When the news was first broke that Oba Rasheed Akanbi, the Oluwo of Iwo beat up another monarch, I thought the cynics were only trying to expose the royal father to public ridicule. Alas,the unfortunate incident which was reported to have occurred in the presence of AIG Bashir Makama, the State Police Commissioner and even the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters in the state of Osun was neither denied by Oluwo nor the police authorities till this moment.
Ordinarily, the royal fathers as custodians of Yoruba culture and traditions shouldn’t have descended so low to engage themselves in physical combat even at the point of provocation. With the status and exalted stools occupied by the two traditional rulers,it is painful that the duo failed to guide their heritage jealously.
Regrettably, failure of Oluwo to toy a path of honour in overcoming his anger at the point of provocation, if any, has exposed their sacred mandate to public ridicule. Somehow, the unfortunate incident has diminished the honour, respect and dignity the stools of the two monarchs symbolise and command.
The current development is a further reminder of how the name of Oluwo of Iwo has been associated with several controversies in the past. Rather than being a true symbol of Yoruba culture,values and tradition, he is either being accused of one misdemeanor today or other infraction tomorrow. No one cares about the antics and other intolerable public outbursts of Oluwo until his recent public misconduct.
If the land tussle between the neighbouring towns of the spring state could not be resolved through amicable settlement, the matter should have been referred to the court of law. I agree that our traditional rulers are human-beings and could therefore have reasons to disagree.
This particular incident is more or less a theatre of absurdity, seeing the two traditional rulers fighting dirty and roughly in the public. if verbal argument between Oluwo of Iwo and Agbowu of Ogbagbaa is allowed to snowball into open confrontation,it shows the level of degeneration and moral laxities among the nation’s traditional rulers.
No matter the level of provocation, Oluwo should not have turned himself to a boxer. It saddens one heart to see two highly revered monarchs turning a peace meeting summoned by the police to a royal rumble. Even if no one speaks out against the shameful action of Oluwo, he should be courageous enough to cover his face in shame for ridiculing the stool of his forbears apart from the legal consequence of such inglorious behaviour in the public.
Regardless of the causative agent and irrespective of who actually provoked the situation, the action of Oluwo of Iwo remains condemnable. With the injury sustained by Oba Dhikrulahi Akinropo, the Agbowu of Ogbagbaa during the fiasco, the transgressor being the Oluwo in this circumstance should not be seen as being treated as a king who is above the law.
Failure to bring the controversial Oluwo to justice will become a bad precedence. Apart from the legal implications of assault occasioning harm, it is sacrilegious for a king to beat up another king either within or outside his domain.
An open fight between the two royal fathers in which one ended in the hospital is highly ridiculous and could not be justified culturally and by ethical reasoning.
The continuous silence and philosophical calmness of Governor Isiaka Oyetola, the Governor of the spring state gives an impression that it is either His Excellency has overtly endorsed the reign of royal banditry in the state of Osun or probably the case of criminal assault is adjudged by the government as usual political matter.
In my view, none of the excuses given by Oluwo of Iwo to have turned himself to a boxer is reasonable enough to exonerate him of culpability. Someone needs to counsel Oluwo that the excuse that he only tried to defend himself against Agbowa’s attempt to stick his staff of office in his eyes seems to be a mere defence mechanism.
Since the royal rumble occurred in the state of Osun, the police authorities in whose presence the ugly incident happened has not made any public statement to deny or confirm the incident. If police could not made any statement twenty four hours after the royal fiasco, it may not be an aberration to accuse the police of connivance or negligence. This type of incident shouldn’t be handled whimsically or with levity because it can lead to communal crisis, if carelessly handled.
What the incident further portend is that no one is saved even in the custody of the police, if assault of that magnitude could be successfully carried out in the presence of AIG and other top government functionaries.
The incident also raises the question of several unresolved land and boundary disputes among communities in Nigeria. With the current trend in the country, land disputes cannot be resolved by physical combat rather the parties in such conflicts should learn to approach the court of law once peaceful resolution seems to be impossible.
The state government must equally have an holistic look at the immediate and remote causes of land disputes in the state of Osun for the state to achieve sustainable peace, progress and development.
