……..I am missing my father
……..Oba Ajibade Ogunoye III is ordained by God
….. My father’s crisis was caused by the then governor
……..They did not cut my father’s head
The beads on his neck and wrists were dangling like pendulum as he was responding cheerfully to the barrage of questions thrown to him. He exhibited a high level of maturity with sense of humour. He still enjoys the royal dignity, respect and honour from his kinsmen wherever he goes. Despite the fact that his father is no longer the traditional ruler of the ancient town, Owo, Prince Leke as he is popularly called is respected and loved by Owo people as his relationship cuts across all social status: rich or poor,young or old and above all the Olowo lineages: Ogunoye , Ajike and Olagbegi .He is called a bridge- builder , a very straight forward man and Man of the People.
As the smooth -faced Prince wiped his brow with handkerchief , adjusted his embroidery Yoruba traditional agbada and cap he answered all the questions thrown at him without bitterness.
During the impromptu interview the Prince who is a Senior Lecturer at Rufus Giwa Polytechnic in the department of Public Administration brilliantly, meticulously and technically delved into history and archive thus challenging researchers and lovers of History . .Infact Prince Leke Olateru- Olagbegi is rich in Owo history.
Taiwo Abiodun spoke with him , a year after his father’s death.
Leke with his late father during Igogo festival
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CELEBRATE YOUR FATHER,THE LATE OBA DVF OLATERU -OLAGBEGI III’s ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY ?
“In Owo tradition technically the Olowo is always on the throne (Oba kii ku) that is king don’t die”. He continued “on daily basis , whenever I remember my father who was a very, very good father and was a quintessential man. He was too good even to a fault .He was very nice and generous .He was a disciplinarian .I am proud that he was my father and I give glory to the almighty God, so celebrating him is just like looking into mirror and flashing back to my daily routine and activities and memories of him , these are the ways I will remember him.
“But in respect to tradition , you know after the royal tussle for the throne we now have my father Oba Gbadegesin Ajibade Ogunoye III so I am also celebrating him. He is also a perfect gentleman and a great father to look up to and the entire community is looking up to him .So that how the position is if I can submit that way.
The late HIM Oba DVF Olateru -Olagbegi III
MY FATHER ASKED ME TO CONTEST
The prince gave a graphic detail of the last days of his father , he said “I saw him last on Sunday and I think he passed away about 48hours later. Em, em after church service he called me and in the presence of one of his Chiefs, precisely Chief Osuporu and he asked us to go upstairs because the church service was downstairs and we went upstairs. He went as usual into discussions , he loved to discuss issues to clear positions. I was very happy that I had that opportunity, he continued to teach me the normal traditional ways , the normal ethical ways of life . And I was surprised when he mentioned that if ever the throne was vacant that I should definitely make sure that I vie for it ,because whoever is going to be king would first of all have to vie and then if he had been ordained from heaven it would be his. And I was shocked to my bones as he discussed with me at the last minute and he also admonished that myself and my siblings ,my senior sister and rest of my junior ones should hold ourselves together and continue to meet and hold in high esteem all he has taught us throughout his life.
BUT YOU LOST IN THE ELECTION, HOW DID YOU FEEL?
When reminded that he lost in the election and how he felt, The Prince laughed , and went into Owo History of electing their monarchs , he said “Well ,that itself is another story. In Owo we have a democratic way of traditional installation ,so it is not like directly from father to son like my father had inherited it. We have precisely three Ruling Houses and anyone could have been chosen out of the Ruling Houses so I was very ready for whatever the outcome could have been . I went into it with clear mind and I was still standing with a clear mind as my father had always said that whoever would be king would definitely have to have been ordained from heaven so I believe Kabiyesi Ajibade Ogunoye III had been ordained from heaven for him to be sitting on the throne in the palace”.
DON’T YOU THINK OWO PEOPLE WOULD FROWN and COMPLAIN SAYING IT IS BECOMING A FAMILY AFFAIR: YOUR FATHER , YOUR GRAND FATHER AND YOU AGAIN . ARE YOU THE ONLY ONE (RULING HOUSE) IN OWO?’
Reminded that his late father and grandfather were there before and now and he was coming to vie for it again, …… In response , the Prince laughed and said “well for those who don’t sincerely understand our culture per se , yes ,may be they can feel like that but if you study Owo ancestry the throne had passed down from father to son,from father to son(repeat) and then at some point it even became from brother to brother but we don’t necessarily have a specific direction -it could be anywhere, it could be cousins to cousins, brother to brother , father to son. Like I mentioned earlier , my father inherited the throne in 1999 from his own father , so I don’t think people from Owo would have had any objections .Although yes , like you have rightly cited, the other ruling families might also have some sentiments that ha! , how can it continue in that direction but as far as I am concerned it could have gone into any direction because the Owo traditional stool is decided by the Senior Omolowos and whoever is chosen is final”.
