It is a foregone conclusion that Olugbo of Ugboland, Oba Fredrick Enitiolorunda Obateru Akinruntan is an inscrutable monarch. Until 2009 when he ascended the throne of his forefathers as the Olugbo, he has, indeed, lived as a king in his own class and an epitome of everything royalty. But with his ascension 11 years ago as the Olugbo, the kingdom —and by extension, the entire Ilaje Confederacy— has been on the roll leveraging on his extensive wealth, power and influence. As a businessman, Olugbo has had a bout of successes.
A renowned oil magnate and founder of Obat Oil, one of Nigeria’s largest and leading privately-held oil companies, Oba Akinruntan was once rated by influential Forbes magazine to be one of the five richest Africa monarchs and Nigeria’s richest —he’s worth over $300million while the next monarch rated second was said to have worth about $75million. He has acquired a great deal of success through his investments in industries such as oil and gas, maritime, hotels, construction, fishing and real estate. Unarguably, this self-made multi-billionaire monarch has brought prosperity, peace and a streak of success to the once sleepy kingdom. He has put the name of the oil-rich riverine community on the world map with a number of projects including his eye-popping multi-billion naira palace and a well-tarred road leading to the community —before he became monarch, people could only access Ugbo through boat from Igbokoda, but his intervention has changed that forever. Oba Akinruntan has not only used his wealth to change his community but his philanthropic gesture is second to none. For the foremost international businessman, nothing compares to his love for his people and he has made service to them his top priority. Interestingly, the highly connected monarch is not resting yet, as he is poised to do more.
And his subjects —who have benefited hugely from his continuous intervention programmes aimed at changing the face of the community— have been reciprocating with love and affection to him and the entire kingdom. They always look forward to a payback moment and that always comes during his annual coronation anniversary. Just last weekend —in fact for a whole week— the oil-rich community burst at the seams as the subjects celebrated the 11th coronation anniversary of their monarch. Spotlight gathered that few days to the celebration, the mood of the state was fouled by the gruesome assassination of a first class ruler, the Olufon of Ifon. This unfortunate killing of his colleague shook the Olugbo, who incidentally is the incumbent Chairman of the Council of Obas in Ondo State.
He had mooted the idea of suspending the celebration but there’s no way the entire event could have been cancelled because the whole preparation had taken months. However, the monarch elected to have a low key celebration. In spite of that, the fast-developing Ugbo kingdom still roared to life on Saturday November 29 as many subjects of the monarch home and abroad alongside other eminent personalities including Ondo State deputy governor-elect, Lucky Ayedatiwa; Ondo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr. Lola Fagbemi; scores of monarchs from many states across the country including Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Adewale Akanbi, stormed the expansive Olugbo Palace for the ceremony. During the week-long celebrations, the well-travelled Oba Akinruntan formally unveiled his various achievements to the world showcasing his various intervention programmes meant for the good of his people.
For so many years, the colourful Oba Akinruntan has lived as epitome of high-society life before he decided to mount the throne as Olugbo. Though royal duty has slowed him down a bit, nevertheless, he still flashes a flurry of flamboyance. The monarch owns an extensive portfolio of prime commercial and residential real estate in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, including the landmark Febson Hotels and Mall in the Central Business District of Abuja. Aside scores of vintage automobiles including a customised Rolls Royce similar to that of Queen Elizabeth II, parked in garages of his mansions in Lagos, Abuja and London, the stylish Oba Akinruntan also owns one of the most expensive yachts in the country.