Isinkan is a community in Akure south local government area of Ondo State. It shares such proximity to Akure that visitors may not know that both are traditionally distinct entities.
Unlike most Yoruba towns that trace their history to Ile-Ife, the Isinkan oral tradition predates Oduduwa and Ile-Ife. The ruler of Isinkan bears the title of the “Iralepo of Isinkan.”
The 93rd Oba of Isinkan, Joseph Olu Ojo, joined his ancestors on the 2nd of February 2021. His demise at the ripe age of 90 paved the way for the commencement of selection processes of a new Monarch.
The final selection process on the 21st of October, 2021 was held at the Saint Thomas’ event centre in Isinkan. The processes were conducted with the officials of the Akure South Local Government led by the Secretary to the local government, Hon. Gbenga Fasua, acting as government representatives and observers in accordance with the state chiefs’ law on the selection of Obas.
The kingmakers carried out the selection exercise among the five contestants starting with the Ifa oracle and ending with the physical voting among the Uharefa.
At the end of the exercise, Prince Olugbenga Ojo scored seven votes, Gbenga Henry Adeyeye had four votes, and Michael Ajibola Obadunjoye scored one vote. The rest had no vote.
Prince Olugbenga Ojo was subsequently declared the Iralepo-elect.
Earlier before the contest, all the contestants had signed a memorandum of understanding and peace accord, shook hands, and promised to support the winner.
Even though one of the contestants later reneged, the Isinkan people stood firmly in support of the kingmakers.
In line with tradition, the installation rites commenced and was peacefully completed. The new Oba thereafter selected his reignal names as demanded by Isinkan tradition. He chose Oba Oluwagbemiga Ajimokunola Olofin-Adimula in diference to two of his royal ancestors who bore those names.
The new Iralepo of Isinkan, Oba Oluwagbemiga Olofin Adimula (Arulewolasi III) after completion of over 6,000 year-old traditional rites was crowned on Thursday 4th November, 2021 as the 94th Oba of Isinkan.
Immediately after he was crowned, the new Iralepo climbed “Okiti Omolore” to the admiration of residents and well wishers.
He thereafter entered the ancient palace for Iba ceremony which saw the Uharefa, other Chiefs, the Omowas and several notable people in the society taking turn to pay homage amidst the resounding chant of ‘Uyi!’.
On the 14th of July, 2022, the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN formally visited the Iralepo’s palace at Ita-Owa in Isinkan where he presented the Instrument of Appointment and Staff of Office to the the Monarch, amidst jubilation.
On this day, a year ago, the People of the community, residents and invited guests who were gaily dressed in various traditional attires and several uniforms, thronged out in their numbers, to celebrate the presentation of staff of office to their new King.
The historic event was well attended by sons and daughters of Isinkan, royal fathers, clergymen and top government functionaries, who were led by the executive governor of Ondo State, Arakurin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN, CON, represented by his Deputy, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
Other notable dignitaries at the event, were the Arole Odua, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, who was represented by the Agbolu of Ife, Oba Adekunle Adebowale and Oba Adeleke Adegbite Adedoyin II, the Owaale of Ikare, alongside many other monarchs, regents, high chiefs and associates.
While presenting the staff of office to the new King, the Governor, congratulated him on his ascension to the throne of his ancestors, after he was duly elected by the Kingmakers.
The Governor prayed for wisdom and understanding, for a successful reign.
“The selection process to fill the vacant stool of Iralepo started on 11th October, 2021 when the State Government acceded to the request of Isinkan Community through Akure South Local Government for approval to commence the process of appointing and installing a new Oba. As you know, the taw, custom and tradition of Isinkan provide for 14 kingmakers out of which 13 are alive, while one (Chief Lisa) is dead.”
“In line with the laid down procedure, the Iralepo Ruling House nominated and presented five candidates at the meeting of the kingmakers on 21st October, 2021. The kingmakers conducted the selection exercise among the five contestants and Prince Olugbenga Ojo got the highest votes and was thereby declared as the Iralepo-elect.”
“The selection and appointment was subsequently approved by the Ondo State Executive Council on 21st June, 2022 after confirming that the process which led to the emergence of Prince Olugbenga Ojo as the Iralepo-elect was in conformity with due process.”
“On this note, I wish to congratulate the Kabiyesi, His Royal Highness, Oba Olugbenga Ojo, the Iralepo of Isinkan on your ascension to the throne of your ancestors. I wish you many years of peaceful and successful reign over your people. I pray your reign shall usher in new development and progress for Isinkan Community.” The Governor said
The then Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state, Hon Akinwunmi Sowore in his remarks appreciated the transparent process that produced the new King, as monitored by the state government.
