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I will tackle leadership issues, fast-track development – Prince Abiodun Oloyede

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Oloyede

Prince Abiodun Oloyede is one of the leading contestants to the throne of Apetumodu of Ipetumodu. He is from the Arowo Osun Ruling House. His great grandfather was Arowoshunjioye of Ipetumodu. He is 53 years old, a graduate of Theatre Arts at the University of Ife. He told Palace Watch his plans for his community.  

As one of the contenders for the Apetumodu throne, what exactly do you have on the drawing board if you eventually become the Apetu?

There are specifics and general things that need to be done in that regard. Firstly, I would get appropriate people to map out a strategy for Ipetumodu’s development.

Ipetumodu has suffered a lot of neglect these past years in the area of development, which has resulted in the very slow pace of development the town is currently experiencing. This I would want to correct once I am made the Apetu.

There is one major thing I would also like to do, which is how to redirect and channel Ipetumodu youths’ energy from this Okada riding thing.

And being a sportsman, I intend to use sports as a veritable vehicle of engaging youths in these areas, so that they become more productive.

I am also into the art. So, I would want to channel their energy into the different forms of arts. Once upon a time, Ipetumodu was known for making good clay pots.

Today, there are still a lot of people in the town that are still very good in the creative art of making clay pots.

So, I will deliberately work towards the revival of this trade, once I ascend the throne.

This is a trade we can practise and people will acknowledge our skill in that area. We can also showcase it to the world. I sincerely want to enhance the spirit of entrepreneurship in Ipetumodu.

Towards that end, I will immediately start a cooperative society, which will involve the generality of the haves, who can help the have-nots. With this, many poor people in the town will become economically independent.

I have discovered that many of our people are government workers.

I believe once we are able to channel the youths’ energy into entrepreneurship, we will then see to fast-tracking the overall development.

But Ipetumodu is just a stone throw from Ile-Ife. How come Ile-Ife is developing rapidly and Ipetumodu is lagging behind?

If you go back to Ipetumodu history, you will discover that in the 50s, 60s up till 70s, there was rapid development in Ipetumodu.

During that period, Ipetumodu had water, electricity and other things. Even the first secondary school in the town was established in 1958. But all this came to a halt in the early 80s.

The major cause of this setback was due to the Obaship tussle. For seven years, Ipetumodu had no Oba, which no doubt, affected the town’s development.

For sometime now, we have been hearing all kinds of talks, that the Federal Government would establish a Federal College of Education in the town, as well as other social amenities, but as we speak, none of this has materialised.

So, why are you embroiled in another Obaship tussle? You are not a direct child of an Apetu, and they say there is a law or declaration that states an Apetu-to-be must be a direct son of a former Apetu…

When you talk of a direct son of a former Apetu becoming the Apetumodu, I must say this is strange to us here. We do not practise primogenitor here; a system where a son takes over the obaship from his father.

If you look at all past Ipetumodu Obas or Apetus, there is none among them that was installed based on that practice. It will not and will never be upheld here.

The declaration in question is a matter of interpretation, and it all depends on who interprets it. The particular section you are referring to has been interpreted wrongly.

For example, the last king of Ipetumodu was not a direct son of any Apetu. I don’t think we should waste too much time on that section.

The Ipetumodu Roundabout, where travellers buy hot Akara, is a thriving business place. As an Apetu, what are your plans to properly coordinate business activities there?

Currently, Osun State government is collecting a lot of revenue from that particular place on every market day.

What we should do or be thinking about now, is how to further develop the place to make it more attractive. That was why I mentioned the entrepreneurship spirit of Ipetumodu people.

The state government once had on its drawing board the establishment of a company to be known as Encon.

It was supposed to use clay to produce all manner of souvenirs with clay. But somewhere along the line, just because there was no effective leadership, that viable project fizzled out.

If even the state government is no longer ready to establish the company it once promised, under my leadership, the people will be encouraged to find the means of using their hands to produce all kinds of items with clay, which will be attractive to buyers.

Before you know it, that particular spot will be a thriving market for souvenirs.

Another area of arts I intend looking at is the Edi Festival. I read Dramatic arts at the University of Ife, now known as Obafemi Awolowo University. I also had a Masters degree in Literature. For four years, I practised arts in Lagos.

So, I know the values of these things. That was why I said there would be a revival, when I’m made the Apetu.

There is a place in Ipetumodu, a rock to be precise, where all Yoruba princes were said to have met and discussed before they dispersed to form their own domains in places like Oyo and other towns and villages across Yoruba land. That rock is still there. I will work to make the place one of the heritage centres.

It is only in Ile-Ife there is a semblance of that festival. We can turn this to a cultural thing, which will invariably lead to making Ipetumodu a tourist centre.

This particular festival is all about remembering the late Moremi Ajasoro.

It is during the Edi festival that most people in Ipetumodu seek repentance or forgiveness of all the sins, evil or wrongs they committed in the outgoing year. They keep this secret to themselves, until that festival, when they will confess and seek repentance.

The festival brings many people together, as it is colourful, and there is usually dancing, singing and merry making during the festival.

In the early 60s and early 70s, when I was young, many people used to come from other Yoruba towns and villages to watch our Egungun festival.

We can take advantage of this to make Ipetumodu a tourist centre. A lot of books have been written on the Ipetumodu Egungun Festival.

Another thing is that being very close to Ipetumodu; it is just common sense that we look at what Ile-Ife is doing in the areas of attracting tourists.

We need to ask ourselves, what can we do to leverage on what Ile-Ife is presently doing. Ipetumodu has a lot of natural and human resources, but sadly, they are not properly harnessed for development.

If you look at the history of development in most Yoruba towns, you will discover that some of these places that never had secondary school before Ipetumodu have overtaken us in the area of development. This is not good at all.


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