The man, Ilori Tunde Elerewe

 

                                                                                                                       Dressed Dressed in an embroidered     immaculate white   guinea     brocade,   and  a  cap     to    match. In order to make the regalia complete   for his  status ,  he  adorned on his neck , hands and feet  with  special  royal coral beads . As he stood up  and  beckoned at his visitors to come around  him, his intimidating  stature showed he is a man of  more than six feet tall . His  dark- skin glitter. With total humility the High Chief not  minding  his height and status  bowed  and  greeted the  elders who came to felicitate with  him. To the young and the old he gives them respect and one keeps wondering  of his noble character.

     He is a man of few words and well -cultured . He  speaks flawless  English  and back  it up with his  noble character  and dignified  mien. He is witty and richly  blessed with  choice of words laced with Owo proverbs, idiomatic expressions   and songs . Infact he is an encyclopaedia of the History of Elerewe and  Owo . He is humility personified. These are the reasons all the natives , His Imperial Majesty  and those who did not even get close to him love him.

              

  An High  Chief who does not want his name in print said :”for this man who occupies the throne of his forefathers , it is a blessing to the  Elerewe family, to Owo and  Yoruba land at large  ”. 

The Olunaun of Unaun, Prince Olanrewaju Abegunde said” I am always very proud of Olowo of Owo in any decision he takes, he is a lawyer ,a traditional  ruler and a wiseacre. He is gifted with wisdom . I give him kudos for choosing a good man like Ilori who is loved by everybody. Before Kabiyesi does something he would  exercise patience and do a thorough  research very well .Above all he would pray and consult God. He is a visioner  and a prophet , whatever he says always come to pass. We all love Ilori, he is a good  listener, Ilori is a lover of  Owo people , he is very obedient and respectful”.

Another High Chief who is versatile in  the Elerewe  family history said ”Ilori’s destiny was eventually fulfilled as he assumed his ancestor’s  throne .  It  has been predicted long ago   that he would be the right man to ascend the throne before he was born. I remember it has been predicted for a long time that this boy will be on his forefather’s throne .He shied away from roughnecks, destructive criticisms and gangsterism”.

     Call him Elerewe Ojo he would smile, if you like call him Elerewe  Olakunori, he will still answer you because, according to  strong  and old members of the family Ilori is gifted  with  these ancestors’  physique and he possessed multilateral combinations of  character,  talents and traces of the late Elerewes …he is peaceful and  humble, you can easily described him.

Professor emeritus, Robin Poynor, an American Professor  (who retired from the  University of Florida) who was in Owo in 1973  doing research on Owo   and knew the late Elerewe Ojo very well.  In his message to this reporter , he  wrote ”Ahh! I really liked Elerewe Ojo…. And my recent contact with Elerewe Ilori tells me that he has his father’s good traits…He is tall like his father and his grandmother ”.

 To the family of Elerewe, he is the expected image builder and the bridge between the old and the young Elerewes to come and repair and put in place many things that had been destroyed and had gone wrong in the family. ” Ilori has the spirit of love, kindness and his humility is high as he respects everybody”, Babasegun said.

       The Olunaun of Unaun, Prince Olanrewaju Abegunde said” I am always very proud of Olowo of Owo in any decision he takes, he is a lawyer ,a traditional  ruler and a wiseacre. He is gifted with wisdom . I give him kudos for choosing a good man like Ilori who is loved by everybody. Before Kabiyesi does something he would  exercise patience and do a through  research very well above all he would pray and consult God. He is a visioner  and a prophet , whatever he says always come to pass. We all love Ilori, he is a good  listener, Ilori is a lover of  Owo people , he is very obedient and respectful”.

    Mr.   Adepoju  Peter gave a graphic description of the man ”He is the  man that can rebuild  and unite the family because of his Solomonic wisdom, sense of humour , loyalty, levelheadedness,  high quality of his social interaction, gentle-manliness, courage and integrity   he is endowed with”.

 An High Chief said” Quote me , we all love this young man of peace and integrity.  Kabiyesi loves peace and the man that fears God. This Elerewe is richly endowed with wisdom, he always sat at his father’s feet and that means he has been tutored, had gone to school of Elders .If a child knows how to wash his hands he will definitely dine with the elders”

 Olakoli Peter said  he did a research on the new Elerewe very well and found him to be unrivaled in character and simplicity. 

      The question on everybody’s mouth is whether the new Elerewe has done well, Tunde Onibode who is also the President of Tunde Onibode Foundation and Owo Ambassador of Culture  beat his chest in defence of the new Chief and declared  ” Since his installation , he has never disappointed us .His loyalty to the crown and the entire kingdom is unquestionable and he has been playing his  traditional role to the best of his ability as tradition dictates”.

   The soft- spoken man is rich in history, according to Jide Tububo,  ”he is simple and peaceful.In fact he is  talented  and has the magic wand to turn things around  above all he has the fear of God in him. I remember when I met him and a  man was raining insults on him in order for him to retaliate but the High Chief did not utter a word. I respect him a lot. He is too humble , full of humility.” 

 

  Throughout the interview with this reporter he  referred  to God several times and once told this reporter  four years ago that   ” I have no money , I have no connection but I have the Almighty God behind me .The Alpha and Omega   who knows the beginning and the end .  While I relied on God to perfect things for me”. That is the  nature and manner of the man called High Chief Ilori Tunde Elerewe who was installed as the new High Chief  two years ago.

 

Watch out for his  interview tomorrow

 

‘How Oba Adekola Ogunoye saved me’

She is hilarious. No dull moment with her .Not many people know her real name as she is only known as E ku Feee. She was rescued by the late Olowo of Owo, Oba Adekola Ogunoye II when she was in trouble


Madam Oluwafunke Samuel ( aka E ku Feee)
Looking at her she is simple, but when she opens her mouth to talk one would think she is a comedian and if care is not taken one could break his ribs as she speaks.
MY STORY
”My name is Oluwafunke Samuel. I live in Emure Uli, Owo, Ondo State . I always come to the King’s Market (Oja Oba) to sell my E ku Feee . I am in my late 60s. My story is an interesting one .I once had conflict with some market women about 30years ago when the late Oba Adekola Ogunoye II was on the throne”.
She continued ” sincerely speaking there was a rule in the market that nobody should sell powdered corn ( elekute) but due to the poverty I found myself I went ahead selling it . It was my grandmother’s business. Some years after her death I was financially down and I had nothing with me . I then decided one day to start the business , and I took her materials , set up the business and started producing and selling it.Though I lived in Emure but always go to Oja Oba ( King’s Market ) where there is market for the product ”, she said , nodding her head.


MY ARREST
However she was arrested , she said ”When the market women caught me selling the banned product they arrested me and said I flouted their rule , all my pleadings that I was trying to sustain myself felt into their deaf ears. They asked me to walk -over a local knife and that I must pay a live cock and pay some fine. I walked over the local knife but refused to pay all the fine telling them that I am a Christian and that I know Jesus and did not believe in their Tradition. My product was seized and it became a serious matter ”
OBA ADEKOLA OGUNOYE RESCUED ME
Madam E ku Fee was talking with all seriousness yet laughing. She said ”I was taken to the palace of Olowo of Owo , Oba Adekola Ogunoye II, who was a no -nonsense man . The Market leaders were all sure and certain that they would win me and get justice . I remember some high caliber of High chiefs and community royal fathers who were present including High Chief Adelanke Ajana the late Chief Priest of the town with some market leaders.
INTERROGATION
”When I was interrogated by the late Ajana and Oba Ogunoye and asked what I was selling , I said ”I am not selling powdered corn but selling E ku feee, (Aroma)”. They asked again what I was selling I kept on saying that I was not selling powdered corn but selling E ku feee, they all looked at one another . With confidence and pity I insisted that I was selling E ku feee but not powdered corn. They all burst into laughter. The Monarch then asked them to leave me alone that I was looking for what to eat .Since then they have been calling me E ku feee.That was how the late Monarch, Oba Adekola Ogunoye rescued me, and this I can never forget till my dying day.”
HAWKING
While hawking her product she said ”I would scream on top of my voice advertising my product that they should come and buy E ku feee, and they would call me to buy. I have used the proceeds from E ku feee to train my children in school in the university ,from the proceeds I have built house and still feeding from it today.
CALL ME E KU FEEE
Though E ku fee love journalism but said ” they are not well paid . I have an uncle who did it for many years but came home with nothing to show for it .Asked about her E ku feee again, she said ” when I am frying the corn its aroma wafts everywhere, when I ground the corn the aroma wafts everywhere and when I mixed it with palm oil and groundnuts its aroma wafts in the air and everybody will know its E ku feee.Asked what is her response when greeted or hailed as E ku feee, she said ”I will pray for them that A dara fun e, Aye a ye o”( It will be well with you, You will live well).
E ku feeee, E ku feeee.