Rahaman Onike, Public Affairs Analyst writes from Oyo town, Oyo State.
At 70, it’s still sunset at noon for Ajimobi | By Akin Oyedele
The sudden transition and commitment of the remains of the former Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, to mother earth, at his Oluyole, Ibadan, residence today, evokes a painful reminder of our mortality. Even at 70, I dare say it is sunset at noon for the ebullient, workaholic former governor of our dear state who showed no sign of ageing, weariness or illness.
Although our path first crossed rather on a frosty note some seventeen years ago, during a reception organised in honour of Senator Clement Awoyelu by his kinsfolk, at Olujoda Hotel, Ado-Ekiti, he was later to, by divine arrangement, be my boss and benefactor for five years, having been twice lucky to be appointed a member of his media team.
By his death, Ibadanland has lost an illustrious son, Oyo State has lost the architect of its modernity, while the country has lost a patriotic statesman whose contributions to nation building and democratic norms are unequivocal and forthright.
As a senator, he distinguished himself in the real sense of the word. Ajimobi was reputed to be one of the strident campaigners against the infamous third term agenda of a former president, while he was said to be one of the few lawmakers that spurned the N50m per head bait doled out to oil the machinery of the vaulting ambition. Although some pliant members of the 5th National Assembly had allegedly pocketed the filthy lucre without batting an eyelid, Ajimobi famously stood his ground in defence of democracy and sanctity of the Constitution.
As the first two-term governor of the state, his legacies dot the landscape, while his footprints are indelible on the sands of time. What he did or did not do well should be left for political pundits to pontificate about and for posterity to judge.
At the twilight of his administration, the continued well-being of Oyo State was uppermost on his mind, prompting him to earnestly wish that his successor should surpass his achievements.
He had said: “We have laid a solid foundation for whoever is coming after us to build on. I will expect whoever is going to succeed me to leverage on our achievements in peace and security. When we came in 2011, Ibadan was notorious for criminal activities and brigandage, which earned it the appellation of a garrison.
“You will agree with me that Oyo State of today is a peaceful state, and this peace is the German floor for the unprecedented development of the state. When you look around, you will know that Ibadan and indeed, the entire state have witnessed tremendous turnaround.
“My successor should be able to improve on our achievements in education, health, agriculture, urban renewal and infrastructural revolution. On our own part, we don’t expect everybody to be on our side, otherwise we will be deceiving ourselves. In fact, if you want everybody to like you for everything you are doing, then go and sell ice cream.”
Gratefully, his successor, His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde, has taken up the gauntlet and has indubitably built on the foundation laid by his predecessor, judging by his huge investments aimed at overhauling the security architecture of the state.
In his modesty and quite uncharacteristic of your everyday politician, Makinde had on many occasions alluded to the fact that his forerunner kept his lights bright for him to see and follow.
The governor wrote in his tribute, “Surely, he (Ajimobi) will be remembered for leaving a blueprint for some of the activities that our administration is now undertaking.”
In his book, ‘As you Like it,’ celebrated poet and dramatist, William Shakespeare, waxed philosophical in an allegory of the seven stages of a man’s life cycle, from ‘infancy to second childishness and mere oblivion.’
In a monologue in one of the scenes of the pastoral comedy book, Melancholy Jaques had said, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.”
Although, Ajimobi might not have completed the seven stages, which makes his exit painful, but it pleases His maker to summon him for bigger assignments in Al-jannah. He had played his part on the world’s stage to the best of his ability and had exited in a blaze of glory.
My thoughts and prayers are with his loving wife and soul mate of several decades, Mrs Florence Ajimobi, the children and family.
May Allah grant him Al-jannah Firdaus and preserve his living and nonliving treasures.
September 30 | By Olawale Sadare
I was a small boy in 1979 but there was a particular day in that eventful year which I can never forget in my life. It was a day I got maltreated and manhandled by an elder cousin as a result of my own innocence and childishness. Over 41 years after, I still feel an emotional pain as the experience refuses to escape from my memory. I wish I could do away with the urge to avenge the wrongdoing of a person who had long forgotten about the whole event.
