Goodnight Gboyega Aruwajoye

…….Buried like a King

…….Don’t mourn my father

……..Tears as he was lowered into the grave

………His last words


Chief waving: Goodbye to you all

The church was as silent as a graveyard  while  the music  written by  Jeremiah   Rankin  in 1882 was in mezzo forte  form

God be with you till we meet again;

By His counsels guide uphold you

With His sheep securely  fold you,

God be with you till we meet again…..

Till we meet,till we meet,

Till we meet at Jesus’ feet……


                    Born in  Owo and laid to rest in St.Louis, Missouri, America

         The funeral service  started at 12 noon at The Redeemed Christian Church of God ( RCCG), City Of God , St. Louis Brentwood, 8614 Manchester Rd, Brentwood,  MO 63144 Missouri , USA. Those  who could not attend the programe  were watching (and participating ) from   live stream programe .Outside the Church premises too were over 100 people from families and friends who ‘defied’ the  stay at home order courtesy of Corona virus pandemic as they all wore their masks  and sat in their cars to avoid the airborne disease.  That was  on Friday ,April 3  when sympathizers, close friends and family members    came out to pay the Chief their last respect while those who could not turn up were glued to  their phone on live stream  to participate in the funeral  service , thanks to technology  . In fact over 500 viewers  were sighted within 30minutes  while  on live  stream .

Many were shedding tears .Some were groaning and shaking their heads   

Pastor Jegede delivering the sermon

intermittently as tears  was streaming  down  their cheeks .Some  were biting their  lips.  Some wore long faces .The voice of  a female was heard as she showered the  family’s panegyrics  (oriki) on him. Gboyega’s  glorious exit  was colourful  but  emotional and painful .But here psychologically  and philosophically everyone was not only weeping   for Gboyega but  weeping for themselves  for the thought of who next (?) filled their minds. It reminds one  of the  Yoruba’s sayings  that  Oku nsunkun oku ,akaso lori nskun ara won.

Chief Oloja’s Final resting place  in America

    Outside the Church premises  were different types of vehicles. Members of Egbe Omo Owo Association in Missouri  all came to give their  active  member  the last respect and a heroic last honour . Some  called him Adegboyega, some also  called him  after his chieftaincy title Oloja, others too  simply called him Chief. He was installed as Chief Obagbemisugha of Owo Kingdom by His Imperial Majesty Olowo of Owo Oba Gbadegesin Ajibade  Ogunoye III some months ago.Yes, he was popular in St Louis.

                       CHURCH SERVICE

       Only  few people were allowed  in the church with a little distance to one another.Two officiating pastors, Pastors Yomi Jegede  and Niyi Aruwajoye preached .Jegede delivered  a thought-provoking  sermon quoting  some  Bible passages. He made references to the parables of the Rich man in Matthew .He quoted  Psalm 39:6, Matthew 16:24-27. He narrated the story of the Ten Virgins  and how we can build our treasures in Heaven.The Pastor implored every living man to serve God and desist from sins such as fornication,adultery, lies, bribes,masturbation among others in order to gain eternal life.

Pastor Femi Omiye spoke about Chief Aruwajoye

        Pastor   Niyi Aruwajoye  in his sermon described the deceased as a very good  man , he added that  he was happy that the deceased  who was his brother gave his life to Christ before he died .Aruwajoye assured the mourners that heaven is real and  that  Gboyega’s  believing in  God and accepting Jesus Christ as the Lord  and his   Saviour will surely make him to  go to heaven.The Pastor advised everybody to get prepared for one could be called home at any time”


     While giving a vote of  thanks , one of the children of the deceased, Tobi Aruwajoye thanked whose who stood by this father and the family during their trying period.He described his father’s life as an open book, his words ” His life is an open book, I will not call this mourning , please don’t mourn our father  but let us celebrate him. He was always happy even when things were not going on well.”

Tobi went down memory lane and  gave reasons  why his father loved colour white, ” When I asked my father why he loved wearing white, he  said he loved white colour because his late father Chief S.B.Aruwajoye loved  white colour and he always wore white clothes  during his lifetime. Aside that my father used to say that  his  heart was clean and white represents  clean and pure heart. He was never afraid of death”.  Tobi acknowledged his sisters and brother (in Dallas) at home ,infact he mentioned Bolu his father’s adopted child and the last wife of his father who all could not  come all the way from Nigeria to attend the ceremony to  pay their last respect.


