Start from the previous one
why I contested for Olowo of Owo’s throne -Leke Olateru -Olagbegi
YOU CONTESTED FOR THE OBASHIP THRONE AND YOU LOST HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU GOT HOME
Well, em.. em.. like I was trying to express earlier, the Owo traditional stool has a very democratic way of selecting a new Olowo , and all the Omolowos except that of Chief Aralepo was the only one that voted for Prince Justice Adesuyi Olateru -Olagbegi , all the other ones voted for the incumbent Kabiyesi Ajibade Ogunoye. Em.. em.. it is not about wining itself, If I had won fine, but when I didn’t it is also fine . It is not a do or die affair,… after all we are all vying to make sure we have a better future for the community .Now that Kabiyesi has emerged I am also in support now he is on seat I feel….
I don’t have any ill feeling or bad feeling .
WHEN YOUR FATHER WAS ALIVE , HE WAS KNOWN TO BE A GOOD CHRISTIAN , HOW DID HE COPE WITH CULTURE AND HIS CHRISTIAN FAITH?. IT WAS RUMOURED THAT HE WAS NO MORE INTERESTED IN IGOGO FESTIVAL
I think I should correct the notion here about how most people that are not close to the traditional stool feel about most traditional institutions ..the Yoruba traditional institution is not necessarily a fetish institution, in every tribe , in every culture that you go in the universe you find all sorts of fetish issue in different skills so people always think that oh! to be a King in Yorubaland that person has to be fetish,that is not correct .Yes, he faced some challenges ,there were windows where the fetish inclination has to come in and I remember my father used to say that he has no business in anything fetish because it is against his own personal religion. Now in the Owo Constitution the way it is written gives the Olowo the audacity to have his own private religion regardless of the general culture of the community .If we are to referred to some previous past Olowos when in the days of Olowo Ogunoye the first, the Olagbegi the first these were the time popular religions like Muslim and Christians got into the region and they did not see it to be anything that would necessarily interfere with normal religion , it gave them whole…infact it is in history that Olowo Olateru Olagbegi actually converted to Islam so I don’t see anything special for my father to have embraced Christianity …in the 21st century.
HE LOVED IGOGO FESTIVAL
Yes,he did .Whenever the Igogo festival was coming up there there were lots of arrangements to be done, and he did everything.The town’s priest was Ajana. My father will always submit himself to make sure everything that needed to be done were done but you know in a community where we faced challenges where the divide has been prolong for so many years , it is expected that he would find different parties with different inclinations but my father was wholeheartedly behind the promotion of the culture of Owo .If he wasn’t he would not have been traveling with different Owo traditional Costumes.He carried along with him different Owo traditional Musicians , he promoted Owo Culture so many times , so he was never against the culture neither was he against the Igogo festival.The Igogo festival is actually the biggest festivals we have in Owo for someone not to be celebrating Sango , Ogun does not mean he did not love the festival, not everybody in Owo practices Sango or Islam so I think the notion should be corrected . I think is only those of us that were close to him will knew that he a lover of Owo Tradition and Culture
HE WAS NOT COMFORTABLE WITH RITUALS
”One of those like I said was that people expected him to perform certain rituals that they believed should be but he was not comfortable with that because being a legal luminary ,he knew that he could do whatever he wanted to do as long as he was comfortable with ….,or necessarily .Two , initially when he got to office the problem of the government gave him a little concern, he thought it would have been a good opportunity for the government to let him develop the community while he was still young and agile but thank God he was able to get over it as time progressed , you can see .His plan for Owo still manifested by and large with the things we have seen him done , with the construction of roads, the construction of the market, the new Banks , small scale business thrived ,the placement t of Owo citizens to high ranking offices in politics these are the things.We have an Owo governor now and it was a dream come true for him as well.
WHY HE DETHRONED SOME OF HIS CHIEFS
When it comes to the chieftaincy titles he was a bit shy of discussing the issue in the public because he was a private person, so he never wanted his words to be misconstrued. I believed that those he demoted must have really, really crossed his traditional line and they must have insulted the throne for him to have taken some drastic decisions and knowing him taking such a decision it must have been good for that.
