Working with government to develop every town should be important to traditional rulers —Oba Agunsoye

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AgunsoyeThe Elegboro of Ijebu-Ijesa, Oba Moses Oluwafemi Agunsoye, Abikeyin Ekun Agunsoye II has finally mounted the throne of his forefathers after the demise of his predecessor in March this year. Soon after his rescheduled coronation on November 7, 2017, the engineer spoke with TUNDE BUSARI on his race to the throne and his vision for his town.

 

Some claim to have received prophecies that they would become traditional rulers later in life. Did you receive same or dream of becoming the Elegboro?

Naturally, our experiences must differ as different individuals. I cannot dispute any claim. I can only tell you that I neither received a prophecy nor dream of becoming the Elegboro. It was not on my mind. The closest I was with it was that my school mates in secondary school used to call me prince.

 

Which secondary school did you attend and where and when?

I attended the Ijebu-jesa Grammar School here in Ijebu-jesa between 1972 and 1976. That was where the name stuck because we knew one another well, especially where we came from.

 

How did you then emerge after the transition of your predecessor?

I emerged as the only candidate from my ruling house. Let me say with every sense of humility that it was a natural emergence. In Agunsoye ruling house, it was a rancor-free choice.

 

Why then was the coronation delayed after the Osun State government had accented your selection?

It was a challenge which I think we have overcome now.  What I think really caused the little matter was the issue of chieftaincy declaration.

 

What happened to it?

We don’t have it yet. That left the room for the use of discretion. But Agunsoye ruling house rose for the sake of fairness and equal opportunity for all ruling houses in the town. I should not go into details of the matter again because we have overcome it.

 

When actually were you installed?

I was installed on September 25, 2017. And the Osun State government issued a letter of appointment on September 27. The letter was issued through the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters. I entered Ipebi and performed all the necessary rites. The coronation was scheduled for the last Saturday on November 4 but it had to be moved. I have consigned all that happened to the dustbin of history. It is time now to move forward. That is why I said I did not want to go into details of who played what role. I am now the father of all. You were in the church and saw me offering prayer to God. That is why this town needs to start this new era. There is nothing I will do without first consulting God because to God belongs everything.

 

You must have commenced the process of bringing everybody together.

What else should I do than to look at the way to unite everybody? It is in unity we can achieve good results for the town. It is not a one-man show. It is our town’s assignment, which everybody, including non-indigenes must rise up to do. That is the situation now.My principle of life abhors desperation. Till I retired from the public service in January this year after 35 years in service, I was never desperate for anything. I would rather do what I should do, in terms of preparation, and do what is expected of me and leave the rest. The result was the height I attained before retirement came. If everybody approaches life this way, there won’t be much problem in this life. But human beings are created differently, so I should not expect everybody to approach life the same way.

 

You said you had retired this year. Can you let us into your career up till retirement?

After I graduated in 1981 from the Federal Polytechnic, Idah, in Mechanical Engineering, and my youth service scheme in Bauchi in 1982, I joined the employment of the Federal Ministry of Industry (Industrial Inspectorate Department). I worked in Benin, Lagos and Ibadan zonal offices till I retired.

 

How can you describe your career?

I must say that I enjoyed my career. Don’t forget I said I was not a desperate person. That was the principle that guided me throughout my career. I had no blemish for the 35 years. So, I can say that I had a beautiful career guided by God. That I retired and became the Elegboro sealed it as a divinely anointed career. It is not always so. It is an unusual story to retire and retire into the palace few months after. You can understand better what I meant when I say I was never a desperate person. I would not have had a hand in the arrangement leading to the development. It can only be the handiwork of God. It is the manifestation of my destiny to clock sixty, retire from public service and then become the traditional ruler months apart.

 

What do you think made your family rally round you as the sole candidate?

I should not lay claim to any credit now. I must rather show appreciation to my family for their belief in me and my capability to represent them on the throne.

 

I guess there was more than that. How close were you to them and the town during your career?

It is true that I was not far from home. As a matter of fact, there was hardly any weekend that I won’t come home for one event or the other. I was very close to home. I belonged to social and religious groups in the town. I contributed my own quota to the development of the town through those associations. Also, with due respect, for the past twenty years, I instituted a scholarship scheme, which enabled many indigent students to acquire education. I did this not because of an ambition. I did it because of the need to empower the youth because I always say it that only the empowered youths are true leaders of tomorrow. I don’t deceive myself calling every youth a future leader when I know the untrained ones cannot make it to leadership.

 

I saw the Olori and imagined how she would adjust to her new status. Don’t you see her missing her immediate past life?

There is no need for that. She is a trained nurse who is now retired too. Her career was about taking care of human beings. So, she is used to seeing and attending to people. Because of this, she would not have any problem in her new capacity as the Olori Elegboro. Our children are grown up. She is free now to take care of me and the palace.

 

What do you expect from the government?

The fact that I was always around in the town affords me the opportunity to know where exactly the shoe pinches us. Physical development of the town is of paramount importance to me and I am going to intensify effort to liaise with relevant authorities to also look to our direction.  There are bad roads and those that need drainages. There is no pipe borne water again as it used to be when we were growing up. Electricity problem too is there. These are some of the challenges we face in the town, which I am going to see how we can work with the government to fix. We have a games village here but has long been abandoned. The games village had been there since the days of the former Oyo State. That is, when Osun State had not been carved out of Oyo State. State government used to camp athletes here in preparation for sports competition. There are good structures there. I want the government to come and upgrade the place.

 

Having worked in bigger towns like Lagos, Ibadan and Benin City, won’t you be bored living here?

There is not going to be anything like boredom. Don’t forget that I was always here. Returning home permanently is about the love I have for my town and my people. If sitting here is what I need to improve the life of my people, I am happy to tell you that I am okay. To me, there is nothing compared to loving one’s town. I am going to use my presence at home to influence a good number of the sons and daughters of this town back home. That is the essence of putting me on the throne. I am here to bring the change the town needs and God willing, we shall achieve it.

 

How can you describe your predecessor?

My predecessor did his best in moving Ijebu-jesa forward from where he met it when he was installed in 1996. And that is what is most important in life. Everybody must contribute his or her quota to leave a place better than he or she met it. It is on record that my predecessor built a church in the palace.

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