How I ran into stranded coup plotters at Obalende

.

…….. I gave coup plotters ride
……..How Obasanjo tore my notebook
………Dele Giwa
………My meeting with Zik, Awo
………The three cocaine pushers
………..My exclusives

 


Amobonye working while at NNN
Mr. Gboyega Amobonye is a story teller. His name is story. His life is story.Colleagues said his bag was always full of stories. His journey into Journalism is an interesting story .He recounts how he ran into coup plotters while hunting for story at Obalende
Taiwo Abiodun spoke with him

Displayed in his living room in Lagos, are photographs of himself with the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, Senator( Col rtd) Garba Wushihi of the Second Republic, Alhaji Lateef Jakande as the UPN gubernatorial candidate of Lagos State in 1978, and some others among who is who in the Nigeria political space.

I DEVELOPED INTEREST FROM PRIMARY SCHOOL
Amobonye said he has been an inquisitive person from youth, he said ”I don’t know whether by intuition or so ,but it started right from my primary school days .When people of high profile would come to the palace of Olowo of Owo the late Sir Oba Olateru Olagbegi II, I used to see these people (Journalists) following big dignitaries and would admire them. At Owo High School,Owo, Ondo state, a friend who is an engineer today asked me to go for Journalism, considering the quality of my essay and other media- related activities. I went to the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ) then at Apongbon, Lagos by divine intervention because all I wanted was an admission into an institution of higher learning, But to the glory of God, I found the career very fulfilling.
MEANING OF AMOBONYE
The name, Amobonye , is strange and not common in Yoruba land . Asked to tell the meaning of his name , the veteran reporter , gave a heavy sigh, shook his head and said it is a long story. He said ”I will keep on saying it that Yoruba names are rich and with deeper meanings”, he started ”Amobonye means a survivor from Obon (poison) , Obon is a poison made from cooking the back of obon tree into agbo ( herbs ) and given to a witchcraft suspect to drink to prove his or her innocence. If he or she is guilty of what she was accused of he / she would be confessing his /her sins like a tormented witch and will eventually die .
”In the olden days in my town, Owo if the suspect given obon survived it, he would be named Amobonye or Obonyemi if a female. My great- great grandmother and wife Orishadipe , son of Akilelu , son of Oshere was given obon to drink when she was six months pregnant on the suspicion that she was preventing other wives from having male children. She survived it .So when the child (my grandfather) was born he was named Amobonye. As an educated man in employment in various parts of the country,that was the name we grew up to know our father with apart from his Christian names: Joseph and David, he was always addressed as JD Amobonye or simply JD by his peers. Not until long after did we know his other name as Oloye Oyeleye. My half siblings changed to Oyeleye while I felt I have gone too far with Amobonye to change it. More over if any of my roots may go home at later years and introduced himself as son of Oyeleye, he would obviously be told ‘Not here’. ”
I KNEW DELE GIWA

The mere mention of the name ‘Dele Giwa ‘ made Amobonye got cold. He gave a graphic picture of one of Nigeria’s finest Modern Journalists who was killed by a parcel bomb on October 19, 1986 Dele Giwa .Amobonye looked around, shook his head and in low tone said ”he was the face of a new generation journalists , fresh from the United States of America. He was an Aristocrat, charismatic and full of candour. His best friend was the reporter who could cope with his pace”, he paused and in tears continued ”though I did not work under him directly while he was the Sunday Concord Editor, he once came to look for me in National Concord to acknowledge my exclusive stories. He was light skinned, a man of average built with his trademark- a well-trimmed and nourished mustache, he was a power dresser, always in long sleeves shirt and tie, sometimes in a suits too. I think his column was Parallax Snaps which made the Sunday Concord a must read. He was an adept professional and fisher of good journalists”, as he was talking he was wiping his face with handkerchief.

 

 

MEMORABLE EDITORS
Amobonye cannot forget his mentors and loved Editors like Haruna Mohammed and Yakubu Mohammed both were Associate Editors respectively in the New Nigeria . He said ”Yakubu Mohammed succeeded Haruna who had left for Kaduna as Editor of the New Nigeria .Yakubu was later to leave for the National Concord as Editor .If there is any goal I reached in my career ,I gave the two of them credit because in New Nigeria they gave me a lot of motivation and confidence. I joined the New Nigeria Newspaper fresh from NIJ in 1978. I had spent three months in Radio Lagos under Biodun Adeniyi, the Controller of news.The New Nigerian Newspaper had the best condition of service under the late Mallam Turi Mohammed as the MD. Within two years,I got a car and a three bedroom furnished flat.I resigned from NNN in Agust 1982 following a transfer to Ondo state as State Editor which I turned down.I joined Concord that August.Here I was lucky too as I met Yakubu Mohammed as the Editor,Other editors that influenced include Duro Onabule, Nsikak Liad Tella and a particular News Editor, Dayo Onibile. Dele Giwa , Ray Ekpu and later Sina Adedipe were in the Sunday concord”.

 

 

 

 

 

HOW OBASANJO TORE MY NOTE

 

 

 

Gen Obasanjo

For Amobonye , he will never forget his contact with the former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1979 on the day of the presidential election , he said ” Obasanjo was going round, he wore Ankara, that was during the era of low profile. From opposite of the Lagos City Hall where some of us Journalists were relaxing we sighted his convoy driving into the City Hall. We virtually flew to the place and joined him as he was alighting from the driver’s seat because he drove himself. I was right in in the front as he was going round and answering questions from dejected voters who were complaining “Baba Ako ri oruko wa o”( Baba we didn’t see our names)to which he replied ”O tan ni yen o” ( then that is all ). He just pulled the collar of my shirt and spoke in Yoruba , “je nwo nkan to nko”, (let me see what you are writing). As he saw his name and my little scribble, he tore my note book and said again in Yoruba” Owo kii f’owo l’orun, ma d’imi l’owo, mi o ni die lowo (One business does not disturb another ) but I said, ”Your Excellency, you are already disturbing me” .He did not reply me. He later returned to his faded blue coloured car and drove off. But Alex Nwokedi (now a traditional ruler) visited the news room the following day, a Sunday and told my news editor the late Fola Ashiru over a chat that ‘your, boy wanted to interview the Head of State yesterday’ ”.

 

 

 

 

STORIES THAT MADE ME POPULAR
Asked to mention some of his memorable stories, the man looked at the ceiling as if looking for an answer, scratched his head and laughed , ”Many, so many but let me give you this one that might have given my Editor in the NNN, Mallam Haruna and President Shehu Shagari’s government a night mare . I remember a particular story that made me to admire Haruna. You see sometimes in 1982, the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) had imported party emblems which were then contrabands, the goods were impounded by the Customs Service.A source hinted me that the contrabands had been released to NPN , being the the party of the government in power. I approached Sylvanus Apeleshi then Custom’s PRO, at Tinubu for confirmation He declined.I went to Ikoyi to approach the Comptroller General of Customs, he too said the matter was above him. He referred me to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance , the late Alhaji Shehu Musa who confirmed the story. The next morning it screamed on the front page: NPN SMUGGLED GOODS RELEASED. Before I got to the newsroom , I guessed the authorities might have vented their spleen on Haruna. Haruna asked why I should write the story because Shehu Musa said he spoke to me in confidence. I brought out my notebook that I was writing as he was speaking and he never said ”off the record”.That was the end of the matter”, the veteran said.
Amobonye continued with his stories that made him popular, he said ”the current Tulip Hotel was the original quarters of the Members of the National Assembly in 1979. Following complaint that the place was not ideal for them, they were relocated to the 1004 quarters on Victoria Island. While the former quarters were abandoned for over a year. One day my long nose just took me to the place to see what had become of it.Fortunately, I met the MD of the then Durbar Hotel who had arrived from Kaduna that morning. He told me the quarter has become Durbar Hotel. The following day it was the front page lead of the New Nigerian: ”NATIONAL ASSEMBLY QUARTERS NOW DURBAR HOTEL”.

