Connect with us





The Alayede of Ayede Ogbese in the Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Ajibola Oluyede

The Alayede of Ayede Ogbese in the Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Ajibola Oluyede, Iseoluwa II, speaks to OLADIMEJI RAMON about his journey from legal practice to the throne and the changes in his kingdom over the years

What kind of childhood did you live through? Were you groomed to become a king?

Well, in our culture, there is no guarantee that any particular child is going to become a king. They believe very strongly that God, Himself, chooses the king. So, there was no special treatment for any particular child. But usually, in the royal family, there is a lot of rules and regulations, regarding integrity, honesty, hard work, respect for elders. The royal family is supposed to epitomise the ethos of omoluabi. So, every child is, actually, in that sense, groomed to be a leader. But there is no special arrangment like in England where you already know a child who is going to be king or queen and you begin to take a special interest in that particular child. We don’t have that in Yoruba culture.

What kind of family were you born into?

My parents were academics. My father was a professor of law and my mother retired as principal of one of the top model secondary schools in Lagos. She had earlier taught me at the University of Ife Staff School before she obtained her BA in Education from the University of Ife. They both travelled abroad to study. And that was when they left me to grow up withmy grandfather, who was then king. So, I lived with my grandparents in my first six years (of life). And I keep referring to that period in my life as a grooming period. Really, I think it’s more of a period that gave me some level of commitment to my community. It made me love my community and made me want to participate in the development of that community, in whichever way I could, not necessarily as the king.

Were you the only child your parents left with your grandfather or were your siblings also left with him?

At that time, there were only two of us (children)– my younger brother, who is about a year and a half younger than me, and myself. I was left with my paternal grandparents while he was left with my maternal grandparents in Ikole Ekiti. I was in Akure and Ayede Ogbese with my paternal grandparents. But because he was in Ikole Ekiti and I was in Ayede Ogbese, my parents thought I needed someone to keep me company, so, one of my first cousins was also drafted in to be my playmate. His name is Ajibade Oluyede.

What year did you enter the University of Ife?

That was 1977.

Growing up with your grandfather, did he predict or suggest that you would one day also ascend the throne?

If he did, not to me. But I knew that I was kind of like his favourite grandchild; I got special treatment from him all the time. And I always returned to him as often as I could. My parents would take me back to him on his request. I would spend days, sometimes, just to keep that bond that was between us.

How long after he passed on did you ascend the throne?

It’s like a lifetime. I think he passed on in 1977 or 1978; I can’t quite remember. I think I was in secondary school at the time, Government College Ibadan, when he passed on.

You had a vibrant, successful practice as a lawyer; you lived in the city. Was it an easy decision for you leave your legal practice and the city to relocate to Ayede Ogbese to become a monarch?

As I was practising my law, I also had an interest in agriculture and I believe that came from my time with my grandfather. So, I love nature and going back to be close to nature, in that sense. For a long time, of course, I kind of abandoned my community while I was studying and in the early days of my practice. I really was not interested in going back; I was busy trying to build something outside there. But when my father became a king — my father was a king before me; he was a professor of Law…

Interesting, I didn’t know your father was a king too; I thought you are the second person in your family to ascend the throne after your grandfather.

No, there were about four other kings before me after my grandfather. When he passed on, his first son succeeded him. My dad is his third son.

It then means there is only one ruling house in Ayede Ogbese?

Yes, there is only one ruling house and that is the law, a government-gazetted White Paper on our  stool.

So, going back to your home town was not difficult?

Yes, because of my interest in nature, which is the foundation of my interest in agriculture. When my father was a king, I started visiting more often and then I started buying land because even though there are some family land, my father advised me that if I wanted to develop anything in town, I should just buy land. So, I started buying land. And I wasn’t even thinking of becoming a king then; I was just thinking of investing in and developing the community. I was already building a residence before I became a king. I finished the house before my coronation. So, that has made me very comfortable even here. With my family, we are just as comfortable as we can be anywhere else in the world.

What has become of your legal practice now that you’ve become a monarch?

