From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Monday October 3, 2022, was another day of joy for members of the Lajumoke Family of Alekuso Area, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. It was the day their son, Damola Daniel Lajumoke, was installed as Mogaji of the family by the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Olalekan Balogun, Alli-Okunmade II.
Lajumoke is General Manager, Operations, The Sun Publishing Limited, publishers of Daily Sun, Saturday Sun, Sunday Sun, and Sporting Sun.
Lajumoke was installed Mogaji Lajumoke Family of Alekuso Area by the paramount ruler of Ibadanland, along with nine others.
The installation took place at the Ali-Iwo Palace of Olubadan in the presence of members of Olubadan-in-Council, that included Balogun of Ibadanland, Owolabi Olakulehin; Otun Balogun, Tajudeen Ajibola; the Osi Olubadan, Eddy Oyewole; Ashipa Balogun, Kola Adegbola; Ekerin Balogun, Dada Isioye; Ekerin Olubadan, Hamidu Ajibade; and Ekarun Olubadan, Adebayo Akande.
Mogaji, which stands for head of a large family, is the first step in the Olubadan Chieftaincy Matters. It is at the base of the two ruling lines – Otun (civil) and Balogun (military), that have been producing Olubadan on rotational basis.
On the Otun Line, there are 22 steps, while there are 23 steps on the Balogun Line. But death is the determinant of promotion in each of the two lines. Each time death creates one vacancy or two vacancies, one or two mogajis would move up to join either of the two lines, depending on where the vacancy exists or vacancies exist. As gathered, there are more than 1,000 mogajis presently in Ibadan.
According to scholars, the smallest political unit within Yoruba towns is the ‘idile’, which roughly corresponds to the nuclear family. This is followed by the ‘ebi’, the extended family. Each idile is headed by a ‘baálé’ The ebi is headed by a mogaji. In Ibadan, the mogaji is formally recognised as the head of an ebi, by the hierarchical power structure.
The mogaji is usually the eldest or most influential person in the ebi. A responsible baálé in Ibadan, as in any other part of Yorubaland, is one whose opinions and decisions are respected by those within his household. As the head of his household, he is also a mediator whose judgement in disputes among members of his family must be respected.
The installation of Lajumoke as Mogaji was also graced by dignitaries, including Commissioner for Information in Ogun State, Waheed Odusile; and the Maye Balogun of Ibadanland, Oloye Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli, who is the 2023 Oyo South senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC); and younger brother of Olubadan, Senator Kola Balogun, representing Oyo South senatorial district in the National Assembly.
During the installation, Oba Balogun, who spoke through the Balogun of Ibadanland, Owolabi Olakulehin, warned Lajumoke and the other nine Mogajis against land grabbing and other vices capable of tarnishing the image of the Ibadan traditional institution.
Mogaji Lajumoke and his wife, Fadekemi, as well as his friends, were received at the popular Bere at the heart of Ibadan, from where he danced amid traditional entertainment of talking drums and other smaller drums to Chief S.O. Lajumoke Compound, Alekuso, which is between Beere and Ayeye in Ibadan.
Lajumoke, after the installation spoke with journalists. He said: “I am very happy about it. It’s long overdue. But I believe that God’s time is the best. It is what we have been looking forward to do. We thank God that it has come to reality. To God be all the glory.
“I know that the tasks ahead are enormous. I believe that God will help me to shoulder the responsibilities. I will discharge my duties appropriately. The progress of Ibadanland is very dear to my heart. I will join the traditional institution in Ibadan for the growth and development of Ibadan.”
He expressed gratitude to the Lajumoke Family of Alekuso and the Olubadan, as well as the Olubadan-in-Council form counting him worthy of the honour. He pledged not to disappoint them.
Wife of the new Mogaji, Mrs. Fadekemi Lajumoke, promised to be a strong pillar of support to her husband in the onerous task of advancing the cause of the large family and Ibadanland.
Commissioner for Information in Ogun State, Waheed Odusile, also said: “First and foremost, I must express my happiness and joy that my friend, Damola Lajumoke, is now the Mogaji of Lajumoke Family in Alekuso, Ibadan. It is a mark of honour and recognition.
“I am not surprised because since we have been friends for three to four decades, I have known him to be a leader, trustworthy, hardworking, fair-minded and generous as well. He likes to take care of the interest of everybody with him. I am sure that those are parts of the qualities the family saw in him before nominating him as the Mogaji of the family. His nomination was ratified by the Olubadan-in-Council.
“Now that he is the head of his large family, not only his nuclear family alone, I will advise him to continue in that spirit. What they saw in him that made them to pick him among all the sons of Lajumoke family to be the Mogaji, he should continue in similar manner, and improve on it. Today, he is Mogaji and I pray that God will preserve his life and by one day, he will become the Olubadan of Ibadanland.”
In his address, Olubadan charged all the mogajis in Ibadanland to ensure that every form of violence that might be occasioned by electioneering campaigns were prevented at all cost by being vigilant and proactive. He urged them to be conscious of the responsibilities being placed on them by their new traditional callings, noting that they remain his eyes and ears in their respective family compounds.
Oba Balogun asked that they should not let him be in the dark of whatever goes on around them, stressing that “our forebears that instituted the idea did not make mistake. It was done in realisation of the age-long wise saying that a king’s ears in every nook and cranny means availability of people to give the king information (eti Oba nile, eti Oba loko, eniyan lo n je be e).
“You owe it a duty to be responsive and responsible, especially in the area of security. Another general election is around the corner and the tendency for thuggery and violence cannot be ruled out and that’s why you must be proactive and ensure that the youths in your respective compounds are properly guarded and guided,” he stated.
Olubadan further charged the newly installed Mogajis not to engage in land speculation, asking that the idea of revoking already sold lands by their forebears should not be given a thought in any way.
“Don’t go back to the family lands previously sold genuinely by your fathers, grand-fathers and great-grandfathers because such idea is the harbinger of crisis and whatever is capable of igniting crisis should be avoided.”
The other Mogajis also installed by Olubadan same day with Lajumoke, are Ismail Olagunju of Akinsola Family, Gbenla; Adewale Salami of Mejidande Salami Family of Agodi; Ishola Adeyinka of Agbenjonku Family; Fatai Adeniyi of Lamolo; Oladiti Ojo of Ojo Fagbemigun Family, Inalende; Olalere Oladeji of Akintayo Family of Idi-Igba; Oreoluwa Akinbiyi of Akinbiyi Family of Elekuro; Saheed Abiola of Igbaro Ola of Family of Isale-Alfa; and Samuel Akanbi of Ile-Epo, Gbenla