By TOPE ADEBOBOYE
Lagos monarch, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Akiolu has sent a note of warning to desperate politicians that might be thinking of taking over the state by illegitimate means, asserting that no one could capture Lagos. Oba Akiolu made the declaration at his palace in Iga Iduganran, Lagos during a courtesy call on him by members of the management staff of The Sun Publishing Limited, led by the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Tony Onyima.
The visit to the 500-year-old palace on Thursday morning kicked off a ten-day programme of activities to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the media company that publishes Daily Sun, Sunday Sun, Saturday Sun and Soccer Star, an all-sports daily newspaper. Oba Akiolu, who also goes by the designation, Olowo Eko (Owner of Lagos), recalled that certain politicians had once boasted that they would take over Lagos by force, noting that such people were vehemently resisted and eventually humiliated. He reminded his guests that he was forced out of the Nigerian Police Force as an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in 2002 after 32 years in service even as he was denied promotion by the federal authorities at that time. “We were forced out through intrigues,” said the 21st Oba of Lagos who would clock ten on the throne in May.
“They believed I was the father of the then Alliance for Democracy (AD) and the then Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu. They forgot that Bola Tinubu is my relation and, as they say, blood is thicker than water. “But for God and the prayers of well-meaning people in this country, where we are in Lagos today, we wouldn’t have got there. But for God and for people like Bola Tinubu, we wouldn’t have got to where we are in Lagos. And I say this anywhere.” Insisting that no one would be allowed to take over Lagos by force, the monarch stated: “I will never compromise Lagos for anybody. It will never happen. God Almighty Allah and my ancestors will never allow it to happen. And no matter what anybody is planning in future, only a lawful, democratically elected governor will rule Lagos.
Nobody, even if it will cost us the last drop of our blood, I repeat it, nobody can take Lagos away illegally from Lagosians. And I mean it. “Ninety per cent of all the well-to-do people in this country made their money from Lagos. When they came, they were labourers staying under Carter Bridge. But in just 10, 20 years, you see them putting up high-rise buildings. And Lagos people don’t discriminate against anybody. “But for anybody to say, ‘I will capture Lagos, I will take Lagos,’ God forbid that. Only a democratically-elected governor, a governor elected by popular votes, will always rule Lagos. I don’t take sides with anybody. But I’m for the well being of Lagos and its people.”
The monarch said his traducers in the police also accused him of being an ambitious prince who was interested in becoming the Oba of Lagos. “But it is only a bastard-prince that would not aspire to sit on the throne of his fore-fathers. Anybody that is not ambitious in life is as good as dead,” he said. The royal father said he would spend his tenth coronation anniversary in the Holy Land of Mecca to offer thanks to God. “In 1988, I was in Mecca with the former Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun. Then, everybody was praying to Almighty Allah, asking for what they wanted. What I, then Prince Akiolu, said at that time was that, ‘God, I’m inside the Kaaba now.
Please inherit the throne of my forefathers for me.’ And God heard it. “I don’t know what police retirement had to do with a prince wanting to be Oba of Lagos. But you see how God works? I left the service in March, 2002. A year and two months later, I was crowned the Oba of Lagos. So I’m going to Mecca to thank Almighty Allah.” While praying for The Sun, Oba Akiolu urged the management to always consider Lagos first in its developmental plans.
In his response, The Sun Managing Director, Mr. Tony Onyima congratulated the monarch on his tenth coronation anniversary even as he commiserated with the palace on the recent murder of one of Lagos White Cap chiefs. He assured the monarch that The Sun would continue to contribute its quota to the development of Lagos.