People say I no longer practise as a lawyer but that’s because they have a very narrow view of legal practice. If you have listened to anything I’ve said in the past, you would have noticed that I am always trying to broaden the scope of law practice, to kind of get lawyers in Nigeria to understand that law practice is not just about going to court. Remember my view about the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigerian and all that nonsense. This was partly also because I believe Nigerian lawyers and the Nigerian populace do not understand that a lawyer’s role is 99 per cent more relevant outside the courtroom, than in the courtroom. Going to court is just about one per cent of the activities of a lawyer and you go to court only when things have broken down. I am a disciple of the theory that lawyers are mechanics and they keep society going, so it doesn’t break down. Now, litigation is when society breaks down, so you have to be repairing it. My belief it that it’s better for a lawyer to prevent a breakdown. The work of a lawyer, therefore, should be more focused on preventing a breakdown than trying to repair a breakdown. But unfortunately, in our own environment here,  people don’t really understand that a lawyer should be involved in everything — negotiating a contract, drawing up that contract, setting up the structure for the economy to function and so on.

Now, what I am doing in my home town will astound people. My law practice is also in my home town; I am employing lawyers in my home town. I am now building a new branch of my practice in my home town. We need lawyers to advise farmers on the various schemes that the government has put in place. They (the farmers) don’t know what to do; they don’t know how to access Anchor Borrower’s loan; they don’t know how to access agricultural loans; so, they need a lawyer to help them with this and to help them negotiate with the financial institutions, so they are not cheated. And lawyers get paid for all these jobs. So, a lawyer’s job is not just about going to court. So, when people say I am no longer practising, I look at them and laugh. Of course, I am still practising; I am still negotiating contracts; I am still advising clients. The only thing I don’t do now is that I don’t appear in court.

So, does this mean that you really don’t miss the courtroom  and the wearing of gown and wig?

No, I don’t miss it at all because if you look at my practice, you will see that I am a strategist when it comes to litigation. I use the court more for leverage than for solution because I believe very strongly that our judicial system is very imperfect. I believe that the personnel that man the judicial system are not competent enough for their role. They are not trained well enough; the people that are usually chosen to go to the bench as judges are not the best in the profession, as we have it in other countries, where it is the crème de la crème among the lawyers that are appointed to be judges. In Nigeria, it is the ones that have failed in practice, who don’t know what to do and are just looking for a way out, that end up on the bench as judges. Of course, there are some good people there, but 80 per cent of the judges are not meant to be on the bench. They are not competent enough, in my view. So, the way I see litigation, therefore, is more for leverage than for solution, because there is no solution when a judge does not understand the structure of society. So, you see many of my cases don’t go to the Supreme Court.

You mentioned that you have a legal practice in Ayede Ogbese now and you have lawyers advising farmers. Are these farmers able to pay for the services of lawyers?

They don’t have to pay. In America, the reason  people have access to good lawyers is because most of the time, they don’t have to pay because the lawyers have developed what they call entrepreneurship; they are entrepreneur lawyers. They get contingency fee; that is, they get paid when they are successful. If I am advising a farmer on how to raise N250m and I tell him, ‘Yes, I will advise you and help you to get this money and you will pay me three or five per cent or even 10 per cent as my fee’; he will be more willing because he knows he is not going to pay until he sees the money. So, I even make more money as a lawyer than if I were to bill him N1m he cannot afford to pay me. So, that is the way to go for relevance.

Can you give us a glimpse into what your coronation rites were like?

The state law relating to our stool requires that interested male members of the Oluyede family  should submit their applications to their family. The family has a kind of corporate meeting to which you submit your application. At that meeting, you can be disqualified by the family. But in my case, all of us who applied were allowed by the family to proceed to the next stage. That next stage involves the kingmakers, who come together to consider the applications. Their job is to go and do whatever spiritual thing they do, that reveals to them whom God has chosen. In the old traditional system, they consulted Ifa, which then tells them. But these days, because our family is Christian, we have jettisoned all the fetish, old system; now we encourage the kingmakers to consult with religious leaders, Christian leaders. That is what we encourage them to do, to seek spiritual advice and through that get to know the mind of God. When they come back and say this is the person they believe God has chosen, then that person is presented to the populace to see if the populace will revolt because you may find a candidate that Ifa, in those days, or God, now, has chosen and the people may say they don’t want. So, the people can be in conflict with God but often God will win.

