The Olokine of Ojowo, Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State, Oba Abayomi Olusesan Banjo, ex-banker and businessman speaks with the media on his emergence as Olokine, efforts being made to develop his domain and his dreams for the future, among other issues. Excerpts:
Since you ascended the throne as the Olokine of Ojowo, this is the first time the Olokine Day would be coming up. How do you feel organising the first Olokine Day?
I feel highly elated for the privilege God has granted us at our own time. It is consistent with the promise made to our people during my coronation. Anyone present then could bear witness to the huge crowd at the Awujale’s palace. It was a clear demonstration of the love our people have for our emergence as Olokine.
Apart from organising the Olokine Day, what are your other achievements in your domain so far?
We have touched virtually all areas of human endeavour. In the area of agriculture, we have supported Ogun Government to provide over 200 direct jobs through the Anchor Borrower Programme; we have trained over 300 women, youths and young adults and empowered them on various vocations; we have facilitated more than 150 approvals for COVID-19 loans for our people; reorganised Ojowo Traditional Council to give competence its rightful place and allow for diaspora contribution into the developmental activities of the kingdom.
We have also instilled discipline in the traditional activities of the kingdom; we have honoured those who have distinguished themselves in their various fields and floated a scholarship scheme that will change the educational narrative of the kingdom in the next few years. It is also on record that we have brought in the second microfinance institution into Ijebu Igbo to ease the access of our people to credit facilities and facilitate businesses.
You are an ex-regional director with FCMB and a business magnate. Who and what motivated you to take up the role you are playing now as a traditional ruler?
The aura surrounding the paramount ruler of Ijebu land; the respect he has been enjoying over a long period of time; his passion for development and the need to change the narratives of my kingdom and the larger Ijebu Igbo community on development have been the motivating factors. I thank God for everything He has helped us to achieve so far.
You have been invited by the Ogun State House of Assembly on issues surrounding your coronation proper. Why?
Yes, I was invited to make some clarifications which I did; and I informed the House of the pendency of the matter in court. The House was very satisfied about the clarifications I made. I also used the opportunity to sue for peace with all unsuccessful candidates because peace must be won after the war. I further made them realise that there can never be any form of development in an atmosphere that is not peaceful. I am persuaded that they will soon join hands with us given the good work we are doing because we are all interested in the development of our kingdom.
With your recent acceptance into Ijebu Traditional Council, what can you say about the council?
A very classical, procedural and effective council; it is highly respected not only in the state but throughout the Western part of Nigeria and Nigeria as a whole, with a solid leadership whose integrity has never been questioned not even during the dreaded military era. I am privileged to be a member and my loyalty and commitment to the leadership and council is unalloyed and unwavering.
What is your advice to coming generations on how to achieve greatness in life?
First, they must know that, God is the decider and driver of greatness and without Him no greatness can be achieved and sustained. While hoping for greatness, they must endeavour to equip themselves with requisite education, exposure and other necessary expertise. They must keep their integrity intact, be acquainted with the extant laws and respect them and be determined to rise after every fall because failure or success is not final except permitted by them.
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