olowo of owo clinches national waves - most outstanding monarch 2010, Speaks on his life & Owo Kingdom
This National WAVES Award Recipient, is a man with distinction. A distinguished personality, a progressive Traditional Ruler, an accomplished leader and technocrat, a scholar and distinguished Academics, a man of honour, unparalleled humility and a God fearing Monarch. Oba Olateru-Olagbegi is an accomplished lawyer after a decent education at Imade College, Owo, Poole College, Poole, Dorset and Holborne College of College of Law and Grays Inn, London. He obtain a Bachelor of Law (LL.B) in 1968 and began a Private Law Practice. He later became a Lecturer at the Nigerian Law School and Reader. In 1981 -1983, he was counsel for the then Vice-President Dr. Alex Ekwueme and in 1984 he became the principal Lecturer and Head of Dept, Litigation of the Nigerian Law School. Oba Olateru-Olagbegi rose to become the Lagos Acting Secretary, Nigerian Law school from where he was moved to the Nigerian Law School Bwari, as secretary and Director of Administration in 1995. Oba Olateru-Olagbegi's humility played out shortly after he ascended the throne of the Owo kingdom as the Olowo of Owo on the 21st of February 1999. His ascension was resisted with vehemence but his intellectual calm, discipline, bravery, determination and the fact that the people of Owo kingdom loved, paved the way for him. Since he ascended the throne, he has dedicated himself to the task of building the Owo kingdom. He demonstrated his commitment by constituting various committees to speed up the process of development . within a short period of his reign, Owo kingdom has witnessed increased economic activities. His Royal Majesty created the Owo Heritage and Development Council, by which effort, the ancient Palace of Owo was recently declared as a National Monument by the Federal Government.
Oba Olateru-Olagbegi, today holds not less than 12 positions, some of which are Chairman Ondo State Council of Obas, Chancellor University of Abuja, Former Chancellor University of Benin, Former President, Holborn College student Union, was a member of the National Political Reform Conference. He has six Awards and Honours to his Credit, they include Doctor of Laws (LL.D) Honoris Causa by the University of Benin, Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) Honoris Causa by the University of Abuja, Award of Excellence by NBA Akure Branch, Award of Excellence by NUJ, Ondo state Council and honoured by the International Who's Who of Intellectuals in 1997-1998. He has some publications to his credit. His Royal Majesty spoke with our South West Bureau Chief, TOLA BAKARE on Nigeria at 50 and some other pressing issue. Read On. How Akoko land was under the authority of Ogho Owo Kingdom up till 1930? His Royal majesty, Oba David Victor Falagbade Olateru-Olagbegi 111, the current Olowo of Owo kingdom in Owo local government area of Ondo state current chairman Ondo state council of Oba's instilled on February 21, 1999, Oba Olateru-Olagbegi is the son of that influential and celebrated, dignified father, Oba sir Olateru- Olagbegi 11, a Royal father in Nigeria generally acclaimed to have brought wealth and fame to the Owo kingdom in the 50's and 60's. Oba Victor Olateru Olagbegi is a highly educated professional holding a law degree born in Owo in June 26, 1941 he attended government primary school Owo, Imade College, Poole college, Poole, Dovset and Holborn college of and Grays Inn London where he bagged his Bachelor of Law degree in 1968 until his installation, the path to the throne of the revered ancient Owo kingdom was tortuous and strewn with rocks and storms. It was a mine field of intrigues and strife, trouble and turbulence often associated with important African Monarch. However, the darkest might finally ended in the brightest day on December, 11, 2003 with His Royal Majesty emerging Victorious. This was made possible by His Majesty's peaceful disposition. A professional lawyer licensed to practice law in the supreme court of Nigeria, was also a lecturer at the Nigeria law school counsel to vice- president chief Alex Ekwueme Nigerian law school principal lecturer and Head of department litigation, Director of administration and Secretary to the movement of Nigerian law school from Lagos to Abuja. Current chairman Ondo state council of Oba's chancellor University of Benin Deputy Director for Africa, International Biographical centre Cambridge England, former president, Holborn college student Union, one of the two student representatives of Grays lun on the council of Legal Edward in the United kingdom former General secretary. Nigerian Association of law Teachers Appointed member of the National Political Reform Conference Abuja in which His Majesty was Deputy chairman Committee on Traditional Institutions and culture and member Yoruba Tennis Club. In this interview with National Waves South West Bureau chief Prince Tola Bakare in his Palace,
Oba Olateru-Olagbegi like never before opened up on his life as a traditional Ruler and his dream for his kingdom, Ondo state and Nigeria.
Your majesty can you give a peep into your background before you became the traditional ruler of Owo Kingdom? I practice, counsel in the chambers of chief FRA Williams Q.C, (SAN) and a Doyen in the Nigerian Bar at the time. I was there right from the time, I was called in 12th of July 1969, and I started with him on the 14th of July in his chambers for about 5 or 6 years, then started as a lecturer at the Nigerian law school at Victoria Island. And I was there on 1st July 1975 until when I voluntarily retired from service in 1999 after I was nominated and appointed as the Olowo-elect to the throne the only time that I wasn't there was when I heard about two years stint with the presidency was when I was appointed as counsel to the then vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Sir, Alex Ekwueme. That was in 1981 to 1983 December.
