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When Lagos stood still for Oniru

…as Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat, others congratulate monarch at 50

Last Friday, the Oniru of Iru Kingdom, Oba ‘Gbolahan Lawal marked his first birthday on the throne with glitz and glamour. MURITALA AYINLA reports



In line with the COVID-19 prevention measure which discourages social gathering, efforts were made to dissuade hundreds of wellwishers, who would have come to felicitate the king for attaining the golden jubilee age on the throne, yet several dignitaries comprising of eminent Nigerians and captains of industry still found their way to the palace to rejoice with the king many described as a “King with a class.”


Hence, July 24th, all the roads leading to the Oniru Palace in Iru, Victoria Island were adorned with colourful banners of all sizes bearing pictures of the monarch with felicitations messages to wish the 15th Oniru of Iru Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oba AbdulWasiu ‘Gbolahan Lawal, the Abisogun II a happy birthday. Hung on the poles and walls of the streets in the palace environs were different congratulatory messages from friends, families, associates and corporate organisations. Guests from all walks of life strolled quietly into the palace chamber.


They have all come from far and near to celebrate with a king, a rich royal heritage in a low-key birthday celebration. They all wore face masks in compliance with the government’s directive to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.


For the queen, Olori Mariam Lawal, the birthday of the king was not just a memorable day but a unique one being the first to be celebrated on the throne. So, the elated queen was all round to warmly welcome and ensure the king’s guests were well taken care of. She simply described the king as “a caring and loving husband and I wish him long life and good health on the throne.”


At the royal birthday bash, creativity was on display as the entire palace wore a new look with decorations of all manners. Beautifully and creatively designed birthday cakes were strategically positioned in the palace where the guests took pictures with the king.


The kingly birthday cakes were designed and decorated in line with royalty.


Some were shaped in the form of a royal stool; others were molded like a crown, royal staff and other imperial regalia. Among the earlier callers were the Managing Director of the Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe; the Head of Service of Lagos, Mr. Hakeem Muri- Okunola; former Special Adviser to Governor Fashola on Taxation, Mr. Bola Shodipo; Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Elegushi; former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba, his Energy and Mineral Resources counterpart, Mr Taofik Tijani; former Lagos Head of Service, Adesegun Ogunlewe, other members of the Lagos State Executive Council of the class of 2011-2015, traditional rulers amongst others.


They all showered encomiums on the monarch through various means including social media.


Among the eminent Lagosians who took time out to celebrate the king were the former Lagos State governor and national leader of the All Progressive Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Oba Saheed Elegushi, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Mudasir Obasa; the lawmaker representing the Lagos West Senatorial District, Senator Adeola Solomon and other dignitaries.


In what many described as a rare expression of love for the monarch, Asiwaju Tinubu extolled the good virtues of the king in an advertorial, saying Oba Lawal had recorded significant strides in his public career traversing sectors such as governance, security, youth development, empowerment and housing delivery, among others.


Tinubu said: “Your accomplishment in life must be why this occasion of your attainment of the golden age has attracted so much love and public interest.


Personally, my joy on this important landmark knows no bounds, having mentored and monitored your career development as a superb police officer and excellent public servant in Lagos State.


Kabiyesi, as you attain this golden age of wisdom and maturity, I wish to commend your unflinching commitment to service and loyalty, a virtue that is fast becoming a rare commodity in our society today. I recalled with nostalgia your contribution to my success as the governor of Lagos State.


“As Aide de Camp, you discharged your duties with the utmost professionalism, competence, and dedication.


As Special Adviser and later commissioner in the cabinet of my successor-governors, you were brilliant, diligent and resourceful. On his part, Governor Sanwo-Olu, through his twitter handle described him as a committed humanist and astute administrator who brought so much positive energy and transformational change to the Agricultural sector in line with his administration’s THEMES agenda while serving as the Agriculture Commissioner.


The governor rejoiced with Oba Lawal for the golden jubilee birthday celebration, assuring people of Iru kingdom of a new dawn under the Oba Lawal’s reign. Sanwowo-Olu said: I rejoice with the Oniru of Iruland, HRM Abdulwasiu Gbolahan Lawal on his 50th Birthday.


Kabiyesi is a committed humanist who served as a police officer and later distinguished himself as an astute administrator who served in Lagos as Commissioner. During his service as Hon. Commissioner of Agriculture, Oba Lawal brought positive energy and transformational change to the sector in line with our Themes agenda.


On behalf of the people of Lagos, I wish Kabiyesi many more fruitful years and continuous service to humanity.” Also speaking, Senator Solomon, popularly known as Yayi, felicitated with King Lawal on his golden jubilee celebration, saying rapid development was assured under his reign.




The lawmaker said: “There is no doubt that reign will continue to bring positive development to the people of Iru kingdom and Lagos State. My wish for you is to have good health, long life and divine wisdom to continue to rule over Iru Kingdom in the years ahead. Kabiyesi oooo!”


Other distinguished Nigerians who also congratulated the monarch were: the deputy governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Mudasiru Obasa; the Elegushi of Ikate Land, Oba Saheed Elegushi, Dr. Joe Odunmakin, St Gregs Old Boys, captains of industry, agriculture facilitators, amongst others.


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