•Tells City People
She is beautiful. She is stylish. Chief Mrs. Bisi Osibogun is the Iyalode of Ijebuland. In the next few days, it will be one year since the Awujale of Ijebuland made her Iyalode. And she plans to empower some widows to mark her 1st year anniversary. She spoke to City People crew last week at her Ijebu-Ode house. She also spoke about her late husband, the respected seasoned top Civil Servant, Chief Osibogun, who died a few years back.
Her 1st year Chieftaincy anniversary is on 27th April 2021. There will be no celebration on that day, except a small prayer for her husband and feeding of the poor in his remembrance. He joined the saints on the same day, 7 years ago. That is the reason she shifted the event to Saturday 1st of May, 2021, in honour of her husband. She is a Ruth, the biblical icon that loved her husband even after death.
On 1st of May, 2021 at 12 noon she will be empowering woman at Ijebu-Ode Local Government grounds, Itoro, Ijebu-Ode.
Below are excerpts of the interview.
How does it feel to hold the title of Iyalode of ijebu land?
I feel good about it, it is a challenge and a privilege and by the special grace of God, He will help me tackle everything.
How has the last one year been?
The last one year has been busy because I have not been sleeping over this Iyalode issue, I do a lot of work with the women most especially the women in my area. Although I still have a lot to do. I talk to women and sometimes men. For example, on the international day for women I addressed women in Ijebu-Ode stadium. While I addressed the women I noticed the men too so I called them and also addressed them. They reasoned with me and were happy to hear my advice.
What were the advice you gave at that time?
I gave them general advice, I warned the women, telling them to take good care of their husbands, I told them that no woman must compete with her husband no matter how highly placed they are not withstanding their positions in the office. I also told them that if their husbands say yes it has to be yes, although not stupidly but if they feel otherwise they will have to explain to their husbands calmly and he will understand. Then I told the men not to Lord over their wives because women are fragile and should be handled with care as no reasonable man will beat his wife and so on like that.
What are the duties of an Iyalode?
The duties of the Iyalode are many I tell you because Iyalode is the head of all women in the community as in Ijebuland. Therefore, she has to look after all women and she has to be up and doing because it is not easy to look after many people being with God being my helper, I will scale through.
What prepared you for the role you play as Iyalode of Ijebuland?
I don’t know, it is just the Lords making. Although I am bold and also a shy person, I did not expect that I can be made Iyalode in the first instance.
Why did you think you could not be made Iyalode?
I am a young lady (smiles) and I have people that are my seniors in the council of chiefs but the criteria is the seniority in chieftancy title. I have been the “Omesho” of Ijebuland since 1985 and there are no more women chiefs of my age so I thought since I am younger than them they will be made Iyalode.
Can you tell us about your late husband’s role as a chief?
My husband was formally Mr Olufunminiyi Adekunle Oshibogun. He was the 4th Permanent Secretary for the Governor’s Office Ogun State. He assumed office in 1976, after his retirement we came back to Ijebu-Ode and the “Awujale” made him Otunba “Ajana” of Ijebu Ode in 1985. He bagged Otunba and I bagged “Omesho” on the same day. That role of Otunba is a vital role, to be Otunba of “Awujale” you must be a great man and as at the time my husband was an elderly person. He played some roles running errands for the “Awujale”. If there is going to be a king in the suburb area, my husband will go and give them the staff of office, if there is a function the “Awujale” should be at, he will ask my husband to represent him there. Apart from that, Kabiyesi “Awujale” had great respect for him during his life time. My husband was a gentle and easy going person, he is not a harsh person at all and people know him for that. I respect him a lot.
While your husband was a civil servant, what area were you also into?
I was also a civil servant but a junior civil servant. I was a matron in a secondary school and teachers training colleges. I studied catering so when I finished the course I was given an appointment in Lafia Hotel in Ibadan as manager. When I got home, I told my husband about it and he said it was good. I did not know how my mom got to know about it but early the next day she was at our house, I was surprised. My husband came back from the office in the afternoon he told her about my new job and she disagreed with it and that was how it ended. I continued as a matron in the treaty service commission under Ogun State while my husband worked as the permanent Secretary and when he returned in 1984 I was transferred to Methodist Teacher Training College Sagamu.
The title of “Omesho” must have put a lot of pressure on you in terms of fashion, tell us how you pulled through?
I have not been through much, as a married woman I have to lower my flag even though people say I am beautiful I must not over emphasise on it. I am not a party person and I don’t go to functions often because men are jealous. If I have to go everywhere as an “Omesho” my husband will get jealous that is why I lowered my flag. I went to functions with my husband and if I am invited alone I seek for his permission and if he allows I will go and if he doesn’t I will stay back. Therefore I take care of my dressing, I don’t dress in color riot. That is where you will know an “Omesho”, your dressing must be unique and you should know what to wear at a particular time like when the weather is dull, you don’t dress dull and things like that.
