Bankole on September 17 were surprised with some analysts claiming that the handsome politician who became speaker at the tender age of 37 is now a more matured politician. He also refused to sit with his elite friends inside the hall,  instead, choosing to sit among ordinary men at the entrance of the hall during the course of the event. It was a humble, simple and calm Dimeji Bankole in sight.   
How the “birthday boy” arrived
Called ‘The Caterpillar’ by political associate across Nigeria, Chief Alani Bankole despite his petite figure is a man who is capable of doing things that are bigger in nature. No wonder they also call him ‘Akere Koro’ (Small but Bitter/mighty). His arrival spoke volume of the two nomenclatures. At the time legion of guests (Those with invitation cards and those invited verbally) were battling Yinka Adedeji, the head of Protocol, Speaker’s Lagos liaison office and his men who  handled the entry of guests into the hall, Alani arrived amidst a cream of his old school mates at Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta (1961-65 class). They were the first guests allowed to enter the Olubori hall. Many wondered why the birthday boy had to escort his old school mates (About 20 of them) into the hall? Alani Bankole buried his height among that of  his mates as he personally led them to the entry point of Olubori Hall. Many didn’t believe he was among them as they kept denying he wasn’t there. However, it turned out that the celebrant only came to personally usher in his 1961-65 BBHS class mates into the hall as he soon disappeared only to re-appear thirty minutes later for what can be termed a “proper arrival”.
Meet first Oba to arrive for the lecture
In fact, he is the first VIP guest to arrive the Olubori Hall venue of the Birthday Lecture for Chief Alani Bankole. He is no other person than the Oluwo of Iwo Kingdom, His Imperial Majesty; Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi (Ilufemiloye TELU 1). When he arrived with his entourage, he practically prayed for everyone at the door before the protocol team passed him and his entourage.  He was the first VIP and first royal brother, oh, sorry, father to arrive for the event. He arrived at exactly 11:10am, ten minutes after the Olubori hall was  declared open by celebrant’s son, Rt. Honorable Dimeji Bankole to guests. 
 Oluwo’s retinue of Obas came…
The Yoruba adage says ‘Karin kapo, yiye lon ye ni’ (For us to walk in group earn us more respect) some of the Obas who joined the Oluwo of Iwo land to attend Chief Alani Bankole’s 75th birthday in Abeokuta are; Oba Kazeem Adio Ori Oye, the Onigege of Igege land under Ola-Oluwa LGA, Osun State. Oba Asimiu Sodiq Agboluaje, the Ologuro of Oguro land under Iwo LGA, Osun State. Oba Moshood Alamu (Oparaoke 1); the Onisara of Seesu in Iwo LGA; Oba Ogunleye Sikiru Omoyemi (Oyewale 1), the Olowu of Ilemowu under Olaoluwa LGA, Osun State; these Obas do follow the Oluwo to important outings of such magnitude.  
Oba of Lagos’ Chief Drummer storm Abeokuta for Alani Bankole
Of course, the birthday boy’s other nomenclature is ‘The Bridge Builder’ and honestly, you will wonder how he keeps building bridges that keeps the loyalty of royalties, aristocrats and clergies to his honor. Being a culturally sensitive person, Chief Alani Bankole didn’t just get any how drummer to beat traditional drums for him on his 75th birthday. Like a man blessed with the gene of royalty, the Seriki Jagunmolu Adinni of Egba land had the Chief drummer of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu famously known as Aremu Onilu Oba and his men perform for him on his birthday. Aremu Onilu Oba who stormed Park Inn with his ten men traditional band gave a fantastic account of themselves as they beat their bata, gan-gan and omele drums not only to give inspiring rhythms to the celebrant and his guests but to also narrate native folklores that are very familiar to only the ears of the celebrant and his kinsmen. Aremu Onilu Oba gave a tremendous performance. 
The Re-Arrival of Chief Alani Bankole…
His is a man full of royalty and style. If Chief Alani Bankole wasn’t a politician or business man, one other endeavor he would have loved to find himself is royalty—being a king. His body language reveals this post humor ambition as he arrived for his birthday lecture at 11:30 am dot (Which was the second time he was arriving after helping his BBHS school mates of 1961-65 class to escape the rigors of protocol earlier that morning). The birthday boy’s arrival was heralded with the melodious sound of traditional drums and songs offered by Aremu Onilu Oba and his men. Alani Bankole in company of one of his best friends, High Chief Abiola Ogundokun  (both are old political ally from NPN days under the Government of President Shehu Shagari) and other younger friends including Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa, the Secretary to the Government of Ogun State arrived into the arms of a waiting crowd of audience who were set for the event.
