Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, will confer the Odole of Oodua title on business mogul, Sir Kessington Adebutu, later this month at his palace, Ile Oodua, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
The highly revered traditional title in the Oduduwa Dynasty was first occupied by the great Oranmiyan, then the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief G.O.K. Ajayi. Adebutu, the gaming magnate, shares his feelings on the title.
What is your understanding of the Odole Oodua title you are about to take?
The Odole Oodua is a special office in which the occupant is expected to work closely with the Ooni in rallying the descendants of Oduduwa wherever they are in the world for the unity, peace and progress of the race. From all indications, the position strengthens the crusade for a united Yoruba race.
With your preoccupation as a business magnate, are you prepared to assume the revered office?
As far as I am concerned, performing my new role will be a walk in the park. I do not allow my business empire to weigh me down. I created enabling environment in the business concerns so much that my children are stakeholders and everybody works hard as owners of the businesses and are reliable.
I rest, assured that I can settle down to be able to carry out the traditional mandate I would be saddled with as the Odole Oodua. Yes, indeed. I am prepared for the position.
Can you trace the background of the Odole Oodua title?
It is a highly revered chieftaincy title in Yorubaland. It was pioneered by the great Oranmiyan while he as a prince of Ile-Ife. Oranmiyan served as a rallying point and stabilising force among the powerful empires within the expansive Oduduwa territory before he became the Ooni of Ife. After his exploits, he established his royal dynasties in Benin and Oyo kingdoms, which are still in existence till date.
In the contemporary history of the Oodua people, the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who later held the title of Asiwaju Ile-Oodua, which is still left unfilled till date, was the first to be honoured with the title after Oranmiyan. The second holder of the title was the late Chief G.O.K. Ajayi (SAN) who was once the Arrtorney-General of the Western Region, while myself, Sir Adebutu, would be crowned the next Odole by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, at the Ile Oodua, Ile-Ife, on October 19.
What qualities did Oranmiyan, the pioneer holder of the title exhibit that you would want to apply as Odole Oodua?
Historically, the office has its roots in the remarkable roles played by Oranmiyan. He was a great ruler of the old Oyo. He was virile, bold, adventurous, circumspect and dutiful. It was his commitment to a united Oduduwa family that earned him a reference in the fragment of his panegyric: “akantunkansi oras’otuns’osi, akinn’ile akinl’ogun.” This means the great link to both sides – the brave both at home and at war. Even though both Benin and Oyo kingdoms were at some point most powerful domains within the expansive Oduduwa territory, Oranmiyan ensured that they never overran each other.
What is the real meaning of Odole Oodua?
Etymologically, Odole is derived from the expression “Odo Ile Oodua,” meaning the youth in the house of Oduduwa. It is a contraction of the expression adopted as a title to perpetuate the ideals of internal cohesion for which Oranmiyan stood in the Oodua family of the ancient days.
Why do you think the Odole title is still relevant to the socio-cultural and development of Ile-Ife?
The traditional title of the Odole of Ife has been retained as part of Ife’s social and political system and specially conferred on distinguished Oodua descendants who, in present times, can replicate the roles played by Oranmiyan.
With my emergence as Odole Oodua, the Yoruba race will witness new era of sociocultural development, unity and peace.
What attributes do you think earned you the consideration for the Odole position?
I think it is my very humble background and being a successful businessman of national and international repute as well as philanthropy, positive contributions to human development and promotion of our cultural values and traditions as descendants of Oduduwa.
What is your relationship with Yoruba monarchs?
Without sounding arrogant, I can say that most kabiyesis are my friends. They attend most of my occasions. Even before I was announced as the recipient of this sacred position, which had only been occupied by Oranmiyan, Awolowo and G.O.K. Ajayi, I have been taking proactive steps to ensure unity among the Yoruba monarchs. I never knew I was being watched by anybody.
In Lagos, I am the Asoju Oba, despite that I am not a Lagosian. That shows that if there were no good rapport between me and the monarchs I wouldn’t have been considered for that position. So, all these are signs that I have good rapport with the Yoruba monarchs.
What do you think is the way forward on the current myriads of challenging bedevilling the country, particularly insecurity, poverty, unemployment?
Politicians should play politics like a part time business. Until politics is made a part-time business, I don’t see how we can have peace in Nigeria. When I say part time business, I mean a situation where politicians would only be paid on sitting basis, in form of a sitting allowance. When politicians earn just their sitting allowance there would be nothing like do-or-die politics in Nigeria. Presently, politics in Nigeria is too expensive. I am speaking from experience and what I can see on ground.
I read in the newspapers that a governor in this country sacked 250 advisers. If only one governor could have that number of advisers, then how many advisers do we have in the whole country? How can a governor have 250 advisers? So, you can see that the present political system is too expensive. This is responsible for affluence, corruption, economic hardship and poverty and the problems facing the country.
What words do you have for youths who engage in get-rich-quick illicit practices?
They should not be lazy. They should be ready to work hard. Majority of them prefer looking for white-collar jobs, which are not easy to come by these days instead of being creative and innovative and become job creators.
The children of nowadays are not ready to crawl before they walk. Parents should always guide and advise their children on the need to desist from any act capable of tarnishing their image.
Would you accept any other chieftaincy title after the Odole Oodua title?
No. I may not accept any traditional title after this. The importance of the exalted Odole Oodua title is beyond taking another chieftaincy title in Yoruba land. Without mincing words, I know the importance of the new title.
Also, many kings know that I won’t take any other chieftaincy title after my coronation as Odole Oodua.