Appeal judgement will unite Oro Kingdom - Oloro

Date: 2013-06-30

Oro is a famous community in Kwara State and one of the largest in Irepodun Local Government Area. The people of Oro are Yoruba of Igbomina extraction. They are peaceful, hospitable and enterprising. In an interview with our reporter, TAYO AYANDA, the Oloro of Oro Kingdom, Oba Abdulrafiu Olaniyi Ajiboye Oyelaran I, spoke on the history of Oro Kingdom,† the administration of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, the recent Court of Appeal judgement on the generic name of the constituent towns of the kingdom, the forthcoming local government election in the state and other sundry issues. Excerpts:†

Kabiyesi, please tell us about yourself† briefly?

I am Oba Abdulrafiu Olaniyi Ajiboye Oyelaran I, the Oloro of Oro Kingdom in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State. I ascended the throne of Oloro of Oro Kingdom in February 2002. Before then, as a prince, I was a businessman based in Lagos with bias in architectural draftsmanship, property development and real estate agency.

Would you like to give a brief history of Oro Kingdom

We indigenes of Oro Kingdom migrated from old Oyo Empire to our present location many centuries ago. It was during a chieftaincy dispute in Old Oyo that made our progenitor, Prince Olakanmi, who was aggrieved, to leave Oyo to found this town, Oro. It was 'Eje ka ro sibi' that later got modified to the word: Oro. Our father who established Oro was a native of Oyo, while his wife was from Abeokuta. 'Eje ka ro sibi' was an Egba language, which means 'let us sojourn here'.

The reason why we are now Oro Kingdom was that our forefather gave birth to nine children, who later extended to each town of the nine generic towns that constitute Oro Kingdom. These towns are: Afin Oro, Agbeola Oro, Iddo Oro, Ijomu Oro, Iludun Oro, Irebode Oro, Okeola Oro, Okerimi Oro and Otun Oro; with additional two towns that later joined us to make the constituent towns of Oro Kingdom 11. The additional two joined us because we allow them settle on Oro land. These children of our progenitor are the one called Mokin-Oro in each of the nine generic towns of Oro Kingdom. They were the descendants of Oloro. So, there is no town among the generic towns in Oro Kingdom that you will not find the descendants of Oloro.

Your Highness, how would you assess the administration of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed in terms of delivering dividends of democracy to people of Oro Kingdom?

We are very grateful to our governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed because God has made him succour for Oro people. Despite the fact that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not record much vote as expected in Oro, the government is still doing much for Oro Kingdom. His good works are glaring in Oro Kingdom. Things we want as a community, he has been doing it for us. This administration tarred our road from Okeola-Oro to Ijomu-Oro. The Oloro Palace Way has just been awarded and any moment from now, the contractor would commence work.

It is even the non-indigenes that had been adopted as part of us in Oro Kingdom that are causing major problem in term of politics. They are sabotaging our developmental efforts including our relationship with government. Governor Ahmed did not look at that, rather he keep doing his utmost best for my people. That is the kind of government we want. A government that is not discriminatory but focused on developing the human capital for the greater advantage of the state.

As the traditional head of Oro kingdom, what other things do you desire for your people and the major challenges you are facing?

The first thing that is so heavy on our heart is the issue of the upgrading of the Oloro stool from second class to first class. If you look at it critically, Oro Kingdom is due to have a first class Oba, there is nothing that is being used to rate a first class traditional ruler that we do not have.

We are appealing passionately to the present government to overlook the past error and position us well. We are in the development strive together; the direction we are in the state is where the whole Oro Kingdom is going.

Also, we want the government to assist our children with employment and political appointments. It's painful that in the whole Oro Kingdom we don't have a commissioner. It is only Special Adviser to the Governor that we have in the whole Oro Kingdom.

We want government to give us additional higher institutions such as campuses of university, college of nursing and polytechnic in Oro Kingdom.

We want the government-owned College of Education in my domain to be made more functional like before. The population that used to be in the college before was of a great advantage to the socio-economic life of my people but now the students population size is nothing to write home about. The town is empty because there are few students there. So, we are appealing to the state government to help us to restore all the academic activities back to the campus.