The Guest Lecturer too…
Honorable Justice Dahiru Musdapher the guest lecturer was already seated before the arrival of the celebrant. Nobody knew how he got in but he was seated in the front row where he was joined by the celebrant and Chief Segun Osoba, ex-Governor of Ogun State. Osoba, Musdapher and Bankole all adorned white attires.
Between Abiola Ogundokun & Alani Bankole
Many things tie this two Nigerians together, they are both traditional chiefs in their various kingdoms, they are both socialites of the 60s, 70s up to 80s. They belong to the same political family and they are friends of over 45 years. They have both enjoyed praises from top musicians like King Sunny Ade and Commander Ebenezer Obey at various times of their social lives. They also practice same religion, Islam.  Iwo, Osun State born Chief Abiola Ogundokun was the National Publicity Secretary of the defunct NPN party under President Shehu Shagari’s regime while Chief Alani Bankole was the party’s Ogun State Deputy Chairman from 1980 to 1982 as well as member of the National executive council of the party. He later contested for governorship under same party in 1983 but lost out. You can see how long both Ogundokun and Bankole have come politically. While Ogundokun is the Balogun Musulumi of Iwo land in Osun State, Bankole is the Seriki Jagunmolu of Egba land in Ogun State all in the South West area of Nigeria. Couple of weeks back, precisely August 26 when Ogundokun was giving out one of his daughters, Uyioghosa in marriage to one Osagie Elaiho, Alani Bankole was one of the special guests at the event which took place in Festac area of Lagos.  

Ex-Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido storm Abeokuta for Bankole
Alhaji Sule Lamido the immediate past Governor of Jigawa State was the next big guest to arrive the venue. Adorning brown Babanriga attire, the lanky Jigawa born politician who wanted to contest for the presidency of Nigeria before the tide changed against him in 2015 arrived in company of Nigeria’s ex minister of foreign affairs Ambassador Bashir Aminu Wali who is a very close and compassionate friend of the celebrant. While Wali took his seat quietly in the front row, Lamido threw banters with few other elites including ex-Governor Olusegun Osoba, High Chief Abiola Ogundokun, Oluwo of Iwo Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi and many others before finally taking his seat.
Oba of Lagos, Justice Bola Ajibola & others make arrival list…
His arrival was heralded with the consistent beating and blasting of traditional drums amidst eulogies. That is the Olowo Eko, His Royal Majesty Oba Rilwan Osuolale Akiolu. His presence also seemed to change the atmosphere as guests gave him his desired salutation as he was led to go sit with his counterpart, the Oluwo of Iwo Kingdom, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi (Ilufemiloye TELU 1). The Olowo Eko was looking regal in his traditional attire as he threw banters with fans and finally took his seat at the front row. Another eminent Nigerian who arrived the venue at same time with the Oba of Lagos is former Nigerian Envoy and Justice of the International Court, Justice Bola Ajibola who is now the founder of Crescent University in Ogun State. The aged Justice Ajibola sat on same row with the royal fathers.
 Sokoto Emirate sent in Representative
Alani Bankole is indeed a bridge builder and he proved it with the caliber of guests at his 75th year birthday. From the Sokoto Emirate came the Magajin Garin Sokoto, Alhaji Hassan Muhammad Danbaba who represented the Sultan of Sokoto King Sa’ad Abubakar II. Danbaba is only grandson of the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna of Sokoto. He is presently the Margajin Garin Sokoto. The grandson of  the late Sardauna was said to have arrived Abeokuta on Friday September 16 and had attended a special Jumat Service in honor of the celebrant at Kobiti Central Mosque. He arrived the lecture with his entourage. 
Between  Kola Abiola and the Royal Fathers…
The arrival of the scion of late business mogul turned politician, Chief MKO AbiolaKola Abiola for Chief Alani Bankole’s 75th birthday lecture must have been a great surprise to many as the silver spoon scion of the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election rarely attend public events. It was learnt that his friendship with the celebrant’s son, Rt. Honorable Dimeji Sabur Bankole was the magic wand behind his appearance in Abeokuta on Saturday, September 17. Looking cool, calm and collected as usual, Kola who is a money management expert and probably one of the richest billionaire scions in Africa shocked analysts when he moved to where the Obas  (traditional rulers) were seating and threw his hands at them instead of prostrating as it is customary with the Yoruba culture of South Western Nigeria. His attitude to the Obas really shocked many observers as Kola was sighted greeting the Oba of Lagos, the Oluwo of Iwo land and other traditional rulers like someone greetings his subordinate or employee. However, some new century analysts believes that Kola’s attitude to the royal fathers is synonymous with present day norms where the royal class have lost their supernatural esteem to the political class. The very dashing Abiola’s scion later took his seat after extending his banters to many and never uttered a word till the end of the event.
