“One would have thought I would wait till when I mark my first year coronation. But because there is deficit in chieftaincy, I cannot but do the needful.”
Olota of Ota, Oba Abdul Kabir Adeyemi Obalanlege, Ekun II, was installed the 14th Olota on Thursday, May 10, 2018. The 52-year-old communication scholar succeeded Oba Moshood Osayintola Oyede, who joined his ancestors on May 25, 2016.
The monarch, who lamented and identified bitterness, disunity and lack of love as the bane of development among his subjects also explained why he conferred chieftaincy titles on indigenes barely four months after his coronation. He also spoke on some sundry issues, suggesting roles for traditional rulers in the in the country.
Why did you confer chieftaincy titles on your subjects, barely four months after coronation?
Naturally, one would have thought that I would wait till when I mark my first year coronation. But because there is deficit in chieftaincy, I cannot, but do the needful. Most of our chiefs are either dead or no more active and I need their supports to efficiently run the affairs of the town as well as my administration. It is important that I put them in place, so that we can continue to grow well and develop as a town and as a people.
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What are your efforts in luring natives back home, particularly, those who have strayed away for fear of being attacked spiritually?
We are doing everything humanly possible to put a stop to that obnoxious belief that a successful indigene of Otta that comes around is likely to be attacked spiritually and killed through witchcraft. Since I came around, I have been assuring them of their safety as well as let them know that they can no longer continue to run away from home when they asked me to be their king.
I have realised that a lot of non natives have made it in Ota, while the real indigenes, who are living under the illusion or fear of witchcraft are not tapping into the potential and opportunities that abound. I have vowed to encourage them with all I can do for them to return home and contribute their own quote to Otta. I am assuring them that no evil shall befall them. The conferment of chieftaincy titles on the worthy sons and daughters is an encouragement and invitation that we need them.
What were the challenges you met when you took over the reigns about four months ago?
I met hatred and disunity among indigenes. My people were fighting themselves on issues that ordinarily should not separate them.
Little things that should be resolved were taken to courts for arbitration. Ordinary chieftaincy issues that are not gazetted by the state government; they take them to court. All these signified that there is hatred among them.
Since I came around, I have been preaching love, unity, not only among my people, but among the Yoruba nation. It is my quest for love and unity that has taken me to Ile-Ife, Ila-Orangun, Ibadan, Isolo and others. For us to succeed as a nation, we must love one another. Awori owns Lagos, but unfortunately we have not had Awori governor since the state was created. This is due to lack of love among us.
What are your plans with other traditional rulers to ensure unity among the Yoruba race?
The problem of Yoruba is the problem of superiority. If only we could put our ego behind us, and chart a new course, then Yoruba nation will be better for it. We must not forget the brotherliness our forefathers made that made us to be unique among their counterparts in the country. Egoism among Yoruba traditional rulers must stop for us to occupy our rightful place. We must also chart a new course.
What is the special role for traditional rulers in our society, particularly among the Yoruba?
To be honest, politicians have bastardised the obaship institution in Yoruba land. They have messed up the institution like they messed up the nation. They felt threatened by the obaship institution hence they have turned things upside down. I am of the opinion that the traditional institution needs to be sanitized, which will in turn bring development to the Yoruba land.
I am also advocating the resuscitation of the House of Chiefs as a bicameral legislature in each of the states of the federation. This is the only way to assign roles to traditional rulers, instead of accusing them of dabbling into partisan politics.
What are your programmes for youths in Otta?
I mean well for them and it is my prayers that God and our ancestors should help me through this. After my enthronement, I realised that most youths here are jobless, wandering around without any means of livelihood. This necessitated opening a file for the jobless ones in the palace after which different training programmes like make-up, catering, fashion design and others were organised for them.
We are also liaising with universities including the Crescent University to organise a certificate and diploma courses in transport and logistics because most of our people are into transportation business.
This will assist them to advance in their business as well as make a future. I am also planning a scholarship programme for our teaming indigent students among others.
What has your enthronement as Oba taken away from you?
It has taken away my freedom, because I can no longer walk around as I used to. I cannot do most of those things that I enjoy doing as an ordinary person in Ota or outside. But honestly, if that is the price for development of my people and my town, I have accepted it, may God help me.