The Oniba of Iba kingdom in Lagos State, Oba (Dr.) Sulaimon Raji Ashade 1, on Friday May 5, 2023 celebrated his 51st birthday.
Oba Ashade used the opportunity to empower members of his community to celebrate the birthday.
Various items were doled out to some residents of the area at a primary school close to the palace of the monarch to make the day memorable.
The program started with prayer, while 50 sewing machines, 50 grinding machines, 10 kiosks with start up products including noddles, eggs, gas cylinders, frying pans and bottles of groundnut oil were later handed over to beneficiaries.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the celebration committee, Hon. Tolani Sule explained the reason behind the gesture, saying that ‘this is not the first time Oniba is doing such things. It has been his habit to give back to his people, even before he became Oba.”
“This time he decided to empower his people instead of throwing party. He went all out to give to the less privileged, the poor and widows so that they could meet their financial needs. He however wants them to use the items wisely so that they could be employers of labour too,” he said.
Hon. Toyin Suarau , a former member of the Federal House of Representatives, who is also a member of Oniba Advisory Board, lauded the monarch for the gesture, and described him as a man with a large heart, and love for his people.
“He would not do anything that would put his people in hardship. He cares about them, he provides for them and makes sure they enjoy the dividends of his kingship,” he said.
Suarau however, called on other monarchs in Lagos State to emulate the kind gesture of the Oba toward his people instead of waiting for the government to do everything for them.
Also speaking before the presentation of the items to the beneficiaries, High Chief Jelili Ododo, Baale of Ododo, expressed delight with the gesture of the Oba to his people.
He described him as a man that has the love of his people at heart, saying that he is always giving out to the people in his community irrespective of their ethnic background, religion and culture, adding that he has impacted positively in his people, which he said is the reason they always pray for him.
Wives of the monarch also spoke about his large heartedness.
One of them, Olori Mosunmola Sulaimon Raji Ashade, said, “what affects somebody negatively is favourable to another person. I believe that if about 100 people are called to say something about the celebrant it would be very hard to see anyone, who would say anything negative about him. Rather they would say he is a man with a heart of gold.”
Olori Mosunmola further stated that Oba Sulaimon Ashade is respectful, and accommodating to both the young and old, and prayed for God’s protection for him.
Also speaking with excitement, Olori Alhaja Abike Ashade stated that, “I am here to wish my handsome husband a happy birthday. May he continue to live long and I pray that God Almighty will continue to protect him.
“May the goodness and mercy of God never depart from him, may he reign long on the throne of his forefathers, and may God bless him the more. God bless you ‘Oniba Eku,’ you shall continue to celebrate in life.”
Aro of Abule Ado kingdom, High Chief Sulaimon Surajudeen, who also added his voice, said; “on behalf of myself, I thank the Almighty Allah for the successful birthday celebration of our royal father, Oba Sulaimon Raji Ashade 1, the Oniba of Iba kingdom. I pray this celebration shall not be the last, the good Lord shall enlarge his coast, and may he never witness bad time in his life.”
High Chief Surujadeen revealed that Oba Ashade controls several other monarchs under the permission of the Lagos State Government, and prayed that “he would never fall by the grace of God.
“May he never use lose his life or lose any of his wives, children or relatives before the next birthday celebration.”
Oba Sulaimon Raji Ashade 1 was appointed Oniba of Iba Kingdom in May 2020 following the death of the former monarch, Oba Goriola Yishau Oseni, who reigned for 45 years.