Thursday, April 18, 2024

From ILARA-MOKIN To LONDON: Celebrating An Octogenarian Princess, DEACONESS FLORENCE AJIKE ADEGBITE In Grand Style.

 From ILARA-MOKIN To LONDON: Celebrating An Octogenarian Princess, DEACONESS FLORENCE AJIKE ADEGBITE In Grand Style.

By Charles Segun Adegbite


In a country where life expectancy for females is estimated to be around 64years, as at 2023, attaining the age of 80 in Nigeria and joining the club of octogenarians in good health therefore, calls for a celebration.

This was the reason families, friends, church members, business associates and well wishers from all walks of life, thronged Royal Haven Event Center, Sagamu, Ogun State, on Saturday, to celebrate the 80th birthday of a virtuous woman, blessed princess and successful mother, Deaconess Florence Ajike Adegbite.

The landmark birthday ceremony was organised by her children, with a lot of splendours, to celebrate her as a successful mother, a devoted Christian, worthy grandmother and a prayerful great grandma.

The epoch making ceremony started with a church service held at the Methodist Church Nigeria, Agbowa, Sagamu, where the bishop prayed for her, her children and the family. The clergyman had earlier praised her, for being a virtuous woman and contributing financially to the work of God and in other ways she could. 

He also advised her on how to sustain her good legacies. The bishop as well encouraged her to keep living a healthy life so that she can celebrate 100 years and more in the land of the living.

The church service was winded up with thanksgiving. Immediately after that, the celebrant with other congregants quickly left the church and headed to the event center, in the other section of the town, for the reception of their guests.

Sen. Gbenga Obadara

The venue was cram-full in spite of attendance to the event being strictly on invitation, and the security there being fully beefed up to adhere to the invitation instructions.

Inside the hall were different classes of men who were mainly elites from corporate and business world from different parts of Nigeria, UK and USA.

The arrival of Senator Gbenga Obadara(former Senator of Nigeria for Ogun Central Senatorial District, 2011-2015), Aare Ayodele Bankole, a marketing expert and many other topnotchers in the political space, corporate world and royal clime, added glamour to the presence of other men and women of taste and style in attendance.


Many guests were amazed when it was announced that, that day, April 13, was also the birthday of Sen. Obadara. And that in spite of it, he still travelled down to Sagamu, to honour the celebrant and her first son, Mr Tokunbo Adegbite. It thus became more glaring to those who knew little about the worth of the celebrant, that she is really a woman of high value; especially when he (Obadara) was thereafter called upon to officiate in the cutting of the birthday cake.

The guests were thrilled a little when one of her grandchildren was called upon to come and recite the Oriki (panegyric)of the celebrant in Ilara-Mokin dialect.

For the little girl who doesn't live in Nigeria, but UK, it was definitely a herculean task. She however amused everybody as she began to recite the Oriki, by anglicizing the Yoruba words in her intonation, that was meant to be in Ijesha/Ilara-Mokin dialect.

At the end of the recitation, she was applauded amidst laughter that she tried. Of course, the Master of Ceremonies, MC, encouraged every Yoruba parent to teach their children Yoruba Language from infancy, so that the younger generation who are fond of speaking English Language won't let their ancestral language and culture extinct.

When her biography was being read by the MC, this octogenarian celebrant displayed her agility and body fitness by standing conspicuously on the podium throughout, while the reading lasted; even as it was being read in a citation manner.


She came into this world on March 11, 1944, through the royal family of late Saloro Adebiyi and Madam Gbosimi Adebiyi of Opokiti Ruling House in Ilara-Mokin, Ifedore Local Government Area, Ondo State.

She attended St. Andrew Primary School, and a Modern School, both in Ilara-Mokin. It was revealed there and then, that while in the modern school she was the senior prefect girl; and she used to be a good athlete, such that she even came first in a relay race for senior girls in the Ondo Province in those days.

After finishing her modern school, she left Ondo Province for Ibadan, the then capital of Western Region,( now Oyo State capital) for greener pastures. She landed a job as a Clerical Officer/Secretary in the C.S.A. Ibadan, where she worked between 1961-1962.

She got engaged in a marital relationship in her late teens with a man from royal families of Owarodo and Koyelu Ruling Houses of Akarigbo of Remo Kingdom, Ogun State, Mr Saliu Oyeyinka Adegbite.

With the influence of her elder brother, Prince Rufus Abiola Adebiyi, who encouraged her to marry Adegbite, his former senior colleague in school, who had passed out and had interest in marrying him.  She entered into the relationship and it yielded good results.

Things turned around for her immediately in 1963, while she was then 19years old. She had to travel to the United Kingdom, to join her betrothed husband, Mr Adegbite (who later became Alhaji Saliu Oyeyinka Adegbite). On getting there, they went to the registry immediately, for their official wedding ceremony.

It was indeed a blessed moment for the couple, especially for her, who was much younger and yet to reach 20; at the time many of her school mates with Modern School certificates, who were not that so lucky, were still in Nigeria.

As soon as she arrived in the UK, she continued to live her industrious life in London. She engaged in many jobs while improving herself with further studies, by enrolling at Pitman College, West End in London. She also obtained a certificate from Royal Society Arts(RSA).

Her desires for acquisition of more knowledge in her chosen business career and commercial course prompted her to also enroll for salesmanship course. She got a private tutor to be teaching her at home on that.

