All Hail The New Olowa of Igbara-Oke

The joy of the sons and daughters of the agrarian Igbara-Oke Town in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State knew no bounds, when the new monarch of the town was presented with the staff of office, writes James Sowole

One of the popular albums of the juju music exponent, Chief Ebenezer Fabiyi popularly known as “Ebenezer Obey” in the late 70’s was the one he waxed in respect of conferment of chieftaincy titles on individuals.

He sang that before a chieftaincy title is conferred on an individual in a particular community, such person must be of good character and must be responsible in the community.
According to him, such person must have contributed immensely to the development not only of his immediate environment but mankind in totality.

It is also a common saying that one cannot know his or her worth until when one showed interest in leadership position either during quest for elective political office or traditional title, especially the position of an Oba of a community.
That the new Olowa of Igbara-Oke in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede, Ogidi III, possessed those attributes mentioned by the juju music legend in his album, was not an overstatement.

Agbede, who people had been referring to as Obalola of Igbara-Oke, contested for the throne in 2004 but lost to the immediate past monarch, who joined his ancestors in December 2016.
It was therefore jubilation galore among the people of Igbara-Oke on Tuesday, February 14, 2017, when the head of the nine kingmakers of the community, Chief Joseph Olofin, the Sapetu of Igbara-Oke, announced that Adefarakanmi Agbede had been elected as the new monarch for the town.

Agbede from the Ogidi ruling house according to Olofin scored eight out of the nine votes cast by the kingmakers in a contest that involved four princes from the same ruling house that presented candidates for the throne. The jubilation that greeted the town both old and young indicated that the choice of the new monarch was acceptable to the people.

The jubilation witnessed by the town on February 14 after the emergence of the new monarch, was very small compared to the situation on Friday, February 16, when the staff of office was presented to the new monarch by the Ondo State Government on the playing field of his alma mata, Anglican Grammar School, Igbara-Oke.
Some traditional rulers from within and outside the state including the Alara of Aramoko Ekiti, Oba Olu Adeyemi, the Ajero of Ijero Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Adewole witnessed the presentation of the instrument of office.

Others are Arajaka of Igbaraodo Ekiti, Oba Edward Jayeola, the Adapogun of Ipogun, and the Olubuji of Ibuji.
Though, the ceremony came just three days after the selection, sons and daughters of the town turned out in their large numbers to witness the ceremony even with the short notice singing and dancing while commending the new monarch with the slogan ‘Igba Otun De’ meaning This is Down of New Era for our community’.

In his welcome address, the Chairman of Igbara-Oke Development Council, Mr. Siji Ijogun, said the monarch had done a lot for the community in the last 10 years.
Ijogun said Adefarakanmi’s choice was in line with the popular saying that one’s previous performance and character is a major factor when considering somebody for chieftaincy title.

He noted therefore that the kingmakers and the entire community had made the right choice because the new monarch had touched many lives and that he will make the people to be happy.
The chairman said even within the short notice for the ceremony, four sons of Igbara-Oke were responsible for the money used for the celebration.

Speaking with THISDAY, one of the childhood friends of the new monarch, Col. Oluwole Apata, said the emergence of the Adefarakanmi, as the new monarch of the town, would attract more development to the town.
Apata who said Igbara-Oke was lagging behind in terms of infrastructural development, expressed optimism that the new monarch, who had been doing a lot for the community, would be spurred to do more for the people and the community.

Presenting the new monarch to the people, the head of the kingmakers commended the people of the town for giving them the opportunities to select an acceptable person as an Oba for the town.
Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, while presenting the staff of office to the new monarch, said approval of the memo on the selection of the monarch by the State Executive Council, was in line with the decision of the administration not to meddle in the selection of any Oba.

Mimiko, who was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Lasisi Oluboyo, said the endorsement of Adefarakanmi by eight out of nine kingmakers and the joyous atmosphere since his emergence, showed that his choice was acceptable to the people of the town.

The governor said the fact that the new monarch had been living among the people for more than a decade, would be an added advantage for the people and the community unlike the situation in some towns when somebody who had not been living among the people is just brought to become the king.
He cleared the government from the insinuation that the selection was based on the fact that the outgoing administration, which is winding up was desperate to install an Oba.

He expressed optimism that whatever is done right irrespective of any insinuation would stand the test of time even after the current administration leaves office. “It had been the practice of the current administration to accept whoever the people chose as their own monarch in line with the tradition. The selection of Oba is that of the people and not of the government. The people speak and the government accepts.

“Mimiko is a product of democracy and the rule of law. The people voted for him in 2007 and 2012 and now that the people had decided to look at the other side, which is what the people want. A town also gets an Oba when the people want one. So the approval of the Executive Council on the new monarch for Igbara-Oke, was based on the decision of the people to have an Oba at this time and it does not matter whether the governor is leaving office tomorrow,” Mimiko stated.

Speaking after receiving the staff of office, Oba Adefarakanmi thanked the state government for approving what the people wanted. The monarch said he would continue to work for the people of the community urging people to support him in the task of moving the community forward.
He assured the people that all those good things that had been lost would come back to the town. The monarch also assured the people that the incoming government would also be for the people urging them not to be apprehensive in any manner.

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