DON’T YOU THINK IT COULD HAVE RESULTED TO ANOTHER CRISIS IF ANY OF THE OLATERU- OLAGBEGIS COMES THERE?
His response “Haa , you are going into contemporary politics, when it comes into contemporary politics ,it seems we have to make it a rotational affair or we have to satisfy this side of the family , that side of the family but I just think take for instance in the olden days when the oracle was the one to choose and if oracle says its that direction who is anybody to go against the Oracle? .But in terms of satisfying the human nature , yes I can agree that may be after a particular lineage had been there for a while .Yes, if Ifa Oracle chooses another lineage , it’s welcome .But what I am stressing is that if Ifa Oracle so chooses from that same lineage it is also welcome because we are all from Elewuokun Dynasty”.
EVERYBODY LOVES THE PRESENT OLOWO OBA GBADEGESIN AJIBADE OGUNOYE III,WHAT IS YOUR TAKE
“Personally I am excited about him.I have known him all my life , although he is older than me but we grew up together . I am very familiar with the Ogunoye lineage and I am also very close to the Ajike lineage so I am not a novice to any of the lineage family . But he particularly is a very kind person , very soft-spoken person ,you can rarely found him any place where there is violence , where there is any form of disgruntlement , no, he was a very private person ,very hard working and he is very honest .When he was chosen ,if you look at the video if you play it back you will notice that I immediately embraced him when he won . And that was exactly my position .”
HIM OBA OGUNOYE III
MY RELATIONSHIP WITH THE NEW OLOWO
On the relationship ” I am very close to him .At any point in time when I need to see him because he is a father figure to me .Now he has inherited our father’s position,he has become the head of the Elewokun Dynasty.By and large he has also become my father .I relate to him the way I would relate to my father and discuss lot of issues that I normally would discuss with my father, and with him now in that position and if there is any issues that comes up as such I go to him and discuss it with him .Recently I was with him and we always have a good time anytime we were together and I am very close to him as usual from time and would for ever be”.
THE NEW OLOWO IS BRILLIANT,GENTLE, HUMBLE AND WISE , IS THIS PECULIAR TO ALL OWO KINGS
The Prince responded “It is a good thing you cited that, because if we go into the history of Owo from time immemorial most especially from the very first Olowo which was Olowo Ojugbelu , history tells us that Olowo Ojugbelu’s father gave him the name ,Omo Owo by the virtue of his noble character : he was a handsome prince , very soft spoken person, he was ahead among his peers, he has all the qualities that you will admire in the current Olowo and also in my father which will also seen in most of the Olowos .I agree with you that he has the peculiar characters of a noble King of Owo”.
YOUR FATHER WAS A DEVOTED CHRISTIAN AND TRADITIONALIST, WAS HE BURIED ACCORDING TO CULTURE?
What was the form of his burial , he was asked , the Senior lecturer responded ”I can tell you categorically because I was a party to it and everything that the Adanigbo and the entire Iloros requested was met and the duration of time in which it has to be preserved was met and during the time he has to be interred and everything that has to be done traditionally was also done so throughout the Ogbigbo the whole process and procedures,the way its been done traditionally was done so I can categorically say yes he was buried exactly how the tradition says.”
PEOPLE BELIEVE WHEN AN OBA DIES THEY HAVE TO CUT PARTS OF HIS BODY.DID THEY CUT PART OF HIS BODY?
The prince screamed “No, no , no. that one is an old tradition, (laughed ). He died in 2019 ,so I doubt if there is anybody that can do that and get away with it .I think that is old tradition . There was a time in Owo when an Oba dies some individuals would go along with him that was at one point in our tradition but I think tradition has stopped that.
DID THEY BURY ANYBODY ALONG WITH HIM?
Leke shouted “No, no,nobody was buried along with him(laughed)as far as I know o”.
WHEN THE NEW OLOWO OBA OGUNOYE III WAS INSTALLED THERE WAS NO CRISIS, PEOPLE NEVER EXPECTED THERE WOULD NOT BE BLOODSHED COMPARED WITH YOUR FATHER’S PERIOD
The Prince intelligently answered ” Well, you know for every Oba there is always circumstances surrounding it , in the time of my father , the history says the incumbent governor of the state( Governor Adebayo Adefarati) was actually against my father’s ascension to the throne ,that was the reason why there was a bit of disgruntlement and at that time it wasn’t actually the people ,because Owo kingmakers actually chose my father .Since Owo chose him , there was no cause for fighting but because of outside influence . In the current Kabiyesi ‘s time remember we have an Owo man as a governor in person of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the senior Omolowos chose him and the Oracle has spoken and the governor is not against them..”
To be continued next week