Prof. Ojikutu’s Energy Should Be Channeled Towards Developing Isheri And Not Wrestling The Unity Of Awori – Azeem Salako
The enthronement of the new Olofin of Isheri, HRM OBA Sulaiman Bamgbade has been feasted with admiration, delights and enthusiasm not only from the people of Isheri but the entire Awori nation. His installation ceremony was well attended by the Awori monarchs a mark that is symptomatic to the renewed unity among the distinguished Royal heads and by extension the entire Awori community.
The installation ceremony cum presentation of staff of office formally introduced the traditional authority of Isheri Kingdom to the entire world, his crown without any doubt fits and befits him but the crowning achievement on that day was Oba Bamgbade’s smash hit.
He had faced the entire crowd and declared before all of them that his reign will neither entertain nor renew any supremacy battle that has for long plunged the Aworis especially and particularly those decreed under Ogun state into an avoidable reign of confusion, rancor and disunity. Perhaps as a computer scientist and ex- soldier that I read Kabiesi Bamgbade is, he must have observed howbeit poignantly the manifestations of disunity and how in our own peculiar mess has implicated the development and growth of the Awori nation.
That genial, unwarlike and audacious declaration of Kabiesi symbolizes three things. Firstly it introduces to us a newly installed traditional ruler with the grasp of the intricacies of what I have always termed the “Awori albatross”. Secondly it reassures that the bellicosity that plagued the relations among Ogun Awori Obas has indeed and in truth gone forever. Thirdly that Kabiesi is convinced and committed to the continued effort on fostering peace, discountenancing solitariness, and forging unity among the Awori Obas and the entire people of Awori land – home and abroad.
This crowning stroke gives hope, opportunities and a welcoming hand to development partners from all sides to join hand, create opportunities, build synergy and share ideas with Kabiesi Oba Bamgbade, the Olofin of Isheri Kingdom to deliver on the herculean task before him and transform Isheri kingdom in all the areas begging for urgent attention.
Nonetheless I am scared if Kabiesi was aware, or can control some of his subjects who are inured with belligerency, petty politics and anarchy. These are people who under whatever guise are avowed to reincarnate his own objection.
I have not put Professor Rasheed Ojikutu into this category of people. Here I have decided to raise an observation albeit a cautioning note which must be visited or revisited depending on the pendulum. As a professor, and opinion leader who command respect in the community and one whose opinion notwithstanding its fallibility has far-reaching effect on affective minds, Professor Rasheed Ojikutu with all due respect must be circumspect in his actions and inactions on matters enchanted with the propensity to reinstate avoidable conflict, and crisis amongst and particularly the Ogun Aworis.
At the threshold of Oba Bamigbade’s reigning as Olofin of Isheri land, expectations were high in that gigantic human resources like Professor Ojikutu at his disposal would be useful to create opportunities, strengthen advocacy, and build synergy for the progress and betterment of Isheri Kingdom. The unexpected include reinvigorating and lumping the kingdom into a supremacist tussle, promoting discords through surreptitious antics, structuring acrimony, and raising controversy, all of which would nonetheless worsen the underdevelopment of the town. Needless to start regurgitating the conspicuous economic, political, and social crisis that has entrapped the town. They have been highlighted although epiphenomenally by Professor Ojikutu himself.
In his Guardian publication, titled “Oba Bamgbade, Gov Abiodun and Awori nation” dated 03 October 2021. The respected professor, thought that he would use the medium and outreach to seriously and maximally press, stress and stretch on the apogee of developmental crisis the Isheri land has been plunged into, rather he unnecessarily raised warring equivocations that ordinarily ought to have been responded, feared that it might overwhelm the new and peaceful king, and would amount to a resurrection of an era of belligerence, media war, and confrontations amongst the Awori townships.
Firstly he charged that Oba Bamgbade should push for and lead the crusade for the Council of Awori traditional Rulers in Ogun State, continuing that it is time to work beyond the rhetoric, for the Awori as a people deserve a better deal.
This statement was least expected of the erudite professor who by his calling as a statistician should understand and thus be conscious of the importance of precision, polemics of ambiguity, and the danger of fatal error in any endeavor towards making a statistical sense. The statement with due respect either reeled out the ignorance of professor Ojikutu on the innumerable efforts the distinguished Obas in Awori Ogun state has committed to the advocacy and quest for a traditional council for the Aworis in Ogun state, or that he was deliberately mischievous therefore ignore, downplay, and discredit the taxing task they have contributed and continue to, long before the enthronement of the new Olofin of Isheri Kingdom. That he included in his missive that the leadership of Oba Bamigbade will work beyond rhetoric was a highly disrespectful statement that systematically nullifies the huge efforts of other Obas, thereby reduced their labor and pains to emptiness, banality and worthlessness.
Another disturbing and tormenting controversy he raised was his highfalutin pronouncement of Oba Bamigbade, Olofin of Isheri as the Principal and Apex paramount ruler of Awori land, Ogun state. To quote him verbatim. He wrote that :“His domain stretches from the boundary of Okun-Ibeju through Eti-Osa and Lekki Peninsular, Victoria Island, Lagos Island to Badagry, Ikorodu (OkoOdu) and a fractional part of Ogun State including, Ota Igbesa and so on. This is the unique advantage that makes Prince Sulaiman Bamgbade the “Arole Olofin”, the Adimula and consequently the apex and principal paramount ruler of Aworiland.”
It is displeasing knowing that Professor Ojikutu was aware of the rancor, altercation and media turmoil the paramountcy crisis caused in the past, including the immense effort that led to the amicable and due process which all Obas had abdicated to. Still, he has knowingly or unknowingly opened a toxic environment for vitriols to resurge amongst the Aworis.
Rather indifferent to the mythologies the said publication raised about the provenance and root of the place called “Isheri” which was in far contradiction to the controversial account in the commonplace. It is even settled that the condition for paramountcy which necessitated this desperation far went beyond history however bandied. But I hope we do not reopen this convulsive conversation. It has ostensibly been laid to rest.
Conclusively whatever the interest of Professor Ojikutu is, the impregnable unity of Awori and the progress and development of its towns should be at his utmost core. Provided he is not committed to a Pan Aworism, it should be within his possibility to concentrate on the development of Isheri Awori kingdom.
In the closing, pathetic to know that such a lofty opportunity to concentrate and express the griefs and grievances, the marginalization and abandonment of the Isheri people was used to wrestle a battle that its consequence can only be left imagined. The energy in future should focus on ideas that will emancipate the kingdom from its evils. The respected and peaceful Olofin of Isheri should be wary of pitfalls. As the popular saying goes; anywhere, Awori is ONE.
Azeem Oladimeji Salako is a political scientist, and director at Caso Metropolitan College, Ibadan.