Auntie Lutfat (now Prophetess Omonike), is the first grandchild of my paternal grandmother who took care of many of us in the 70s and early 80s. Tall, elegant and brilliant, Asake was equally tough and she would never take nonsense from anybody as a young lady. She had a good knowledge of Ibadan municipality and anybody she chose to take out would be overwhelmed with joy in those days. For some natural reasons, I was not always lucky to be considered for her town cruising serenades but my own luck shone on 30th day of September, 1979.
It was the eve of change of government from the military leadership of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo to the newly-elected civilian administration of Alh. Sheu Shagari. Apprehension, uncertainty and palpable fear had enveloped the whole of the country and Ibadan, the capital of the young Oyo State was not an exception. Ibadan was also an epicentre of the bloodshed which characterized the January 15, 1966 first military coup in the country and only a few people trusted the military boys to hand over to Shagari on October 1, 1979 as promised.
This explained the frenzy situation on the eve of that date.
My family relocated to the city in early 1978 from our remote settlement in Owobaale via Erunmu and our new site was somewhere around Bishop Phillips Academy, Iwo Road, Ibadan. Family Houses in Oke-Adu, Ita Baale and Ile Emu at Oje were the places we use to visit once a while up till the time we became adults.
However, it used to be a thing of joy anytime an older person wanted to take us to see life in the central parts of the metropolis. Baba Liadi Adesokan Alao was the second son of my paternal grandma who meant so much to me. He was a security guard at St. Mary Catholic Primary School, Ratibi until his death in 1982 and he lived (with his family of six) around Oke’badan area.
My joy knew no bound on that fateful Sunday (30/9/1979) when Auntie Molara take me and another cousin, Folasade (of blessed memory), along as she planned to visit Oke’badan. Maami, maami… Anti Monike ni ki n kalo si odo Baba l’Okebadan. I rushed down to my mom to break the good news to her and pronto, she quickly dressed me up. She bathe me in the public glare for all I cared, mopped up the droplets of water on my body and then ‘painted’ me with our cherished Pomade body cream. I put on my best Alokowe dress which was a flexible ‘bosikoro’ round neck long sleeve butter colored shirt and a pair of trousers on a rubber sandal… Igboro’badan ya!
I cannot possibly remember how we managed to get to Agodi Gate from Academy-Monatan. Auntie carried Sade on one hand and used her second hand to hold me tightly as we navigated through the crowd of people who were in a haste to reach their respective destinations in time before any eventuality as anticipated ahead of the October 1, 1979 inauguration of a civilian government in the country. We later got to a place called Idi Ogungun and Auntie had to release my hand as she wanted to point to a tree under which my father was plying his trade as a Watch repairer.
“Wasiu, nibeun ni Baa-mi-re ti n se Aago”, Auntie Monike echoed as she pointed her finger towards the direction of the tree. I could not be satisfied with a look at that direction and I continued to behold the sight of the whole place having been given an opportunity to look round round.
Unfortunately, my elder cousin who had released my hand felt I was following her from behind after the ‘looking opportunity’ and she continued to trek towards the mini park where commercial Liteace buses plying Oke’badan were lined up. She got to the bus ‘on turn’ and tried to lift me up into it but I was nowhere to be found. Immediately, she began to scream; ” Omo-olomo da? Omo-olomo da?” With heavy teardrops rolling down from her eyes, she headed back to where she had asked me to look at the tree. She met me at the same point where I was still enjoying the opportunity to watch a mammoth crowd live. Auntie got to me and in annoyance, she descended on me with some dirty slaps and military kicks. I fell flat on my face and she began to drag me on the sandy floor… May God never subject me to such torturous experience again in my life. It was since then I have learned never to be carried away in the midst of a crowd again.
At a point, she decided to allow me stand on my feet and we continued our movement towards Oke’badan while sobbed repeatedly as she would not stop twisting my earlobes and knocking my head every 120 seconds.
Eventually, we got to Uncle’s house and as it was his practice when he saw me, he starting chanting our lineage panegyrics thus; “Adeyemi n le… Omo Aresa, dudu l’egbon pupa l’aburo… Omo s’eni-un-o-s’eni ni b’Iresa nnu, bo’le o bu’po ni ya’mode l’ara… Ara’lu òpe, omo amúronà s’aju eegun, omo ol’ode àjígbá, omo abesin kan kóri, omo asojetan s’oloosa… Abbl. Uncle drew me closer to himself and observed something was wrong.
