By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has called on the citizens of the state to be part of history by turning out in large numbers to witness the activities scheduled for the final burial rites of Chief HID Awolowo, in Ibadan, on Monday.
A statement from the office of the Secretary to the State Government, quoted the governor as saying that the matriarch of the dynasty of the late Premier of Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, deserved a burial befitting of heroines.
As a mark of respect, the governor has ordered a temporary closure of the popular Agbeni market, on Monday, due to its contiguous location to the Methodist Church, Agbeni, where a commendation service would be held for the deceased by 9 am.
The statement said the closure became necessary to prevent avoidable gridlock and the attendant pains it could cause traders and commuters plying the area.
The governor appealed to the general public to join hands with the state government to fully partake in the burial rites from 7 am on Monday when the corpse arrives in Ibadan, from where the procession moves to the Oke Ado residence of the Awolowos for lying in state by 8 am.
After the commendation service, the statement said that another lying in state would be held at the Tribune House, Imale-falafia, Ibadan, between 11 am and 1 pm.
Ajimobi said: “Let us turn out enmasse on Monday to give our dear Mama a burial rite befitting of a heroine, which she was. Since her passage, several accolades and encomiums have been showered on her, I want the people of Oyo State to go a step further by partaking in all activities scheduled for her burial.
“This is the best opportunity for us to again show our love for our highly venerated late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo for his sacrifices for this country. Since his passage Mama had held the fort to the admiration of the Yoruba and the country at large. Her memories will live with us forever.
“I use this opportunity to welcome visitors to Ibadan and assured them of adequate security. I call on the hardworking security agencies in Oyo State to step up their surveillance to ensure crime-free ceremonies. I also enjoin men of the Federal Road Safety Commission to brace for the traffic challenge,” Ajimobi said.