TELL US THE CONTROVERSIAL FELLING OF 17 TREES ON HIS 17TH CORONATION ANNIVERSARY
This particular incidence I was privy to by chance , I think the man in question who was a very close person to Kabiyesi himself . We have a sacred place in palace called Igbodi, Igbodi is an area Olowo cherished and protected jealously , infact you cannot go hunting in that area except you are a member of Olowo’s probably immediate family , you cannot even be allowed to go to Igbodi because it is sacred . Now can you imagine during his 17th coronation anniversary of Kabiyesi , a chief (names withheld) cut down 17trees , and what did that mean ?. To a lay man it speaks volume .It was reported to Kabiyesi ,I guess he did not have the clear picture of the number of trees they cut but they lied to him that it was only three or four trees they fell but at last it was discovered that they were 17 trees they felled and it was on the 17th coronation anniversary of Kabiyesi! . What is the meaning?. So the chief needed to be disciplined that was what caused the particular scenario but the chief was lucky for he was dear to my father , before the demise of my father he was restored back to his position.
AKOWALOJA’S CASE:FALSE DEATH RUMOUR OF OLOWO
The Akowaloja that you are referring to was one of the senior Omolowos that was dethroned.That scenario if can remember couple of years ago it was rumored that Olowo has passed on and it was unfortunate that that particular Akowa was party to it. They went as far as celebrating his death and desecrating some areas within the palace indicating that the Olowo had died without having first class information about the issue . I guess they were so blinded in hate that they actually believed the Olowo had died and went ahead performing sacrifices and when my father got the evidence of such as evidence of photographs and videos from those that were involved he thought they had to be disciplined .I believed that was why that particular chief was dismissed which is a normal culture in Owo. If things like that happen in Owo the disciplinary action would be taken and he would be stripped of his tittle beads we call it a ja akon re ( The chief’s chieftaincy beads had been stripped off)which was to demote that individual .The Constitution in Owo also gave the Olowo the audacity and to remove his beads if it is necessary or give the position to someone else.
YOU LOOK LIKE YOUR FATHER , DO U WISH TO STEP INTO HIS SHOES WIVES
Aside from his resemblance I will not let his legacy be erased . I am going to put all things in place to make his name and Owo community great and by God’s grace I will definitely do it. If you look back into history about my family legacy from Olagbegi, I will never ever let the family legacy erased , anything that I can do I will do it .If I have anything to make Owo progress I will be a party to it . If you look back at the family legacy if you look a the days of Olagbegi they were very active when it comes to the Owo development community my grand father Sir Olateru Olagbegi II (KBE) , he was able to convert a community as to speak, archaic into a community to become a first class in Nigeria , and even as we stand and speak today it is still far away as Owo as per its location still continues to be the darling of the entire Yoruba race , as it is said in Yoruba parlance ibi gbogbo ni ile Owo ( every place is the land of Honor).Ko si omo Owo ti ko lowo lowo, ko si omo Owo ti ko nilari(there is no native of Owo that is not successful), these are the kinds of virtues of Owo that are always dear to my heart ,so I will always partake to what will be the progress of the entire lineage and to the community at large.
DURING THE CRISIS OF YOUR FATHER , HOW DID YOU ESCAPE
At that time fortunately for me I was not around, I was still abroad at the time the crisis occurred .God has a way of doing things ,when my father escaped with his life .. we thank God he was able to escape from there and went to America.Thank God he was able to stay with his family members and his children , and the time went by and fortunately when the new governor Olusegun Agagu came on board , we received the phone call that he should come back home and he came .
