Prince Olowolekomoh’s Oba-elect of Odo-Nla
After a rigorous and painstaking exercise, Prince Olusoga Elias Odeyemi Olowolekomoh has emerged as the Oba elect of Odo-Nla town, Lagos.
Six qualified candidates from the Ogbodo and Raselu ruling houses contested for the royal crown as revealed by Otunba (Asiwaju) David Afolabi Ekiyoyo, AIWM, DCOI,(Omo Oba Meta Odo Nla) the Olotu(Head) of Odeyemi Ofinran Royal Family in a statement read at the unveiling ceremony of the Oba-elect in Ikorodu town, Lagos, last week.
The other contestants are; Princes Kazeem Benson, Olusoji Daudu, Adesegun Ogunkoya, Ademoritan Adeyemi, Adewale Balogun.
Otunba Ekiyoyo went down historical lane of Odo-Nla town, stating that the town was founded by Prince Odeyemi Ofinran, grandson of the Oba Ofinran, the 13th Awujale of Ijebu Ode, who settled at Odo-Nla through Ifa divination with his wife, Oluye. He gave birth to Ikukoyi, also known as Ogbodo.
“The wife also gave birth to Afijiku, also known as Raselu. Prince Odeyemi Ofinran later took another wife called Asemade from Idowa who gave birth to a one son called Ogunlana, also known as Upenyenwa. The principal branches of Odeyemi Ofinran Royal Family are thus the Oluye and Asemade’s, but the royal or chieftaincy matters are between the three children of Prince Ofinran namely Ikukoyi, Afijiku and Ogunlana for which all Odo-Nla indigenes are descendants.”
Prince Ofinran was the first installed Oba of Odo-Nla by Oba Mokollowa Ajuwakale, the 16th Awujale of Ijebu land who reigned in the 16th century. He reigned in Odo-Nla for a long time with his three sons assisting him in the traditional administration of the kingdom. They were later known as Omo Oba Meta because of their large influence and this caused a rift on who to assume the throne after the demise of their father, Ofinran. Despite after several attempts by Oba Mase, the 21th Awujale of Ijebu land, the issue was not resolved and “the disagreement was resolved by making Raselu a Regent and the other two children were given a cabinet posts to make them relevant in the scheme of traditional administration. Ogunlana was thus made the first Otunba of Odo-Nla, while Ikukoyi was made Ogbodo Arenuwa of Odo-Nla,” Ekiyoyo revealed.
Since 1831, several attempts to resuscitate the Obaship of Odo-Nla failed. One of such factors was the Gbedeke War of 1831 among others.
“When I came back from the United Kingdom in the 1970s, I joined other elders of our community among others, in another effort to reactivate the quest for an Oba in Odo-Nla. One of such efforts was the trip to Ijebu Ode, our ancestral home, to re-establish the contacts of our forefathers made in the 1940s. Thereafter, the three branches of the Royal Ruling Houses agreed that Raselu Branch should produce the candidate for the stool. The three candidates produced however died before they could be installed as an Oba.
“After some lull in the activities of getting Raselu to produce another candidate, after the demise of Prince Adeyemi(from Adenuga Branch of Raselu), the three royal families of Ogbodo, Raselu and Upenyenwa organised combined meetings through the head of each branch(Olotu), to elect a general head for the three branches to be known as Olotu Omo Oba Meta, that is, Head of the Odeyemi Ofinran Royal Family. My humble self was unanimously elected,” Ekiyoyo revealed.
Ekiyoyo’s committee first assignment was to constitute the Executive and Elders of the Community for regular meetings and consultations on how to move the community forward and at the first meeting, everybody agreed for the contest for the Obaship to be thrown open to both Ogbodo and Raselu families.
“This step opened the flood gates of contestants from both the ruling houses to the consternation of the members of all Odo-Nla community. The position we have been searching for a rightful person for, suddenly became highly competitive. But at last, six qualified Odo-Nla indigenes, four from Raselu and two from Ogbodo branches, met all the set requirements laid down by the Executive Committee of Odeyemi Ofiran.”
And it was from these six persons that Prince Olowolekomoh, business mogul and philanthropist who resides in the UK, emerged the Oba-elect over the weekend.
Ekiyoyo, while confirming Olowolekomoh as Oba-elect, stated that he met all the requirements set by the committee.
