On the 9th of May 2020, Chief Mrs. Bisi Osibogun was sworn in as the new Iyalode of Ijebuland at the palace of the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona. The Iwuye will be after Covid-19 completely clears off.
Chief Mrs. Banjo was made Otun Iyalode and Chief Mrs. Rodipe was made Osi Iyalode. Before her appointment, she was the Yeye Meso of Ijebuland and one of the respected Chiefs of the Awujale.
In 2018, this beautiful Iyalode of Ijebuland spoke to City People about a lot of things, like her style. She is one of the prominent celebrity women in Ijebuland. She is a very stylish society woman who was conferred with a traditional title which fits her. A few years back she was made the Omeso of Ijebuland by the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona. She has also been the only female on the Ojude Oba Planning Committee in Ijebu-Ode.
Chief Mrs. Bisi Osibogun is the widow of late prominent Ijebu technocrat and super perm sec., Otunba Olufunminiyi Adekunle Osibogun, who was for many years a top civil servant in the old Western region and Ogun State when states were created. He was born on 5th December 1921 and died 27th April 2014. He was Otunba Ajana of Ijebuland in his lifetime.
Chief Mrs Osibogun spoke to City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE about her life at her house in Ijebu-Ode.
You are the only woman on the Ojude-Oba Festival Community. How does that make you feel?
I feel nice. I take care of everything pertaining to women. They refer every problem to me and I take of everything by Gods grace since the inception of the committee.
Another one is coming in a few days time, what should we expect?
This year’s Ojude-Oba is going to be a great one because we have planned a lot for it. The Regberegbes are planning for it.
The Regberegbes have increased and some are still coming out before Ileya. Our major sponsor Globacom are planning so many things for the Ojude-Oba. There is going to be a raffle draw. The star prize is a car and some other consolation prizes. Apart from that, you are going to see so many people, sons and daughters of Ijebu and those in the diaspora.
They are coming home to rejoice with our father Kabiyeesi Awujale for the Ileya.
You have been living in Ijebu-Ode for years. How have you found life in Ijebu?
Its been so easy and interesting and peaceful. No traffic. No hassle. No holdup. That is one of the advantages of living in Ijebu. Apart from that things are cheap here. Things are affordable, most especially foodstuff. Once you don’t go beyond your boundary you will be okay in Ijebu-Ode.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Ijebu-Ode. My father was a civil servant. He was a produce examiner to be precise. They used to transfer them a lot in those days. Wherever my father was transferred they will take us. But there was no holiday that we won’t come to-Ijebu-Ode-Ileya, Xmas, we always spend in Ijebu-Ode.
My first travelling with my father and mother was to Ilaro. They transferred him to Ilaro. From there to Abeokuta, to Ibadan, Ekiti, Ikare, Akure.
Our last base was Agege before we came back home in 1969. I got married in 1970.
Did all these movements affect your schooling?
Yes. It affected my schooling greatly. When you are transferred from one place to another, you have to repeat the class you were. All the same, I coped.
When you were younger, what did you plan to do career-wise?
Well, when I was young, when I was in secondary school, I wanted to be a Policewoman. I just like the Police. I have friends in the Police force. Unfortunately, my mum did allow me.
She wanted me to go for catering. I like cooking. That is why I went for Catering and Hotel Management at Idi Aba Government Trade Centre. But I sat for some external exams like RSA in Catering and Hotel Management.
How was your marriage in 1970?
It was nice. We had our own challenges, especially the challenges that come with marrying handsome men. Aside that there has not been any problem with me and my late husband, Tokunbo Osibogun. When we got married, he was Mr. Osibogun. But the Awujale gave us chieftaincy titles in 1985. He was an Otunba, I am a Chief.
What was the attraction? What attracted you to your husband?
He was handsome. His height. He was easy going and cool-headed. He was much, much, much older than me. When we got married, he was 49, I was 25. The age difference put me off at first that I can’t marry an old man ooo. And my mother said age, is not a barrier in marriage. Just be focused. I know this man would be a responsible husband. And truly, he is one. He was one. He was highly responsible. But his being handsome made him a lot cake. He was in high demand. But one thing I respected my husband for was that he was a decent man. He listens to me a lot especially if I complain about any woman trying to be too close to him. He knows how to read me. He knows how to handle my feelings.
There has never been any fight or violence between me and him for the time we spent together. We were together for 45 years. So, I thank God for my marriage.
When you were much younger, you must have been very, very pretty, how did you handle love advances from men?
(She smiles). How did you know? Many thanks to my late mother. She enlightened us about advances from man. She will say if they come to you, don’t abuse them ooo, don’t fight with them ooo, just to them, just talk sense into their head. When we were single, myself and my younger sister, this guy will come another one will come to greet us, we would entertain them in my father’s house. But we cannot follow them to anywhere. If we are seeing them off, it must not be beyond the door, until our suitor came.
After we got married, we were still very careful with men, (even married men) who kept making advances. But we were always quick in telling them we were married and we were not interested in anything of such. It will shock you that some of those who made overtures them were Perm Secs, Commissioner, head of parastatals will run after me.
I knew what to tell them to ward them off. I will say haa. And you call my husband egbon and you are now trying to toast me or go out with me. How does that one sound? Now if its my husband that tried to toast your wife, will you like it. Uncle I don’t like it, don’t repeat it again. And they won’t repeat it. That was it.
You are a very stylish woman. How did that aspect of you develop?
Again thanks to my mother. They were old fashion. But they made us develop ourselves. If I am going out or she wants to send me on an errand you dare not dress anyhow. She will call you back to go and dress up and makeup. She used to tell us: how people see you is how they will rate you. As time went on I developed myself. I love fashion and I do fashion a lot.
Your traditional title is Omeso. What does that mean?
It has to do with fashion. It’s like Yeye Oge title. For someone who can dress well.
How have you been able to help fashion designers in Ijebuland?
Well. I could have done a lot but my husband will not allow me do anything about fashion, outside the house. I am into Beauty also. I wanted to put up a Beauty parlour, he said no. So there was nothing I could do. He had the last say.
How do you see the fashion sense of all the women in the Regberegbe at Ojude-Oba?
They are really trying. Both men and women, I give kudos to them. They dress to kill. Even the Ijebu men, like to dress well, as old as 78 to 80 they will dress so well. Ijebu men dress well. Ijebu men are good in dressing.
Do you belong to any Regberegbe?
No. Because my mother warned us not to join any Regberegbe because they have caucuses and they are always fighting. And I don’t have time for that. They fight a lot. They gossip a lot. They quarrel a lot. I don’t have flair for Regberegbe.
What is your typical day like?
I do a lot of exercise around the house 30 minutes to 1-hour walk and jog. Most of my time, I spend in the kitchen, baking and cooking.
Tell us about your sister?
She is prettier than me. She is Alhaja Peju Okusaga. She is my immediately junior sister. We do all things in common. She lives in Ijebu-Ode too. It has always been my mother’s prayer that she wants her children to live and get married in Ijebu.
And her prayer was answered. We were three girls from our mummy. But one died last year at the age of 50. She was the last born. She had an accident. We spent about 2 months and 21 days at LASUTH before she gave up the ghost.