How do you feel about women who do not obey the rules of dressing?
I tell people because you are an “ Omesho” does not mean you should show your body. You must dress responsibly. I told you, I am a bold woman. When I go outside my gate and I see ill dressed boys I stop them and ask if they left their mothers at home. Whatever their response is I try to correct them with love. When I see women I’ll dressed too I call them and advice them. We just have to be praying for them.
How do you plan to celebrate your one year anniversary as Iyalode of Ijebuland?
Well, the 27th of April will mark my first year as Iyalode so I and my children thought about it that this year must not go just like that, we must do something. That is why I am organising an empowerment program for the less privileged, the widows, and single mothers. We want to empower them with a token. The widows with a token of some money and the less privileged that have handiwork like hairdressing and fashion designing. We have sewing machines for the fashion designers, standing dryers for the hairdressers and a 3-in-1 grinding machines for those who are not educated to help with their daily bread. That is what we prepared for our women.
Is this empowerment program going to happen yearly?
Yes, it is going to be a yearly activity, God being our helper and you too.
What is the name of your foundation?
Iyalode Olabisi Oshibogun Foundation. We are also giving tokens to the widows too. 20 widows will be empowered with some money.
When your appointment as Iyalode came, how did you feel?
The funny thing about this is that last year on the 27th of April marked the 6th year that my husband died. That day Saturday 27th of April, I prayed with my pastors from my church and we had an appointment with the “Awujale” telling us to come not knowing what he was going to tell us. We got there and he announced it, that was the day my husband died. That was the significant thing that I saw in it. After the “Awujale” announced it the three of us thanked him including the chiefs available and thank God things have been going well.
Tell us about”Ojude Oba”
Ojude Oba matter is a big issue, it is even a worldly event. We have the Ojude Oba Committee and I am a member, the only woman in the Ojude Oba committee. We have been running the Ojude Oba for more than two and half decades and we thank God that the we have been doing well under the kabeyesi’s supervision. He tells us what to do, and when we take a decision we tell him and if he has to correct it he will.
How do you see the fashion style of the female members of the Regberegbe
They are doing very well, marvellously well because every year, they buy the “Aso Ojude Oba” to come and pay homage to the “Awujale” and after the homage they organise the party.Ojude Oba has been on for more than 120-150 year’s. Kabiyesi Awujale modified so we made it flamboyant that is why it is a global event because the whole world cherish it.
Which of the groups do you belong to?
I don’t belong to any group, my husband said I should not. I had wanted to join my age group but he said no, he did not allow me to join any group.
Where were you born and where did you group up?
I was born and bred in Ijebu-Ode although I did not grow up in Ijebu straight away. My dad was a civil servant and a senior produce inspector. He was transferred a lot and anywhere he was transferred he headed the office. He was transferred to places like Kano, Illaro, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Ekiti, Akure, and many others. We usually go together that was what made my education slow. We always spend our holidays in Ijebu in my father’s house at Abeokuta Ijebu road number 66. My father usually takes his leave at the same time as our holiday. My father was a family man.
Tell us about your father?
His name is Mr Ashiru Ali he hails from Kerubutu family in Ijebo in Ijebu
Tell us about your mother?
My mom was Alhaja R. Ayoka Ali. She is from Odo Esha, her fathers compound is where the Obirin Ojowu is picked.
Who did you inherit your toughness from?
From both my father and mother. My father was a tough person but my mum was tougher. She doesn’t condone nonsense. While growing up, when she sends us on an errand she spits on the floor and tells us to come back before it dries off not knowing that they spit more befor we come. But it you stay longer she will stop spitting and when you come back she will start scolding you from the door with “Abara” that is given at the back and felt in the chest. She is a mother, one in a million. She is my role model. When she says it is alright, it really is alright. Unfortunately, she died young at the age of 56 (sobs) if she were around now I will take more care of her.
Can you greet other Ijebu indigenes with the Ijebu language?
(Smiles) well I am an ijebu indigent, Ijebu ode for that matter. In the view of that, mo ki de de omo Ijebu o, we ka san o, sha ala fia re wa, olorun a ma wa pelu ren, emi oloye ilu afin Ibisi Oshinbogun iya lode akin re ijebu re ki wen, awe rin wa we, sha ma jo peju shey, agba awe, agba akun, ajo se itunu awe, a tun jo shey ileya, olorun ki a bu de de rin abu ne na dede ni oja ni gba ra olorun a ni ro gun a sare gbe wa onim sho wo a ma jere onim ta a ma ta onim ra a ma ri ra. Oslorun a pe sendede e, olorun ki a da omo eni si, a ni ri wala lori awon no wa. Olorun a duro to gbogbo yin. God bless you.