Not yet done , as the man added another story ”Another story was when I was covering the Lagos State House of Assembly, Ikeja in 1980; there was a resolution that the state Governor Alhaji Lateef Jakande should urgently prevent a looming catastrophe in the state due to a leaking gas ship at the Lagos territorial waters.While other colleagues left for their newsrooms, I went to Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Marina where the MD told me that the ship had been sunk the other night. The exclusive lead of The New Nigerian the next day was DANGER GAS SHIP SUNK, My colleagues just State House of Assembly must have been reported what happened at the state might have been reprimanded as they were angry with me that I scooped them. Well that is the name of the game”.

LEFT NNN FOR CONCORD
Asked why he left NNN when he was doing well there , but the fairly skinned Amobonye defended himself ” I was given a letter of transfer to Ondo State in 1982, by another Associate Editor , Clem Baye, so I had no choice than to resign when I turned down the transfer , that’s how I found myself in National Concord where fortunately I met Yakubu Mohammed again together with Duro Onabule who were too glad to employ me. One of my most cherished collections was the letter of commendation within three months of my employment that was given to me with a cash prize of 100 naira [equivalent to 10,000 naira today”. (He showed the letter)A letter dated 2nd December, 1982 Letter of Commendation.
”With all humility my input within the four of months as recognized by the management together with efforts of others must have made Concord a must read newspaper as against a comment by Alhaji Lateef Jakande , then governor of Lagos state that ”Concord is not a breakfast newspaper”.

 

 

   MY ENCOUNTER WITH COUP PLOTTERS
Asked to tell another bizarre story of his sojourn in journalism , but the man who at first declined, kept his suspense for some minutes but could only mutter ” Ah! ah!! I thank God . It was on the day of the IBB Coup of 1985 that overthrew the government of General Muhammadu Buhari. ,whenever I remember I give glory to God for saving me because my wife had warned me that I was leaving home too early that day . Just as I heard the Martial music by 5am, I got ready and by 6.30 am I was on my way to Seme border to monitor how the coup might be affecting the economic activities there. By the time I got to Lagos Trade Fair I made a “U”turn to Lagos having been convinced that nothing much could be happening at Seme apart from close of border.The next thing was to go to Obalende neighbours of Doddan Barracks to interview them and tell their experience that night.The road was free as I was virtually the only one on the road .By 8.30 am, I was at Obalende and just as I was leaving the round about at the at the bus stop, I saw some combart ready soldiers , five of them with guns, they barked an order from the other side of the road that I should stop. I obeyed but before I knew what was happening, they rushed into my car and ordered me to take them to Ikeja cantonment. I had no option. They might have seen the press sticker on my wind screen. Obalende people were just peeping, wondering perhaps of what would happen to me. Along the way I summed up courage to ask them about what happened in the night. One of them wanted to shout me down but another one said they should help since I’m also helping them provided I would not write down anything down. I could not have done so anyway since I was driving. I was told how a General,(name withheld) visited them at 12 midnight and said to them “Boys, you must not fail”. I was told how Buhari was arrested at 1.am while praying and how his ADC, Major Jokolo (now the Emir of Muri ) was stripped naked”.

 

 

 

 

HOW COUP PLOTTERS SCALED THE FENCE
Amobonye continued with the coup story ”the road was free with a few cars on the road and drivers were staring at me as I was driving on top speed and excitedly recording in my head what I was being told. We entered the cantonment via the GRA straight to the back of the cantonment. I watched them as they scaled the high wall and jumped down before I drove off triumphantly. By 10.30am I was in the news room. I met the news editor who jumped up on hearing my story and alerted the Editor in Chief who looked at me with awe as she was reading the copy. The next day the National Concord stood out clearly as the only paper that reported all that happened in the night of the long knives”.

 

 

MY JOURNEY INTO THE LION’S JAW
What if the coup had failed?, this reporter asked and he responded ”Perhaps, I could have been charged for accessory if caught with those soldiers. Who would have known the whole story?” ,he responded. ”Did you see any of those soldiers again?”,this reporter asked , while Amobonye declared while shivering “I could not have seen them beyond that day since I met them by chance and we never exchanged names or addresses but I was glad that the News watch made reference to that story later”, he said looking with surprise and shaking his head!
HOW I BECAME A ”GOVERNOR”
Many of his associates call Amobonye ”Governor ”,when asked whether he was once a Governor of a state, he gave a loud laugh and said he was never a Governor of any state. He narrated why he is being called the Governor , he said ”It is an appellation given to me by a colleague at the National Assembly in Lagos, in 1982 close to the gubernatorial election in Ondo State. A photo Journalist had taken my corporate picture and pasted it on the notice board and with a caption: ”GOVERNOR OF ONDO STATE ‘83 OR GOVERNOR OF THE PRESS?”. Colleagues on seeing it, in unison shouted ‘Go…ver…nor’ and the name stuck on me till this day. If you call me ”governor” I will answer but I would not call myself that .I know it is from my media colleagues. Ever since, my colleagues have been calling me Governor”.
Asked further whether it is true that he always have stories in his pocket whenever the newsroom is in shortage of stories, the man laughed , he said ” I am like an hunter who is always ready in the forest. A good journalist must develop a story bank and therefore never be in shortage of stories”.
MY MEETING WITH AWO and ZIK
Amobonye can boast of meeting some Nigerian political juggernauts like Awo, Zik, Jalo Waziri, First Republic Speaker of the House of Representatives among others during his sojourn in journalism. On Awo , he said ” I met the late Awo in his lifetime, first on the day of his 70th birthday in Ikenne, Ogun State. As Awo appeared before Ebenezer Obey who was on the band stand, Obey broke in a song ”Awo de bi o ti nde imole de o okuku parada..,as if Awo would dance, he simply smiled and walked away. I also met him again with the late Emir of Kano at the meeting of National Leaders of Thought called by General Ibrahim Babangida at thre Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos shortly after he had overthrown the then Military Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari in 1984. I interviewed him and the Emir of Kano.

 

with the late Senator [ rtd col) Garba Dada

 

”Some times in 1983, a contact in the NPP hinted me that Zik and Jim Nwobodo, Anambra State Governor would be meeting at the Anambra Guest House Victoria Island the next day at 10am. The meeting had started before I got there. I laid ambush for them and as I saw the two emerging from the meeting, I went straight to them. Perplexed Jim Nwobodo exclaimed repeatedly, “Who told we are here…” As Zik stopped to listen to me , Jim walked away.At a point Jim could no longer endure waiting and shouted at Zik ”Chief let’s go” But Zik replied “Wait a moment,” I’m talking to my Colleague”. That has remained my highest point in journalism. – for Zik to have addressed me as his colleague.”

 

I INTERVIEWED THE THREE COCAINE PUSHER

 

The three executed cocaine pushers

Amobonye said he does not feel shy of his height. ”Yes, I may not be a man of huge stature but remember that the hood does not make the monk.There is this TVC lady Wendy Agbo that I always admire, though short but ,very pushful and passionate . You see, when it comes to looking for stories . I remembered when Bernard Ogedegbe, Ojulope and Bartholomew Owoh were tied to the stake at the Kirikiri Prison ground and about to be shot by marksmen .I was the first Journalist to move to them to interview them, a female colleague even fainted at boom of the first shot. . Many journalists were afraid to go to them but I dared the soldiers. That is where passion comes in. so my stature does not count.


The late Adeniran Ogunsanya answering questions from journalists,
on his left is the late Chuba Okadigbo
MY OPINION ON MEDIA
Asked to give his opinion on the state of the Nigeria media , Amobonye said first let me say ”it is a very good profession, and cannot be pushed aside.That is why it is the only profession called the Fourth Estate of the Realm. The past and the present time of journalism can not be compared because the atmospheres are different-one was analogue the other is digital but during our time (analogue) we were more committed,resourceful and persevering despite the disadvantage of being analogue professionals. Even our colleagues are not taking full advantage of the digital age. While we go for exclusives and investigative journalism many of us today go for predictable news .You see, sales was high then and in actual fact in those days newspapers were not many and the competition was keen”.


