why I contested for Olowo of Owo’s throne -Leke Olateru -Olagbegi


……..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


   “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


    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.



        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”.


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”.


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”.


“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 .”



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 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”.


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.”


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.


Leke shouted  “No, no,nobody was buried along with him(laughed)as  far as I know o”.


       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





‘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 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.

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 ”
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.
”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.”
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.
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.

Igogo festival is not fetish

This year’s Igogo Festival has come and gone but the frills and thrills of new things that happened cannot be easily forgotten. Taiwo Abiodun writes

…………..New Chief Priest performed role

…………..Rumour mongers shamed

…………..Festival not fetish




The big palace was full with visitors , natives, well wishers, friends and lovers of Culture from far and near . Most of them came to watch the popular annual and most celebrated festival in Owo and Yoruba land while few ones who are rumor mongers, religious fanatics and those who never believed in good tidings were there to confirm whether the Monarch would come out to observe the annual festival or not.

Ears were on the ground. Eyes were fixed at the palace. Rumors were spread. Doubts filled some people’s minds. Some said the Monarch had traveled. Tension filled the air. Who will be proved right and who will be proved wrong?.

Suddenly, a crowd came out from the inner chamber . Who could that be?. Is he the one or not?. Many surged forward to have a glance and be proved wrong or right. Many were pushed aside , struggling to catch a glimpse at the chief Celebrant and the Custodian of Culture and Tradition . Some Thomases who doubted the festival would hold hurriedly left in shame as they were disappointed and covered their faces with shame while well wishers and those who love the ancient town went wild in jubilation.

Chief Famulagun

Then came the Monarch in high spirits in gaiety and in his royal splendor -he was full of smile and appreciation.He was surrounded by his well wishers, family members, loved ones, princes and princesses and important personalities .

With his plaited hair that made him looked like a female ,and in his dressing as he wore his ornamental Ewu Okun , a royal customized beaded attire dress. To shield him from the scorching sun, he was protected by a specially -built giant umbrella .

His skin glitter while the three white feathers called Urere Okin , special white feathers attached on his head ”danced” in the air . Attached to his white ”skirt” was the Uda Omalore (royal symbol of authority ) that appeared beneath.

Dangling on his neck , wrists and ankles were special royal coral beads glittering and making sound as he walked along .The traditional ruler who doubled as the Chief celebrant was the cynosure of all. He rested his stretched beaded hands on two of his chiefs and would once in a while bring out his own special iron metal gong and beat it. Then start a new song while others would join in chorus.

Olori Ololade

His wife Olori Yeye Ololade, all Chiefs, princes, princesses , family members and well wishers followed him while showering praises and pouring panegyrics.

They hailed the Monarch as he appeared from inner chamber of the palace .Yes!, His Imperial Majesty , the Olowo of Owo, Oba David Victor Folagbade Olateru -Olagbegi III (CFR) was a sight to behold as he took the spectators and admirers aback by his dancing skills , dexterity and agility despite his age.

Greetings flowed, panegyrics (Oriki) were rendered and Traditional songs flowed freely as the Monarch responded with smiles and satisfaction. Many went on their knees to pay obeisance to him. Then followed by a thunderous of ‘‘Ologho, Baba O, Untunkan nii se , Tu wa ko wa pee! , Leeji, waa gbo, wa to waaa je ju bare, Orisa Oke ma dunhun S’Ologho” (Our revered Monarch you shall live longer than your forefathers, you will lead us for long . The Almighty will protect you) .

Elerewe during the festival

At the Oja Oba ( King’s Market) , the monarch danced to and fro nine times, according to custom. Each time the Monarch dances with High Chiefs Osuporu and Akowaloja and rendered native songs while the whole multitude would join him to sing, and added footsteps; it was a different song and also showing more of the stuff in him as he takes better dance steps on each occasion.

At the end of the last dance the Monarch headed back to the palace.

In the evening the new Chief Priest of the town, Ajana who replaced his late father ( the late Michael Adelanke Ajana) took the role of the Chief Priest , prayed for the town,the monarch and well wishers.He performed other necessary rites as the town’s chief priest and the festival continued.

Some participants during the festival


The Igogo celebration always make the town interesting as market women have many souvenirs to sell and business boom. Not only this the Chiefs participate fully and in accordance to its custom wore women apparel by mimicking the female counterpart with their plaited hair and their dressing . Some of these male chiefs had their hair braids even those who preferred wigs put them on their heads and interestingly many could erroneously be taken for a woman while the men padded their chests with foams and earrings as they all danced round the town all in honor of the Monarch’s wife, Oronsen who ruled in the ancient town over 600 years ago. Children were not left out as they sang songs and used sticks as drums .It was all fun. Some of the chiefs who participated are High Chief Tunde Elerewe who is the Elerewe of Owo, High Chief Osuporu ,Chief Ogwatowose, High Chief Oshere, High Chief Ojumu and host of others.

Those who are old and can no longer dance round the town like Chief Madam Fehintola Famulagun (97), who was also a participant stayed at home where she received visitors and entertained them. She said ” I am old and cannot dance round the town again but I received visitors and participated in the festival”

Throughout the 30days of the festival (September to October) the palace was in a festive mood as people, indigenes and non-indigenes alike all trooped out to have fun. Gifts were exchanged, as the royal father as usual entertained guests and gave out gifts.