Recently, the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin gave a judgment in respect of Otun-Oro laying claim to the sole ownership of Oro. What do you have to say in respect of this?

We give thanks to God on this judgment. Although, I met the problem on ground when I ascended the throne, that the Otun-Oro, one of the towns that made up Oro Kingdom wanted to lay sole claim to the name Oro.

If you go to Ekiti, we have different Ekitis, Ado-Ekiti, Oye-Ekiti, and so on; we've never seen one of these Ekitis saying that she alone is Ekiti, others are not. So also are the Ijebus and even Isin very close to us here in Kwara State.

None did say that she is the only Isin. What Otun-Oro was saying then was that we were no more the children of the same father again that they are the only one. And it's a heritage that belongs to all.

We thank the Kwara State Government and the administration of Dr. Bukola Saraki, most especially, Hajia Nimota Ibrahim, who was the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs when the problem started. She mediated amongst us before the government came out with a gazette that no town should bear Oro as it's the generic name for all the Oros. The gazette said that every town should add a prefix to Oro as they were before.

We expected our people to accept the government decision in good faith rather they took the government and the community to a High Court at Omu-Aran, which ruled in their favour. So, we went on an appeal and the Appeal Court upturned the decision of the High Court which sat at Omu-Aran.

We are very happy with the Court of Appeal's pronouncement. So, I want to appeal to the people of Otun-Oro to have a change of heart and work for the unity of the Kingdom. It is until we work together as one big family that our fortune can come to us. Nothing should separate us, the judgment should unite us. In fact, it will solidify our bond.

What are your words of advice to the entire people of Oro Kingdom?

I want to call on the nine generic towns that made up Oro Kingdom to work for the development of the kingdom. Let us work together as one big family. We should not take ourselves as enemies. A town should not see itself as superior to the others. We should strive like our forefathers, who worked as one body to develop the town. They were able to build this palace. It is all the Oro Kingdom that built this palace and other first set of amenities that enabled Oro Kingdom had rapid development much earlier.

So, I am appealing to the people of Otun-Oro, even though we have obtained judgment in the Court of Appeal that all of us should return to our former names and continue to work for the progress and the development of the Oro kingdom. We should not spend money meant for the development of the town on litigation. So, let us be in unity and stop all court cases.

Your advice to President Goodluck Jonathan and the governors over the festering crisis in the Nigeria Governors' Forum.

The only thing I want to say is that President Jonathan and the Governors should not be thinking about themselves alone, but they should consider the people of this country and allow peace to reign amongst them. If there is no peace between the president and the governors, there cannot be any meaningful development in the country.

They should not allow selfish interest to overshadow the love for the country and the people they are governing. What should be utmost their heart is how to make a common citizen happy and feel a sense of belonging. What they are dragging between themselves is not what we have sent them. What we want them to do is to bring peace to us as a nation, things that will make our standard of living improve and bring about security of lives and properties.

All the states are not secured, bombing here and there; armed robbery and series of social devices. This alone should bring shame to their government that such things have never happened in this country before. They should join hands and put an end to insecurity, armed robbery and the many social vices in the country.

So, we are appealing to them that they should be patient with one another and stop the crisis and think on how a common man would enjoy the government and how peace would reign in the entire country.

With these problems, no investor would want to invest in Nigeria because nobody will want to invest in a country where crises are unending.

The local government election in the state is fast approaching, what is your advice to politicians and the electorate?

I pray that God will give us good people into such positions. Importantly, government should create an avenue whereby one can lodge complaints about the performances of those elected into the positions. People who wanted to make reports about their activities were not getting their ways to the appropriate places.

Again, thuggery should be discouraged. Thuggery is not profitable. Those they are fighting for are not people they should fight for. So, I advise all young ones not to engage in any act of violence. What they need is to support a candidate they have confidence in. The person they trust that when he comes to power, he will do the wish of the people.

And, more so, those elected should remember the people that brought them into power. They should do what will better their people's lives.

We should learn from other parts of the world where democracy is being practiced, every citizen would benefit from the government, most especially from all the essential things that man needs.

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