I am determined to partner government, others to develop Ota – Prof Adeyemi Obalanlege
What made you leave academic world for the throne?
I honetsly did not want to leave the university. My nomination as the Olota-elect was just a sheer coincidence, because I never thought I would ever be a king.
As such, I was not really preparing for it. But after the demise of the former Olota of Ota, my kinsmen drafted me into the race.
One of the elders that I respect so much, a retired General Manager with First Bank Plc., Elder Odu, actually wanted to prostrate himself for me after others had pleaded with me to join the race for the position of Olota of Ota.
It was at that point I unconsciously promised him that I would join the race. A promise is a debt. So, I had no other option than to redeem the promise. This was how I got into the race for the Olota of Ota.
Could you give us a bit of your background? Were you ever an Awori Prince?
Yes, I was born a prince. My mother is from one of the royal families in Ota. My father is from another royal family in Ota. Coincidentally, my father and my mother both belong to the same ruling houses that were supposed to produce the new Olota of Ota. So, out of the 22 contestants that vied for this position, I was the only one who had the unique feature of coming from the two ruling houses.
Are you saying your father married his niece?How did you emerge the consensus candidate out of 22 other princes without any friction?
I think my people just felt I have the personality and charisma to lead them. I think this was one of the qualities they saw in me.
Honestly, initially I was not really interested in the throne, but when I felt that a lot of people wanted me to be their king, I thought it was a call to duty.
Since my people wanted me to lead them, I felt this as a call to duty from God Almighty.
I had to gladly take it up. Surprisingly, the five kingmakers all voted for me. This, I will forever be grateful for. No friction whatsoever.
Did you at any time reflect on the implications of becoming an Oba, with all its challenges?
Yes, I did take out time to reflect. What is important now that I have taken up the stool is that I am confident my people will do all within their powers to make sure we all succeed together. The Obaship is a joint project between my people and I. We shall all succeed together.
Do you have the financial muscle to be an Oba, considering your academic background?
Running a town as an Oba is not easy, but I believe strongly that with the help of God and my people, we shall all succeed. Obaship is not all about money.
I, however, believe with my economic and academic background, I will set out ways we can make all the money we need to run this place. I am confident we shall succeed. We shall definitely find ways of making money to run the affairs of my people. That will not be any problem.
Presently, Ota is the Industrial hub Ogun State. Do you have plans of turning it into the country’s industrial hub?
Do you expect me to make public my plans for Ota? No, I will not say much now. Once I ascend the throne, we will begin to unfold our plans.
God willing, we are going to do everything possible to assist the State government and cooperate with the industries already located in this place to make more profit, so that more will come over to join them.
I am going to lobby Lagos State government to ensure rapid development of my communities.
At the same time, I am going to lobby the business community here to ensure they discharge and execute their corporate social responsibilities to the communities, where they are located.
These are part of the key areas I am going to work on in a deliberate effort to achieve rapid development for Ota. Our plan for this place is a work in progress.
We are, however, going to chart a new relationship with the companies here to make sure we develop Ota and make it one of Nigeria’s Industrial hubs.
We are specifically going to make sure that through their Corporate Responsibility, companies here will train our children in specific areas relating to the companies’ works, so that with time, they will be well educated enough to take up management positions in these companies.
It is going to be a gradual thing. I don’t want to let everything out for now.