LARGEST PALACE IN W/AFRICA
The Olowo’s Palace fortunately for us we have that palace almost 700 years during the reign of Olowo Rengenjen ,it is from Oke Mapo.If you look at the landmass …. compared with the present location , include the new palace, I don’t know how any single individual had projected a landmass having much as that so we give it to Olowo Rengenjen who had the foresight, yes we give it to Olowo Rengenjen for having that foresight.We heard that my great grandfather had over 200wives so you could imagine to have such wives and the amount of areas that would be needed for such a family to live on.I am also very proud of the palace, the edifice that my grandfather built in that place till today still stand it also the best palaces, it is a pride that Owo has that till today not only in Yorubaland but anywhere in African region .It is also a pride to Owo.We thank God we still have it till today .
SECRET OF MY CLOSENESS TO THE OGUNOYES, AJIKES , AND OLAGBEGIS
There is no particular secret , like my grandfather always say ‘I keep no grudges’ ,this is one of the virtues I learnt from my grandfather , if you keep no grudges with anyone , have no ill feelings against anyone God will continue to bless and guide you. I don’t keep grudges in my mind .I don’t have grudges against anybody . I grew up within the Palace when I was seven years old .I knew Kabiyesi Ogunoye , I grew up with the majority of his children , if you look at my wedding picture and videos you will see Adegoke Ogunoye who was my best man at my wedding , some of them like the Olu Ajike we vied the throne together , and we are very close , right now he is in Dubai. Virtually I see all the Olagbegis, Ajikes and Ogunoyes as one . I see us all as Elewuokun. I see Olagbegi as Olagbegi Elewuokun,as I see Ogunoye as Ogunoye Elewuokun, I see Ajike as Ajike Elewuokun and I am Leke Elewuokun, I see no reason why I should have ill feelings against anyone.
MY LATE GRANDAD -SIR OLATERU OLAGBEGI II
”Anytime I heard that name, Sir Olateru Olagbegi II, KBE , he was one of most reigned kings in Owo , he had the opportunity to build Owo to the current status, he reigned at the time when Nigeria was still in the dark ages and he ruled when Nigeria was coming into the new era, and if you look at the things that happened during his reign ,he was able to accomplish every dream that he had., all his dream he was able to accomplish and for that alone I thank God and when I had the opportunity to live with him as a young boy he used to tell me that by God’s grace when he returned to the palace he would be able to explain things that happened to me .When I asked him in one occasion that ‘Papa how are you sure that you would return to your throne?’, he responded with great enthusiasm that he was he sure he would be returned back to his throne . It is written that definitely he would go back to his throne , and lo and behold 27years after he returned to his throne . He was sent away in 1966 and Kabiyesi Ogunoye came back in 1968, so the two years (1966 and 1968) most people always omit it but I always add it , because it is still two years being away from the throne , by 1968 to 1993 is now the 25years Ogunoye reigned , as far as Sir Olateru Olagbegi is concerned it took 27years before he could regain his throne, and for him to have left the throne 27 years and regained it I think it is the work of God .He developed Owo to its contemporary era , you can see that all the development he brought to Owo still stand today . I pray in the nearest future and the incumbent Olowo tries to bring back the lost glory , if not all,and I continue to pray for him that God would help him , and with the support of all the entire community.
MY RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LATE OLAGBEGI ‘S CHIEFS
”Emmmmm, Very much so, I am a Prince and also a chief of Otu Arala which is Otu Agba Omalogho, and we normally hold a session once in month. I also come to Igboroko Quarters under the leadership of Chief Ojumu there is nothing happening within the chiefs that I don’t participate in . I know a lot of chiefs by name , they know me , I have no grudges against anyone of then .We celebrate together , now we have our father Olowo Ogunoye I was there to celebrate with him. I was also a chief there as Otu Alara . I will forever have my allegiance to the Olowo, I will forever have my allegiance to Owo .Anything that promotes the unity and culture, anything s that promotes the development of Owo community you can always count that I will be there.
HAS YOUR POPULARITY DIMINISHED AFTER THE DEATH OF YOUR FATHER?
