- Tells City People The Story Of His People
History was made on Friday, 15th of December 2017, at the Olugbon of Orile Igbon palace, old Ogbomoso-Ilorin Road, Orile Igbon, 3km after Lautech University, Oyo State when a new Oba was installed. On that day, the coronation ceremony of His Imperial Majesty, Oba Francis Olushola Alao took place. Orile Igbon is one of the popular communities in Oyo State. The ancient town is located next door to Ogbomosho, in the Surulere local government area of the State. The Olugbon is a 1st Class Oba in Oyo State.
What kind of a person is the new king? City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE spoke to him a few weeks back. Below are excerpts of the interview.
How did you feel when you were made the Olugbon of Orile Igbon?
To the glory of God, I felt very elated and thankful to almighty God to have been made and appointed God to have been made and appointed the Olugbon of Orile Igbon. Actually, it came to me as a surprise. It also wasn’t a big surprise, became God has a plan and purpose for everybody in life. The grace of God has made that appointment to the true.
When was the appointment made?
My appointment came on the 15th of July 2017 by Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
How has it been since that time?
Since that time, the moment I was appointed a lot has happened. I was appointed on the 15th of July, I got the letter on the 17th of July and immediately, the following day, I went to Orile Igbon. I performed all the traditional rites and on the 19th I was installed. I spent another 7 days, called Ipebi, a kind of seclusion for a few days. After that, I am free to continue. The next thing is coronation which took place last weekend.
Can you tell us a bit about Orile Igbon?
Orile Igbon had been in existence since 11th century. My progenitor called Olugbon Ese was from Oduduwa in Ile Ife. He established his kingship since 11th century. You remember this adage in Yoruba that Ko baje laye Olugbon, ko baje laye aresa, kobaje laye Onikoyi, ati Ila. It simply means that the Olugbon was very great king in those days and up to date. Where we call Orile Igbon today used to be a provincial headquarters in those days. Olugbon was 2nd in command, in the whole of Oyo Empire, in those days. Since then, his reign expanded and came across the whole of South-West, to the Republic of Benin, even to Dahimey.
In those days they used to be warriors and he, himself, Olugbon Aresa, Onikoyi they were great warriors, great adviser, commanders, to the Alaafin of Oyo. They have been carrying this on, up to this moment. My predecessor had done well, thats Oba Adegboyega Osunbade. The man had lifted the throne high because it got to a time when the throne was almost forgeotten. When Baba Osunbade came in, he did all he could do and the image of the throne came up again to limelight in Oyo State and South-West. It was from there they elevated us to be Vice-Chairman, Oyo State Obas Council, and we were made a 1st Class Oba. Since I came in, since I have been appointed, I have tried all I can to reach out to many investors and business people to come and invest.
The land is acrable, in terms of Cashew plantation. You will get the best cashew in Orile Igbon and the whole of Nigeria. When you plant Cashew in Orile Igbon today, in 2 and half year you can harvest it and you are sure you will harvest the best quality as compared to other areas in Nigeria that takes 6 years for cashew to grow for harvest and you won’t still get a good quality. So let me use this medium to reach out to people, to investors all over the world to come over to Orile Igbon to come and see how they can synergise with the state government.
Can you also please describe where Orile-Igbon is located in Oyo State?
The location is fantastic. Its from LAUTECH in Ogbomosho to Kwara border. Thats towards the North. Then towards the West, its between Iresa Adu to Osun border. Also on the East side is Orire local government towards Iseyin. Many people don’t know that Orile-Igbon is 10 times bigger than Ogbomosho in terms of landmass and theplace is wonderful when it comes to size.
Can you please tell us a bit about your growing up years where were you born? Where did you grow up?
Growing up was wonderful and interesting for me. I started in Ibadan. I was born in Ibadan. From there, my parents took me to the North where I had my primary and secondary school. Thereafter, I proceeded to the University of Liberia where I got BSc in Accounting. From there I worked with an Accounting firm for one year or 2 years in Liberia before I went into my own private company. Ever since then, I have been a successful businessman. My area of business has been as a contractor. I have been a sub-contractor to ECOMOG in terms of importation of food stuff, for ECOMOG forces in Liberia. By that I mean for the Nigerian forces.
Thereafter, when I came back to Nigeria, I have been a contractor to major military formations in Nigerian Defence, like DIA, Defence Intelligence Agency and other ones in Nigeria. I am also into Telecoms infrastructure, deployment of most when the MTN/AIRTEL first came up in existence we were the 1st set of people that went into the deployment of masts for communications. We also did a bit of fibre optics, laying of fibres throughout the nation. With my experience, I established what we call Oyo Towers in Oyo State. Oyo Towers is a telecoms infrastructure company on PPP Platform I created that platform to regulate all telecoms operator activities in Oyo State.
When you were young, did you for one day have a vision that you will become Olugbon?
Yes. Since I was young my parents used to call me. Omo Olugbon, when they want to greet me. Omo Olugbon Agbe I kept wondering what’s the meaning of that. It was later when I grew up that I knew what the greetings mean. On my mother side, mostly they are from the Olugbon family. And also part of my fathers side too by extension. They are also related. When I look at Ogbomosho as a whole, by statistics, 60-70% of the people and inhabitants of Ogbomosho today are a mixture of Olugbon children, Aresa and Onikoyi.