Igogo as some will call it, is a festival of love, others say it is a festival of unity while others call it the festival of the maidens, but above all, it is a festival that serves a a unifying factor for the people of the ancient town because during the festival, the people usually forget their differences . Owo is always agog during the festival with old and young, males and females coming together as one and exchanging gifts, smile and happiness.

The Owo Cultural Ambassador in person of Mr.Tunde Onibode who was the brain behind some of the social activities for the festival and has been supporting the festival said ” it is high time we cooperated the more to the festival. We should not leave everything for the Monarch alone, we should support him , that is why I am contributing my own quota to the festival”.


The story of Igogo festival started over 600 years ago ,according to Chief Niyi Adewale the Iminiken of Owo, the story of Oronshen started ”when the then Monarch , Olowo Rengenjen who reigned and unknowingly married a goddess called Moore Oronshen .The Queen, Oronsen was suspected to have a supernatural power. The Monarch was so much in love with this strange woman that she became an envy of other wives in the palace .The woman’s behavior was strange to everybody and the king loved her more than other wives , when this was known to other wives then there was jealousy as Oronsen became the envy of others .”The story continued that she was loved by the Monarch because she made the town be more prosperous as she would be excreting expensive coral beads ,thus she demanded for a special room of which the Monarch happily gave her.

”However, she revealed her taboos to the Monarch which must be kept secret and not be broken ,these are : One must not throw firewood before her, water should not be splashed before her and okra spices must not be cut in her presence”, said Iminiken.


”The secrets were kept by the Olowo Rengenjen until when other wives of the Monarch grew jealous and got him drunk into a stupor and made him revealed Orosen’s secrets to them. One day the Monarch went for hunting expedition , and the other wives planned against Oronsen and broke her taboos. They did the unthinkable as they plotted against her . The three taboos of her were broken as they ganged up and threw firewood ,splashed water and cut spices before her eyes!. She felt betrayed and grew annoyed then in tears she ran away from the palace into a forest called Igbo Ujala (Ujala forest)” .

The story went on that when the King arrived and was informed of what happened , he was angry and he sent some palace guards (Ayoyo) to go and look for her .While searching for her , her head gear was found and her bitter voice was heard crying of betrayal from the Ujala Forest!. The palace guards begged the woman to return home but she was adamant. She instead instructed them to inform the King of her love , but in remembering her she should be celebrated yearly as a sign of love and honor. In tears she told them that men and women must be plaiting their head, coral beads to be used while the booming of guns and beating of leather drum should be stopped . In addition, caps and head gears must not be worn during the festival. On their return the Palace guards brought canes to discipline the wives , since then we have been seen the Ayoyos with their long sticks during the festival. Since over 600 years the rules are carried out to the letter . During this period no booming of guns, caps must not be worn by men and women must not put on head gears while leather drums are forbidden in honour of the woman , Oronsen.

Before the festival the print and electronic media cum the town criers would announce the festival and implore natives and non natives , all religious organizations to obey all these rules at all functions and ceremonies .


On whether the festival is fetish, Prince Olanrewaju Abegunde , debunked the erroneous ”sermon” being preached by some religious fanatics that the festival is worshiping of idol, he said ” I thank God that the festival went well and well attended. Many who rumoured that it will not hold were put to shame”. He continued ” the religious fanatics who called it fetish should go and read Bible where tradition was honored and respected. The festival is not fetish at all, and it is Culture , there is a difference between Culture and Religion. There is Osun Oshogbo festival , Olojo festival and many others and nobody ever said they are fetish”, Abegunde added ”the Monarch’s role is not of that Chief Priest, it is the job of the Chief Priest of the town to perform his role as the chief priest” . He continued ” it is true that in the olden days human being was being used for sacrifice but this is no longer the case now as animal is now used”, he said with confidence .


And the question boggling many people’s minds are ; is the festival compulsory? According to Chief Famulagun in one of her interviews , ”the festival is compulsory for it is the culture and tradition of our forefathers, they had been celebrating for centuries . We should praise Kabiyesi for his contribution to it, he is trying his best and should be praised and supported”.

Mrs. Morenike Ogunseitan said the festival is a must as there is evil omen to it if not observed , she said ” I remember a time when the festival was not held for about two years, some young men were beating cow’s horns as drum instead of that of a buffalo as it should be . Then a buffalo appeared from nowhere and passed through the town. The strange animal was shot at but the pellets missed it. The animal stopped, looked back but continued going. The photographers who took its picture said it did not show and only the legs were shown. It later disappeared into a bush around Imade College”, she said . Ogunseitan continued ”some said it could be the woman, Oronshen who appeared in animal form because the festival was not held. But since then we have not heard or seen any strange thing again since it is observed annually”.

Chief Tola Ogwatowose who praised the Monarch for upholding the tradition said ” kudos should be given to the royal father who always make sure it is fully done, he said ” adding ” It is called celebration of love when we exchange gifts and love.In the olden days ladies and young men find their lovers and could be likened to Valentine.It is always interesting as people came all the way to witness it”

Although the 2018 edition of the annual Igogo festival has come and gone, but its frills and memories will continue to linger on.