           The beautiful white  coloured casket  was kept in the limousine  with a flower on top.The Limousine   was followed in a convoy  to Bellefontaine Cemetery, 4947 W Florssant Ave, St .Louis.MO 63115  with a  Condolence register. Engr. Samson Adekunle Obanigba, Gani Obanigba (President of Egbe Omo Owo Association, Missouri),Kofo Osun( MD of African Palace Restaurants, St.Louis, America and Akure in Ondo State, Nigeria) , Pastor Femi Omiye, Mrs Kike Osun, Pharmacist Bayo Ogunmolawa , Gboyega Lobo Agaun, Bode Fadeyi , among others were not left out to bid   Gboyega a final goodbye .

      The motorcade  was heavy, the limousine car where  the casket was placed had Gboyega’s  big poster in his immaculate white with his beads    on it. He was flamboyant in life so also in death. Pharmacist  Ogunmolawa tried to control the traffic as shown on live  stream. Mrs.Osun  was sighted as she said ”I will miss you Brother Gboyega who would come to African Palace and ask for his delicious food”.


    Only the immediate family members  were allowed to be  at  graveside to perform the dust- to- dust rite . Lobo Agaun who was  present  said ” Infact Brother Gboyega was buried  like a king. The honour given to him was like burying a King. People trooped out , the African-Americans trooped out to say a final goodbye to him.He was greater in death even if his remains  were  brought to Nigeria  for burial he couldn’t have been honoured more than this”

  Although only the immediate family could get closer to where he was buried as fleet of cars that were  there but sympathizers were  in their cars as the rule dictated due to the pandemic of Coronavirus . The white, the Blacks and African -Americans too  were present to bid him the final goodbye .After the dust-to-dust rite performed by  children; Tobi, his sisters and his African -American wife many burst into tears. Fadeyi a close pal to the deceased , said he broke down and could not continue with the recording again. Others in their vehicles said  immediately  they saw him lowered in the grave their  eyes turned red when it now dawned on  them that Gboyega has truly gone, gone for ever.He died at the age of 59.

  From the graveside everybody turned back leaving  Chief Oloja Gboyega Aruwajoye behind. That was the glorious end of a popular man in his own country and in St.Louis, Missouri , America.


How are the mighty fallen!


Tobi ,son of the the late Chief said his father’s last wish was  to  be buried here in America .

         While many called this reporter asking why the remains of the late Chief were not brought back to Owo,his hometown in Nigeria to sleep. Investigation reveals that it would be saddened to bring his remains back home because of his aged mother . Again another caller said money could have been the problem while this was punctured because the Aruwajoye family is rich and could afford  bringing his remains back home .

When asked why  the late Chief was buried in America, his son ,Tobi replied ” That was  my father’s wish.He said he should be buried here in St.Louis , that was what he  told me”, the handsome and brilliant son of the deceased said as American accent reflected from his speech. This view was supported by some friends who said ” he lived all his life here.He had his family here , so this place is his home and  it makes sense .All the children are here  so it is okay for him to be buried here”, his friend who begged for anonymity said .


Gboyega Aruwajoye was a man of the people both in Nigeria and in America, read what he told his people


The renowned Pharmacist said Gboyega was a jolly fellow human being . He took life simple and this I will continue to remember. According to Ogunmolawa              ” when I went to meet him at the hospital , he told me that he would feel bad if he dies  before his mother. He said he would have loved to bury his mother but not the reverse.But I told him that God owes our life.His wish is unchangeable. He was passionate about his mother”.


He said ” The last time I saw him was when he came back from the hospital and he was bubbling, he told me he was getting better. I was very close to him. I never knew that would be the end. We spoke last on phone, when I saw him he had no strength again.He was a nice man”.


The late Chief  was a half brother to Sanmi. Sanmi said ”I called him on phone while he was still at the hospital, he said ‘I am still here o, I am still alive o’. But I responded that ‘You are going nowhere my brother’ .Painfully , my younger sister called me on  Sunday evening to break the news to me.I was devastated, for I  prayed he should survive it. I am pained”, Sanmi  burst into tears on phone as he cut off the phone in tears.


The late Gboyega was half brother to Pastor Niyi . The Pastor   said  ” I am happy that he gave his life to Christ before he died.When he was in Hospice I was there to see him and the last  words he said to me  was ”All is well” .We spoke and spoke .I encouraged him and told him he should have faith in God .He passed on peacefully.I thank God that he accepted Christ before he passed to glory.”