I HAVE NO REGRET
While some journalists complain or regretted going into journalism , Amobonye says he has none, ”I have no regret as I enjoyed every bit of the career God has planned for me except that I’m missing not being active. I would love to run a magazine of mine even if monthly. That required relocating to Abuja and having someone who can confidently be trusted on that with a good hand all can still be well with print journalism and therefore invest in it. My first son is a journalist until recently in NTA while my second is doing well as an intern in a digital radio though she read theater arts from the University of Ibadan
Today I am now a media consultant .As he said this he brought out a photo album and said ”I will write about all these one day”.

I don’t know my age, says Baba Kekere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            At the Palace of Alaafin of  Oyo is this honourable and respected old  man  who has witnessed the reigns of three monarchs and  whose age can not be ascertained. Some guess  he should be  close to 100 years  which he did not dispute . He is popularly called  Baba Kekere , he spoke with Taiwo Abiodun

Baba Kekere

              He is called Baba  Kekere possibly because  of his stature .He should be about three feet tall.He wears his muslim praying cap. Call him Baba Kekere and he would reply you.He is funny and jovial as he relates with everybody without annoyance.

 According to him , he has been living in the Alaafin Palace for several  years, he said he once served AlaafinO ba Adeniran  Adeyemi II who reigned between 1945 -1956, (the father of the current Alaafin)  he also served Oba Ladigbolu who reigned between 1956-1968, and he is serving the present Alaafin Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, 1970-present ,thus he has served for  71 years and still counting.

When asked of his children, Baba Kekere said they are in the Northern area while his wife was at home at the time he was being interviewed.

 INTERVIEW WITH BABA KEKERE

     Baba Kekere and BoN

  BoN:  What is your name ?

 Baba Kekere : My name is Morenikeji

   BoN: Morenikeji what?

  Baba Kekere: Morenikeji   Laisi

   BoN:  What do you do at the Palace

 Baba Kekere :  I run errands for the King

 BoN: Since when have  you been in the Palace?

 Baba Kekere:  I  have been here for a while

 BoN:  How many Kings have you  worked for?

  Baba Kekere:  I have worked for three Kings

  BoN: What is the name of the first one you worked with?

Baba Kekere:  I have  worked with the father of the current Alaafin, [Alaafin Oba   Adeniran Adeyemi II] , Alaafin Ladigbolu, and the present Alaafin Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III

   BoN:  How old are you?

   Baba Kekere: My date of birth was not recorded at the  time I was born

 BoN: Then you must be up to 100 years old

Baba Kekere: Yes, of course

BoN: We are informed that you are the tallest in this palace

Baba Kekere: [ laughs] Yes, I am the tallest

BoN: Where are your children?

Baba Kekere: They are in the Northern area

BoN: How many wives do you have?

Baba Kekere: I have only one wife

BoN: Where is she

Baba Kekere: She is at home

BoN: Is she taking good care of you very well  or should I help you look for another one?

Baba Kekere:I don’t want another one , it’s money that I want now! [ laughter]

BoN: What did you call your name again?

Baba Kekere: Morenikeji

BoN: Thanks a lot, I am humbled

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going to mecca is my dream

The popular Yoruba home video film actor Chief Tajudeen Oyewole ( aka Abija) had  recovered from a fatal auto crash he had  in 2007 but still living with the scar as he limps.  He says he would be happy if he could be  sponsored   to Mecca   to perform  Hajj.  taiwoabiodun.com  met him

Seeing  the popular Yoruba Movie actor    limping  one could think  it is one of his theatrics    but in  real  life he is  not acting any movie.  – no thanks to the auto crash he had few years back.

Meeting him for the first time  one could argue whether he is the same actor that acts frightening plays on stage or not as he is as gentle as a dove during the interview  but again  like the proverbial  leopard who will  never change its spots, the actor in   a twinkle of an eye has his countenance changed with voice raised, his eyes bulged out as he gesticulated with all his body , chanting war songs as if in  trance or stage acting.

Welcome to the two worlds of Chief Tajudeen Oyewole ( aka Abijawara Bi Ekun) a popular Yoruba artiste who has acted many films especially juju and warlord in Yoruba home videos.

How I got my  stage name

According to  Oyewole, he derived his stage name , Abija from an engineer, he said  , ” there was one Construction company called Abija Wara Bi Ekun Construction in Oshogbo ,the company was owned by a respectable old man and when we wanted to do a – 13 week-play , the leader thought of what they should call me and the name of the construction company came to mind’ Abija’. We had 25 episodes in that play and I was asked use the name – Abijawara Bi Ekun which is the name of the construction company based in Oshogbo. Later we simply called it ‘ Abija’ .Before that time I had been using some stage names but they were   not popular  until  when we started using ‘ Abija ‘ in ‘Opa Aje’ Film , it became  popular and my trademark , and this shot me into the limelight .Since then ‘Abija ‘glued on me like gum, and only very few people know my real name as my stage name has overshadowed it”.

Our reporter,Taiwo Abiodun and Abija during the interview

The story line of the mysterious ‘Opa Aje’

Abija said the ‘ Opa Aje’ [  Prosperity Staff  ] Movie which brought  him into limelight was shot long time ago and it was a surprise to them that the film was popular ”the  crew never knew the play would become very popular like that”,  he said and continued ” it is the story line of Abule Meta and Opa Aje ( Three villages and  Prosperity  Staff) .The mysterious staff was owned by Lasigun village, my mother’s home town and it was agreed that it should be rotated round the other two villages : Bilagun and Telude ,but Lasigun refused until Bilagun took it by trick  which  caused war , while Telude again waged war against Bilagun and collected it by force . Abija  a powerful juju man cum warrior was given the task  to retrieve  it.The staff was retrieved   it was later rotated among the three villages, and peace reigned once again” . However, Abija said that it was recently that they discovered that the story was telling us  indirectly the story  about Nigeria’s  resource control ,” the story is like Nigeria’s three popular tribes:Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba fighting over the control of our oil. When we acted the play we did not know it would have deeper meaning and would be  pregnant with words ,we now realize what is happening in the country and likened it to the ‘Owner’ and Control’ of our oil resources”.

 

He continued ” Lasigun ( my mother’s town in the movie )  and the other  two  names represent Nigeria tribes , they kept the Opa Aje ,the owner was deceived and it was stolen , then the owner couldn’t retrieve it .Abija was called to assist , but the king did not want to return it, The staff was taken by  force by the warrior , Abija at last!”

Abija confessed that ‘ Opa Aje ‘ is not his first play where he acted but it was the play that shot him into limelight.

Woman must not meet me

With all the costumes and paraphernalia on , he confessed that no woman should meet him on the way or make an attempt to embrace him , that is if that is the instruction laid down on the costumes ,he stated” there are some powerful costumes that forbids a woman to meet me on the way according to our ancestor’s instruction , so we have to obey such .We don’t just treat these costumes anyhow , if there is need to perform rituals or offer sacrifices before wearing them ,then I must humbly comply .It is true that if not observed the side effect could be fatal .I know this because my paternal and maternal lineages are both from Ifa priest and are Babalawo , so it means I inherited the act of Ifa or Babalawo from the two sides .Aside this I am also from the family of hunter. No woman must embrace me while returning from hunting expedition because of what I had on my body, it could be disastrous, and if I need any animal I would just go to the forest to kill it, just name it. The power is there”, he said with total conviction , as he beats his chest

How rich is Abija?

Despite his fame Abija said his fame does not translate into money ,”I am not rich, I don’t have a roof over my head which is part of measuring one’s wealth. I don’t even have a land , and this does not mean that I am not serious or I am a prodigal son because the money realized from acting is not much as people or fans erroneously  thought. I am prudent .I have only one wife and I have children in higher institutions .But having said this , I cannot say that I am not a rich man with my children in schools ,though I don’t have raw cash”.

Why artistes have many wives

Asked why some male artistes have harem of wives, in defence, Abija said ” it is  because of the perception of the fans and family members of the female artistes who  blackmail female artistes and call them prostitutes so the male artistes preferred to marry them and use them as their actresses in their plays instead of looking outside and begging or paying them to come and acting their plays, and again it is economical. In the days of old female artistes were called names but today that is no longer the case .But our fathers then had many wives because the women would be readily available for them to participate in any role given to them and therefore would not go out looking for people outside to join them”.