In my case, there was no impediment at all. Once the kingmakers decided it was me, it then went to the local  government, the state government and they did their findings and decided whether one has a criminal record and so on. If there is no objection, they then approve and confirm and the government, at the coronation, presents you with your letter of appointment and staff of office.

So, in your coronation, there was no process that involved some traditional spiritual rites?

As I told you, my father was a very strong Christian, even though Aglican. So, by the time he became a king — he was king for five years before he passed — he changed a lot of things. In fact, he appointed two of the three high chiefs and he appointed very young people who are Christians. So, things had already changed before my turn. So, there were no fetish processes. In any case, if there were, they would dare not bring them to me because they already know my stance. They knew that I was a pastor and there was no way I was going to paricipate in anything that is contrary to my belief in Jesus Christ.

If Ayede Ogbese kingmakers now consult Christian leaders, rather than Ifa, to choose the king, does that mean that the Ayede Ogbese stool is no longer a traditional stool?

It is still a traditional stool. I had a little bit of this debate when I was talking to the Ooni at some point and he said to me: ‘What is the relevance of Christianity to the Yoruba institution?’ At that time when I was about to be installed, I consulted with him; I have known him for years. At one point, jokingly though, he said he knew I was going to have a Christian coronation; he doesn’t understand what Christianity has to do with the Yoruba traditional institution. I told him it’s because most of us don’t know the history of the Yoruba properly. If we know the history of the Yoruba and we all believe that Oduduwa is our progenitor; then we will understand that, in fact, our culture is Christianity because Oduduwa was a Coptic Christian and the reason he left Egypt was because the Moslems were coming to take over Egypt at a time. So, he escaped from Egypt. The genealogists who had followed parts of his journey to Ife, which is called the cradle of the Yoruba race, claimed in their own findings that wherever he stayed, they found the symbol of Christianity, like the cross, there. And Oduduwa stopped in many places; he stopped in Nupe; he stopped in Bwari and that is why the culture of the Bwari is very similar to that of the Yoruba. So, if you know all these, you will see that Christianity is not strange (to the Yoruba).

When he got to Ife, there were already people in Ife, who were worshipping other gods. I think everybody, all historians, agree on that. Those people were called Ugbo and that is the basis of the theory that the Olugbo of Ugbo in the Ilaje area should have been the Ooni of Ife because the Ooni of Ife was actually a chief priest; he was not an Oba; he was the chief priest of their religion, which Oduduwa met them with and he didn’t impose his Christianity on them.

If you look at the so-called Yoruba gods; they were all human beings — Sango, Ogun, Oya. They were all human beings, who just achieved something significant and then people decided to worship them. So, I don’t see any conflict between Christianity and the Yoruba traditional institution, at all. If anything, I think Christianity articulates our thoughts as Yoruba, more efficiently than any other religious structure.

How do you relate with traditional worshippers in your kingdom being a Christian Oba?

Very well. They come to me but everybody knows my stand; I made that clear from the beginning even before I became the king. In our kingdom, there is a river called Ogbe. In fact, the headquarters of our kingdom, Ayede Ogbese, was named after that river. Ayede Ogbese means people have come to Ogbese river. People believe that river has spiritual powers. People come from all over the country to bathe and so on, for healing and so on and it has its priests and priestesses that attend to people. People asked me: This river that we have been worshipping for centuries, are you going to stop the worship? And I said I am not setting out to stop the worship of the river, per se. Of course, I would do my best to persuade those who are worshipping a river, to stop worshipping a river because the river should be serving them and not them serving the river, because they turned God’s creation upside-down when they worship what God has given them to have dominion over. But it is not by force; I can’t force anyone to stop that; I can only remonstrate with them; talk to them and pray for them and hope that God opens their eyes. But I am not going to participate in it.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


“I Was Homeless At Some Point” – Hilda Baci Opens Up On Past Struggles



Hilda Baci

Nigerian chef, Hilda Baci who gained popularity following her 100 hours of marathon cooking to surpass the previous Guinness World record set by an Indian chef, Lata Tondon, in 2019 for the longest time spent by an individual on cooking has opened up about past struggles in her life.