He asked; “Monike, se o na omo yi ni?”… “Rara o, o subu funra re ni o”, Auntie replied and I could not stand it at this juncture… I bursted into tears uncontrollably. Uncle who he was and castigated her heavily. He could not trust her again and had to return me home by himself.
About 27 years after (precisely on April 7, 2006), Auntie played into my hands and I was able to take my own pound of flesh. She dared me in the public and received the worst beating of her life. Before you would pass any judgment on me for being ‘vindictive or unforgiving’, pray to have a personal experience what she did to me the second time. However, we have since reconciled and we are now good friends. But I’m grateful to her for teaching me never to be lost into a crowd again in my life.
Wasiu Olawale Sadare, Journalist and Media Consultant writes from Ibadan, Oyo state
Arisekola: A half of Ibadan mistaken for a single person | By Adeolu Akande
It is six years today that the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola Alao passed on. On February 14 , 2018, a political scientist and public administrator, Professor Adeolu Akande did a tribute on him to celebrate his 73rd posthumous birthday. Akande now chairs the Nigeria Communications Commission, (NCC).
Interestingly, Aare Arisekola Alao would have been 75 years old today. The tribute is re-presented by Mega Icon Magazine in memory of one of the most celebrated men to pass through this clime.
Alhaji Abdul Azeez Arisekola Alao would have been 75 years old today. All roads would have led to his palatial residence at Oluwo Nla,Ibadan, for the big event. It would have been a celebration in the city because Arisekola was at the epicentre of the politics and social life of Ibadan. Arisekola qualifies, to adopt the words of that Yoruba wordsmith , Alhaji Odolaye Aremu, in parody, to be described as “Idameji Ibadan ti won pe lenikan” ( “a half of Ibadan mistaken for a single person”).
My consciousness of the man Arisekola dated back to the mid-70s when he was a regular feature in the long playing records of the reigning musicians of that era – Chief Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and Alhaji Odolaye Aremu, to mention a few. The trio of Alhaji Arisekola Alao, Chief Akanni Aluko and Chief Adeseun Ogundoyin dominated the social scene like the roaring lions dominate the jungle.
That was before he exited the social circuit for the Islamic world. Arisekola became the Aare Musulumi of Yoruba land in 1980 and devoted the vigour and energy with which he dominated the social scene as the celebrated Oyinbo oni Datsun to the service of Islam.
Only few men in these parts had “romanticised” wealth like the way Arisekola did. The very few men in this privileged tribe included Chief M.K.O Abiola and much earlier, Candido Joao DaRocha, the Ijesha man whose name became a synonym for wealth.
I met him for the first time about 1992. My celebrated and heavily decorated editor at the Sunday Tribune, Folu Olamiti took two of his reporters, Wale Adebanwi, now Rhodes Professor of Race Studies at the prestigious Oxford University, United Kingdom and myself on a visit to the Aare Musulumi. He had reportedly requested to meet these two reporters whose stories had become permanent features on the front pages of Sunday Tribune. We met him at his residence on the exclusive Rotimi Williams Street in Bodija, Ibadan. It looked uncompleted from the outside, but the interior was classic luxury.
“O ni temi”, he enthusiastically thumped our palms in turn to welcome us to his presence. Nothing prepared me for the experience. He was in a white T-shirt and white shorts. Very small in stature and very much younger than the man one imagined under the big turban and very expansive and heavily embroidered babariga that was his trademark.
He was a very friendly and chatty man. He moved from one topic to another, emotionally expressing strong views on each one. I cannot recall the subjects of discussion that evening but I still recall how his face brightened up as he marshalled his arguments in Ibadan dialect in the chat with our editor. There was no pretext. He took it upon himself to serve us drinks, moving from one person to the other. He intermittently sat on the floor as he enjoyed his conversation with Olamiti.
