HRM Aromire-Ojora: I Still Seek Old Friends’ Advice

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Chris Asika

According to history, the Ijoras are known to be the Aworis, who are one of the children of Olofin, one of the children of Oduduwa. Alaraohugin is the progenitor of the Ijoras. They followed their father from Ile-Ife to finally settle where is now known as Ijora Kingdom, which includes Igamu area.

Oba Abdulfatai Aromire, after the passing on his uncle, late Chief Aremu Akapo in 1993 ascended the family throne in 1994. Though it was the turn of the other family in the ruling house to provide the next ruler, but he was favoured and chosen to ascend the throne. The then head of his family, the late Onitire, Oba Kasali Aseru had met with the four ruling families and directed each to provide a candidate from which the selection was made.

At first he said he declined the offer of ruling the kingdom because he was used to living like an ordinary person based on the difficulties he encountered while growing up.

Before he was crowned, he said he used to think that becoming a king is problematic and that no matter what one does, one cannot please people. Thus he still keeps his old friends and still makes out time to be with them for their advice and support. This is based on his belief that a leader must be a good listener.

“I never had interest in the throne, but I just had to accept it because I was told that the oracle picked me out of the seven persons that were nominated. As for my old friends, these are the people who know about my past. I can’t say because I am a king I should stay away from them; we still hang-out together. “If you drive away your old friends, when trouble comes, you won’t see people to advise you. A big man can’t advise a fellow big man positively. He will rather look towards your downfall because of the competition between both of you.”

Recounting his experience these 22 years on the throne, Oba Aromire attributed his leadership to the grace of God almighty, who has given him wisdom for the journey so far.

“I was then the family secretary and the personal assistant to the late Akapo, I had no interest in becoming the Ojora because of the position I occupied in the government where I worked. Each family provided their candidate and we headed to the Ifa priest to consult and provide us with the best choice. But to my surprise, I was chosen and that was how I became the Ojora today.

“I never contested for the throne, but my ancestor appointed me to rule over the Ijora land. I fought tirelessly for the Ijora kingdom and won 32 court cases prevailing over the Iganmu Kingdom because it is owned by the Ojora royal dynasty. Becoming a first class oba is not by my making, but by Almighty God.”

Speaking on his childhood days, the oba said he lived his entire childhood in Ajegunle having lost his father at a tender age in 1966 and his mother, a petty trader had no means of sending him to school. She asked him to go and live with his father’s brother in Ajegunle where he did menial jobs to see himself through school to become somebody in life. He trained himself from secondary school to the HND level and after school he was gainfully employed in the Lagos State Internal Affairs Ministry from where he moved to the immigration service. Later, late Akapo who saw something in him, asked him to resign so as to join the family business in 1979.

According to him, his first five years on the throne was full of age-long court cases and extended family squabbles which he faced and won at different points of his reign.
“My first five years was historical, I had different court cases, about 32 precisely, moving from high court to appeal court and Supreme Court trying to win our possessions back from other kingdoms. I stood by my people and they also stood by me, and as you can see I have made great impact on my community and family.

“Only God can describe you without any fault. I have tried and I will continue to do my best in all my endeavors to see to all matters that are brought to me. My people have learnt to tolerate and love one another without isolation. Tradition has no house of worship in this community, when it is Christmas, we do it together. When it is the time for Muslim or traditional festival, we also do it together.”

As a result of his leadership style and contributions to his kingdom, the monarch said his reign has recorded several achievements, as the people of Ijora are celebrating 22 years of good tidings and prosperity. Before he Over 700 female students from nine secondary schools in District 6 of the Lagos state Educational Board convened at Darlington Hall, Illupeju, Lagos, recently for the annual Pastor Bimbo Odukoya (PBO) Foundation’s girl empowerment programme.
In commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child, this year’s programme was in line with the general theme of the national event: Girls’ Progress=Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls. With this in mind, this year’s theme tilted towards technology.

Professionals like Sola Amusan from Microsoft Nigeria challenged the students not to limit their dreams. He inspired them to take bold steps towards technology and dismissed the myth that technology is reserved for boys alone.

Social Media etiquette professional and director of Connaissance, Kemi Showemimo had a hearty interactive session with the students on the etiquettes of social media. She engaged the students on how to communicate online, to be wary of the kind of posts they upload on their pages and how to keep their accounts private. She also advised them to be very observant of the kind of friends they keep online. Encouraged by her charisma, the girls shared their ordeal on the online community.

One of the students told of how a friend was lured to rape by her Facebook friends, another recounted how she was desperate for friendship and accepted a friend request from a man who lived in her neighbourhood. The man continually sent nude pictures of him to her and invited her out. She told her mother about it who told her to play along. On the scheduled day of the meeting, she arrived at the destination with her mother who ruined abuses on the man and nearly arrested him.
Such online behaviours and cyberbullying, Showemimo warned, the girls should be wary of.

“Don’t be desperate for friends. You don’t have to accept every friend request. Accept only the ones you know.”
Another speaker at the event was the sexual abuse survivor, Anthonia Ojenagbon, whose inspiring story left the students in awe.
It is not the first time PBO will hold ‘Girl Empowered’ programme but it is the first time the bias is towards technology.

“Girl Empowered this year is being channelled to focus on technology and its vast opportunities. Most girls are shy of the sciences. But we are saying no. You could be a blogger, a web designer, you can have careers in IT where you can be able to change the world. There are no gender-shy in sciences. They should take over the digital space,” said PBO coordinator, Osasu Paul-Azino.

She added that there are partnership talks with Microsoft Nigeria to train a lucky student in the technology of coding and developing mobile apps. The PBO foundation was found on the premise of the vision of the late Bimbo Odukoya. Her passion to see the girl child explore her dreams to full measure spurred the initiative. The foundation also have other campaign programmes such as SHARP 4 U.was crowned, he said there was only one access road in and out of Ijora, but now there are more than six entrance and exits and he did about four of them personally.

He said he contributed to the building of the Ijora Central Mosque, the churches in and around the domain and gave out yearly to the motherless. There is also a grassroots academy which he sponsors young people in professional football every year and the graduates get employment through a scheme donated from local and foreign investors in Ijora domain. He is also planning by January to increase the amount of sponsorship provided.

The oba also disclosed his plans to expand his educational scholarship project because every year he sponsors children of indigenes and non-indigenes of the community. He already has 25 beneficiaries and intends to add another 25 to the list.