2007 auto crash

Abija who is still limping as a result of fatal auto crash  he had few years back said he was just lucky to be alive , he said the accident happened while he was coming fromlocation , his words ” I went with my crew to shoot my new film ‘Ibinu Abija’ and on our way back home I hit a big brick- moulded road divider not knowing   its position had been changed by those constructing the road along Canaan land.When I was going it was not in that position and on my way back I drove along not knowing it had been dangerously shifted, and I was not speeding. I had been on this film   for some years and  I believe it would hit the market  .It was the film I went to shoot when I had an accident, after Canaan land . I ran into it with my Camry car .My hip went off while the lady, an artiste sitting by the driver’s side died immediately . A woman sitting behind me was seriously injured.Otunba Ajawesola Ayinde Busari assisted me , and stood by me .

 

Abija with clean record

The popular artiste Abija said he has been very honest with clean records  as  he tried not to involve himself with dirty deals, he said Though somebody asked  whether I could do an illegal business for him to assist me but I declined and rejected the offer because I cannot allow my image to be tarnished .Pressed further to give the full details about the business but the artiste refused and said ” you know popular people like me are being tempted,but I did not give a definite answer whether I would take the offer or not but I did not go to him again. Any popular  person must  be careful , and watch his steps or else he would find himself or herself in a big trouble .I decided not to do it , I preferred to struggle and God intervened at last “

Betrayal from Friends

The Artiste with forlorn look is visibly shaken as he has been betrayed or stabbed in the back many times by his so called friends and colleagues , he says he finds it difficult  to trust friends again , his words ” I have been disappointed by a lot of friends .There was a year a man wanted to sponsor my film , I called one of my best friends to let us go to the sponsor and negotiate with him .We were there and we discussed , and I gave my sponsor and promoter  a price , and I was asked to come back the following week , but this my friend went behind me to bargain with him at a lesser and ridiculous bargain. My friend later again asked me to come and participate in a film he wanted to shoot , and not knowing it was the film I went together with him to negotiate on ,that was how he collected the money. While shooting the film I used all my energy and I almost killed myself to make sure  it was successful not knowing that I was a fool .When I later went to meet the man who promised to sponsor and promote my film again he started to trick me asking  me to come back again .Later the man ( promoter) showed me the VHS my friend had produced. He accused me of demanding for higher price on the film. He lambasted me and told me my friend had done it .In the end the film did not sell while my so called friend and the sponsor became enemies , my friend was taken to the police station and accused  of  fraud .I was the one who  went to beg the promoter to leave him. This is a film I almost died  while acting in it .Not only that , I had invited all my artiste friends and colleagues from Ondo, Abeokuta, Ekiti and all other places and lodged them into an hotel in preparation for the film I wanted to shoot not knowing I was a fool”.

Source of my  Costumes

Asked how he gets the costumes he uses on stage, Abija said it his  duty to look for , ” I would look for the costume that matches the part I would play in a film. We would go and search for old people we thought could have them like our parents’ clothes and aged people. We travel far and wide looking for costumes that would match what we want to produce. .It involves a lot of stress, energy , money , traveling and contacts, it is not easy”.

On his death rumour

Though the rumour of his death spread like wildfire some years back , Abija said the rumour was as a result of his fatal accident ” you can see that I still limp, the accident was fatal but I thank God that I survived it .I spent two and a half years in the hospital and later at home .I also went to trado- medical for bone setting , my hip was badly affected.The accident happened years ago , on September 10, 2007 .I don’t believe the accident was caused by enemies or being haunted but it was just like any other accident no more no less.It is not a spiritual attack as some claimed “.

On production of poor quality  films

Abija denounced the present crop of home videos of low quality being hurriedly produced now and said it was never like this in his period.”We never met it like this and we were never taught like that .It is what we see that we have now . I was in Dakar in Senegal with some of our CDs , they only picked two , The films they watched were condemned because in some of the films the ladies were half -naked ,they detest all these .We never met it like that”

On the solution , he said “We need to work harder , all these films  produced today are all poor quality  .In Yoruba land here we act and produce films that are educative, thought- provoking and full of research works that people believe they would derive a lot of sense from , while some of these films had given them hope  as many had regained their lost fortune . That is why we are called  Prophets .Take for example the Judge who went to Court to judge is also being taken to Court as he too falls victim of being prosecuted , then how would they judge him? ”.

Our  Culture is not culture

Asked to contribute to the debate whether our culture is still relevant, but hear him, “For those who think our  Culture is dying or because of religion say it is fetish and ungodly they are still coming back to it for they did not understand what culture is .There are some families that cannot do without watching our films”.

My  Story

” I was born  many  years ago .I read only Primary Six from Local Authority Primary School , Oniyere in Ayedun Agbo Bi Ekun Village. My parents sent me to school but truancy did let me go beyond Primary Six and it pains .None of my children acts but one of them edits. They don’t like it [acting] , one man’s meat is another man’s poison .I think it is education first for the children , and when he or she  goes into acting first he would be ruined .It is this lack of education that almost ruined me”, he admitted.

I want to go to Mecca

What is paramount in the mind of  Abija now is   his yearning to go to Mecca ” I am ready to do any film , sponsors should assist. I am not greedy.I believe in Allah but unfortunately they call me Alhaji , Alhaji yet I did not go to Mecca and I am willing to go to Mecca if I get sponsors. The only Camry car I have in life had condemned due to  the accident I had , I abandoned it since I have no money to repair it since 2007, and I believed it must have been towed away by the state government’s  towing vehicle .

 

I have forgiven deposed Deji of Akure

 

I have forgiven deposed Deji of Akure

 

Pa Fadeyi

…..I can’t drive the jeep my late daughter gave me
…….I am sad, sad and still sad
……. I was hospitalized for 3 months

It is exactly seven years today when Olori Idowu Omobolanle Adepoju Adesina wife of the deposed Deji of Akure , Oluwadare Adesina Adepoju died mysteriously.Today her father , Pa Joseph Akinola Fadeyi (73) remembers her lovely daughter. taiwoabiodun.com was with him.

The environment was not bubbling as usual .Everywhere was quiet .Unlike when his late daughter Olori Idowu Bolanle Adesina Adepoju was alive and the house would be painted red as visitors would turn the place to a Mecca of sorts.

A man who is a friend to the family shook his head and cried ”so this is life, a time was when fleet of cars would be parked in this compound while escorts would follow the late Olori home and many would come seeking help from financial to moral assistance .Now all these are no more as the old man , father of the deceased Olori grieves over the death of his daughter who died seven years ago.What a pity, a calamity and a big blow to the family and Owo town at large”, a man in his late 40s lamented.

The old man’s countenance changed when he was told that taiwoabiodun.com was there for interview,though a man of few words , he managed to speak ” I am Joseph Akinola Fadeyi . I am the father of the late Olori Bola Adesida .I always remember the sad story of my daughter . She died on July 12, 2011″, he said , as hot tears cascaded down his cheeks .

Their Marriage

Pa Fadeyi described the beginning of the lovebirds as real love and super, he said ”my late daughter and the deposed monarch,Deji of Akure, Oba Oluwadare Adesina Adepoju’s love was super ”, adding “they courted for six years and did introduction in my house here in Owo .The husband came to demand her hand in marriage in the year 2001 while he became the Oba of Akure in 2005”.

How she was Hospitalized

On the news of the attack on the late Olori by the deposed Monarch and the after effects, the old man, Pa Fadeyi recaptured the whole episode once again, and said he had before the final blow on his daughter went to Akure to plead to the monarch to settle the score,”but he did not listen to me ”, he added ” when I was told that my daughter had been hospitalized I went to see her at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC ) Owo, before she was transferred to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital ( LASUTH) Lagos where she later died .She didn’t know she would die. I prayed for her .

I was told that they poured some things on her that …..”[sobs].

Remembrance every year

Asked whether he remembers her every year and how she is being remembered , the old man said he remembers her always , ” I can’t forget her, She was buried in her house in Akure .I am sad, sad and sad.It is very painful’.

On whether he still hears from the deposed Oba?

When asked whether he still hears from the deposed monarch, he looked at the ceiling and said ” I don’t see him, he does not call me. My late daughter was the pillar of the house . She once bought a flat screen television for me , and if I demand for 50,000 Naira she would give me 100,000 Naira and she was my second born.

My role during and after

” During the fracas , I went to the monarch in Akure to beg the king and to reconsider his wife but he refused to take his wife back .I knew when he was at the District Officers’ ( D.O) quarters in my town , Owo where he was banished to .

Her photographs

The old man brought out the photographs of the couple in different celebrations in her lifetime , and said ” Each time I looked at her pictures I feel sad , these are her photographs from her spinsterhood till when she got married. I regretted my daughter marrying a monarch .I will never allow any of my female children to marry an Oba their problem is too much for the wife will not be free at all , Wahala Oba poju”.

