Who Becomes the Next Ogbeni Oja?
In Ijebuland, the eldest political power and authority is the Awujale, whose words determine how tall a tree can grow and how far the winds can blow. This seat is held by no other than the exalted Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona. Along with being the ‘chief of chiefs’ and ultimate voice of authority, the Awujale also decides and installs such positions as the Ogbeni Oja, the highest one available for a son of the Ijebu soil, one that is second only to the Awujale himself.
Although the Ogbeni Oja seat has been vacant since 2015 when Chief Bayo Kuku – the previous Ogbeni Oja – died, there have never been more speculations as to who the next Ijebuland second-in-command will be than now. Admittedly, the bees are not buzzing without reason, and the Awujale is partly responsible for it, along with the recent installation of Chief Kessington Adebutu as the Odole Oodua.
The gist around is that with the commemoration of the 60th coronation anniversary of Oba Adetona just around the corner, the Awujale has signalled that the search for who will be the next Ogbeni Oja might be at its end. If it is true that the Awujale will install the new Ogbeni Oja before the coronation anniversary this year, then the four-year-old anticipation is on its last legs.
There is an even greater buzz about who the next Ogbeni Oja will be. The speculation basket is rich. Among the top contenders is Dr. Mike Ishola Agbolade Adenuga (GCON), Globacom boss and billionaire, who is also a member of the Awujale’s council of Otunbas and his royal court. In addition, Adenuga is a first cousin of the Ijebu king, is the Otunba Apesin of Ijebuland, and his company is known to sponsor the most prestigious Ijebu festival, the Ojude Oba.
Others include Chief Sulaiman Adebola Adegunwa OFR (aka Fototek), all-round boss and former chairman of Sterling Bank Plc, who is also a close friend of the Awujale. Along with Obafunke Otudeko, the founder and chairman of the Honeywell Group, and chairman of FBN Holdings, Dr. Sonny Kuku – the Olorogun of Ijebuland – is also a potential Ogbeni Oja.
These illustrious Ijebu sons and more have the spotlight set on them, and only time will single the true Ogbeni Oja out.