• Says consensus candidate talk is rubbish
Prince Olanrewaju Ogunoye is one of the contenders for the stool of the Olowo of Owo. In this interview, Ogunoye speaks on why he wants to occupy the throne.
You rejected the position of the Ogunoye royal lineage on the presentation of a consensus candidate to the Senior Omolowos?
Yes, because you cannot choose for Owo. There has never been a time in the history of Owo that a single candidate was presented to the Senior Omolowos. In the last dispensation, five Ogunoyes were sent to the Senior Omolowos, the Ajikes sent two people while the Olagbegis sent theirs. 11 people contested for the throne. It is a lie that we have a consensus candidate from the Ogunoye family; we don’t have any agreement as to a consensus candidate among us. We are all vying for the stool of Olowo. The constitution says any prince from the Eleweokun Ruling House can apply to occupy the throne. We were 12 candidates from Ogunoye who showed interest. We told them to be fair but they went ahead and chose a particular candidate. Eventually, they raised a hand of one person which we all rejected.
But the elders in your royal family said they will present a consensus candidate to the Senior Omolowos.
There is one authority that has power over the selection of Olowo and it is the Senior Omolowos. There is no other authority that is allowed to do that. From the family side, we thought we could have an agreement in order to present a formidable candidate, but all the laid down rules and regulations from the family were not followed. They went without our knowledge to consult whoever they went to consult. We don’t want violence in Owo Kingdom, whatever decision comes from the Senior Omolowos will be binding on all of us and not from the family.
Are you on the same page with those who share the view that only the Ogunoye lineage should contest for the throne?
No. What the law says is that every prince from the Eleweokun Ruling House has the right to vie for the throne of Olowo. We are not going to relegate any other family. Every qualified prince should obtain the form. The Senior Omolowos will now decide who to pick among us. Although the feeling in the town is that it is the turn of Ogunoye, the law says all of us have right including Ajike and Olagbegi. It is the prerogative of the Senior Omolowos to concede to us.
Why are you interested in the throne of Olowo?
My eligibility to the throne of Olowo flows from being a direct descendant of the Ogwa Elewuokun family tree from which my lineage Ogunoye emanated. My interest in the Olowo is to promote the legitimate expectations, goodness and welfare of the vast majority of the good people of Owo Kingdom both within and in the Diaspora. In addition, the sustenance of the legacies of the Ogunoye family lineage in the critical area of development, the spirit of harnessing the full potentials and cooperation of Owo citizens is imperative. The necessity to build upon the present level of development for me is an article of faith and a patriotic desire to serve in an uncompromised manner.
Can we have an insight into your background?
I am Prince Olanrewaju Adelotan Ogunoye, born in 1947 to Prince Moses Adelotan Ogunoye and Madam Folake Ogunoye (nee Olutoge). I had my primary education at CAC Primary School, Igboroko, Owo, LA Modern School, Owo, before proceeding to Methodist High School, Owo. I had BSc in Food Science and Technology from Alabama A&M University, Huntsville Alabama and MBA in Accounting and Taxation from the University of North Texas, Denton Texas
With this background, do you think you have the qualities of an Olowo?
The revered and highly cherished throne of Olowo is a very serious responsibility. Aside from age and experience of life, I have the intellectual capacity to comprehend, analyze and conceptualize issues from different perspectives and arrive at a rational conclusion. It is about leveraging on my local and international exposure to navigate the basic and fundamental issues as they emerge, yet in full consciousness of the responsibility. It is all about people.
What differentiates you from other princes of the Elewuokun Ruling House?
I admit, with all sense of responsibility and humility as well as my pedigree, that I am well qualified and equipped for the task and the challenges ahead. I differ from others due to my innate ability to see the larger picture, the strive for excellence, absorptive capacity, respect for others, astounding simplicity, and conscious of the overwhelming desire to cooperate with people and discharge my duties within the context of our custom and traditional values at all times and circumstances.
How do you reconcile with other princes if you eventually emerge as the next Olowo?
It is all about making oneself the father of all. In the event of being given the opportunity to ascend the throne through the instrumentality of the proper authority of the kingmakers and the inconceivable grace and the love of the Almighty, the process of recommendation becomes inevitable. In the circumstances, the full involvement of our revered kingmakers, stakeholders, contestants, quarter chiefs as well as other prominent citizens will be harnessed to the fullest. It is only in the atmosphere of peace and tranquility that development can manifest. Necessary strategies and implementation thereof will be put in the place.
What are your plans for Owo if you eventually become the royal father?
l intend to promote peace and tranquility in Owo Kingdom. I will pursue reconciliation among factions, build confidence and trust among perceived and real conflicting interests. The annual celebration of Igogo as the cultural festival and heritage of Owo will be elevated from its current local status to give it national and international significance. It will be further redefined to accommodate wider participation by all our chiefs and prominent traditional rulers in Yoruba land for unity, understanding, and cooperation in socio-economic and cultural value. There will be quarterly meetings with all our traditional chiefs for their inputs into our strategic plans and implementation. The process will be led by a Senior Omolowo and all our kingmakers will participate.
How do you hope to implement these programmes?
l will work with the kingmakers while a register for documentation of all citizens of Owo in Nigeria and in the Diaspora will be opened for the purpose of identifying the legitimate aspirations. The building of a befitting palace in Owo is also important. A think-thank shall be put in place for the purpose of working out the modalities. The full cooperation and support of the state and local governments will be sought at all times, while the support and the understanding of our people shall be guaranteed in mutual reciprocity. With these, the aspirations will be met.
How do you intend to bring other traditional rulers in Owo suburbs into the mainstream because that has been a tall dream for years?
I will seek the full cooperation of the traditional rulers in Owo environs as partners in progress. This will be done through quarterly meetings and Owo kingmakers shall be fully involved.
What’s your advice to the Omolowos and the kingmakers on the selection process?
Kabiyesi Ojomoluda has spoken on this one and I am standing on the justice and fairness he has eloquently spoken about during a press conference.
Are you ready to support any other prince that may emerge as the next Olowo?
I would like to put on record that my full support for the candidate that may eventually emerge in the final decision is hereby guaranteed. However, this is with a view that the process is devoid of ambiguity, political shenanigans and impunity. The need to continue with the good name of the Ogwa Elewookun family on which the good people of Owo have put their hope and cultural destiny must be protected and preserved at all times. My trust and confidence remain incontrovertible in the institution of the Omolowo in this critical moment of our historical trajectory.