The Elegboro of Ijebujesa, Oba Moses Olufemi Agunsoye is a year on the throne rolling out drum for the ceremony today in his hometown. In an interview by TUNDE BUSARI, the traditional ruler reviews his last 12 months on the throne and gives thanks to his subjects for the love they have so far showed him. Excerpts:
One year has just gone. What is your experience of the new life as the Elegboro of Ijebujesa?
My experience is memorable. My experience confirms that God’s design for his creatures will manifest. It might not come the exact time you want it. God will surely show you that He is your creator who brought you to the world to achieve certain purpose. And until that purpose is achieved, He won’t recall you back home. That is the best way to answer this question because I see the hands of God in me and the palace in the last one year. I must always give praise to him.
How can you describe the people of Ijebujesa in the last one year?
The best words to describe them are ‘fantastic and patriotic.’ You can even see since you entered the palace what I am talking about. They have proved to me that I am lucky. They have been wonderful. They have accorded the honour any traditional ruler should wish to have from his people. Whenever I am going out and wherever I go, I meet very happy people, greeting me with all the respect. I am overwhelmed by their love. This means I have a lot of work to do to ensure the expectations they have on me are met because to whom much is given, much is equally expected.
What do you think informed the love you just mentioned?
To be honest, I cannot specifically say what is behind the enthusiasm I see in my people on a daily basis. But I am conscious of the fact that I was together with them long before I became the Elegboro.
How do you mean, sir, when you were not working in Ijebujesa?
You are right. I was not based here. But I was coming home as regular as if I was based here. There was nothing going on in town that I was not part of. I would travel by day and night to ensure I come home to play my part. Whether it is community development matter or ceremonies, I would always come around to contribute my own quota. I had blended very well with the town such that you would think I was living here. When I arrived, I did not just go home straight. No. I must touch different places where my friends were already waiting for me. I would move from one joint to another until the day grew old. It was fun being in the midst of my people back then. May be, that informed the support I enjoyed during the contest and after the coronation. I am using this opportunity to appreciate their love.
What moment can you recall really touched your heart in the last one year?
There are a couple of such moments. But I can easily recall one that happened not long ago. I left home and attended a church service at the time the pastor of the church and congregation did not expect. They did not expect because the church was built with wood. The pastor could not hide his joy seeing me taking a seat in the church. What I used that to do is that we are all one. As traditional ruler, I should not be seen as traditional ruler to a select people. The throne has conferred on me the status of father of all, regardless of class and religion. And I am happy to identify with the downtrodden, the people who ordinarily would think I cannot be found in their midst. If this is also seen as one of what informed the support I enjoy from my people, it is right.
In terms of physical development, what changes have you observed the town has witnessed?
God has assisted me to do a little as regards your question. And God has assured me that the little is just a tip of the iceberg in what the town will witness in my reign. I am here finally. This is the place of my rest. There is nothing I am looking for again. I can’t acquire property again. The palace is what I have. And I must ensure the palace is in best place to live. This office was refurbished to taste between last year and now. Fifteen units of solar electricity were installed just last week. I sent a request letter to Abuja and here we are. The team that did it spent three days here. They dug, cast and installed. From Ilesa road down to the palace is now well illuminated in the night. Also, I built a 20-unit market at the International Market, opposite Interlink Polytechnic. I am also happy to tell you that there are few recreational facilities in Lagos or Ibadan that you can’t find here. The Asiwaju of Ijebujesa, Chief Rotimi Obeisun has proved to be a genuine patriot by bringing his investments back home. We have cinema, civic centre, radio and television houses among others. A fertilizer plant, the biggest in West Africa, would soon be commissioned too. There is agro-allied rice mill too. I am calling on other sons and daughters to emulate Asiwaju in taking the town to higher height of development. We cannot continue to wait til government brings industry here before we do what will change the life of our youths for better.
Can you recall any of your pastime as a young boy in school?
I was somehow playful. I loved Football and sports generally. Whenever I was playing on the field, spectators would be hailing and chorusing Prince Oyeee. I was also doing athletics too. I derive so much fun doing sports, especially when other students were clapping for me.
What are other things you can recall in your school days?
I can recall that I passed through hard time in the hands of my seniors. Because some of my seniors in higher classes, like form three, wanted to show me they were my seniors, I would try to resist. I resisted because they were my friends, my age mates.
Why were your age mates in higher classes than you were?
I entered the school, Ijebujesa Grammar School late. I came from modern school to join them. My guardian gave me money to obtain form to enter Technical College but I did not like Technical College. So, I kept the money under my pillow for a long time. He reported me to the family but I stood my ground. Eventually I came to Ijebujesha to start from form one. That was what caused the delay I had.
Do you observe that Olori has fully adjusted to her new role?
It was not an ice on the cake. It took her some time to wake up to the reality of her new status. She has travelled to Osogbo now for the preparation, she would have answered this question better.
You have talked of the beauty the town has witnessed in the last one year. You must have also had some low moments. Can you share them with me?
That is life. But to be honest, my best moments have subsumed such moment. My only worry, which I am calling government to respond to is security. We have witnessed some unfortunate incidents that are not good for the town and neighbouring communities. We have made some efforts in combating the crime but we are still making further efforts because it is not over until it is over. Apart from regular security agents, we also involved the vigilante and OPC (Oodua Peoples’ Congress).
As a traditional ruler, the custodian of custom and tradition, what are your findings?
Security matter should not be thrown to the public. We are still working on some things regarding your question, and soon, God willing, we are going to reach somewhere. But I am appealing to government to supply us with patrol vehicles to aid security agents in their works. Where security is threatened, meaningful developments are difficult to achieve. Government should consider this fact and come to our aid.
How does relationship between you and other traditional rulers look like?
At Obokun/Oriade Council of traditional rulers, we have cordial relationship. I am happy to be in their midst. We are all working towards making our respective domain better than we met them.
What has being the Elegboro taken away from you?
As an outgoing person who enjoyed his social life very well with friends, I can say the throne has restricted me from certain things according to the tradition. I cannot go to joints again to enjoy my drinks with my friends. But it is a sacrifice one needs to make, and I am happy for it. Life is in phases. I am okay with this new phase. Nevertheless, I enjoy myself.