OLUBAKA AT 80: A TRIBUTE TO AN OUTSTANDING MONARCH AND ELDER STATESMAN
SIR (DR) FELIX ALE
Oka, Akoko, also known Oka town, the headquarters of Akoko south west local government area of Ondo state, remains one of the major towns in Yorubaland and in the south western Nigeria. The ancient community is situated on a plateau which tails off in extremely picturesque pattern of undulating hills which itself is an extension of the great kukuruku hills.
Oka is a contracted form of okarufe, meaning oka-ife and remains one of the largest towns in Ondo state and indeed one of the foremost communities in Yoruba land.
The fact that this ancient and historic community is under the prescribed authority of the Olubaka of Oka land, His royal majesty Oba (Dr) Yusuf Adebori Adeleye OON, who ascended the throne on the 16th April, 1988 is no news. Again, the well-known fact that Olubaka is one of the foremost and prominent traditional rulers in Ondo state and Nigeria at large is also no news. However, what is considered news in the inspiring story of this great community in recent time, is the historic celebration of the 80th birthday anniversary of Oka Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr) Yusuf Adebori Adeleye by the sons and daughters of the ancient community.
It was indeed a unique moment to appreciate the good and qualitative leadership of the royal father who has brought progress and development to his community since he ascended the throne. The occasion provided the entire sons and daughters of Oka both home and in diaspora to appreciate their royal father as well as sharing the joy of the moment with the great Monarch. Messages were sent and encomium came in from various nooks and crannies for the Olubaka who has been described as a royal father of class and symbol of excellence in royalty. I read so many beautiful congratulatory messages to our royal father on this auspicious occasion and I have listened to many inspiring comments on the embedded leadership qualities and rare attributes of the great man I’m so proud to call my Royal Father. Hence my decision at this point in time to pick up my pen to testify to the greatness and uniqueness of Oba Yusuf Adebori Adeleye as one of the finest in royalty in human history.
Before ascending the throne, Oba Adeleye had a brief sojourn in the Nigeria Police force as a senior police officer and later went into the judiciary where he left an indelible footprint. He served in various judicial division in Lagos state and at a stage, he was the chief magistrate of the very popular Tinubu Magistrate court in Lagos. And since he ascended the throne, the Oka monarch has not only carved a good identity for himself in Royalty, but he has been of great service to his subjects, both home and in diaspora through his outstanding contributions and enviable track record of achievements. He has also strategically positioned himself as a distinguished royal father and a spiritual moral force in the lives of his subjects.
The Oka monarch was once the chairman of Ondo state council of Obas and also the pioneer chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University (AAU) Akungba- Akoko. In these two positions, the royal father left behind enviable track records that will forever remain reference points in the history of the Sunshine State. Olubaka was also at one point or the other National Vice Chairman and member of the Federal Government Amirul Hajj delegation to Saudi Arabia.
There is no gain saying the fact that Oba Adebori Adeleye is the most educated and certificated Olubaka so far! He is also the most ranked in the modern public service categorization prior to mounting the stool among all the Olubaka in history.
With his endowed intellect, exposure and impeccable credentials, the First Class Oba has done a lot towards the promotion of peace and development in his domain and beyond. Since he mounted the respected stool of his illustrious forbears, he has been involved in the settlement of one crisis or the other. Many family wrangling, intra and inter-communities’ aggression, religious discord, chieftaincy crisis and even institutional challenges not to talk of land matters, to mention a few; all these crises were usually resolved by his royal majesty with the assistance of his chiefs and some of the most distinguished elders of the community. This is not peculiar to great people of Oka at home, but even amongst those who are in diaspora who trusted the judgement and well-informed interventions of the distinguished monarch. And in all of these roles and functions, Olubaka has never disappointed his people.
There is no greater benefit or wisdom a community can enjoy or learn than the virtues of a perfect royal father. The great people of Oka have so many reasons to be thankful for having Oba Adeleye as our King. He is indeed a great man and everything a community can ask for in royalty. Oka community has been touched by his goodness, and charismatic leadership. He is indeed a father who has taught us grounded principles and virtues.
Oba Adeleye loves his subjects with passion and will go to any level to fight their cause. The great Oka Monarch is also a blessing to the people of Ondo State and Nigeria at large. We are in a ‘’world of empiricism’’ where statements must be backed with unassailable facts. Hence at this juncture, I will recall with nostalgia and cite as an instance the unique and legendary role played by Olubaka to douse tension and restore the much-desired peace and sanity between the people of Ondo and Ekiti states during the trying moment of asset sharing following the creation of Ekiti state from old Ondo state.