“Pursuant to the conclusion of the Central Committee of Omo Oba-Meta, Odeyemi Ofiran Royal Family of Odo-Nla, it is my honour and privilege to confirm and announce to our family and the general public, the nominee that has jointly been selected and ratified as the Oba-Elect among the various contestants to the royal stool of our community, Odo-Nla, Ikorodu, Lagos State in the person of Prince Olusoga Elias Odeyemi Olowolekomoh, the Fuwagbade II Of Odo-Nla Kingdom.”
He is optimistic that the Oba-elect will meet the aspirations of the people of the kingdom.
“It is our sincere hope and conviction that the above named Prince, having satisfied all the necessary criteria and requisite conditions will no doubt meet and exceed the aspirations of our indigenous people and community at large by elevating our social status, developmental growths and harmony to enviable heights in consideration of his exposures and experiences in cooperation with other stakeholders and government agencies including the private sector actors alike.
“Our family as an indivisible unit therefore enjoins all to henceforth accord him the deserved honour, respect and maximum cooperation going forward as we provide further notification at a later date concerning the official installation ceremony and other traditional rites for the new Oba-Elect.”
Otunba Ekiyoyo commended the other candidates who showed interest in the traditional stool of Odo-Nla.
“We (the committee) appreciate your financial and physical sacrifices. You are all Kabiesi in our eyes and mind. You are all winners.”
The Olotu (Head) of Ogbodo Royal Family, Prince Rasaki Adebayo Onabanjo, while confirming Prince Olowolekomoh as Oba-Elect described the occasion as a milestone in the history of Odo-Nla Kingdom.
“With profound gratitude to Almighty God and entire Ogbodo Royal Family of Odo-Nla kingdom, by the power conferred on me as Olotu Ogbodo of Odo-Nla kingdom, it is a great honor and privilege on this August occasion to announce the confirmation of the Oba-Elect having met the requisite criteria and parameters set by the screening committee of Omoba Meta of Odo-Nla kingdom.
“The selection committee of elders including my honorable self, after a tedious vetting process chose to elect Prince Olusoga Elias Odeyemi Olowolekomoh as the Oba-Elect due to his sterling qualities which includes his charitable ventures and projects financing, charismatic personality, exclusive international business exposures coupled with his amiable networking with all critical stakeholders and indigenes of our community at Odo-Nla kingdom.”
Prince Soga Lekomoh in his acceptance speech, said: “Words will simply not be enough to express the fullness of joy in my heart in the actualisation of the yearnings of our royal family and the entire indigenes of Odo-Nla kingdom in the re-instatement and restoration of the Obaship stool to the community after decades of trials and attempts. I find it pertinent to also acknowledge and appreciate the unique and special support and goodwill gesture of the Lagos State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs with particular reference to the entire staffs and office of the Lagos State governor in the person of his Excellency; Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu whose approval and ratification cannot be overstated.
“The re-instatement exercise and the attendant rigours could not have been easily overcome without the full encouragements and support of our paramount rulers and royal fathers in the entities of his Royal Highness, Oba Sikiru Adetona (The Awujale of Ijebu Ode) and Oba Engr. Abdul-Kabir Adewale Shotobi – Adegorushen V (The Ayangburen of Ikorodu) respectively and other important royal dignitaries and stakeholders alike. It’s my commitment to work fervently in synergy and cooperation with my local government area functionaries and the entire cabinet members and staffs of Lagos State in harmonising the growth and developmental planning set out for Odo-Nla kingdom for our mutual benefits.”
The Oba-elect has no doubt whatsoever that, “today represents a remarkable step forward in re-setting the milestone that was firmly established by our long gone but not forgotten royal ancestor in the esteemed royal personage of Oba Odeyemi Ofiran l, the Fuwagbade I of Odo-Nla dynasty. By the infinite mercy, grace and guidance of Almighty God, I reiterate my commitment to lead in the frontline and synergise with all home and abroad in fulfilling the aspirations of our people for a rapid urbanised social, economic and industrialised Odo-Nla kingdom and community that will be a positive reference among equals in our immediate environment to the pride of you all.”
Oba-elect Olowolekomoh extended a hand of fellowship to other contestants to the throne. “I also use this unique opportunity to embrace my fellow brothers and co-contestants with hands of fellowship as we lift this kingdom together to enviable heights in the spirit of cooperation and oneness as one indivisible happy family.”