Of all the tributes I have listened to in honour of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1 on the 90th anniversary of his birth, none is as enrapturing as that done to his persona by the late progenitor of Yoruba Sakara music, Kelani Yesufu. Yesufu, the Egba music impresario, in company of Lefty Salami Balogun and others, is a renowned forefather of today’s Fuji music.
Someday, I will bring on the cadence of Yesufu’s song as he paid unmatchable tribute to the then pestilence of the venereal disease called gonorrhea and how he had brokered truce between another Sakara music legend, Yusuf Olatunji, alias Baba Legba, and Egba music great, S. Aka Baba Wahidi, in 1972.
Anyway, in his vinyl entitled Emu Oguro, Yesufu sings about an accident the then young Adetunji was involved in on a journey from Lagos to Ibadan in which his car became a total write-off and how he escaped from the accident on a Monday morning in July 1972. If Adetunji had died in that accident, no one would have been talking about him as the Olubadan today.
By the way, Yesufu was one of the musicians who sang on the label of Omo Aje Records owned by the current Olubadan. The interventionist role that the Olubadan has always played in moments of crises was also captured in another track done by Dauda Epo Akara in the very early 1980s, when Epo was accused of insulting the then Olubadan, Oba Theophilus Akinyele.
Worried about what he called a frame-up, Epo the Awurebe music exponent, had ran to then Alhaji Adetunji to help buy him out of the impending trouble with the monarch. Here is wishing the Olubadan more years on the throne of his forefathers as he clocks 90th.
Festus Adedayo is an Ibadan-based journalist.