Speaking during a recent TV interview, the 27-year-old chef narrated that things had not always been smooth for her but she hopes her story motivates other people not to give up.

According to her, at a point in time, she was homeless but she didn’t give up.

Baci narrated further that though she has achieved some things right now, she is not stopping or resting on her oars.

“A lot of people see this buzz now, and most of them think I dropped from the sky. They don’t know I was homeless at some point. There’s an entire phase and journey that got me here, and I’m not even done.

“This is still part of a journey. I’m still on a path, and I’m still going. It’s not always going to be rosy. It’s not always going to be easy. But we need more examples like this so people can say, ‘Hilda did it, so I can do it as well,” she said during a recent interview with TVC.

Continue Reading


Hilda Baci Spends N1.1m On Lunch With Friends




Cook-a-thon record breaker, Hilda Effiong-Bassey, popularly called Hilda Baci has spent over N1.1m on a lunch date with her friends.

Baci’s friend, in a video clip reposted by Instablog9ja, was heard saying after church service on Sunday, they all visited a restaurant for lunch.

She explained that after placing their orders, the bill was N1.1m, adding that Baci paid the money.

“Happy Sunday guys, so today, we went to church to thank God for a successful Cook-a-thon. After service, we decided to stop by for brunch, you guys, we ordered the world, and when our bills came in, it was N1.1m, we were like what did we order? But no worries because we were with the world record breaker, so she paid the bill,” Baci’s friend said.

In the video clip, Baci was seen in the company of her friends at the restaurant. The receipt was also displayed in the video clip.

The PUNCH had reported that Baci, at the outset of the marathon cooking streamed on Instagram and YouTube, her goal was to outclass the Indian record holder, who cooked for 87 hours and 45 minutes in 2019, by achieving a non-stop cooking target of 96 hours.

However, with sheer determination and a boisterous crowd including celebrities cheering her up as she engaged in the cooking, Baci, after clinching the 96-hour target, went on to set a new global record of non-stop cooking for 100 hours.

Notable government officials including the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd); Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, President-elect, Bola Tinubu, presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi respectively, and the governors of Lagos and Akwa-Ibom states, Sanwo-Olu and Udom Emmanuel, among others have congratulated the chef on the new feat.

Continue Reading


Japa: 128,770 Nigerian Students Move To UK In Seven Years



Nigerians at the Airport

In search of better education and quality of life, a total of 128,770 Nigerian students enrolled in universities in the United Kingdom between 2015 to the end of 2022, analysis of the data obtained from the Higher Education Statistics Agency of the UK has revealed.

The number of Nigerian students has continued to grow over the years, as Nigerians try to escape the horrors of bad governance, and the disruption of academic activities by tertiary-institutions-based unions such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, among others.

In the 2015/2016 academic year, statistics indicate that 16,100 Nigerians were enrolled in UK universities.

During the 2016/2017 session, there was a sharp decline as only 12,655 Nigerians were enrolled, with experts blaming the recession back home in Nigeria for the drop.

In 2017/2018, the number of enrolled Nigerians reduced to 10,685 while it rose marginally to 10,810 during the 2018/2019 academic session.

A total of 13,020 students were enrolled during the 2019/2020 academic session while 21,305 were enrolled during the 2020/2021 session representing a 64 per cent increase.

The latest data available by HESA revealed that 44,195 students were enrolled for the 2021/2022 session, the highest so far since Nigeria’s independence in 1960.

A breakdown of the HESA statistics shows that in the top 10 international students list, Nigeria ranked third behind China and India.

 The PUNCH reports that foreign tertiary institutions and their respective countries have continued to benefit from the migration of Nigerian students to oversea institutions.

For instance, in 2021, Nigerian students and their dependants in the United Kingdom contributed an estimated £1.9bn to the economy of the UK, according to a report by SBM Intelligence.

An education activist and Programme Director, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, who had spoken to our correspondent earlier, listed poor government policies as one of the reasons Nigerians seek better opportunities abroad.

Meanwhile, The United Kingdom is set to announce new restrictions that will most likely stop Nigerian students and other nationalities studying in the UK from bringing their families over.

According to an exclusive report by The Sun UK, this crackdown will be announced this week.

Continue Reading


Copyright © Estreet On TV 2023