At age three when his father died, he never knew he belonged to a ruling house. His mother also did not tell him until a day before her death. Oba Mobolaji Oludaisi Mosuro (Ramuja III), the Olomu of Omu, in Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State, speaks with Femi Ogbonnikan on his ascension to the throne, stating that he had on three occasions rejected traditional title offers because he was not interested in it, but that each time he tried, another offer would come his way. Like other previous offers, Oba Mosuro, who is an electrical engineer, says he initially rejected the Obaship offer, but that when the pressure from elders of his Ramuja Ruling House mounted, he had no choice than to seek the face of God to decide. The rest is history, he says
Tell us about your background
My name is Oba Mobolaji Oludaisi Mosuro. I became the Olomu of Omu-Ijebu, in Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State on May 9, 2005. I was born on May 26, 1946. I am a member of Ramuja Ruling House. I went to ZI Primary School, here in Omu. Subsequently, I went to Ijebu-Ode Grammar School, Ijebu – Ode, between 1960 and 1964. From there, I went to Ibadan Polytechnic (now called The Polytechnic, Ibadan). I spent two years there and obtained an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Electrical Engineering. I worked for two years with the Nigerian Electric Power Authority (NEPA), now Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Afterwards, I went to Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), Lagos, for the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Electrical Engineering. I finished in July 1970. Then, I went back to NEPA where I worked for nine years before I left to start my own business.
Did you ever think you would become king?
No! It is a funny question to ask. This is my personal house and anybody that comes here would probably think I was preparing for the obaship of this town, whereas it was not so. This house was completed in 1981 and I became the oba in 2005. All my life, I would say, may be, until three years before the last Oba died, I didn’t know that I belong to a ruling house, because my father died when I was three years old. There were lots of secrets that my mother had kept away from me and, I think, they were very advantageous to me. So, not until she was about to die, actually, it was a day before she died that she told me there were important things she wanted to tell me about my life which I never knew before. She now said I should not go back to Lagos, but that I should wait and hear the things she had to say. I said, okay, I would wait but I didn’t heed her advice and I went back to Lagos, until she died. So, I would say, that I didn’t have that at the back of my mind all my life.
How many ruling houses do you have in Omu?
We have two ruling houses. We have Ramuja and Adekiyere ruling houses. Each ruling house has some sections. Like the ruling house I hail from, in those days, you know, we had families, maybe, about five relatives, and each one would become a sub-ruling house within the family.
Were there opposition either from the other ruling house or yours during the selection process?
It is our own turn to rule, but maybe, the other ruling house felt they were the ones to rule. I would not dispute that, but what I know is that when the governor said, “This is the ruling house whose turn is to present a candidate,” they had no choice but to accept. It is my ruling house that presented me. I would not say there was no opposition to my emergence. Even taking part in the process had some struggle, because immediately the last oba died in February 2004, in that same month, people in my own ruling house, Ramuja, started signifying interest in the stool. I was not part of the initial jostle and I didn’t come in until October that same year. Definitely, by the time I came in, some thought that I was coming to hijack the thing from them.
From within your ruling house (Ramuja), did anybody contest the stool?
About four of us contested.
And the lot fell on you?
Yes. The case is still in Appeal Court. Everybody had a right to fight for what he or she thinks is his or her entitlement. So, we tried to resolve it at the lower level and I won. They went to the Appeal Court and the Appellate Court has yet to hear the case.
At the formative stage, did any of your wives object to your interest in becoming an Oba?
No. You know, the thing happened when I was almost 59 years old, before I was selected. But as of that time, I had two wives, but the one I would call my wife died in September 2004. So, the other one was not really in my house, but she is from this place. And she was happy about it (the selection). From my side, there was no objection. My family, my children and my wife, they didn’t oppose it. There was no anxiety. They all welcomed it. But for the children, though they were young, but some of them were very happy with the development, because I never portrayed myself as a member of a ruling house and I never used the title, Prince, like other people would.
Were you happy when the Obaship contest was tabled before you since you know the demands like living a regimented life, getting involved in various rituals?
Well, I would not say I was not worried. Because from all that I told you now, the race was on for eight months before I joined. I was not interested in it, initially, but it got to a stage when the elders of the ruling house insisted that I must contest. Right from the time the last Oba died, when other contestants were coming out, there was pressure on me to join the race, but I said no. And I had reasons for saying no. The thing is that, as a matter of fact, I didn’t agree until I sought God’s view. I had to seek God’s intervention. So, when the pressure was too much on me and, I had to go to the spiritual church, Cherubim and Seraphim (C&S) that I attended in Agege, Lagos. I informed the pastor when the issue came up, like I did in the past when they wanted me to be an Otunba. They also wanted me to be a chief twice and I declined each time they came up with these chieftaincy titles. The third time, I agreed. After praying and God said, ‘Ok, you can go and take it’. I am not God, but the spiritual man told me to accept it. So, the last appointment was for me to be the ‘Asiwaju’ of the town, and I had declined two offers before that. So, he said, ‘let me pray over it’. After three days of prayer, he told me that God said I should accept it, but that I would not be installed at the end of the day. So, I was not installed until I became the Oba. Oba Adegboyega Ogunrin was the one that gave me the title. As of the time he gave me the first title, when I accepted, my cousin, the first born of my elder brother who was working with me and whom I had trained to take over the business from me, fell sick. He was sick for almost one year and he died. Luckily, my elder brother is a friend to the Oba, then. So, he knew that I could not take up the offer. When I was recovering from the shock, my wife fell sick and she had stroke. She had cancer. I battled with the sickness for one year and everybody was aware. By the time the woman died, the oba too had fallen sick and he died. There was nothing I could do about it. Then, when the issue of Obaship came and I prayed over it, my church leader told me that he had seen a vision that God had been telling him for upward of 10 years that a traditional ruler (Oba Aiye) among us in the church would emerge and that he had prayed and prayed but that God had not revealed the person to him. So, when I came up with the title and presented it to him, he said, God said, you are the person; that he has reserved the stool for you. That those people that were struggling were just doing it in vain.” It was not until I joined the race that the then Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, called the ruling house to bring a candidate.
How has the town fared Since your ascension to the throne?
Well, you are not familiar with Omu, otherwise, I would have asked, from what you saw in 2005, what is the position now? I don’t praise myself. Whatever has happened is God’s work.
I didn’t create myself; it is God. So, what I can say is that the town has achieved a lot of things which I don’t want to personalise. We have achieved a lot of things, and our people are now coming home to build houses, which wasn’t so before I took over the stool. We have an annual event that we call ‘Omu Eleni Day’. We use that event to raise funds to do developmental projects, like town hall, post office, police station and so on. When I came in, I said we should have a palace, and it has developed to a stage and that palace is ready.
It only remains to be equipped and then we will start using it. I am not the one that donated the money, but I was part of it, contributing to the purse, but it was a collective responsibility.
I can’t say it was a personal achievement, but I think we have fared well.