Otunba Opeyemi Agbaje is the brand new Bobagbimo of Ogijo Remo on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. He is also the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Ogun State Security Trust Fund.
Barrister Opeyemi Agbaje is also a lawyer of great repute and a politician who is passionate about the issues of Strategy and Public policy, as well as the economic development of Nigeria. He seeks to contribute to the building of a new Nigeria based upon core values of Development. He has lectured at the Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University and served as Head of Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Business Environment before leaving the faculty, full-time. He continues as an adjunct faculty in strategy, economics and the business environment.
DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152 recently interviewed him just before his coronation. He spoke on a lot of topics. Below are excerpts.
You just added a new feather to your cap. Congratulations. How do you feel?
Well, as you said, it’s a new era in my journey. This is my first traditional title as Otunba Bobagbimo of Ogijo Remo. I am a son of Remo and Ogijo is a part of Remo. I am happy about it and it enforces responsibilities on me. As the title says ‘Bobagbimo, I have become a key adviser of the king and I have the responsibility to advise Kabiesi on the development and progress of Ogijo. So, I’m happy about it.
I know barrister Opeyemi Agbaje very well, you are a man of great honour and you have this aura around you. You are also a lover of the youths. What are your plans for the youths of Ogijo Remo and, Remo community and Ogun state at large?
Well, just outside Ogijo, I have decided to turn the focus of my foundation, the Opeyemi Agbaje Foundation towards youth empowerment, skills acquisition, capacity building, and personal development. Before now, we have been very active in women’s development and trader-finance empowerment, concentrating on women’s empowerment. But now, we want to expand our scope, we are already working on some ideas, mostly concentrated on skill acquisition, capacity building, empowerment. So Ogijo will certainly benefit, not only Ogijo, the whole of Remo, Ijebuland and the entire Ogun State at large will certainly benefit.
Ogijo is quite very populated. What is the relevance of the Bobagbimo title to this community?
Kabiesi’s primary aim is development and if you listen to him, you will realize that that was the reason he created the title. So, my main job is to assist in developing Ogijo town. For instance, we have already settled two assignments. One is attracting more banks into Ogijo beyond the sterling bank that is here. So we want to have more banks servicing the population we have here and other financial institutions. We are also very interested in the completion of this Ikorodu-Shagamu road not just for Ogijo but the whole of Shagamu and Ogun State. So that we can have an alternative route from Lagos to Ogun State that is functional and efficient and we can have facilitations of trade and investments that come afterward. Those are my two immediate priorities in terms of the development of Ogijo. And once we are through with those two, we set new goals, we want the city to develop more in the areas of infrastructure, commerce and trade. It is a big manufacturing center, so we want further development to create employment for our young people and to stimulate growth in the town and in the state at large.
Away from the chieftaincy title. You have been actively involved in the development of Ogun State which we all know about. What other new ideas are you bringing to the table in that regard?
I have my official activities on the Ogun State Security Trust Fund but beyond that, I have my personal philanthropic activities at the Opeyemi Agbaje Foundation that I will continue to on across outside Shagamu to other Remoland. Just as I said earlier, in addition to the women traders-finance, we want to start focusing on skill acquisition for the youths in our state. We are also looking at the area of IT. So those are the kinds of ideas we have and are working on presently.
You look so stunning in these outfits. What informed your fashion style?
For coronation in Yorubaland especially around Remo and Ijebuland, there are prescriptions for fashion, you use Aso-Oke with damasks and at some point, you add the beads after you must have been formally installed. So, it’s tradition. Our tradition as Yoruba people, as Remo people and people in Ogun State, is rich and this kind of chieftaincy ceremony is an opportunity to showcase that richness and vibrance of our culture. So, that’s it. I’m just complying with our culture.
Sir, 2023 is around the corner, I know you once ran as governor of this state. Is there any plan to revisit that project?
Emmmm, I do not say so at this time, I have not made any such decision, I am serving in the government right now and I support the government with which I am working. I know I have become active in the community, in politics, and governance, and I will always be or not irrespective of whether I am contesting in an election or not. So, for now, no such decision has been made but we will always be active in our community. It is our politics and our governance.
Before we go, there have been issues with farmers and herders across the country and Ogun State is not left out. I would like to have your take on this current issue…
It is clear that it’s a national problem that has become pervasive in the northwest, northeast, north-central, South-West, South-South, and South-East and it is present in all the states in the southwest including Ogun State, to varying degrees. My view of the solutions is not too different from what has been articulated by many commentators. One, we need to end open grazing across the federation. It is not a modern and sustainable way of rearing cattle. It is a sustainable business; the people will earn more money. There will be more peace and then they can develop more skills and competencies in that business to the technical level and not just chasing cows all over the country. So, we have to move away from open grazing and move into ranching at a more sophisticated level. Beyond that, security has to be uncompromising, we have to lay down the rules for what is acceptable and what is unacceptable and we must enforce those rules. We must also not create an impression that some sections of the society may be above the law. Nobody is above the law. Once you make the laws and make them clear, we must enforce than and that enforcement must not just be formal security agencies like police but also the informal and local ones like the vigilantes, the popular Amotekun and all of those agencies must get involved. We have to do the security work with more vigor and commitment and show no reluctance to enforce the laws of this country and also transition the business of cattle rearing into a more sophisticated and profitable ranching venture.