The Role of the Late Odemo of Isara
The Role of the Late Odemo of Isara, Kabiyesi, Oba Adebayo Idowu Onadeko, Ogunsere Gbuko II and his Consort, Olori Adekunbi Modupe Onadeko
I cannot but put on record the invaluable contributions of the late monarch of Isara, Oba Adebayo Onadeko, (14/1/1933-1/7/2007) and those of his consort, Olori Adekunbi Modupe Onadeko (24/8/1934--),right from the inception of the Centre, most especially during the construction of its Clinical Complex. An experienced professional civil engineer, Kabiyesi and his wife, (a retired matron of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-araba, Lagos) displayed a rare and sustained morale-boosting commitment to the establishment of the Centre. Out of the very many ways in which this noble couple assisted me in the setting up of the Center, I will mention only the following three:
1. Land Acquisition
Words fail me to describe Kabiyesi’s skillful negotiations between me and the sectional heads of the big family that originally owned the land on which the Centre complex is sited. When I mentioned to Kabiyesi the hostile encounters I was having with these sectional heads, he confidently assured me of finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the uncooperative stance of that family. He succeeded in doing this by judiciously mediating between me and the sectional heads to reach terms and conditions acceptable to all of us. I make bold to say that but for Kabiyesi’s tactful handling of the complicated and very messy negotiations, I would most probably have given up on the project.
2. Bureaucratic Bottlenecks
I cannot recollect the number of times that I encountered unrelenting bureaucratic bottlenecks, sometimes from the least expected quarters, in the process of setting up the Centre. These bottlenecks frustrated me to the point of my wanting to forget about the project completely. However, Kabiyesi and his Olori, in their wisdom based on past experiences as astute retired public officers, convinced me that those bottlenecks were invariably daily occurrences when dealing with different people and groups in my country. In fact, on some occasions during our discussions they laughed off my complaints assuring me that with time those nagging problems would be resolved. Fortunately, I believed them. I calmed down and gradually saw the issues resolved one after the other. I am for ever indebted to them for their wise counselling and I am glad that my patience eventually paid off.
However, this was not all – Kabiyesi and his Olori demonstrated in different ways their true devotion to the cause of the Centre. They were constant visitors to the site to monitor the progress of the construction work and whenever august visitors called at their palace, a must-visit place in town was the Talabi Diabetes Centre. They would give their visitors a guided tour of the site and would succinctly and politely seek their support. These visits greatly boosted not only the morale of the construction workers but also my own morale especially during those times when I was preoccupied with the seemingly unending problems of setting up the Center.
3. The Participation in Person of Kabiyesi and his Olori at the Center’s First Outreach Exercise
The Centre’s first diabetes outreach and screening exercise took place in Isara in November 2005 to celebrate the year’s World Diabetes Day (WDD). This exercise would not have been as successful as it turned out to be had it not been for the personal commitment of the Kabiyesi and his Olori to the goals of the Centre. They both joined the campaign train, addressed participants in the local (Remo) dialect, encouraged them to present themselves for screening just as they themselves (Kabiyesi and his Olori) did by allowing their blood to be drawn. This magnanimous act of the couple went a long way in erasing the fears of the local people who strongly believed that blood drawn from any human being was always used for occult and similar evil purposes. These seemingly inconsequential, straight-from-the-heart gestures of the couple still linger in the minds of our local communities while the memory of them continues to encourage the Centre in its outreach and screening exercises.