So many people can lay claim to Olugbon stool. By the time you trace their origin very well you will find out that they are from Orile Igbon because Ogbomosho as a whole, Olugbon came to been. And a result, Olugbon produced Ogbomosho.
What do you have in mind to do, now that you are Olugbon?
I want to make Orile Igbon a conglomerate of Industrial Communities. I have 59 Baales in my domain. Its over fifty something communities, about 60 under my control. We have a huge expanse of land. We have found out that there is a huge deposit of mineral resources, in terms of Gold, towards the beet of going towards Orire-Iseyin-Igbeti area.
And when you look at this deposit of Gold, by the time we start the exploration we can come up with all sorts and turn it into industrialization. Also the road network now from Ogbomosho, Orile-Igbon to Ilorin, is express road it goes straight to the North. So there are other things that we can do there to the develop that are. There is good road network now. The only road network now that we are looking up to for completion is the one between Ogbomosho and Oyo. It is under construction now and I pray that pretty soon it will soon be completed.
How did your process of becoming Olugbon came? Was it the turn of your family?
By special grace of God, when my predecessor died, about a year ago, I was called upon by the Mogaji of my family, Pa George Olayinka. When he called me, he told me look most people have not been coming home, he feels this vacant stool of Olugbon, with my exposure, with my connection, and with my academic inclination it will really help us. I said No problem. In between I traveled. I have business outside the country and within. When I came in I sat down with him. I met some members of the family including some Afobajes when we met them they said they like my calibre of person. They want me to vie for the stool Due Process was then followed. I loved the way the government handled it. Before I came on the scene, some people have been fighting for the stool. The stool had no declaration.
Then the government had to intervene as a result of the fight for the stool. Some people even came out to say they have been already been appointed. You know how it is in the fight for a stool. Eventually, the government stepped in, from 9 ruling houses (my ruling house was one of the 9 ruling houses. It is called Akinbola ruling house.
It was one of the 9 ruling houses that was nominated to the state government in Ibadan. After all due process, I finally emerged as the new Olugbon of Orile Igbon. And an appointment letter was given to me by the state government. My plan is to make this stool great, to make it remarkable a elaborate. I want to let the world know that a great king, who has been in existence from the 11th Century, has emerged again, to come to bear, to come in the fore-front of rulership of Obas in the Southwest and Nigeria as a whole.
Let’s talk about your family and your beautiful Oloori?
I have got a great family, a wonderful family. A great and amiable wife, who happens to come from a very great home and family also. She is Oloori Olusola Adedoyin. She is the daughter of Prince Sam Adedoyin. She was once the MD of a bank. I am blessed with wonderful children. My wife is a very lovely woman. We’ve been very close and cordial. She has been an epitome of blessing to me especially in the special time of this process of Kingship. Almighty God has made us successful.
How did you receive the news of your appointment and where were you?
It was on July 17, 2017. I was in Victoria Island, where I was attending a business meeting. There was a call by the Chairman of Surulere Local Government Area, Alhaji Ibrahim Gbodeniyi who said I needed to travel down to Ibadan immediately. He asked me to come down to the secretariat. I did as requested and met him and some local government officials. When we were through, we traveled down home and arrived at past 12 midnight.
What happened when you woke up the following day after your arrival?
Early in the morning, the kingmakers, led by the Balogun, Jimoh Adeyemi, came and led me to a place called Igbole. That was where the installation was performed and Akoko leaf inserted into my cap. Everything went well according to the customs and norms of the town. Akoko leaf is the symbol of installation in Yorubaland. Then I moved round the whole town which stretched to the location where we have the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.
What do you think made you the choice of your people?
The chiefs craved for a new king who would continue the development which my immediate predecessor achieved before he passed on. It is on record that he brought the state high court, divisional police headquarters, trailer park and other amenities. They believe that a well-traveled and credible successor was what the town needs. If you were there you would have seen what I am talking about. The procession was not an easy exercise but thank God it went well. I prayed for the people and acknowledged their warm greetings too.
You are a son of a CAC. Your wife is also a pastor. How do you reconcile this with your traditional obligations as Oba?
I am assuring you that there is no problem in striking a balance between my Religion and my Culture. I just told you that, contrary to what they say out there, there is no fetish thing we did throughout that 7 day. This is saying that being a Christian or Muslim does not prevent you from ascending the throne if you have right to the stool of your town. In fact, I am going to invite the CAC , the Christian Association of Nigeria and other leading pastors to my coronation. I am going to tell them to encourage others to return home and contest for the throne. From the first day my appointment was approved by the governor of Oyo State till date, prayer, fervent prayer has always been our pillar of support here.
Can you share with us your plan for Orile Igbon?
Before I mark my first coronation anniversary, investment worth N20 billion would have come to Ile-Igbon, God willing. I have traveled to the United States of America, South and North America and Europe. The exposure I have gathered on those trips will come to bear during my reign. We have the best cashew in the country. We are going to develop cashew production and cassava too. Ile-Igbon will shortly become an investment community. I am going to work together with governments at all levels on this vision with a view to expanding our success. I know the expectation on me is very high, going by my status as a successful businessman. I am so conscious of it and, God willing, I am going to do my best to live up to the expectation.