• The ORANGUN Of OKE ILA
HRM Dr. Dokun Abolarin, the Oragun of Oke Ila, is a prominent royal father in Nigeria. Oke-Ila is an ancient town near Osogbo, Osun State capital.
Oba Dokun is very passionate about education and has built a world-class school in Oke Ila. Let’s tell you for free that Kabiyesi also teaches in the school. He has given many indigent children a rare opportunity to get liberated from the clutches of poverty through genuine education.
Let’s also inform you that the school is Tuition-free. He joined City People’s Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE, on City People TV Instagram Live Chat to discuss what inspired the Free-Education initiative and the huge support he’s been getting to pursue this noble cause. Enjoy the excerpts.
Good to see you, sir?
Good to see you. God bless you for what you are doing for us. I am a village man but I thank God.
What has your experience been since the lockdown?
Well, we thank God. You all know I became the king in 2006. All my life I didn’t have the opportunity of staying in my community 7 days at a go. I was born, bred and schooled in Ibadan. To the glory of God. I went to Ife (OAU). I was in Ife for a very long time before I moved to Lagos after my law school. From Law School, I moved to Abuja and I became the king from Abuja.
To the glory of God, I lived in a middle-class environment. Not that my parents were rich, but I didn’t know what poverty was all about when I became a king. I saw poverty and I saw talents, and I saw creativity. And not being a rich monarch, I had to plan and to the glory of God, I set up this school that is strictly for the poor.
The number one condition for admission is poverty. And to His glory, it’s a school that is meant for all Nigerians, because I always tell my children that, what I am interested in is nation-building. To build a nation is not something you do overnight. All hands must be on deck to ensure nation-building.
So finding myself on the throne, the question is to do what? And to the glory of God, the Lord puts my hands on the lever to use education to reduce poverty.
For several decades that I have known you, you have been passionate about education. Why are you very passionate?
My father was a primary school headmaster. My mother was a teacher before she started trading. I didn’t read education in the university and it’s a major regret today, but I thank God the way I travelled. I studied Political Science, International Relations before I read law. You and I know the importance of education. Seye, we met in school because we were in Ife together. If there was no education, we wouldn’t have met. With due respect, it’s not that we were extremely brilliant, but we were focused. With education, you know that there are important things to be done and education is the passport for today and tomorrow, and for those who prepare for it today, it’s the key. So there is a need for us to invest in the future of our people. The only way we have to invest is in education. We have a lot of children who don’t know what the future has for them.
I tell you, Nigerians are creative. Nigerians are challenging. They think outside the box. That’s is why it is important for all of us and not only the government, to compliment ourselves and take a peep into that great future. And we can only get that done through education. I have no regret for having a passion for education. I was born into it. I know the benefits of a good education and will continue to champion quality and good education.
Please give us an insight into the school.?
Yes, for you to get admitted as said earlier, you need to be from a poor background. Then again, these are children from the public school system, it’s a school meant for all Nigerians, but because we started small, the geographical location is what we referred to as old Osun Northeast, from Ikirun to Okuku, part of Kwara, part of Ekiti, and Igbomina. It’s a school for all Nigerians. The head boy of our school who lives in Ila Orangun with his mum lost his father years back. He’s from Abraka. To the glory of God, I have another guy, Kenneth. He’s from Delta. Also have 2 from Benue. John Chigozie, from Ebonyi. I tell all of them that they are all my children and they should celebrate diversity. That is our humble way of promoting nation-building. And to the glory of God, I have my daughter who is Fulani Ilorin. We celebrate diversity. And recall I said earlier that the condition of admission is poverty. Product of the public school. We started with 35 students and we are now 130 students. You and I know that I am not rich, but goodwill of people. Bags of rice, tubers of yams and several supports from people like you.
It’s a boarding school and we are now in SS3. We presented 28 of them for JAMB. We have our result already. The least score was 165. And to the glory of God, many of these guys want to join the military. 12 of the scored between 188-199 and 15 of them scored 200 and above. For me, it gladdens my heart. These are the children from the street.
It’s important for us to lay emphasis on them. If we fail to teach these children, they will terrorise our children. So, let the rich and big organisations sit and work round how to ensure that we remove them from the street and give quality education.
What is the school fees like?
We don’t collect a kobo on it from that past 6 years, but again, I am not going to say that it’s free, because the children are productive; they work on the farm for close to 6 hours. They plant what they eat. Directly or indirectly, they make money from the school. This is why I always give thanks to my friends for their support. We have been using what they have been giving us judiciously.
I must confess, we cannot go this far if not for the good support of wealthy Nigerians. Some of them prefer to remain anonymous. Once they see things that are noble and just, they key into it.
This is how we have been able to survive in these last 6 years.