Oba Adebayo Okunbena crowned the new Elerunwon Of Erunwon In Ogun State
What is your vision for your people now that you have ascended your forefathers’ throne?
My vision is to ensure there is absolute peace and harmony among my people, as without peace, no development can come to Erunwon. I also intend, with the cooperation of my people, to help drive massive agricultural development in this part of Ogun State. Above all, I would want to be known as an Oba, who was fair to all, rich or poor.
Kingship is not as lucrative as in the past. What, therefore, is your interest in this Obaship, when you would be spending on your people?
Thank you very much for this question. I did not join the race for the throne because of the gains I will make as an Oba. My great grandfather was once the Elerunwon of Erunwon from 1905 to 1934. He was Okunbeno, the first, while I am the second Okunbeno. It was the turn of our family to produce a candidate that would become the Elerunwon of Erunwon. Expectedly, my people contested for the position and I emerged the present Oba of my people. Three highly qualified aspirants contested this position, but I was selected the Elerunwon.
What extra qualities gave you an edge in this contest?
My people, led by Chief Remi Orebukpo, consulted the Ifa Oracle, and it was through the oracle, they got to know I was the most suitable person for the position. Thereafter, the kingmakers did their own elections and I again emerged the best candidate for the position I am occupying. I had two votes out of the three kingmakers that cast ballot.
My sibling, Gbadegbo Okunbena, had one vote, while the other contestant had no vote. Moreover, I was the only one among my father’s children, who schooled in Erunwon. I did my elementary school in Erunwon from 1970 to 1973, although I grew up in Ile-Ife, as my parents settled down there. I, therefore, did part of my primary and secondary schools in Ile-Ife. Secondly, I am a law graduate of the University of Ife, where I finished in 1987. I was in the Nigerian Law School in 1988.
So, I have always been part of the people of Erunwon, as I was always in Erunwon. Precisely, in the past six years, before I was made the Elerunwon, I usually spent my weekends here, with my people. Besides, I built a house in Erunwon in 2013, which made it possible for me to spend my weekends here. To cut a long story short, I am used to the Erunwon people and they are very familiar with my person. I, therefore, made friends and had colleagues here. In the process, the elders of the town knew the type of person I was, as they were always part and parcel of whatsoever celebration I held in this place.
Other things that endeared me to the Erunwon people include, providing a borehole in the area, which is powered by my generator. I also executed some other community projects, such as streetlights. I think these were the little things my people considered in making me their Oba. Anyhow, my becoming Elerunwon would not have been possible without God Almighty, as nobody can become a king, unless ordained by Him. I have always believed in God’s will in my life.
How do you intend driving the development of your domain?
Presently, I have my own law firm in Lagos, where I have some employees. My area of specialty is properties. I build, design, let, sell and market properties. For example, before I was even nominated as a candidate, I had to build my family house here in Erunwon after I had built my personal house. My plan is to go into large-scale farming.
Preparatory to actualising this dream, I am in constant consultations with my friends and associates all over the country. They have asked me to look for a suitable land, as they are ready to go into partnership with me. I want to use this to provide employment for jobless youths in the villages, who are roaming the streets. This is going to be my first assignment here. We have comparative advantage in cassava cultivation and will ensure we go fully into this area of agriculture. I am going all out to invest in rice and cassava agriculture. Once I make a success of it, other people from this area will have no other option than to take the cue.
How do you intend sourcing money for this type of investment?
I am honestly not going to rely on finances from banks to execute these projects. Rather, I will approach friends and associates for the funding, as the projects are very dear to me.
One of the major challenges facing traditional rulers across the country is managing crises, when they occasionally arise. How prepared are you for this?
As soon as I settle down, I will call the Ilamure and the kingmakers, comprising of about nine prominent chiefs for a serious meeting, where we would deliberate on how to manage crises in the domain. I intend to be proactive in crisis management mechanism, so that we continue to enjoy peace. This body is the kitchen cabinet of the Elerunwon, and is also known as the Elerunwon in Council. I will also have to meet with the Otunbas, and whole lot of other people. I am going to work with everybody, to ensure Erunwon makes the expected progress.