       The respected Medical Doctor said ”We were classmate, we  attended  same Primary School  in the 60s, since then we have been very close. He was a jolly fellow. The last time we spoke was when I was on my way to South Carolina . I called him and he said ‘ Dr. hope you are doing well o, I am still here and I told him you will be okay in Jesus name’. He was a very, very nice guy .I am pained”.

GANI OBANIGBA spoke with him three days before his death

     The President of  Egbe Omo Owo  Association in St Louis , Gani Obanigba said ” He  (Gboyega) knew he was going , but  I  encouraged him that he should  not  give up. I said ‘Don’t give up, God will do miracle’ , that was three days before his death”.


We spoke last week , he said ‘he couldnt eat , the food is not going , and I told him I would call him back .When I heard about his death I was sad”



  The man of God Bode Fadeyi  was very  close to the late Chief, he said ” I  attended the burial and when I was in the car , and tried to do a video but when   he was being lowered into the grave,  I could not stand it. I was crying , I couldn’t stand it and I left, crying. He was my best friend and brother . So Chief is  gone?”, he lamented and continued crying .


O digba , o digbose


The late Chief Oloja was loved by many , infact he was called ”Man of the People” as Omoloja described him. Omoloja said ”I went to meet him at the hospital .I  never thought  he was going to die  for he was full of life. Whenever I called him he would say ‘I am still here o’.  Sometimes when I called and he  did not pick  , he would later send me text messages   and  replied  that  he was sleeping  when I called. When  I  saw his casket I was shivering .I couldn’t stand it when he was being  lowered into the  grave.I wept .The last time I wept was in 1992 when my father died. The painful aspect of it was that they did not open the casket for us  to let us say final goodbye to him. They just drove straight to the graveside while only his children were there .My daughter , Kehinde wept uncontrollably  and couldn’t eat for days .She wanted to attend the burial but  I didn’t allow her. Oloja’s death is painful,he was jovial. Who will make us laugh again?”, Omoloja burst into tears.

KOFO OSUN of African Palace

The Managing  Director of African Palace in St Louis who also has a branch in Akure, Nigeria spoke glowingly about the late Chief. He said ”I spoke with him before he died , he knew he was going , he called Rotimi my younger brother and told him  to take care of his wife. I  was there when he was rolled  down into the grave.I was touched. He was a good man , he was jovial and loved. I wept .This life is just ephemeral .Only  people like the pastors  and the children were allowed to be by the graveside .  His second born couldn’t come due to his duty. He is  a soldier in Dallas. Gboyega  was a  fun guy , he was jovial all the time , everybody  gona miss him”.


Pastor Femi Omiye  of Freedom Church, St.Louis , Missouri, described Chief’s death as painful and untimely .The Pastor  however produced a small video clip in his memory. Omiye said ”I  prayed  for  him and I always prayed for him .Before he died he called me and asked me to take him to the hospital and I did . But he was weak. Whenever I called I would pray for him and he too   would ask me to remember him in prayer’


The man who was his classmate at Government Technical College, Owo cried on phone, he said ”We were classmate when in Technical School. He was a very nice man. I want we his friends to organize a candle light for him and celebrate him here when this Coronavirus leaves.We should honour him here too .He deserved it ”, he said as he was crying on phone.


The Olunaun of Unaun., Prince Olanrewaju ABEGUNDE cried on phone . He said ” So when he came to Owo last time   was the last time I would see him? .This life  has no meaning at all.But we still thank God that he left behind children and grandchildren.I pray May God console his mother and  the  family he left behind”.


Hezekiah lamented on phone and said ” Imagine how wicked death is, he is still having a mother at home.I know Gboyega very well, he was a nice friend as we both went to Technical College together .Death where is thy sting?”, he broke down on phone and was weeping as his phone was running .

Those who attended the funeral ceremony are :Dipo Okunrinboye, Yomi Fajagba,Dodolewa, Pastor Akano,Mr. Adeniseun Greg, Mrs Haco Omoloja, Mrs. Aariola Olugboroko, Mrs Kehinde Olagbegi -Osinkoya   and Bola her husband  and many others.

Lobo Agaun said ” here was a man who was loved  from  Owo his country home to Canada, Russia, United Kingdom, Australia and America . The story of  Chief Oloja  who was popular home and abroad  makes the beat go on as his humility, simplicity, cheerfulness and social life continues to ring bell” .