‘Traditional Rulers Would Maintain Integrity Only If They Aren’t Wholly Dependent On Govt’
THE Orungberuwa of Erinje Kingdom, Oba Samuel Orimisan is perhaps Nigeria’s longest reigning monarch, having mounted the throne of his forebears in 1949. It thus probably confers on Ode-Erinje, a sleepy but peaceful agrarian town in Okitipupa Local Government area of Ondo State, the status of the community with the longest reigning monarch in the country.
The town’s reigning monarch, Oba Samuel Orimisan, the Orungberuwa of Erinje Kingdom who recently marked his 65th year on the throne, became king in 1949, the year he completed his Standard Six, the then prevailing educational system in that part of colonial Nigeria.
What a record! When today’s average age of most reigning Nigerian obas (kings) is about 60.
Certainly most people would expect the Orungberuwa to be eager to celebrate this record breaking, but this is not the case with the kabiyesi, his chiefs and the entire community who are alleging marginalization of the king in rank in relation to obas they regarded are his peers by the Ondo State government.
The kabiyesi in an interview with The Guardian lamented that he used to be in the same category with obas like the Rebuja of Osooro and the Ahaba of Ajagba who according to him, have been up-graded to the First Class status while he is left as a Second Class oba.
The Orungberuwa who ascended the throne when Erinje was just an up-coming community lacking virtually all amenities, has today succeeded in lifting up the status of the town as he has been able to mobilize his subjects to lobby succeeding government to site some socio-welfare projects in the area.
To his credit the town now has facilities like primary schools, a secondary school, a health centre and a police station.
He recalled with glowing tribute the unique roles played by some sons and daughters of the town in the quest to bring development to the community. Prominent among these illustrious sons and daughters were late High Chief Lugoton Tewe, Mr Nathaniel Fafoluyi, Robert Ajibowale and Philip Akinsuyi.
The town is a co-host of the Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH) sited on a common land with Okitipupa, just as it is the landlord to the moribund Oluwa Glass Factory, on Igbokoda Road.
It was also scheduled to house the plantation for the Okitipupa Cassava Factory established by the former governor of the state, late Dr. Olusegun Agagu now abandoned by his successor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.
The oba who expressed worries at the comatose state of the two factories, is of the opinion that the abandonment of the cassava factory in particular is a disservice to his people in particular, the Ikale nation and the state in general.
According to him the non-take off of the cassava factory and failure to revive the Oluwa Glass Company has heightened the crime rate and social vices in the area as this has held down thousands of jobs that would have accrued to graduates and youths from the area, majority of who have now taken to criminalities.
The traditional ruler expressed the disappointment of his people with the management of OSUSTECH, which he claimed is not extending appointments to people from the area, thereby denying them catchment area benefits.
The traditional ruler who deplored ugly display of ill-gotten wealth especially by politicians and public office holders in the country, blamed increase in cases of high profile crimes like kidnapping on the sad celebration of individuals whose sources of wealth could not be accounted for.
He recalled that his community has had its own unfortunate share of kidnapping following the abduction of the mother of one the town’s prominent sons.
Bemoaning the high level of corruption in the country, the kabiyesi urged the in-coming administration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) not to spare anything in fighting corruption and reducing it to the minimum.
He noted that corruption is a canker worm that has brought the country to the present sorry state where infrastructural development has been grounded to a halt, just as insecurity and un-employment is the order.
According to him, it is not only an act of economic sabotage, it is the height of un-patriotism by any Nigerian to starch away funds in foreign countries when such funds could have helped in creating several thousands of jobs and as a fall out, reduce criminalities as well as insecurity.
Another thing that appears to have cut short the joy of the oba and his subjects, which he described as a source of great pain, is the continued failure by government to explore some of the mineral resources on top of which the community is sitting. Top among these mineral resources are crude oil and bitumen.
He appealed to the federal government to embark on the process that would lead to the exploration of the crude oil deposit in the area, just as he urged the state government to collaborate with the federal government to seek investors in the bitumen the community is playing host to.
In his view this would be a giant step forward by both the federal and the state government in diversifying the country’s economy.
The over 80 years old monarch astonishingly is still a very active farmer who takes delight and pride in farming, not just farming but in commercial farming.
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