‘I’m in a hurry to vacate the throne to continue with my normal life’
Although the last-born of the family of six daughters, the lot of succeeding her departed father-king fell on her after the consultation of the oracle. Then, she was still at St Patrick’s College, Iwaro-Oka Akoko. But 10 years after her ascension and now a final-year student of Psychology at the Ekiti State University, Adekemi desires to vacate the throne to continue with her normal life, as since January 9, 2010, she has not only lost her freedom, but the ‘restrictions’ imposed by the virtue of the throne have also become a burden to her.
Now, she wants to live a normal life, having missed life as a teenager and youth. Asked if she was in a hurry to vacate the throne, she told The Guardian: “Yes! I’m in a hurry to vacate the throne to continue with my normal life. It’s not easy, 10 years of selfless service and sacrifice. I am tired already.”
Adekemi explained why men are not made regents in her community, probably just like other communities: “Regency is just for a period of interregnum, so if a male is chosen, after enjoying the power of the throne, he may not want to leave there and this will cause a lot of crises. More so, you know he has all the chiefs working for him and can use all the power to make himself the king. But if it is a female, she will be in a hurry to leave, because she wants to regain her freedom and live a normal life.” Exactly as is her case today.
She lamented that though she loves being who she is, that is, a female, she cannot appear in any feminine attire and cannot do what other ladies are doing out there, adding: “Even when I like to make a particular hairstyle, I have to consider the fact that I am putting on a cap. It affects my hairstyles. I cannot just make my hair to show it off; it is a must that I cover my hair every time.
“There are too many restrictions for me, including where I can eat, where I can go, what I can do within and outside the palace, etc. Even when I’m hungry, I can’t eat outside.”
On her relationship and whether her fiancé is complaining, she answered: “Relationship issue is personal. The traditional institution forbids a regent from giving birth on the throne; hence celibacy is a choice.”
She recalled that ascending the throne of her father was not her dream; she never thought of it, but it all happened as God planned it. After the demise of her father, Oba L.B. Omorinbola, there was a need to fill the vacant stool; hence the community had to consult the oracle before choosing who would become the regent. Out of her father’s six female children, she was chosen by the oracle to ascend the throne.
She recounted: “I never imagined ascending the throne of my father, but when I was chosen, I didn’t have any choice. I was still in secondary school and it happened on the afternoon of Saturday, January 9, 2010.
“I was preparing to go for choir practice when I was called and the whole process started that moment. I almost burst into tears, but I was told that I must not cry. They warned me that it has become a taboo for me to do such from the moment I had been chosen to mount the throne.
“I wasn’t forced to accept communal responsibility. At first, I didn’t know what it entailed. As a teenager, I thought it was just for a period of six months or a maximum of one year and everything would be over.”
Hear her experience on the throne: “Hamm! Experience on the throne!!! It has been a nice experience, a school of thought and statesmanship. I have learned a lot on the throne, such as perseverance, patience, and humility. It can be tough at times, and sometimes so much fun. Even dealing with old people, youths and women is not an easy task.
“Sitting on the throne, as a teenager, and settling marital problems, you can imagine that! At times, youths can just come up with some funny characters and you know the youths of nowadays, they think and behave differently from the way the old ones do.
“To manage such conflicts has not been easy, but God has always been on our side to manage such conflicts.”
Asked why it has taken this long for the community to pick a successor to her father and enable her to live a normal life of a lady of her age, Adekemi responded: “Really, it is never my wish to stay this long and I never thought about it, but as it is now, I just have to persevere.
“The rightful ruling house to produce the next king has not been in agreement on who will ascend the throne. It has been from one crisis to another, but hopefully, very soon, all the issues will be resolved.”
On how she has been managing the task of leadership, the regent said: “Uneasy, they say, lies the head that wears the crown. Actually, it has been God all these years; it has not been an easy task. It requires wisdom to manage a community, but He (God) who has given me the rulership power has always been with me.
“Also, my people have been wonderful. I have always enjoyed their support because, without their support and cooperation, it won’t be easy to lead them. But they are ever ready to move the community forward with me.”
Combining communal tasks with her studies has also not been easy, but stressful. She adds: “Though it affects my education, but I don’t lose focus, because I think the best I could achieve on the throne will be to get a quality education. Thank God for technology, the world is now a global village, so if I am not in the palace, the chiefs and I always communicate on phone to resolve issues, except when there are urgent matters that require my presence.”
She stressed that right from the initial stage, there have been no noticeable shortcomings in the discharge of her duties, noting: “Even though I didn’t know I will ever be on the throne, I grew up in the palace and my dad always explained things to me, so I have always been involved in palace affairs. This really assisted and it also served as firsthand intuition on things to do at a particular time.”
Asked if there is any conflict between her religion as a Christian and status as a Regent, Adekemi said: “As a devoted Christian, as I said earlier, I was preparing to go for choir practice when I was told that I will be the regent, and that day, all the necessary rites were performed and I ascended the throne that same day.
“As a choir in the church, it shows how devoted I am, but I strongly believe that the position is a traditional institution and not a religious institution. So, whatever the tradition of the community is, one has to comply.
“Though the way of worship is different, both Christians, Muslims, and traditionalists worship the same God, it is just that our way of worshipping and making deference to God is different.
“The traditional rite and my status today as a Regent hasn’t stopped me from going to church or serving God. It will interest you to know that I am still a chorister in Catholic Church to date.”
She disclosed that it is not in her culture that a regent would reign forever because the regency is just for the period of an interregnum. More so, the power of a regent is limited to some extent and the community would also be at a loss to have the regent reign forever, as the regent cannot perform some traditional rites and this might affect the community’s development at large.
On her plans for Iwaro-Oka community, Adekemi, reluctant to mention them, only said: “It is my wish that my kingdom has one of the best ultra-modern palaces in Nigeria, if not Africa, which is under construction already, to the glory of God and betterment of mankind.”
On the occasion of her one decade on the throne, she practically went on her knees adoring the Almighty as well as appreciating supporters and associates.
“How times flies! The journey of a decade on the throne of my forefathers! It can only be you, Lord. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. To Almighty God who has seen me through all these years, I’m grateful.
“To my great community people who have chosen me to serve at this moment, I thank you all for your support and cooperation. It has really been a nice experience of selfless service. To my esteem family, who has stood by me all these years, I can’t thank you enough, God will continue to bless you.
“To all my spiritual leaders and fathers, thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. To all my friends, admirers and well-wishers, thanks for always being there for me. May the Lord keep you all, bless you, protect you, prosper you, increase you and enlarge you.”
On the controversy surrounding the creation of Amotekun by the Southwest governors, even as Akoko area of the state is most affected by insecurity, she said, philosophically: “When you hear your neighbour (s) complaining bitterly that your fence is too high and that your gate is too strong, it is clear who the thieves are.”
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