The monarch’s family members came begging

Some family members of the monarch came on behalf of the deposed Oba to the father of the deceased begging for forgiveness but the old man said ” I told them there was no problem .We never quarreled .He used to call me .He received me very well in fact they courted for six years before they got married , so how would I have known it would end this way?”, he cried .

Cause of the quarrel

Pa Fadeyi said the quarrel between his late daughter and the deposed Oba (husband ) was more than ordinary , he said ” It was the woman he ( the monarch ) brought to the palace that caused everything .It was a big error , when the monarch was telling me he said he didn’t know what came over him. The Oba and his late wife were like Siamese twins , the devil really used him”, the old man said .

Remembrance

Today July 12, is another sad day in the household of the family of the late Olori Bolanle. Her friends and family members will go to her grave for prayer while the father as usual will be in a bad mood again remembering the calamity that befell the family when the sad news was broken, he said ” every July 12, every year I always pray for the repose of her soul. I always pray for the children too, what else can I do? I am in pain”.

Why I don’t drive the Jeep my late daughter gave me

The old man said his late daughter bought a Jeep for him before she died and since then , he had not even used it, when asked why , he looked up as if searching for an answer from the ceiling and said ” it was the same Jeep she bought for me they used to convey her body back from Lagos to Akure for burial , and I cannot use it any longer .I didn’t use it , I told her younger ones to be using it”.

”.

Hospitalized for three months

The news of the death of his daughter was like a thunderbolt as he was hospitalized, for three months , he said ” the deposed Oba called me only once when he was in the UK while I was in the hospital , Infact I spent three months in the hospital when my daughter died and I spent over one million Naira , it was an ugly story”

Children of the late Olori
On the children of the late Olori, the old man said ”they are there , they are with the mother of the Olori.I know God will take care of them.But it is painful that I lost my daughter just like that ,
I have left everything for God to judge”.

How he is surviving

The old man who is no longer working says he solely relied on his late daughter’s younger ones who have been taking care of him. He said ” you can see that I am old now , and can no longer work . The late Olori’s younger ones are the one assisting me now since my daughter has gone , it is very , very sad”

The deposed Monarch

For a very long time , Akure did not have a king but after many years of interregnum the deposed monarch , Oluwadare Adesina Adepoju was enthroned as the Deji of Akure, and he was warmly received after performing the necessary rites and was officially installed in 2005.

However the Ondo State government banished the Monarch to Owo, where he was until he was eventually dethroned by the State Government under the leadership of the then Governor Olusegun Mimiko.The deposed king made spirited efforts to come back but it is like a lost battle.

Where is the deposed Monarch now?

Investigation revealed that when the deposed Monarch was dethroned he made spirited efforts to come back by appealing to the state government ,to the families of his estranged wife for reconciliation but the deed has been done as the government and Human Rights Activists from home and abroad condemned his behavior .Many were shocked seeing a whole first class monarch fighting in the public in his royal crown and regalia.It is an abomination, disgrace and degraded Yoruba Tradition and Culture.

When the monarch discovered there was no way forward , he traveled back to the United Kingdom, while some said he went to America , whichever way the fact is that he quickly left the country as a result of the disgrace .

Will he ever regain his throne?

Pa Fadeyi said ”When the royal father was banished from Akure the family members of the monarch came to beg me to support his coming back to the throne , and I supported them after begging me and after she had died. I wish he was restored back to the throne but that was not in my hand . I knew one Oba who was dethroned and returned back to the throne after 25 years .They know I have tried and supported them for their brother to come back, after all my daughter has children for him, two boys”.

This is not the first time a monarch would be banished or deposed.It happened to the late Olowo of Owo Oba Sir Olateru Olagbegi II who was banished from Owo to Okitipupa and was eventually dethroned for 25years. /After 25 years he came back to the throne. According to Pa Fadeyi, anything can happen.He said ” they sent many people to come and beg me and I have forgiven him at least my daughter has kids for him.Moreover I cannot doubt his coming back for it has happened before when one monarch was dethroned he was reinstated 25years later so its possible ”, he said

How he is surviving

The old man who is no longer working says he solely relied on her late daughter’s younger ones who have been taking care of him,he said ” you can see that I am old now , and can no longer work .The late Olori’s younger ones are the one assisting me now since the woman has gone , it is very , very painful”.

I taught for 35 years

Morenike

 

Speech delivered by the outgoing  Headmistress Mrs Morenike Olajide of Community primary school , Oyoyo, Igbe- Owo recently

    ” I shall pass through this world but once
       Any good therefore  that I can do

        Or any kindness that I can show to any human being,

       Let me do it now
       Let  me not defer  or neglect it,
       For I  shall not pass through this way again”
                  Stephen Grellet (1773- 1855)

Good morning my fellow teachers, pupils , Commissioners, the SUPEB chairman, Chiefs , Kabiyesi , the Olowo of Owo, Oba DVF Olateru Olagbegi III , the Oyoyo Community members , Pressmen , ladies and gentlemen .
This moment is that of sadness and joy which reminds me of an old Magazine in the 1970s that used to tell us stories of  sad and happy moments and endings .Yes , it is sad that I am leaving you behind as I would no longer be in your midst again but at the same time a day of joy for I have laboured and served the government for 35 years and therefore need to retire home to go and rest- this is what everybody prayed for and I  thank God that I lived up to that in good health.
Speaking about this occasion I like the quotes above . I have done my best,  impacted knowledge into pupils , who turned out later to be students in secondary schools and metamorphosed to be graduates from institutions of higher learning where they came out to be bigwigs in the society, politicians , professionals and what have you.
Yes, we teachers have taught kings, chiefs, heads of state , medical directors , engineers among others , and I want to tell you how. Ask me how?
These notable people in all various professions have passed through kindergarten and primary schools in their formative years and their teachers’ names will ever remain in their memories  .Take for instance our Monarch the Olowo of Owo in his Book ” In The Wilderness of Life” , Chapter 4, page 37 , paragraph 2 where he mentioned some of his teachers like Mr Aralepo ( Now Chief (Pa)Aralepo) at Government Primary School, Owo. While the Chief is proud to say he taught our King in school , our King too is proud to say the old man taught him too. What a story!
What of Chief Rotimi Ibidapo – ( Bassey) an Owo born multi – millionaire who few years ago went to St.Andrew’s primary school , and built some Classrooms for the school appreciating his first step into acquiring knowledge in life!
The late President of South Africa Nelson Mandela in his book “Long Walk To Freedom” , on pages 14-15 narrated how his school teacher , Miss Mdingane gave him his name  Nelson  which eventually  became his name he was and is known for. He wrote  On my first day in school my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us English name and said that from henceforth that was the name ….That day Miss Mdingane told me that my new name was Nelson.
For me , it a big honour to  retire and joined the senior citizens who have contributed immensely to education in Ondo state .
Before I retired , I have taught in various schools in 14 local government ; Utaja Primary School ( on the top of Idanre Hills), St Theresa , Alade Idanre, AUD primary School , Omuo, Community Primary school , Imorun,( Ondo / Ogun boundary ), St.Saviours Primary School, Odigbo; Emure Ile, St Pius ( Now Mega School , AUD Ago Alao,Ipele( Along Idoani Road) as an Assistant Teacher, AUD I, as an assistant .I have taught in over 25 primary schools until I got to Oyoyo Community primary school as the headmistress where I served and retired .My joy is that I am retiring in good health. I know many who retired with sadness after falsifying their ages by subtracting from it yet not satisfied while retiring.Many unfortunately fell on the way by one way or the other .
I thank my able teachers ,Mr Ibrahim, S.O, Mr. Gani Aliu, Mr Ali Nosiru for their cooperation .The PTA chairman is a fantastic man who all possessed exemplary character and with his Solomonic wisdom was able to lead us through within that short period l spent with them. Baale Nuru is full of wit, sense of humour , cool headed, and cannot hurt a fly.Infact he is a gift to humanity .