After completing her course at the Pitman College, she landed a job with British Museum as a Typist/Secretary. And she worked there with all sense of industry and commitment.

However, when her husband decided to return to Nigeria in 1971, she resigned her appointment with the British Museum and came back to her home country, along with him. She thereafter secured a job as a Secretary/Typist in the Cocoa Development Unit, at the popular Cocoa House, Ibadan, Oyo State.

Although she was from a Muslim background, she is a Christian, while her husband was a Muslim, whose parents were devoted Muslims; especially his father, who was the Aare Musulumi of Remoland, Ogun State, till his death in January 1973.

In spite of all these, the couple allowed their marital vows and deep love for each other, to prevent everything called religion conflicts and intolerance. They never allowed their faith differences to affect their marriage.

The husband allowed his wife to remain a Christian; and a Christian prayer warrior for that matter, even while he(husband) got more devoted as a Muslim and became the Seriki Adinni of Iwalesin Mosque, Sagamu. He also got appointed as the Secretary of Ogun State Muslim Pilgrimage Board, in Nigeria, at a time.


Until the death of her husband in 2012, at the age of 81years , they lived peacefully with each other. The husband didn't opt for polygamy, to acquire more wives; which his Islamic religion allows. Likewise, she lived the life of an ideal Christian wife, that won't create room for her husband to either be fed up and be seeking for another wife, or having a secret wife outside the wedlock.

Their wedding is blessed with Adeyinka( a woman), Adetokunbo, Adebowale, Adedapo, Temitope and Adebola, who are all happily married and are parents today.

After some years of working in the public service, she retired in 1983, went to Sagamu, her husband's home town, and ventured into private business. With her husband, SALAJIKE'S Enterprises was formed; which depicts Saliu and Ajike's enterprises. A proof of the bond between her and her husband.

The business was the wholesale and retail of lager beer at Ijoku, Sagamu. She later ventured into foams and mattresses business; even as she incorporated building contracts into her vocation. All these she did to the best of her ability in getting enough money with her husband; both to give their children good education and achieve their goals in terms of having a modest properties and good things of life.

Her social and emotional intelligences are commendable. She relates well with everybody; families, In-laws, church members and her husband's/ family's Muslim communities, and everyone that crosses her paths.
Iya Sagamu, as she is fondly called by her family members in Ondo State, is currently the Olori Ebi (Family Head) of Saloro Adebiyi Royal Family.

Apart from being very social, Deaconess Adegbite is said to be a cheerful giver which is one of the reasons she commands respect among her peers and loved by many.

Besides being a devoted Christian and a prayer warrior who intercedes a lot in prayers for her children, entire family and friends, she is a patroness to Egbe Imole Kristi, Christian Daughters Society and Treasurer of Ladies Progressive League of Rev. Mellor Methodist Cathedral, Sagamu. She is also a member of the Association of Jerusalem Pilgrims, an active member of Blessed Prayer Mountain and the Iya Ijo of Cross of Salvation Evangelical Church, Sagamu.

That means, she is committed to spending her money on the work of God in church and to support Christian ministries. Moreso, she's a Jerusalem pilgrim (JP), having been to Israel on pilgrimage visit.

In spite of all these she's loved by many Muslims and Christians alike, because of her religion tolerance and good Christian virtues.

After the reading of her biography, her children, with some of the grandchildren around, were called to the podium to join the octogenarian celebrant in the cutting of her birthday cake. 
While Senator Obadara who was asked to anchor the cutting of the cake, did that assignment well, family and acquaintances were also called upon to testify about what they know about the celebrant's character.

Among those who came out was a woman who claimed to have worked with her as a subordinate in Ibadan. She amazed everyone, including the celebrant, when she recalled what happened over 40years ago while they were working in same organization. She disclosed what the celebrant did then that remained unforgettable to her, although the celebrant couldn't recall when she did it.

She urged Mama Adegbite to continue with her good character because if it had been a bad thing she did to her then so she(the woman) wouldn't forget as well.  The evil that  men do live after them, so are their good deeds won't be forgotten, because of the Law of Retribution.


This was also followed with dancing time; even as the wining and dining continued, amidst melodious songs from the musician, as he was doing what he knew how to do best.
Apart from Senator Gbenga Obadara, other dignitaries at the event included:  Chief Olaide Okunola (Fiwagboye of Odogbolu),
Otunba Wale Adepitan (a brand Management expert) ,
Alhaji Adekunle Adegbite ( Retired director of Federal Housing Authority)                    Aare Ayodele Bankole(Aare Okanlomo of Owu Kingdom),                                            Chief Muniru Adebowale Akanbi (the Ekerin Babasale Of Egbaland)                   Remi Adenekan,                                           1Sola Dosunmu(corporate legal expert),

Aare Kamarudeen Danjuma (Lagos based successful businessman and famous socialite),
Otunba Lekan Osifeso(Lagos businessman, construction giant and Olotu Olowa of Ijebuland),
Chief Alao Lateef,
Otunba Nurudeen Alowonle( AMORAN Ogun State Chairman),
Otunba Taofeek Shokoya(a.k.a Danku; AMORAN Ogun State PRO), 
Engr. Laolu Adedokun,
Alhaji Bashiru Kolawole Kuti(BKK Ultimo) and his wife, Bisi,
Alhaja Ashimawu (Obanibasiri Building Materials), and others.

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