From my experience , I still enjoy all what I enjoyed while my father was here .Every person that I knew when my father was around I still meet them. This is still the same me, I still relate with them, I still do what I was doing when he was around . I still have access to the palace .I still enjoy the privileges , anywhere I appear in town I am still greeted and I thank God .I still have access to the palace , anywhere I appeared in town I am still greeted and welcome , and I really thank God for that.
THE PALACE WAS SACRED BUT WHEN HE HAD ACCIDENT WE ALL HEARD HOW NEWS FILTERED OUT, IT WAS LIKE THE PALACE LEAKS
There were many things that happened over ten years ago , it resulted to a lot of crisis in his life but we thank God that he was able to survive it that time , unfortunately that some people took it to themselves that he was dead.He read from different write ups ,he laughed over it and thank God that while some people thought he was dead he was not dead .
THE PALACE HAS A NEW FACELIFT NOW AS THE PRESENT OLOWO HAS ADDED BEAUTY TO IT
Whenever a new Olowo comes in there is a tendency for a new structure to be erected. During the reign of my father there were structures he erected in the back called Ugha Oluwa gbemileke, Ugha Eduma which is addition to the building . I pray for the current Olowo to do more that is the prayer .
YOUR GRAND FATHER’S VEHICLES STILL IN THE PALACE , ANY PLAN FOR THEM ?
They are my grandfather’s vehicles.They are still in the palace. The late Sir Olateru Olagbegi II ( KBE) was a flamboyant Monarch .He was ranked among the great Yoruba kings like the late Sir Adesoji Aderemi, the Ooni of Ife who was another great Yoruba Monarch .Yes, the vehicles ;Rose Royce and Mercedes Benz cars’ relics are still there in the palace. If you look at the vehicles very well you will know they are antique. There was a plan by my late father to refurbish them and put them in good condition .He told me that he wanted to buy engines and fix them . All these plans were in the offing before he died. My father travelled wide, he saw how in the Western world people appreciate all these vehicles .It was part of his plan before he died. You know we still have the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Mercedez Benz he used for campaign and toured Nigeria , it is today in the family’s museum .For me I pray we have a museum where we would keep all these. I know the family will one day do something. These vehicles belong to the Olateru Olagbegis which is a large family and are planning to have a mini museum which would be announced later.
IMMEDIATELY THE LATE OLOWO DIED THE WHOLE COUNTRY HEARD THE NEWS CONTRARY TO TRADITION , WHY ?
Yes, in Yoruba Culture when a King dies you don’t immediately announce it.Well, I think in this modern time, in this high technology and communication period many things filter out. And out of that is typical outplay of the time we are living now with the advent of social media , skype, whattshapp , facebook,,information fly around I know the news was leaked from the palace or someone who was privy to the news or who must have known somebody in the palace or somebody who is in the know of what was happening or what has happened .I am very sorry to say I doubt its one of the traditional chiefs.
WHY WAS THE LATE OLOWO RUMOURED DEAD SEVERAL TIMES
He died three times, he was a king like a cat with nine lives.I cannot say or tell exactly what caused all those rumours but he always told me it was the imagination of his enemies that people said he was sick, he was this and that .However when it was time to go he was called by his Creator and he joined his ancestors .
YOU SPEAK ALL THESE ,WHERE DID U GET ALL THESE FACTS?
”Right from my childhood I always find information about our History and Culture , I found it very interesting wherever I go in the community I mingle with people wherever I go, I tried to get facts its a life long I always have I tried to get facts rather than speaking on tautology. I ask the elders, i ask the families ., I go as far as entertaining people that I believe can give me vital information that I would need .I want to know all the traditions in Owo , I want to be more versed in Owo History because Owo is rich , very rich in Culture in Yoruba land . Owo is rich in History that is why I have been begging the State Government to bring back History where we would study the story of the past , about our heroes like Olowo Ajaka, Olowo Ajagbusiekun, Olowo Alubolokun, Olowo Adekola Ogunoye, Olowo Olateru -Olagbegi I, Olowo Ajike,among others .
To be continued