And Speaker Dogara storm event…
It was 12.05 Pm dot and the atmosphere changed as House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara arrived with his entourage. He was personally led into the hall by his predecessor and scion of the Alani Bankole political dynasty, Rt. Honorable Dimeji Sabur Bankole. He was taken straight to the front row where he sat with the celebrant and other eminent Nigerians after exchange of banters with VIPs.
Ali Baba crack Joke on Oba of Lagos…
Veteran Comedian Ali Baba was the Master of ceremony; he co-anchored the ceremony with another young man. However, Ali Baba took prominence with his very creative and wise cracks that nearly broke the oral cavity of many guests at the event. One of such expensive joke was the one cracked on the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu. Ali Baba had started by eulogizing the traditional ruler, describing him as a great benefactor. He however told his listeners that in as much as he loves visiting people; he always find reasons not to visit the Oba of Lagos. Hear him ‘If you go to him, you take something to him, if he comes to you, he takes something from you’ as people were beginning to laugh, Ali Baba added a clincher ‘To make matter worse, he is a retired Police officer’ and the volume of laughter increased with a roaring propensity. Ali Baba went further ‘If I take my car to the palace without bringing anything, Kabiyesi will not be wrong to say ‘Oo mu nkan wa ni? Motor yen, fi sile’ (So, you came empty handed, leave your car behind) He cracked so many other jokes that made even Obas nearly lost their composure and royal swagger.
Why Lagos big boy, Scooba spent 2 nights in Abeokuta
CEO, Scooba Lotto Agency and Scooba  Door Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Oluwafemi James Adejuwon aka Scooba was one of the Lagos big boys who spent three days with the Bankoles. He and his pretty wife, Lady Tobi Adejuwon (Nee Olubode) are said to be so close to the Bankoles as Mrs. Tobi’s late dad, Chief Cladius Mofolorunsho Olubode is a senior related family member of Chief Alani Bankole. Scooba’s pretty wife, Tobi was rumored to have teamed up with Miss Toyin Bankole, the beautiful daughter of late Iyalode Adunni Bankole, the fourth wife of the celebrant who passed away on January 3rd, 2015 to ensure food aspect of the event was successful. 
How Iyalode Adunni Bankole’s kids storm dad’s bash in great mood
The three pretty daughters and only son of the late Iyalode Adunni Bankole one of the most cerebral wives of the celebrant who passed away on Saturday, January 3rd, 2015 after a brief illness, during the wedding ceremony of one of her daughters were all at the party in flying colors. They all came to support their lovely dad from all parts of the world. Led by their senior sister,  Barrister Toyin Bankole who just finished her law school program couple of weeks ago, the lovely beauties were looking fresh and lovely. There was also beautiful Mope a top banker with Skye Bank (Abuja) and the last born Desola who is presently studying law in a highbrow United Kingdom based institution.  Iyalode Adunni Bankole’s only son, Owolabi was also at the event. The very handsome and dashing Owolabi was sighted at the event with his half brother Muyiwa and friends.
Prince Bayo Adesida too
Representing the famous Adesida family of Akure was Prince Bayo Adesida who is the younger brother of late Iyalode Adunni Bankole. Prince Adesida, an interior design expert was at the event with his lovely wife. He is one of the sons of Chief (Mrs.) Gbemisola Adesida the Iyalode of Owu Kingdom and mother of late Chief (Mrs.) Adunni Bankole. He attended the reception at Alake of Egba palace.
How famous Ewi exponent Ajobiewe stole show with son
Most Nigerians who attended Chief Alani Bankole’s 75th birthday lecture had more than enough to learn from the Yoruba culture as all aspect of the culture from drumming to poetry was unleashed on guests. It would appear that the celebrant carefully took the decision to use his birthday event to educate many Nigerians about his culture and tradition. One of such aspect was the 30 minutes rendition of Ewi (Yoruba folklore/poetry) by veteran actor and playwright, Sulaimon Ayilara Ajobiewe; Ajobiewe who has now inculcated his son, Sulaimon Jnr into his trade shocked guests by allowing his son to first take the stage. The idea paid off as it turned out that Ajobiewe Jnr was playing a role of forerunner. His dad later joined him and both father and son treated guest to a very interesting and hilarious moments of poetic theatherics, praising the celebrant, his guests and selected VIPs at the occasion with their Oriki (adulation)
(Watch out for Part 2 of “Snippets from Alani Bankole’s 75th b’day bash” and see how Speaker Yakubu Dogara got ‘Juju Medicine’ from Ajobiewe & Alani Bankole.) 

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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