In his acceptance speech, Oba Oluwagbemiga Ajimokunola Olofin-Adimula (Arulewolasi III) appreciated the almighty God (Olusi Obarisa) and everyone including the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, the Deputy Governor, the Executive chairman of Akure south local government, Hon. Gbenga Olaniyi, top government functionaries, royal fathers, regents, high chiefs and the good people of Isinkan town for standing by him through the processes.
He pledged his commitment to the growth and development of Isinkan and her people.
“Today, the people of Isinkan bid farewell and perpetual goodbye to oppression.
Today, the people of Isinkan bid farewell and perpetual goodbye to affliction.
Today, the people of Isinkan bid farewell and perpetual goodbye to repression.
Joyously and gloriously, Isinkan people, we advance into our Canaan. Isinkan becomes the land of fertility, buoyant harvest, abundance, prosperity, peace, love, and progress for all our children, both at home and in the Diaspora.”
The Chief Imam of Akureland, Alhaji Abdulazeez Yayi-Akorede spoke glowingly about the King and the Isinkan community.
The Ooni of Ife, represented by the Agbolu of Ife, Oba Adekunle Adebowale and Oba Adeleke Adegbite Adedoyin II, the Owaale of Ikare thanked God in the life of the new monarch.
Former Special Adviser to the Ondo State Governor, Eng. Tunji Light Ariyomo was among other prominent sons and daughters of the community that witnessed the epoch event and expressed their joy and expectations.
The Elemo of Isinkan Kingdom, High Chief Olasehinde Abidakun, who played vital roles all through the processes that led to the emergence of the King, expressed conviction about the capacity of the new Royal Father.
It was a joyous occasion filled with pride, unity, and gratitude, by the good people of Isinkan community, as they took their turns to speak about the new King, among whom were members of ruling houses in the community, residents, market men and women and well wishers.
The colorful event was graced by an Igbo Cultural Troupe, as they identified with the King alongside the community’s known masquerades, with cultural displays.
One year on, as the people of Isinkan gather to commemorate the presentation of staff of office, they will look back and be joyous over the choice of Oba Olofin-Adimula as the Iralepo of Isinkan Kingdom.
Indeed, the 365 days of receiving staff of office, have witnessed impactful developments in the ancient town of Isinkan.
Iralepo has improved on the organizational structure of the community as several traditional Chieftaincy titles have been installed to ensure smooth running of the kingdom.
The newly installed chiefs include; the Olisa of Isinkan, High Chief Kayode Oluyi, the Asae of Isinkan, High Chief Ropo Ajayi, the Odofin of Isinkan, High Chief Oni Adu, the Asuda of Isinkan, Chief Olusanya Fatoki and Orunmobatan of Isinkan, Chief Oluwadare Ogunsuyi.
Others are; The Iyalode of Isinkan, Chief Mrs Ifedayo Ayodele, the Eyeleesare of Isinkan, Chief Mrs Funke Adenuga, the Iyaloja Isinkan phase one, Chief Mrs Veronica Bolarinwa, the Iyaloja Isinkan phase two, Chief Mrs Modupe Ogunjeebi and Iyaloja Iralepo market, Chief Mrs Titilayo Adesewa.
The Isinkan Monarch also installed Olus in his domain. They are; The Olu Aladodo, Olu Ayodeji Fatoki, the Olu Oke-Ilero, Olu Akinwumi Adekanbi-Obe and the Olu Kajola, Olu Olumuyiwa Akintola-Aguda.
In terms of infrastructural development, Ondo road corridor of Isinkan has metamorphosed as housing estates have sprung up there. The construction project of traditional market at Iralepo’s palace (Oja Oba) and health centre at Aladodo are nearing completion while the old and new places are equally receiving attention.
Above all, Oba Olofin-Adimula prioritizes peace and tranquillity as all provocative moves by his neighbours are being handled with utmost care and diplomacy.
As the years roll by, the people of isinkan should immerse themselves in the beauty of the community’s culture, as the community is rich in cultural heritage, which reflects vibrant traditions.
It’s time to indulge in delightful feast, savor the flavors, share the stories of joy in the last one year and strengthen the bond that unite them.
People across the length and breadth of Isinkan have been wishing Oba Oluwagbemiga Ajimokunola Olofin-Adimula a happy 1st anniversary.
Prince Kunle Ariyo is a Journalist and Great Grandson of Oba Onaowuro, Isinkan Kingdom