I will surely miss you all; your jokes , your charismatic nature, your laughter and the sense of belonging you showed me especially my teachers and townsmen .Life is a stage , according to Shakespeare , one acts his part and leave.I have acted your part , and if I had in anyway stepped on your toes, been rude and crossed you during my job please take it lightly, it is part of life and please forgive me I never meant to hurt anyone. 
No one is perfect , and no man is infallible for we are bound to make mistakes.
I am proud to remember the Latin word and say Veni, Vidi, Veci ( I came , I saw , I conquered )
I appeal to you all to please cooperate with the coming Headteacher for a tree does not make a forest.

Fare thee well.

Fare thee well

 

                                                       FARE THEE WELL,

                                            By Mrs.Morenike Olajide

A farewell speech by Mrs. Morenike Olajide,former Headmistress of Community Primary School , Oyoyo, Igbe- Owo , Ondo State as she says final goodbye to Ondo State Civil Service Commission during her thanksgiving service at Rock of Ages (C& S )Sanctuary, Iregun- Owo, on 24 December 2017, taiwoabiodun.com was  there

  Do all the good you can                             

By all the means you can

In all the ways you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can
John Wesley ( 1703- 1791)

 

Olajide at the church during her thanksgiving service

Good afternoon our State Governor, Arákùnrin Rotimi Akeredolu, HRM ,the Olowo of Owo; Oba ( Dr) David Folagbade Olateru Olagbegi III( CFR), Ondo State great Teachers, my church members , members of CDHR Ondo State Chapter , all my former pupils , pressmen, ladies and gentlemen .
Today is not a day for me to talk much but to give thanks to God for what He has done in my life .I am here to thank those who are here and also those who are not here!.

Should I talk?. I know you will all ask “When did Mrs. Olajide become a preacher ?” Yes, I am happy and May God fill your heart with happiness.

The celebrator being honored by Bishop Gideon Olubode Ashogbon as the Iya Ijo of  Rock of Ages (C& S )Sanctuary,

It was Logan Pearsall Smith who said ” There are two things to aim at in life: First, to get what you want ; and after that , to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieved the second”, but let me re-frame Smith ‘s words : “There are two things to aim at in life …………..Only God that can give mankind achieved the second “.
My dream and life’s ambition was to teach and retire home in good health and God has given me the grace. Please shout Alleluyah !!!
Having sailed through the desert , walked through the shadow of death and passed through the turbulence period of ” Oga Nbo” , ” Report Now! Now!!,”Your attention is needed” , “According to the circular ” , ” Write a letter of Apology “, now everything has ended.Now , It is like the children of Israel who walked on the dry land in the middle of the red sea and after their great rescue they happily cried “Who is like unto thee…..” (Ta lo dabiii re?) .
I know many who did not live to retire as many  had died, many  are bedridden while many were disgraced out.
Now I rely on pension no matter how small but ” A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety”, says Aesops (550BC).
It was 53 years ago when I was seven years old in primary school that I fell in love with teaching. We used to honour and respect our teachers, we used leaves as Ijoki (local leaves with charcoal ) to dye our slate and our class blackboard but today these materials have changed but NOT the teacher!.
There are teachers like : Jesus Christ , Mohamed, Socrates , Plato, Aristotle , Diogenes Tao, Lao Tzu, Awolowo,  Ajasin, Pa Aralepo, the Olowo of Owo, and many great people who are teachers so I am proud to be a teacher. We are not only mind builders, future builders but also character builders and we impact knowledge into children whose brains were , according to John Locke , tabula rasa ( clean slate ) when they were born.
Before retiring , I have taught in various schools in 14 local governments ; Utaja Primary School ( on  top of Idanre Hills), St Theresa , Alade Idanre, AUD primary School , Omuo, Community Primary school , Imorun,( Ondo / Ogun boundary ), St.Saviours Primary School, Odigbo; Emure Ile, St Pius ( Now Mega School ) , AUD Ago Alao,Ipele( Along Idoani Road) as an Assistant Teacher, AUD I, as an Assistant Head Teacher .I have taught in over 25 primary schools until I got to Oyoyo Community Primary School as the Headmistress where I served and retired

The celebrator’s sisters : Abeni and Ibukun

Remember that philosopher, Wilfrid Wilson Gibson (1878- 1962) that says
“One song leads on to another
One friend to another
So I’ll travel along
With a friend and a song”
Yes, I am beginning a new chapter , singing a new song ….will now add to my friends as I travel along and that is song of love, hope and spirituality.
I have left the office and I pray for those coming behind me the very best. I appreciate High Chief Yemisi the mother and owner of Oyoyo Community, my predecessor Mrs. Kelani, Mr.Ibraheem S., Mr.Nosiru Ali, Gani Aliu, Bale Nuru S, S Aneve, Hon . Aladegoroye.

Bishop Gideon Olubode Ashogbon, his wife and members of Rock of Ages[Cherubim and  Seraphim] Sanctuary who stood behind me with their moral, financial and spiritual support I say a very big thank to you. 

Let me quickly add that there is no amount of hard work , love and friendship you put in don’t expect miracle, praise and reward from anybody but from God for you cannot satisfy human being so please always be good to whoever you meet for ” No act of kindness no matter how small , is ever wasted ” according to Aesops! . I used to advise people what John F .Kennedy wrote in his 1945 notebook , which was ascribed to Chesterton that “Don’t ever take a fence down , Until you know the reason why it was put up”.Always be patient and exercise caution while in office for you too will soon leave .I thank you all for your support

The celebrator with Princess Kehinde Olateru-Olagbegi

According to Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616) , “A close mouth catches no flies” , yes for me I will not close my mouth as a teacher for I will sing your praises for your cooperation.I am thanking you who are present here for your love and cooperation, I thank my mother; (Iya ni wura iyebiye, ti a k’ole f’owo ra………” ) , my great able brother ,Elder Yemi Abiodun, Akin Famuwagun , my sisters Mujidat, Bola Suara .My great mentor HRH Ologunboro of Logunburo Oba Mayadenu , Air Vice Marshal Dipo Ogunseitan, Pastor Okun Ogunseitan , Mrs Bukky Akinbote , Mrs.Abeni Abiodun , mama Akande, Mummy Biodun , Mummy Ladejola Oginni, Yemi Ogunseitan , Kola Ogunseitan , Daddy Mi ‘Erin Akanni Ogunseitan’

The celebrator with her sisters

”It is not the man who has too little ,But the man who craves more , that is poor”, says Lucius Annaeus Seneca (8BC – AD 65) and Publilius Syrus (First century BC) says A good reputation is more valuable than money .Let us always put these two quotes in mind .Thank you and  God bless you .I love you all.
O digba o se , Ka ma f’iku ya ra wa , ka ma f’arun y’ara wa!

”I have been living alone for 38 years”

If you call it hope  and  faith you are correct.  In spite  of his old age at 73 , Pa ( Primate) Ayoola Omonigbehin  says he is still hoping in God  to be a family man. He has been living alone for the past 38 years.  taiwoabiodun.com was with him

Pa Omonigbehin asking  ”what is their business?”

He is always cheerful and jovial  .The veteran journalist is always  in his Yoruba traditional  flowing gown [agbada] .He is  very  popular and known  in many Nigeria  media houses, infact  there  is no media house in Nigeria that Pa  ( Primate) Ayoola Omonigbehin   is not known for he has worked in some media houses.

The septuagenarian  worked as a reporter at the defunct Concord Press in the 80’s. According to him , he was on Business Desk and he was the brain behind   the defunct MKO Abiola Babes. He has also published a magazine which is now defunct.

A courageous missionary and a powerful  man of God  who goes about preaching  the gospel ,and calls a spade a spade.  According to him he has healed many  from their infirmities.

Asked to give an example he said ” there is a man with unsound mind who has been staying at Ladipo  Motor  Spare Parts Market, Mushin  for a long time ,  I went  there to   pray for him .Few days later I  went back there  and  I was told he has left, he has been healed” , Omonigbehin said as  he swore to high  heavens .

Evidence of his works

Armed with series of his published stories  and his newspaper cuttings ,he showed  reporters  his works ,  evidence of his works .Every  afternoon the old man   comes to  The Nation Newspaper’s  office in his flowing gown (agbada ) displaying his long handwritten stories to Editors   to be published. Although age has bent him as he  goes along with a long strand  from one office to another.There is no reporter he does not know. Infact a former Sunday Editor ( now Online Editor) confirmed it that the old man was once a senior colleague at  the defunct Concord Press Nigeria Limited, a print media owned by the late MKO Abiola.

