Day Glo, Nigerians honoured Awujale at 85th birthday

It is a no brainer that the institution of good governance in the country is dear to the heart of the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr) Sikiru Kayode Adetona. For the last three years now, the paramount ruler has marked his birthday with generation of ideas for good governance in the country and it is gratifying that the grandmasters of data, Globacom, has been a reliable partner with the strides. It is no wonder then that foremost traditional ruler quipped: “Glo is Ijebu, Ijebu is Glo.”

Like other years, Glo was solidly behind the traditional ruler at the third edition of the Oba Adetona lecture held recently at the Adeola Odutola Hall in Ijebu Ode. Gaily dressed eminent Nigerians including two former governors of Ogun State: Chiefs Olusegun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel; the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; over 30 traditional rulers; Ogun State governor-elect, Prince Dapo Abiodun; and and scores of business men and academics thronged the event.

The phenomenal development of Ijebuland under the Awujale came to fore again at the event where distinguished guests at the occasions all agreed that Ijebu Ode and indeed Ijebuland have witnessed tremendous developments during the reign of the foremost traditional ruler.

Oba Adetona, who ascended the throne of his forefathers on Saturday, April 2, 1960, has been a force to reckon with and has always been regarded as a traditional ruler who is passionate about good governance, and this was why he instituted a professorial chair in good governance at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State. Currently, the chair is occupied by an eminent professor of political science, Ayo Olukotun, who also delivered this year’s lecture, entitled, “Grassroots governance, the soft underbelly of Nigeria’s political architecture.”

Oba Adetona, it would be recalled, was a thorn in the flesh of two administrations in the state, both civilian and military over his undiluted stand on good governance. He abhorred irresponsible government and tells those that care to listen how much he hates irresponsible governance. He also refused to be part of those who declared support for the military regimes, especially that of the late General Sani Abacha. This earned him accolades and much respects both in the country and outside.

Oba Adetona’s phenomenon traverses all facets of Ijebuland. It was during his reign that many Ijebu sons and daughters rose in their various professions to become captains of industries, gurus in the banking profession, erudite scholars, big merchants, while Ijebu Ode and other towns in Ijebuland witnessed phenomenal growth through emergence of many companies, bank branches, eateries, institutions of higher learning, among others. It is on record that one of the biggest markets in West Africa, the Ita Osu market (also called New Market) was built in the centre of Ijebu Ode during his reign.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the foremost traditional ruler instituted the professorial chair in good governance with an initial sum of N250 million at the Department of Political Science at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, and the traditional ruler also recently announced a N1 billion trust fund of his personal money for the maintenance of the Awujale’s palace in perpetuity.

Oba Adetona has also always reaffirmed his commitment to see Nigeria take giant strides in good governance stemming from quality education, research, mentorship and community engagement.

According to him: “Education has a pivotal role to play in the quality of governance. That was the reason behind lending my little support. I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my desire to help Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, to continue a line of production of leaders moulded for good governance.”

So at the third in the series of the lecture on good governance the occupier of the chair, Professor Ayo Olukotun, delivered the lecture, entitled, “Grassroots governance, the soft underbelly of Nigeria’s political architecture,” where he submitted that local governments in the country had failed and should be replaced because of the manifest development gaps in the country. He challenged Nigerians to provide redemptive alternatives to what is currently extant. Other speakers like Professor Kingsley Moghalu posited that local governments should be scrapped and replaced with a two-tier government while Professor Remi Sonaiya charged the electorate to start to demand accountability from elected leaders to foster good governance.

At the event, Oba Adetona gave special recognition to the chairman of Globacom, Dr Mike Adenuga, not only for being a great son of Ijebuland, but also for the huge support that has birthed great development and progress in his domain. He prayed especially for long life, good health and continuous progress for the Globacom chairman.

In his goodwill message at the event, read on his behalf by Mr. Folu Aderibigbe, Dr Mike Adenuga recommended the inculcation of the noble values of honesty, hard work, integrity, probity and good character enshrined in the “Omoluabi paradigm” for the entrenchment of good governance in the country. “Omoluabi” is a cultural concept of the Yoruba people used to describe a person of diligence and integrity.

Dr. Adenuga described the theme of the lecture as apt, positing that “the local government which represents the grassroots is the closest tier of governance to the people. If we get it right at this level, we will get it right at the top as this level represents the base for governance. It is widely agreed that all politics is local and charity, they say, must begin from home. This is why the family unit is very important in the enthronement of good governance in the country.

“Our time-honoured values should be inculcated on all and sundry with righteousness and truth as hallmarks. I commend the “Omoluabi paradigm” which upholds good character to all and sundry, political class and the electorate, as against the prevalent carpetbaggers’ mentality which seeks to win elections at all cost and by any means fair.

“The electorate should also refrain from selling their votes in order to ensure that credible leaders are voted for in various communities, who will in turn go to the states and then the federal level to  ensure probity, accountability, integrity and good governance.”

He commended Oba Adetona for donating the professorial chair at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, a gesture, he said, had been generating seminal ideas for the enthronement of good governance in the country. He prayed for more successes during the reign of the foremost traditional ruler.

Also at the ceremony, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the professorial chair, Mr. Olatunji Ayanlaja (SAN), recalled that the first lecture which was delivered by Professor Akin Mabogunje in 2016 X-rayed the role of money in politics, while the second lecture delivered by Professor Olukotun looked at the role of civil societies in the entrenchment of good governance in the country.

The BOT chairman announced that Oba Adetona had created a N1 billion trust fund of his personal money for the maintenance of the Awujale’s palace in perpetuity. He added that the official residence and the office of the chair of Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona Professorial Chair at the Olabisi Onabanjo University would be ready for inauguration in three months.

This year’s lecture crystalises Oba Adetona’s passion to birth good governance in the country and progressively indicates that a glorious dawn beckons for Nigeria as the citizenry are being enlightened, sensitized and prepared for a better future.