How did you receive the news of your selection considerious how active your professional carrier was at that time? Well, I was happy to see that I was accepted and appointed as the Olowo-elect obviously, if you are a prince, and you appointed to come and become a king, you must be happy about it because behind the back of every Prince, they also want to be something higher I think it is natural. I believe it was just ordained by God and again, I think our people because of the importance of the institution of Olowo of Owo and because of the importance of Owo in Ondo state and in Nigeria it is an ancient community in Nigeria and the stood itself is ancient for instance let me give you the background history of Owo, Ogho (Owo) as oral tradition says came into being in the year 1019 A.D by Olowo Ojugbele.
Kabiyesi what is the relationship that exists between you the people and the traditional chiefs? Well I think we appreciate each other and we worked together as a team, they accept me whole heartedly they love me and I love them, they know that I am pursuing their interest hundred percent. They know that Owo kingdom is my life, I thank God, I am here and I thank God I am part of their struggle and sincere speaking it is now that am seeing my being here as the Olowo , as a divine call for me to come and do the work of my creator. Your majesty, you seem to have a lot of plans to make your domain more developed than it is presently. What are you doing to actualize the dream? We are doing our very best ,we have plans. I have a lot of people in this kingdom coming around to help me. A tree can not make a forest and I am happy that a lot of indigenes of owo kingdom that are coming forward to help. We have a lot of various committees on ground that are helping within a short period of my reign, the kingdom has witness increase economic activities which led to the establishment of three additional commercial banks in the kingdom and due to my progressive nature, I have created Owo heritage and development council for instance through the work of the council, the ancient palace of the Olowo has recently been declared as a National movement by the Federal government of Nigeria. We meet regularly with all the member of the various committee and we brainstorm towards rapid industrialization of Owo land since I ascended the throne, I have dedicated myself to the task of building the Owo kingdom. I have called for unity among my people for them to forget the past and close ranks and shame the forces of darkness disunity and backwardness. As part of my commitment to restore Owo to its glorious past, and guaranteed her future socio-economic development, I have constituted various standing committees such as Olowo's community economic council to fast track the process of driving development from within by mobilizing the people's communal strength their intellectual and entrepreneur resource, for infrastructural improvement and general socio-economic development.
Kabiyesi, as the custodian of culture and tradition in Owo land, how many traditional chiefs do you have in Owo and their quarters? There are so many traditional chiefs in Owo kingdom, because you know, Owo kingdom is an ancient kingdom because they started here about 1019A.D up to the present time and so we have so many traditional chieftaincies on ground, but for quarter chiefs we have various quarters; the Igboroko quarter, the quarter chief there is chief Ojumu of Igboroko and we have others in support and these are chiefs Sasere and chief Elerewe also in that quarter, they are traditional kingmakers and in Iloro, we have the Akawa of Iloro as the quarter chief of Iloro. In Ehin Ogbe we have chief Oshere as Ehin Ogbe quarter chiefs, but during the reign of Olowo Adedipe Elewuokun, he in fact crown his brother as an Oba in Ijebu. Owo so the Ojomo of Ijebu Owo is now the oba of for Ijebu Owo so, we don't call them quarters again, but a different community in Owo kingdom. Your majesty come October 1, Nigeria will be 50, as a traditional first class Oba what is your assessment of Nigeria at 50? Well, I think we have come a long way but I don't think we have reached the gold, but we are moving forward at a snail speed I think, not as fast as people will think. And I will continue to pray and hope that future leaders will take the job more seriously and make sure that this country is rapidly industrialized and that we should continue to move like other developed countries in the world.
What role do you want traditional rulers should play come 2011 election? Role toplay, well, traditional rulers should be the father of the people. And I would not want traditional rulers to be partisan but at the same time, I know in the past, they have been actively involved in the government of the people but quite some time now, we have being on an advisory roles playing advisory roles. And that is what we are looking forward to but you know we have a saying in Yoruba land that “Before a woman can know which husband is best when you have two, three husbands. You should be able to know which one is the best of all of them”. We have gone through parliamentary system of government, gone through the military system of government, we are presently going through the presidential system of government, I think people should begin to think which of these types of government is most suitable for the Nigerian Experience. I think the parliamentary system both the traditional institutions and all other people, were governing, together whereas now , I think the traditional institution have been put in abeyance or they have not been actively involve in the act of governance and the people themselves can judge to see whether that is Ok or not it is the people's decision.
Kabiyesi, what is the significance of Igogo festival in Owo land? Igogo festival is a festival Owo kingdom have it is an annual carnival by the people, it is like a celebration of Love, because the Igogo festival is a festival in memory of one of the past Olowo, that is the 9th Olowo Renrenjengen and he had a wife called Oronse, he loved the woman very well, but the wife deserted him after certain things happen in the palace here. And he wanted the Queen back, and unfortunately, the Queen refused to come back so it is in memory of that that the Igogo festival is being celebrated every year.
Well I observed that there is peace in Owoland? We thank God for the peace which we have being enjoying, and we pray that the peace will continue to reign in Owo kingdom, Ondo state and Nigeria as a whole.