Olukere is a priest of Olosunta —Ogoga of Ikere
Oba Adejimi Adu Alagbado is the Ogoga of Ikere Kingdom. He speaks with NIGERIAN TRIBUNE about his experience on the throne, challenges encountered, major achievements recorded as king and other sundry issues.
How would you describe your two years experience on the throne?
Thank you very much. Let me use this medium to thank the Almighty God who is the king of kings and the only one that make kings because by His grace, we are still alive on the throne, hale and hearty. My gratitude goes also to my people, both within and in the Diaspora for their support. It is quite an interesting experience, especially coming from the background of an office manager to becoming a traditional ruler; it is quite a change of status and position. The experience has been spectacular and I thank God for His grace and the spirit of the Lord that has been directing us. I will say that my two years on throne in Ikere have been so far, so good.
What challenges did you encounter within this time and how did you manage them?
There are challenges but we also believe that, there is no challenge that is insurmountable when you have God on your side. As you know at the beginning, we had twelve of us who wanted to be king, but as we also know according to the Bible, nobody receives anything except it is given by God. We have been able to talk to other contestants to the throne who felt aggrieved; those who were misled and misinformed. A lot of them have come here to apologise for whatever wrong they might have done. We still have one or two that are not satisfied but that is okay. Also, there are few issues that I met on ground in terms of the administration of the town and because culture is dynamic and not static, we are trying to introduce some measures that will be in alignment with the modern day administration of any set up.
One of the challenges is that, sometimes, people resist change out of ignorance because they may not know the advantage or the benefit that will come from it, but we are making consultations and we are making progress. A major issue is the menace of herdsmen who have almost taken over our farm lands.
Considering the assertion by the former Inspector General of Police that the police may not have enough men to protect people, we need to have a local vigilante or community men that can assist or complement the police. We did that by setting up such and we ensured that those recruited were screened by the police so that we do not have people of questionable characters as security and they have been very helpful when it comes to the issues of the herdsmen particularly between us and Ise and also Igbara-odo because we have had terrible experience with our people being attacked early in the morning while going to their farms. But now that has been reduced.
We are also taking other measures by registering all the settlers in our farms and we have set up a committee that will design the forms which these people will fill so that they are properly registered in the palace. Through this, their landlords are known, they also are known so that if strangers come, they will be able to identify such person and get back to the appropriate authority.
What can you identify as your achievements on the throne so far?
Ordinary, I would have wished that you direct this question to my people to answer but without sounding immodest and without sounding like someone trying to blow his trumpet, through the grace of God, we have been able to make some landmarks in Ikere in the last two years on the throne. First, this palace was derelict; very unbefitting for a king and I had to use my own personal resources to re-build it to a modern and befitting palace. When I started this, my people saw it and some took the gauntlet to build some other structures in the palace. For example, the administrative complex where we have offices and where I have meeting with my chiefs was built by Otunba Sola Adewunmi. Within the palace complex, we have a place of worship, that is, the palace chapel which was built by Engineer Ransome Olorunfemi who is the Akogun of Ikere. Before, I got here, there were some shops around the palace that were eye sores but through the grace of God, we have been able to reconstruct those shops and we named it after my great grandfather, Agrilala the first.
Currently, there is a construction going on in the palace which we call the Hall of fame and this is being financed by one of our chiefs, Engr. Dimeji Isiaka, the Bobagunwa of Ikere. This Hall of Fame, by the time it is completed, will house all the artifacts of Ikere. These are some of the very encouraging developments that have happened to Ikere in my time. Another landmark is the building of a ward at the state specialist hospital in Ikere by the Asiwaju of Ikere, Chief Oluwole Olanipekun (SAN). This ward is fully equipped with modern equipment of international standard. Apart from that, he also bought an ambulance for that particular ward and this was handed over to the government of Ekiti.
In my town, the dualisation which actually got to the boundary of Ado-Ekiti and Ikere has been extended to the centre of the town.
Also, there are three empowerment programmes currently going on in Ikere; one was started by Colonel Sunday Akinola (retd), he started it two years ago to honour me when I just ascended the throne. And this year, he increased the stake by giving almost one hundred women, sixty thousand naira each to assist them in their business. There is also another one going on and which is being sponsored by Dr. Olajide Damilola. There is also a scholarship scheme by Asiwaju Wole Olanipekun and his wife, Erelu Omolara Olanipekun which predated my ascension as the Ogoga, but has been expanded during my reign to all the local governments in Ekiti State, western Nigeria and the whole country, with people being sponsored abroad to study medicine, engineering and so on. Also, right now we have borehole projects that are ongoing which will touch almost every part of the community. Some of these boreholes will be powered through solar energy and there are some which will be powered through generator and we have the ones that will be through mechanical pumping. All these are being done to make life comfortable for my people. Also, by the grace of God, there is a private polytechnic, Ajayi Polytechnic that will commence operation very soon in Ikere. The Elegberun Market has also been reconstructed by the governor of Ekiti State; it is now a modern market.
What is your take on the alleged controversy in Ikere between you and the Olukere over traditional leadership of the community?
As much as I honestly don’t want to make comments on this, I am compelled to do so for the sake of correcting misinformation to the public. It is really painful to explain the misguided activities of some people here. Ikere, from time immemorial had only one king who is the prescribed authority for all chieftaincies in the community and the entire kingdom and that king is Ogoga. The so called Olukere is a priest. I will try to dig out a document for you when Ekiti was part of Ondo State in 1987. There was the Augustus Adebayo Commission that allowed every town where there was dispute or any claim to come forward. That commission was set up by the military government in the old Ondo state in 1987 and prominent and eminent citizens of Ondo State who were members of the committee like Olomola, Augustus Adebayo and so many other, as they listened to other communities, also listened to the prayers of the then Olukere and they pointed out clearly in their report that Olukere could not lay claim to the throne of Ikere kingdom. They said in their recommendation that the only prescribed authority for all chieftaincies in Ikere kingdom is the Ogoga. With this and all other historical facts, which no one can controvert, I do not think we need to disturb ourselves much over this non-issue.
I say it without fear of contradiction that the Olukere is a priest of Olosunta, which is the community deity of Ikere. You cannot re-write history over night. So, as far as I am concerned, I don’t have any issues with anybody over the traditional headship of Ikere kingdom. I am the paramount ruler and prescribed authority for all chieftaincy matters in Ikere kingdom. My selection and subsequent appointment followed due process and consequently, the government of Ekiti State gave me a staff of office.