Arisekola sent Christians on pilgrimage to Jerusalem
In later encounters, I marvelled at the congruence of the Christian and Islamic faith in the residence of the Aare Musulumi. He was an Islamic leader but was actively involved in the determination of the leadership of many Christian groups and associations. He was involved in nominating members into boards of christian organisations and was yearly sending hundreds of christians on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. He didn’t need to go in search of such role. They brought such roles to him. So was it with Islamic groups, student unions, labour groups, the traditional institutions, musicians, artists, artisans. Name it.
Arisekola was Philanthropist of all times
There are very few men in this clime who are as generous like Arisekola. No wonder his house was the melting point of Ibadan. If there is a prominent personality in Ibadan you have not seen for a considerable length of time, you are most likely to meet him during a casual visit to Arisekola’s residence. His residence was a magnet of sorts.
His generosity is as legendary as that of Mansa Kanka Musa of the Mali Empire fame. Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, the governor of Oyo State, is never tired of recalling his first encounter with Arisekola after his (Ajimobi’s) sojourn in the United States of America. According to him, he had attended a party in Ibadan where a guest dominated the entire scene by spraying musicians and guests alike with crisp new Naira notes. Just coming from a clime not conversant with such display of wealth, he enquired who the person was and everyone around chorused, “Oyinbo o ni Datsun” (“The Datsun merchant”).
That was one leg of the story. The second leg which Arisekola always enjoyed, as the governor – known for his gift of the garb – often tells the story, was that Arisekola spent so much money that night that those of them who came to the party with girls could not get all the girls to go back home with them. “No one knew how the girls vamoosed”, he would assert to Arisekola’s loud guffaw.
“We sprayed Sunny Ade and borrowed the money to spray again, using our wristwatches as collateral”
But that was before he became the Aare Musulumi of Yoruba land. Arisekola was to say in one of our encounters that it was his appointment as Aare Musulumi that rescued him from the social circuit. “We were reckless with money”, he said on one other occasion as he relived with nostalgia, his youthful exploits with another comrade in the social circuit in the 1970s, Chief Abiola Ogundokun. “We would spray all the money we took to a party on Sunny Ade, then remove our wristwatches and use them as collateral to borrow extra money from Sunny Ade and spray him with the money all over again. We only retrieved our wristwatches after visiting the bank on Monday to collect more money, again for Sunny Ade.
Arisekola belonged to no party but all parties..
Arisekola was not a politician if defined by membership of a political party. He didn’t need one because he belonged to all political parties. In the Second Republic when he strongly identified with the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Arisekola was a major financier of the personal lifestyles and political aspirations of many leaders of the rival Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). Until his death, he sponsored the aspirations of politicians of different and indeed rival political parties. He financed all parties in all elections. You only know his preference by identifying who received the highest financial support from him. In one instance, Arisekola, in support of a gubernatorial candidate, set up his own campaign team and handed over to them N30 million each day of the 40 days preceding the election. In another election, he procured 25 new vehicles for the campaign train of a gubernatorial candidate even when his associates claimed that he was the biggest financier of the rival candidate.
He was one of the priviledged few that wash Kabbah, Islam’s holiest mosque, every year
Arisekola’s uncommon generosity did not miss the attention of the Islamic world. He was one of the very few personalities from across the world granted the privilege of partaking in the washing of the Kabbah by the King of Saudi Arabia and custodian of Islam’s holiest mosque. It couldn’t have been different for a man who in one of his last years reportedly took about 500 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, paying for their transportation, accommodation and providing them other sundry allowances.
Arisekola kneels to speak with mother on phone
Though a great man, he gave a lie to the saying that “looking at the kings mouth, you will think he never sucked his mother’s breasts”. Arisekola virtually worshipped his mother. He kneels down when he speaks with the mother, even on phone. He said it was not excessive because a mother who bore the pains of birth deserved to be worshipped. He said the only person whose love never waivers for a man is the mother.
Arisekola and Adedibu
There is no arguing the fact that Arisekola’s greatest ally in politics and in the affairs of Ibadan was the strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu. Between the two men are stories that will easily stroll into the pages of World’s Hilarious Stories.
