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May 23, 2023 at 9:20 am - Views: 10 #11457AjalaParticipant
TRIBUTES TO OTUNBA SUBOMI BALOGUN:
Inna Lillahi wa inna Illaehi Rajihun.
“Verily, from Allah we came, and to HIM alone is our return. ”
Ijebuland, Nigeria, and indeed humanity have lost a great gem.
As a lawyer, he emerged from the blues with his broking investment outfit, City Securities Limited. This later metamorphosed into one of our modern-day private investment banks; First City Merchant Bank Limited. The giant, First City Monument Bank Plc, that we all acclaim today, emerged as the mustard seed that germinated, painstakingly nurtured by the enigmatic Otunba. The fledgling bank has grown to become the highly respected oak within the Nigerian Banking Industry.
Although he took the mandatory bow at a ripe age of 89, his usefulness till the very end called to question the true definition of “ripe age.” He continued to play worthy and significant roles within the banking industry and beyond until the very end. Immaculately clean inside out, he was readily available to those in need of his helping hands.
The quintessential mentor to many, he was one of the most veritable industrialists in Nigeria and an accomplished community leader who maintained excellent human relationships.
He was very cheerful, preferring to address most of us (young enough to be his children), as aburo with uncommon warmth.
A philanthropist of no mean repute, I became close to him at the conception of the magnificent Pedeatric Centre at Ososa-Ijebu, courtesy of Admiral Oladehinde Joseph Rtd., as the then Governor of Ogun State.
Admiral Joseph, a “democratic” Military Administrator, purposeful and result oriented like Otunba, simply directed me as the then State Commissioner for Lands and Housing to source and acquire reasonable expanse of land that could accommodate the wonderful dream of Otunba Tunwase, the Olori Omoba of Ijebuland. This was shortly after the inauguration of the Iye Subomi Pedeatric Centre at the General Hospital in Ijebu-Ode.
The land was acquired at Ososa-Ijebu, after some initial resistance and attempts at blackmail. This gave birth to the site, known today as THE INTERNATIONAL PEDEATRIC CENTRE.
Glory be to God, the hospital was duly completed and was privately run for many years before the formal handover to the University College Hospital, University of Ibadan. Several, are the endowments from Otunba Balogun, the silent Philanthropist.
Of significance and personal appreciation were his interventions, in my humble honour, at the resolution of the debt burden of my former employers, Livestock Feeds Plc, at a point, when my assistance was sought.
I approached Otunba as an arbitrator and later led the negotiating team of the company that saw to the write-off of over N700 million in accumulated interests. All, courtesy and with the acquiescence of Otunba Subomi Balogun.
Last but not least, was the placement of my daughter in FCMB by the ebulient Otunba Balogun on minimal prompting, when her B.Sc. 2nd class upper division in economics and M.Sc. distinction in developmental economics could not fetch her a reasonable job in our declining economy.
I hold the firm belief that the abode of Otunba Subomi Balogun in the hereafter, will be the beautifully described “AL-JANAT FIRDAUS.” His services to God and humanity, his manifest deeds, stand in witness to his privileged sojourn on earth.
May his soul rest in peace!
May God comfort his soul mate, the Olori and his entire family. May his friends, associates, the Ijebu Traditional Council, the Awujale in particular, Ogun State and Nigeria in general, be granted the fortitude to to bear the irreplaceable loss.
Adieu! Asiwaju Onigbagbo.
Adieu! The Olori Omooba.
Adieu! The banking pathfinder.
Adieu! The exceptional family man!
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