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My post-coronation plans, by new Deji of Akure

INDEED, from the first three letters of all his names, nobody will successfully contest it that the new Deji of Akure, the Ondo State capital town, Oba Adebiyi Adegboye Adesida, has blue blood flowing in his veins.

Yes, naturally, being a prince of the Ojijigogun Ruling House in the ancient town, he looked pretty good to mount the throne of his father whenever destiny allowed him to, but he wouldn’t dare adorn his head with Deji’s beaded crown. The best he could do was to go for any choice embroidered cap. Today, all that is history as he is now ensconced on the throne with the crown resting fittingly on his head.

The foundation for his new status was solidly laid on June 10, when his predecessor Oludare Adesina Adepoju, lost the right to the beads and the crown of the esteemed stool. Adepoju had allegedly assaulted his wife, Olori Bolanle, publicly. Following a gale of condemnation and outrage by sections of the society who saw the action as an unpardonable taboo, he was deposed on June 10 by the government. Thereafter, he was banished to Owo, another community in the state, thus giving the kingmakers in the town a fresh job to do.

The processes of selecting a new monarch rolled off the ground as Oba Adesida got into the contest with some of his equally eligible brothers. Eventually, he carried the day, albeit, amid minor dusts. Thus, on August 12, he clinched his certificate from the state government amid jubilations.

Were residents of Akure to be there when this reporter had an encounter with Oba Adesida (Afunbiowo 11) in the week, they would jump for joy in celebration of the dawn of a new era as he beat his chest, assuring that he had brought a regime of peace, unity and prosperity into the town.

Radiating excitement, the monarch said of his choice: "My selection was ordained by God. It followed Akure traditional royalhood’s due procedures. With the deposition of the former Deji, Oludare Adesina Adepoju, the state government sent a letter through the Akure South Local Government to Ojijigogun Ruling House to select a candidate for the vacant stool."

He continued: "There was a meeting within the Ruling House comprising three lineages of Adesida, Faturoti and Aderosoye for the princes to contest for the position. There were seven contestants from Adesida Royal House - one from Faturoti and one from Arosoye. All the nine names were sent to the Akure South Local Government and consequently to the kingmakers who later conducted extensive interviews for all us. After consulting the Ifa oracle, there was a voting process. I was selected the new Deji of Akure after all traditional procedures. My name was forwarded to the state government as the new Akure’s monarch, hence my installation on August 12 buy Governor Olusegun Mimiko."

Responding to the minor rift that followed his selection, he said: "After my emergence, a few kingmakers kicked against it, but virtually all of them were in my support. In such a contest, we are bound to see one or two different opinions, but after my pronouncement by the state government, all the kingmakers came to my installation, an indication that the initial disagreement was all over; we are now one."

After his installation, he said he had been stretching a hand of fellowship to all, stating: "Immediately after my selection, four of my uncles (princes) who contested with me came and pledged their support to join me in moving Akure community forward. I made telephone calls to the contestant from Arosoye lineage, but effort to get through to my co-contestant from Faturoti Royal House, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, was unsuccessful because his line was inactive throughout."

Now, with the baton in his hands, what does he have in mind? This he explained: "I want to unite all kingmakers and over 56 traditional chiefs who are members of Deji-in-Council towards the development of the ancient community. I will summon a meeting of kingmakers to assure them that we are all one and pledge my commitment to ensure that I seek their advice on regular basis to move the community forward. That apart, I will endeavour to re-shape the bastardised tradition of Akure, partner with the state government to realise the vision of making Akure a true Millennium City like Washington DC, New York City and others. There is also the need to sensitise the people of Akure land as mandated by Governor Mimiko to ensure that the community becomes the envy of others across the country with all developmental programmes being embarked upon by the state government."

Assuring that he would not operate like a lone ranger, Oba Adesida hinted: "Messages have been sent to my brother Obas especially in Iju/Itagbolu, Ilara-Mokin, Ogbese, Oba-Ile and others that immediately I settle down, we will reconstitute the Akure North/South Traditional Council. We are going to foster unity among ourselves for the progress of our respective domains; we will have regular meetings preparatory to that of the state council of Obas to harmonise all issues of great importance. I have no doubt in my mind that all the conflicts within various communities in Akure South and North Local Governments experienced in the recent past, will become the thing of the past very soon," he added.

Crucial traditional rites, he said, commenced last Thursday. It will cover between six and eight weeks, according to the tradition of Akure land, after which he will relocate to the palace to begin another phase in his life.

Sounding passionate, he advised indigenes of the town, both home and foreign-based: "Akure people at home and abroad particularly youths and womenfolk should support me in a bid to develop the community. All efforts should be made to eradicate violence, thuggery and hooliganism in the area with the assistance of the state government, the Police and other security agencies. As peace is vital to progress and development, we will ensure that Akure and the entire state continue to enjoy peace."

Oba Adebiyi Adesida was born in 1950 to the royal family of Adesida royal family. He is a graduate of University of Ibadan, where he bagged a degree in Agricultural Economics and Masters in Agric Business and Management

Popularly called Biyi by most people in Akure, he started working as an Agricultural Credit Officer with the old Ondo State Agricultural Credit Corporation. He owns three thriving companies in Ibadan and is married to Dr. (Mrs.) Mojisola Adesida, a Director at Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI). They are blessed with four children.

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