Adedibu suspends prayer to welcome Arisekola and explains…
One of the most celebrated is Arisekola’s visit to the Molete residence of Adedibu. Adedibu was in the middle of his Sallah prayer when Arisekola walked in. He promptly suspended his Sallah to attend to his visitor. When he was asked why he did so, he responded that his prayer point was for God to give him money. Arisekola’s coming was the evidence that the prayer had been answered because Arisekola never walks alone; he was always heavily laden with money. “If Arisekola should leave, God will punish me that he had answered my prayer but I refused to accept it!” He said he has been thought that any prayer observed when your mind is diverted is a waste of time. He said his mind could not be in the prayer fearing that Arisekola might leave.
Adedibu and Arisekola’s Zoo
There is a more hilarious story of Adedibu and Arisekola’s Zoo. Arisekola had decided to set up a zoo in his new palatial residence at Oluwa Nla. Adedibu volunteered to get the lions from Senegal. When after a long wait and several entreaties it appeared no lion was going to be delivered, Arisekola became agitated. Informed of Arisekola’s worries, Adedibu walked into Arisekola’s residence and volunteered; “Aare, ati na owo awon kiniun re o, bo ba ju awa na sinu zoo k’awon ara Ibadan o ma wa wowa mbe” (Aare, we have spent the money you gave us to buy lions from Senegal. You may wish to throw us into the cage so that the people of Ibadan can come to watch us as they would have come to watch the lions). Both old men had a very hearty laughter. Their friendship continued.
Arisekola believed Ibadan is God’s own city
Arisekola’s greatest passion was for Islam and Ibadan. I have not met any Ibadan man who has as much pride in his Ibadan ancestry as Arisekola. His world revolved around Ibadan and everything that symbolised the great city. He celebrated Amala and never shied away from telling anyone who cared to listen that he never ate rice but could eat Amala, the staple food of Ibadan, three times a day. He gave up the social circuit on becoming the Aare Musulumi in 1980 but until he breathed his last in 2014, he never resisted gesticulating on his seat anytime he heard his favourite song devoted to the glory of Ibadan by his friend, Ebenezar Obey ; “ Oluyole o lanlo,nile Azeez Arisekola…Arisekola dahun si se, yeeeeee dahunsi o, Oke’badan dahunsi o…”
Arisekola’s 73rd birthday celebration would have provided the platform for Ibadan to discuss and possibly amicably resolve the fledging Olubadan Chieftaincy dispute. But as the Yoruba say, ina dile lehin asun isu je (The fire place is left in silence as the roaster of yam is away from home).
Arisekola, Abacha and Abiola
Like every mortal, Arisekola had his weaknesses and trials. The most threatening to his white garland was his uncompromising support for the government of his friend, General Sani Abacha, in defiance of the popular Yoruba support for the sanctity of the June 12 election won by another friend of his, Chief M.K.O Abiola. Alhaji Adedibu once opined that Arisekola survived his trials because he lived a life of prayers and generosity. “Bi abere Aare ba mo so’mi okun, Olorun a ma ba mu ntori aadua ati itore aanu re po…” (“If Arisekola’s needle drops in the middle of the ocean, God retrieves it for him because he lives a life of prayers and charity”).Such efficacy of prayers is open to conjectures. But as for the power of generosity, a former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria shares Adedibu’s belief when, in another context, he propounded what he jocularly calls one of the theories of Nigerian politics; “Any problem money cannot solve, more money will solve it”.
Arisekola and Ibadan generosity
Arisekola’s unequalled generosity is one reason Ibadan will not forget him in a very long time to come. He touched so many lives probably in a way no other person has ever done in the ancient city. Yet, Ibadan itself is a city of cheerful givers, whose people pride themselves by saying, “b’owo ba ku kobo kan l’owo mi, ma a fi s’omo Ibadan lalejo, omo ‘badan o je baun”. (“I will not spare my last kobo to entertain an Ibadan man because Ibadan people themselves are cheerful givers”).
Arisekola was more than “first among equals” in the matter of generosity. In the words of Odolaye Aremu, Arisekola was “the big umbrella that provided shade for the people of Ibadan” (and beyond).
May God forgive his shortcomings.
Professor Adeolu Akande is a Professor of Political Science and Public Administration
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