The Olufon of Ifon Orolu Kingdom in Osun State, Oba Almoroof Adekunle Magbagbeola, in this interview by OLUWOLE IGE, speaks about the historical facts behind his traditional stool, including taboos, infrastructural needs of his community, among other issues.
What are the historical facts behind the stool of Olufon of Ifon Orolu kingdom?
Historically, the Olufon of Ifon was an offshoot of Obatala dynasty. Obatala was a demigod, who took off from Ile-Ife, after being sent by the Almighty God to go and inspect the land. Then virtually all the parts of the world were full of water. The mission given to Obatala by God was that he should inspect the land to find out if the place could was habitable for human beings. When Obatala was coming, he came with all the powers that God gave him. Some people called him a chameleon and you cannot dispute that claim. All what he found while on his mission, he picked them. If you were putting on green attire, within the twinkle of an eye, Obatala would change his colour to green. If you had white, he would change his own colour to white too. He was a dynamic and powerful demigod.
Specifically, Olufon was the first child of Obatala and he was loved by all, but he did not abuse the privilege of being the first child of Obatala. Olufon, who was the first king in Ifon could not be carefree, so he was very cautious and he abstained from cursing any human being because if he did, that curse would be effective immediately. Before his mission to the world, he was saddled with the power of moulding human heads into shapes and whoever he wanted to give intelligence, beauty, and other distinct features, he did so at will. He was capable of giving any trait to anybody. Olufon founded Ifon kingdom.
When were you installed as Olufon of Ifon?
I became an Oba about 11 years ago because I have celebrated my tenth anniversary on the throne.
What were you involved in before you ascended the throne of your forefathers?
I worked with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for 25 years, without any blemish and I want to say that whoever is destined for greatness should be careful, just like everybody else in life. This is because when one makes a mistake, it is not every time that one would have the opportunity to make amends. That is why I usually pray for God’s guidance in everything that I do. I am not saying that I am perfect because I am human, but I am very appreciative of God’s guidance and mercies all the time for being with me in my movement and actions. I am eternally grateful for what God has done in my life and his divine protection over me and for my elevation to this level.
Can you share your experience on the struggle to become the Olufon of Ifon, bearing in mind the contest from other royal families in Ifon?
Obviously, you should expect that there would be competition from other heirs to the throne of Olufon. Any good vacancy would attract contest from interested people or individuals. The same thing goes for vacant stools of traditional institutions like the Olufon stool. Just like the present governorship seat in Osun, occupied by Mr Rauf Aregbesola. Now, many people are be interested in becoming the governor, but only one person would eventually become the governor after the electoral process among more than 30 other people currently vying for the seat.
How many ruling houses do you have in Ifon?
We have legitimately registered five ruling houses, but there are other two houses pushing to be included. With time, God will guide us on what to do about that. The five ruling houses are Morounfolu, Orisagoyebo, Odunolu, Oluyeri and Olumoyero, the ruling house that produced me.
- No peace for Nigeria until development reaches N/Delta ―Ijaws
Being a traditional ruler takes its toll on the individual. What are those things that you miss which peopled your life before you became a traditional ruler?
Before I became a traditional ruler, I could interact freely with my friends. For instance the current Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lasun Yussuff is my friend. Before, he would address me the way he wanted and I could equally do same. Before, he could call me by my first name by saying ‘Kunle, let’s go now.’ I could as well say ‘Lasun, let’s do this or that.’ But now, I have to respect him and he also has to reciprocate such respect or gesture. Similarly, before I became a traditional ruler, I could eat at any restaurant. Presently, there are traditional procedures expected of royalty.
Looking at the last 11 years, what are the social and economic developments that have come to Ifon?
We have witnessed socio-economic growth in Ifon since I assumed the throne. Very soon the construction project for the Nigeria Police Housing Scheme will commence in Ifon community. We have given about 500 hectares of land freely to the police to prosecute this housing scheme. We have also witnessed Peace in Ifon, which has been very helpful in enhancing the development of the town. I have been a peace advocate and this has assisted me in bringing about mutual understanding and harmony among my subjects, including other tribes that we have resident and working here. We are the custodians of the grassroots and we are making visible efforts to foster peace.
What are the infrastructural deficits in Ifon that need government’s attention?
We need good roads. Our roads are bad and we lack potable water. There are incessant robberies. We pray that God will definitely intervene in our case and our government should be assertive so that any person arrested for breaching the peace would be dealt with according to the dictates of law. There should be no sacred cow. The government should do all within its power to deal with whoever is found wanting. This has to do with the general insecurity in the country.
Is there any taboo in Ifon community or any taboo-related to your throne?
Anybody from the royal families in Ifon dare not drink palm wine. It caused havoc for our forefathers and that was what delayed the message sent to us by God, through Obatala. When he (Obatala) saw all the merrymaking and goodies on the way to carry out his assignment, it delayed him before his younger brother, Oduduwa, was later sent. Obatala and Oduduwa are kinsmen. In a nutshell, anybody from the royal families in Ifon dare not drink palm wine and he dare not wear any red cloth or attire. Olufon should be on white cloth all the time. The Olufon is expected to utilise white materials very well.
What is your charge to the indigenes of Ifon community regarding the development of this town?
I need their cooperation for the overall growth of Ifon community. As a traditional ruler, I cannot do it all alone. They should have a sense of belonging in the community and also demonstrate keen interest in contributing to the development of the town. I am like an errand Kabiyesi or what I may term chief servant of Ifon. I am the chief executive messenger of the town. I am imploring all the sons and daughters of Ifon both at home and in the disapora to make sure they come home so that we can salvage Ifon together. While appreciating the state governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola and government, including other major stakeholders for what they have done for our community, I want to plead that they should do more in terms of assisting our community, most especially in critical areas of our needs, which include the deplorable condition of roads that lead to Ifon from Osogbo, the state capital.
I observed that one could easily feel the atmosphere of peace in Ifon community. What is responsible for this?
We are practically committed to peace in Ifon and we don’t give room for anything or act that can disrupt the peace of our society. We don’t allow anyone to use our youths or our people as touts to come and cause confusion. We are always at alert to protect our territorial boundaries. All the chiefs that are being selected and installed have been instructed not to allow the disruption of their quarters in any form; hence peace must reign supreme in Ifon. And all other tribes that live in our community are always being encouraged to embrace peace. Besides, we don’t discriminate here. Hausas and Ibos are free to do whatever they like, provided such activities are within the ambit of the law. That is the secret behind the peace that is prevalent in Ifon kingdom.
What are your major challenges here?
You cannot rule out problems or challenges anywhere. But, we thank God that since I became the Olufon, there has not been major problems. But, many people come to me for assistance. Sometimes, they would come and say ‘Kabiyesi, why can’t you go and press for this?’ My resolve is that I have to continue to pray to God, just like when I was working before becoming an Oba, for his guidance, protection and peace. My forefathers have done their best and they were successful and I am equally praying to God so that my reign would also witness peace and sustainable development.
Then, our population has increased and this is because we have a vast landscape here. After Osogbo, the state capital and Ife, we have the highest population in Osun. We expect that by now, we should have a higher institution here and we expect other social amenities and other infrastructure that can promote good living in Ifon.
The post Why an Ifon prince must not taste palm wine —Oba Magbagbeola appeared first on Tribune.