Olubaka in his capacity as the Chairman of Ondo state council of Obas did his very best to assert his royal verdict through the cooperation and support of other royal fathers including the late Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Festus Adesanoye, the late Deji of Akure, Oba Adebobajo Adesida among others to restore sanity in a situation that could have been so notorious and complicated to handle by the military Governors of two states. As the then Government House Press Attaché in Ondo State, I was privy to the intervention and fundamental roles played by the State council of Obas under the leadership of Olubaka. I had several interviews with the very dynamic, intelligent and pragmatic Olubaka of Oka Land who never minced his words and assertion on the great essence of the creation of Ekiti state. This according to him was purely for administrative convenience, pointing out that the age long relationship between the great people of Ondo and Ekiti states remain unhindered. Olubaka remained consistent with his peaceful moves and clarion calls and he never relented on his consultation with the Ajero of Ijero, Oba Joseph Adebayo Adewole who was the pioneer chairman of Ekiti council of Obas, as well as late Elekole of Ikole, Oba Adetula Adeleye and the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Aladesanmi among others for a very peaceful and successful navigation over the impasse.
The role played by the Olubaka in his capacity as Chairman, Ondo Council of Obas during this critical moment in the history of Ondo and Ekiti states was not only applauded by the then military Administrator of Ondo state, Navy Captain Anthony Onyearugbulem of blessed memory, but all through his tenure in Ondo state, the very talented and brilliant military Administrator remained indebted to Olubaka whom he often times described as a distinguished man in royalty and one of the greatest men in history. On the eve of his departure from Ondo State, following his redeployment to Edo State as Military Administrator, Navy Captain Anthony Onyearubulem told Journalists at the Government House while responding to a question on his impression about the people of Ondo State that the Sunshine state is made of crop of intelligentsias who were of immense benefits and supports to the success of his administration. He said point blank that he can never forget so soon the fatherly role and support by members of Ondo State Council of Obas under the pragmatic leadership of Olubaka. The then eloquent Anthony Ibe Onyearugbulem described Olubaka as a royal father of Class and Pride to the traditional Institution in the black race.
Another Instance of Olubaka’s great virtues of which I was honored to witness was when the appointment of a promising indigene of Oka -Akoko was unjustly terminated by the then executive governor of Ondo state through a panel of judiciary. This unfortunate development was so painful to Olubaka and he immediately resulted into consultations with eminent personalities including the Governor himself on how to resolve the lingering crisis in order to recall this promising son of Oka back to service. As the chief press secretary overseeing the office of the State deputy Governor, Olubaka nearly turned my office into the extension of his palace with daily visitations from Oka in mapping out strategies on how this particular officer could be recalled back to the civil service.
When all efforts towards actualizing this appeared to be failing one year after the illegal suspension and persecution of this officer, Olubaka told me in my office ‘’Felix we must not relent on this issue, and I think the time is now for us to reinforce our consultations through the deputy Governor and the secretary to the state government ‘’ I immediately acted in line with the royal directive by arranging a meeting between our royal father and the then deputy Governor as well as the secretary to the state government respectively. The meetings started yielding positive results as it changed the narratives and signalled the beginning of the long journey to the resolution of the lingering issue. To cut the long story short, the particular officer who is a bonafide son of Okaland was finally recalled and reinstated back to his position in the civil service. May I also acknowledge that this particular officer later rose to the pinnacle of his civil service career as permanent secretary before his retirement few years ago.
Aside his numerous achievements, the resuscitation of society through the vehicle of history and culture is one task that oba Adeleye as a traditional ruler has also never shied away from, a task that he has uncompromisingly displayed his commitment through the annual Oka-day celebrations since he ascended the throne. Olubaka has said often times that, a people without definable culture and tradition have no identity. He has kept repackaging and rebranding the annual Oka day celebration to showcase the unique culture and identity of the ancient Oka community as well as to tell the success stories of the illustrious sons and daughters of Okaland. The Oka monarch has no doubt done a lot for the good of his people and for the radical transformation of his community.
Therefore on this unique occasion of kabiyesi’s birthday, may I humbly emphasise that the fearless and humbly personified Olubaka has been a symbol of royalty who has sacrificed so much for his community and whose love and passion for humanity knows no bound. From all indications, Olubaka remains an epitome of professionalism, competence, very loving and indeed a force to reckon with from his childhood days as a prince in Okaland. His life exudes leadership fascinations and has been a man of goodwill while his biography is such an endearing one, portraying a life of love and sacrifice.
The Oka monarch’s love for education speaks for itself and his selfless service to the people is absolutely an act of humanity devoid of any iota of religiosity and pretence. He is a class in royalty and dignity personified. Olubaka means the world to the great sons and daughters of Okaland and he will always be our greatest inspiration. He is indeed an accomplished man who showed by example the value of a life of service anchored on integrity, fear of God and love for others.
On this occasion of kabiyesi’s birthday, may I on behalf of my humble self, my family and the entire great people of Okaland felicitate most sincerely with our highly revered monarch for being a father in a million to all sons and daughters of Oka kingdom.
Your Royal Majesty, by your enviable track record of achievements and royal qualities, Oka people will continue to respect your crown and the wisdom in your new age.
May the weapon and blessings you need to continue to champion your cause be released to you as you clock this age, may peace continue to reign in your heart and domain. ‘’OGBO OOO OLUBAKA OYE, ABA OOOO”.
This piece is written by a Media Icon and Scholar Sir (Dr) Felix Ale.