Itori, a community along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and headquarters of Ewekoro Local Government Area in Ogun State, came alive on Saturday, April 6.
It was the day several dignitaries literally invaded the community for the 15th coronation anniversary of the Olu of Itori, Oba AbdulFatai Akorede Akamo. Among the dignitaries were notable Yoruba royal fathers.
Oba Akamo was crowned king in February 2004 after a successful career in the travel business.
The coronation anniversary formally kicked off on March 29 with a press conference in the Oba’s palace. There were other events, including cultural gatherings, novelty football match, hosting of old students and others.
The first traditional ruler that arrived at the exquisite King’s Court venue of the event was the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi. He was later joined by the Alake of Egba, Oba Michael Adedotun Gbadebo, who is the consenting authority to the Olu of Itori. The Elegushi of Ikate, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, followed suit, while the Oonirisa, Oba Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi, arrived in the evening with fanfare that captured the attention of the whole hall.
Wife of the Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, was also in attendance, just as representatives of the Dangote Group were there. There were several other traditional rulers, journalists, Nollywood stars and musicians. Fuji star, Wasiu Ayinde K1, thrilled the guests. A popular female artiste, Saint Janet, also performed in another part of the palace.
An assistant editor with the Nigerian Tribune, Tunde Busari, was honored with a chieftaincy title at the event. It also featured presentation of honorary doctorate to the monarch by representatives of European-American University as well as the launching of Oba Akamo’s memoir, titled, Journey Through Time. It is a detailed account of Oba Akamo’s experiences before he wore the crown and his life in the palace till he hit his 15th year.
Wife of the Olu of Itori, Olori Barakat Faderera Akamo, said she was a fulfilled woman, having spent the past two months on the road in her efforts to have a befitting outing.
The week-long anniversary was finally rounded off at the All Saints Anglican Church 24 hours later when Oba Akamo led his chiefs for what was tagged a special thanksgiving. Oba Akamo was the cynosure of all eyes when the clergymen invited him to the podium. Though a Muslim, the traditional ruler sang and danced in the church, along with his chiefs.
“There is nothing left for me than giving praise to God for the modest success we recorded during the anniversary. Nobody should claim the credit for the success except God who made it possible. We prayed against any form of disruption, and the prayers were answered.
“The evidence is the rain we had as we were rounding off the thanksgiving service in the church. When the rain started, I smiled and gave thanks to God for holding the rain till after the whole event,” he said.
Many of the guests praised Oba Akamo for demonstrating sophistication and a high sense of organisation.
A guest, Mrs. Adenike Raji, said she never saw a traditional ruler personally supervising event planners a few hours to an occasion.
“I was a bit confused watching Kabiyesi as he monitored how things were being put in place before guests started to come into the hall. It showed him as a perfectionist,” she said.
Sharing Mrs. Raji’s view was a Lagos-based advertising agency manager, Alhaji Tolani Owolabi, who remarked that Oba Akamo had earned his respect for the quality of the event. “I have attended some similar functions but this one in Itori stands out in terms of the aesthetics, which was combined with royalty,” he said.