My history

Primate Omonigbehin who  has spent many years in Lagos confessed that  he is not a Lagosian as many thought but a native of  Ibadan , his words”I was born in the 40s and I am  from Beere area in Ibadan , Oyo State”, when asked when last he visited home , he smiled, shook his head and refused to tell taiwoabiodun.com

On how he feels when he remembers  that he lives alone and without a wife and children , he replied ‘ It is true that I have been living alone for the past 38 years , I don’t have a wife or child to be called mine but I am not hopeless .If you read the Bible you will read the story of Abraham was over 100 years before he had a child,read Genesis 14.Noah was over 600 years , and they  say  as it was in the beginning…so if you know Christ you don’t have to be afraid , what ever comes your way, it is just a matter of time. I am still hoping to have a wife and a child.”

He added that he  will have three children as he makes references to the Biblical  Abraham who has a child at  old age.

He rebuked  those speaking ill  or gossiping about him for living alone  the old man said ”what is their business about my lifestyle?Ki lo kan won nibe?”, he rhetorically asked.

On his pastoral job , he said “As a prophet of God I have prayed for  some people with infirmity and they were healed , God is my witness”, he boasted 

Attacks

The Primate  said he was once attacked by his neighbors who ganged up against him thus making him sleeping with one eye open for the fear  that  his life is not safe where he lives at 31,Ile -Iwe Bus stop,Ikotun.”they wanted to kill me and God has been rescuing me from the enemies”.

Omonigbehin went down memory lane to talk about his active years in the media  and how he established his own media he  began to  mention ”Who is who” in the Industry

 

 

 

 

 

Behold, Mother of Owo Culture

Behold, Mother of Owo Culture

………First female chief

…….Prays to clock 100

…….Still observes Igogo festival

Chief Christianah  Fehintola Famulagun Abiodun, the Obajereuwa of Owo is a custodian of Owo culture, a griot , a library and a wiseacre in the ancient town , Owo, Ondo state. She narrates her story to taiwoabiodun.com

In the 60s to 90’s she was agile and would dance round the ancient town of Owo during the annual Igogo festival. Infact she was always the cynosure of all  eyes  attracting  crowd and spectators from all Yorubaland and overseas not only because she knew how to dance but because she was the only female chief , has high qualities of traditional costumes. Visitors from all walks of life; the media , students and researchers made her house a Mecca of sorts. Today she hardly go out as age has curtailed her movement thus making her to slow down.She has become aged , at 96 , and can no longer do all these .

Welcome to nonagenarian  Madam Christianah Famulagun’s life.She is an historian, an encyclopaedia  of Owo culture, a poet, and a living legend. She is  not only a chief but the first woman chief in the history of Owo, She became the Obajereuwa of Owo in 1965.

She looked around her smiled , shook her head and said ” how time flies, I knew when I was still agile running ups and downs during the annual Igogo festival but age has dealt a fatal blow on me “. However she still observes the festival it at home.

Her names

When asked what exactly her names , she said “some call me Famolagun , some too call Ifamulagun, Falagun or Faalagun but the fact remains that since ‘ Ifa’ ( oracle) is there thus …it has told you about me” she told taiwoabiodun.com

 

 

Chief Famulaagun during the 2017 Igogo festival

Ageing with grace

Despite her old age she does not suffer any dementia like her age mates.She is still eloquent and thinks straight. Her skin glitters .She said ” I don’t use hearing aids and don’t use recommended eye glasses since I can see clearly , while my dentition is complete , none is missing “, she opened her mouth to convince this reporter.[ with a loud laughter ]

Notwithstanding her age and her height , (5:7 feet tall ) she does not use cane to support her movement until recently when she started using a walker to support herself since she has broken her hip few years ago. Not only this she has good retentive memory that makes her still be very relevant.She could tell you dates of events offhand without looking at calendar.She reminded this reporter of an episode when the Queen of England came to Nigeria , spoke about Macpherson Constitution , the 1966 operation Wet e .No wonder a professor who went to her for research said this woman is still relevant in the society . .” She must not die now and I have pleaded with her children to make sure they document all what she said in paper”, the professor advised.

Mama said ”I pray to be up to 100 years if God wishes”

Mother of Owo Culture

The woman; First Woman Chief is witty and with sense of humor.She would sing her native songs , laced it with panegyrics ( Oriki) , uses proverbs and anecdotes to support her stories and counseling . According to her she has over 20 different types of coral beads with different names , she also has dozens of handwoven native Owo traditional clothes with different names,” I have different traditional clay pots ,over 20 different of Owo coral beads ,and Owo handwoven clothes”, she boasted. In addition she knows all the historical sites and names of families and their heads as far back as 1930.She would tell you the story as fresh as they were.

Igbo Nla house( house thick forest )

Chief Famulagun’s house at Ogbondaiye is called Igbo Nla ( literary means house of thick forest full of many things ) which harbours people of different characters[ not criminals] .The house , a bungalow is an antique , she said “though the frontage is made of brick while the backyard retains the old local red brick used to build it , thus retaining the over a century building”, she continued “In spite of the modest building the place has haboured the good, the bad and the ugly .It harbors aristocrats, great people and intellectual in the community . In the morning this place is always full .In the evening it is like a political rally being organized, or celebration is going on .While some come to me for research, some for advise “, the wiseacre added jokingly ” this house is like nose that never dry, a stream that never ceases to flow” . The griot said “while some too only come here just to relax and listen to stories like Tales by moonlight and Tales by “Daylight” that is why we call this house Igbo Nla. Infact politicians and so many people have lived here.My house is for everybody irrespective of who you are “.

Culture inherited by children

Madam Christianah Famulagun is a griot, a library for Owo culture. Her thoughts , actions, dresses smell Owo .” Infact my song , my water , my food everything about me is Owo”, she declared to taiwoabiodun.com

In actual fact some of the children , grandchildren and great grandchildren of the nonagenarian are politicians , theatre guru and are neck deep in cultural activities .Yes , they inherited it from the Mama , who is a politician, custodian of culture and a chief in the ancient community . Mrs “Morenike Oladimeji said “Mama ‘s house is where researchers must visit If you are writing stories about Owo and if you have not been to her then your story is incomplete”, she swore,

To approach the woman of Culture is simple , as you go into the building you will meet a woman who look 60 on a three seater foam chair with her costumes like coral beads or chains dangling on her neck .She is ever neat and wears perfume always .Yes, you could take her for a young girl looking for husband but when you get closer you will know she is going to a century .

 

 Olowo of Owo is God’s gift for us

Asked to speak on the present Olowo of Owo, hear her ” I appreciate Oba David Victor Folagbade Olateru- Olagbegi III.He is a peace maker.He is a soft spoken man that will never hurt anybody’s feelings .I love him.He is very, very brilliant and a lover of peace. I wish him years and years and years of more ..He will,live longer than his fore fathers” , she prayed and continued “During his time Owo has more banks , and many things have improved in this town.During his period the town developed , the roads are tarred and graded, there is functioning street light and this makes us sleep late as the town has become El dorado .Owo is progressing and I thank God for doing this .I am very proud of him , he is Yemi, my son’s childhood and intimate friend .Olowo has performed excellently well, he is after  the progress of Owo. He is wonderful and believes in God the almighty.He is recognizedboth home and abroad, no wonder the federal government awarded him CFR . We should honour and appreciate him the more”.

I want to write a book

Madam Falagun said ” I want to write a book .My stomach ( touching her tommy) is full of many things .I can’t divulge anything again.I receive visitors from America, Brazil, India who  do come here to ask questions about our culture.Recently a lady who is a native of Haiti came to Owo here to  marry my cousin.The lady was so fascinated about our culture and language .We are rich in culture , ours is fantastic ,the Benins are following us behind in costumes’

My tortoise- Mayamije

The chief for many years kept a pet , tortoise called ‘ Mayamije’ , the  story about the  which   was once published in The Nation’s newspaper

She said”The mysterious animal acts like human being , at times it would stand on its two hind legs like human being,at times it would be running to where I am and I would scream that it should not come to my side and I would ask whether it wanted to bite me .It was an interesting but a mysterious pet.Unfortunately it died some years ago after living for 20 years .I love keeping pets”.

To be continued ,

In the next edition Mama Falagun speaks about her being only child of her mother,  Politics , Owo Culture, her Christian live cum tradition and culture , UPN,why she decided to take the chieftaincy title , her bitter experience in life, What ‘ Ajo’ means , the secret of her living and what she is doing now and many more .

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