The selection of the Olowo of Owo, Ondo State appears to be tearing apart the royal houses. In this interview with Correspondent Damisi Ojo in Akure, the state capital, a contestant, Prince Olanrewaju Ogunoye, sues for peace and urges kingmakers to follow the tradition and other laid down rules.
Why do you want to be the next Olowo of Owo?
My eligibility to the throne of Olowo in the ancient city, Owo flows from being a direct descendant of Ogwa Elewuokun family tree from which my lineage Ogunoye emanated. My interest in the Olowo’s stool will be to promote the legitimate expectations, goodness and welfare of the vast majority of the good people of Owo kingdom both within and the diaspora. In addition the sustenance of the legacies of Ogunoye family lineage in the critical area of development, spirit of harnessing the full potentials and cooperation of Owo citizens is imperative. The necessity to build upon the present level of development for me is an article of faith and a patriotic desire to serve in an uncompromised covenant.
Are you really qualified for the throne.Give us your background?
I am Prince Olanrewaju Adelotan Ogunoye, born in the year 1947 to Prince Moses Adelotan Ogunoye and Madam Folake Ogunoye (Nee Olutoge). I had my Primary School at CAC Primary School, Igboroko, Owo, LA Modern School, Owo, before proceeding to Methodist High School, Owo. I had my B.Sc in Food Science and Technology from Alabama A&M University, Huntsville Alabama and MBA in Accounting and Taxation from University of North Texas, Denton Texas.
With your brief background, do you think you have required impetus to become Olowo?
The revered and highly cherished throne of Olowo within Ondo State and Nigeria is essentially a very serious responsibility. Aside age and experience of life, I have the intellectual abilities, competence and capacity to comprehend, intercepts, analyze and conceptualize issues from different perspectives on the basis of rationality. For me it is about leveraging on my local and international exposure to navigate the basis and fundamental issues as they emerge, yet in full consciousness of the responsibility. It is all about the people.
Why did you think you are above other princes of the Elewuokun Ruling House in the royal contest?
I will admit with all sense of responsibility and humility as well as my pedigree that I am well qualified and equipped for the task and the challenges ahead. I differ from others due to my innate ability to see the larger picture tenacity of purpose, the strive for excellence, absorptive capacity, respect for others, astounding simplicity, conscious of the overwhelming desire to cooperate with people and discharge my duties within the context of our custom and traditional values at all times and circumstances. All these and more in purposeful leadership within the framework of exemplary excellence.
How will you reconcile with other princes if you eventually emerge Olowo-elect?
It is all about making oneself the ruler, father of all for the survival of the prestigious throne of Olowo. In the event of being given the opportunity to ascend the throne through the instrumentality of the culturally institutionalised authority of the kingmakers and the inconceivable grace and the love of the Almighty, the process of recommendation becomes inevitable. In the circumstances, the full involvement of our revered kingmakers, stakeholders, contestants, quarter chiefs as well as other prominent citizens will be harnessed in the fullest. It is only in the atmosphere of peace and tranquility that development can manifest. Necessary strategies and implementation thereof will be put in the place.
Let us have your plans for Owo town if you are selected as the next monarch of the town?
I intend to promotion peace and tranquility in Owo kingdom. I will pursue reconciliation among factions, build confidence and trust between and among perceived and real conflicting interests. The annual celebration of Igogo festival as the cultural festival and heritage of Owo will be further elevated from its current local status to higher recognition of the national and international significance. It will be further redefined to accommodate wider participation by all our chiefs and invited prominent traditional rulers in Yoruba land for unity, understanding and cooperation in socio-economic and cultural value. There will be quarterly meetings with all our traditional chiefs for obtaining input into our strategic plans and implementation. The arrow head of the structural-function integration will be led by senior Omoolowo to drive the process, in which all our king makers will jointly participate.
Which magic you will use to achieve these programmes?
I will be working with the support of the kingmakers, a register for documentation of all prominent citizens of Owo in Nigeria and the diaspora will be opened for the purpose of identifying the legitimate aspirations and projects development. The need for building a befitting new royal palace in Owo within the present location is imperative and extremely important. It shall be monument and legacy with the input of the state government and our people. A think-thank shall be anchored for the purpose to work out the modalities. The full cooperation and support of the state and local government will be sought at all times, while the support and the understanding of our people shall be guaranteed in mutual reciprocity. With these, the aspirations will be met.
What will be your strategy to bring other traditional rulers in the Owo suburbs into the mainstream?
It will be my onerous duty to endear the full cooperation of other traditional rulers in the suburb as partners in progress; This will be done through meetings with them quarterly in which the participation of Owo kingmakers shall be involved in structure and function. The aim is to bring us close for the promotion of cooperation and understanding.
What is your advice to the Omoolowos and the kingmakers on the selection of the selection process?
Our revered Kabiyesi Ojomoluda has spoken on this one and I am standing on the protocol of justice and fairness he has eloquently spoken about in a well published and documented press conference a few days or week ago as the run of and for royalty kicked off.
Are you ready to support any other prince that eventually emerges as the new Olowo if you loose out?
I would like to put on record that my full support for the candidate that may eventually emerge in the final decision is hereby guaranteed. However, this is with a view that the process is devoid of ambiguity, political shenanigans and impunity, characteristic of human tendencies and aberrations. The need to continue with the good name of Oghwa Elewookun family of which the good people of Owo have put there hope and cultural destiny must be protected and preserved at all times. My personal trust and confidence remain incontrovertible in the person and institution of Omolowo in this critical moment of our historical trajectory.