His Royal Majesty, Oba Akeem Olusayo Ogungbangbe, is marking the second anniversary of his accession to the throne of his forefathers as the Owaloko of Iloko-Ijesa.
The coronation was a top-notch ceremony that reflected his majesty. Two years after the vibrant coronation, the recollections of the occasion are still holding us captive and keeping our imaginations fresh.
On the day he left Ipebi for his coronation, I had the honor of meeting his Royal Majesty. He exited the building and warmly greeted each person who was waiting for him under the tent.
He was composed, kind, modest, and accommodative. I was complimenting the king for these exceptional qualities when a buddy cut me off, saying he was not surprised because candidates for positions present themselves as calm, once they secure such positions, they transform and get worse.
Though I was weak, I swiftly disproved his theory and prayed in secret to counter it. If you know me and I haven’t told you about how much I love Kabiesi, then we’re either not friends or not really close.
I have diligently observed his Royal Majesty for 730 days and kept tabs on his public appearances. Whenever I have the opportunity to go to his palace, I carefully observe every little detail. When I saw him at official events, I would go into hiding and keep an eye on him from a distance while also praying that he wouldn’t fall into the hands of his enemies. Actually, having power does not transform a person; rather, it shows the true nature and identity of the person using it. For the past two years, his majesty has brought his town and its residents pure, unadulterated delight.
Before ascending to the throne, Oba Ogungbangbe had experience with wealth and royalty. His majesty would look you in the face and tell you that he is pretty lucky and has enjoyed money and opulence since birth, whereas many people in positions of authority make up stories about their upbringing to appear determined or gain easy points. He does not find wealth weird either. He was born and nurtured by a father who valued each person’s dignity, faith, and education. One of his sisters had earlier said that he was a special child who received special treatment from our father since he was aware that he would grow up to be a king.
Royalty cannot, in fact, be purchased. You cannot act like a royal if you were not born one. Even if you give a pig a crown, the starchiest agbada, Gucci shoes on its feet, a staff, and a horsetail, it will still be a pig and not a king. We can only give staff of office to kings; they cannot be given character. You can see class, royalty, and humility in his majesty, Oba Akeem Olusayo Ogungbangbe.
The tale of how he was long denied the right to the kingdom is well known. He received eleven (11) votes out of the votes cast by 13 of the 15 kingmakers, which were made up of kingmakers, warrant chiefs, and other respectable members of the royal class. In a free, honest, trustworthy, and open election, he defeated six other candidates. Even though he won in a free and fair competition, he was denied the privilege to occupy his forefathers’ crown for six years by some strong forces.
Though intimidated, he maintained his composure. If he had not been a wealthy child, one could have assumed that he was firm because of the privileges associated with the stool. What kind of financial benefits did the stool come with that he hadn’t gotten more of in his private practice? He merely wanted to serve the public and represent a new Iloko.-Ijesa.
Despite his struggles, he stopped burying hatred and division. Oba Ogungbangbe brought the town together by his words and deeds, in contrast to others who would go to the homes of rivals and accompany natives to throw stones at their roofs. When he emerged, I went over to him and asked for an interview. I wanted to publicize his inspirational narrative and let people know that he was a king-elect who had to wait six years to be anointed. He graciously turned down my plea.
“I am the new king.” I don’t have any foes. There are just those who disagree with me, but it does not make us adversaries. Without peace, progress is impossible. I’m not going to agree to this interview, and please don’t ask me about what happened during the six years I waited. I had let go of the memory of the six years of miscommunication between me and my brothers before I ascended to the throne of our forefathers. Oba Olusayo Akeem Ogungbangbe stated, “Greater Iloko-Ijesa is my top priority, and I cannot accomplish it on my own.”
Have you been to Owaloko’s palace in Iloko-Ijesa? I refer to it as the “palace of commoners.” There isn’t a native who doesn’t have access to the palace despite the architecture and sophisticated taste in ornamentation. The king’s current relationships with his subjects are quite shocking and astonishing, and I’ve been to the palace multiple times. Even though he is wealthy, Oba Ogungbangbe drives himself around town and occasionally goes for a night or daytime walk with his subjects.
Oba Olusayo Akeem Ogungbangbe has continued to steer the town’s ship, advancing its course to greatness by advocating for meaningful contributions to the town by notable sons and daughters of others. These contributions range from scholarship programs for the underprivileged and poor to access to quality employment, systemic empowerment programs for women and young people, and advancing the course of traditions – practice of Iloko-Ijesa forefathers.
“At public events, we exclusively use our cameras to take photos. I have no desire to draw attention to our significant contributions to humanity. Every human being deserves to have their dignity respected. When I give, it’s not so that I can get credit or likes on social media. I do it for mankind. In fact, I particularly request that those who God has used me for be silent about it. Oba Akeem Olusayo Ogungbangbe informed this writer, “Giving is what I inherited from my father, and I will continue to do so without making noise.”
Despite the fact that Iloko-Ijesa is not a city, it boasts an appreciable road system. You won’t find any sheep or goats wandering aimlessly around. It is a clean environment. The aged in Iloko-Ijesa are not forgotten by the young people, notwithstanding how tough it is to age in Nigeria. Ask any Iloko-Ijesa native why goats are kept in farms and not allowed to roam aimlessly, and they’ll tell you that goats don’t deserve to eat up profits from the farms that our elders worked so hard to cultivate. The town of Iloko-Ijesa values the future of its children and does not discard its senior citizens. They do live longer because of their peace of mind.
As Oba Olusayo Akeem Ogungbangbe marks his two-year anniversary, I wish the devout monarch additional fortitude and inspiration to lead Iloko-Ijesa into greater prosperity. I am glad for the noble people of Iloko-Ijesa that God answered your prayers.
Sodiq Lawal Chocomilo writes from Osogbo, the capital of Osun State