By Chris Onuoha
His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Michael Odunayo Ajayi, Arowotawaya II, the Elerinmo of Erinmo Ijesa in Osun State will celebrate another remarkable day in his life on Sunday March 27, 2022 being his birthday. Arowotawaya II through his sterling qualities as a cerebral first class Monarch has been in the eyes of discerning public that understand what modern and evolving kingship means to an emerging agrarian community like Erinmo land. His bonding with the current Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi attests to his reckoning as a monarch with a touch of class including his humanitarian deeds and efforts to bring a positive change to the life of his people and community.
As an astute career person and influential economic strategist, Elerinmo created changes in his palace administration that impact positively to his community such as Community social programmes, children Christmas party including making Erinmo land as a tourist delight through existing cultural festivals among other things. He is also a social critic on state and national issues that include economic policies of the government, education, security and traditional issues. Elerinmo has on several occasion through national publications in the mainstream newsprints lend his voice on how best to treat traditional rulers in Nigeria. He has on one occasion canvassed for traditional rulers to be included in governance as the kings are closer to the people than the others in government.
Oba Odunayo Ajayi became King as the Elerinmo of Erinmo about 8 peaceful years ago as his installment was in accordance with tradition being from the direct descendants of the 3rd and 5th Ooni of Ife, Obalufon Alayemore from an ancient historical town in Oriade Local Government Area of Osun state. Elerinmo mounted the throne of his forefathers after a sterling career in the organized private sector starting with the Unilever Group, Nigeria’s largest multi-national conglomerate, UAC of Nigeria Plc for about a decade and later with German Pharmaceutical giant, Nigeria German Chemicals Plc (Hoescht) as Head of Consumer Healthcare where he personally relaunched major popular pharma-household brands like Abidec; Benylin Cough Syrup; Novalgin; Parazone bleach among others.
He was seconded to Ghana to head the West African operations as Managing Director of AH Tradelink, a West African Pharmaceuticals distribution Company and later as the expatriate Executive Vice President of a US owned Pharmaceutical manufacturing giant – Phyto Riker exporting generic pharmaceutical products to over 20 African countries. When he left paid employment he set up a Management Consultancy firm and also importing and distributing for pan West Africa own branded medical devices. He later became the founding Director General of the Ghana – Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and industry and was the founding president of the Forum of Nigerian Professionals in Ghana.
An alumnus of Bishop Smith Memorial Primary School, Ilorin and Command Secondary School, Ipaja, Lagos, he has a first degree in Sociology with Accounting & Business Administration as minor obtained from the University of Ilorin in 1987 at the age of 20. He also obtained an MBA in Marketing with first class distinction from Lagos State University in 1998 and an Honorary PhD in Commerce in 2014. He is a member, board of Trustees of the Yoruba Oodua Union, a board of Trustees member of the Nigeria – US Trade Council and patron for several other notable socio- cultural, socio- economic and youth organisations.
Oba Odunayo Ajayi is well travelled locally and internationally to several countries of the world and is a multiple award winner from different sectors locally and internationally becoming the first Nigerian monarch to be a guest at the opening bell of the world acclaimed financial headquarters, the New York Stock Exchange in April 2017. A winner of numerous awards worldwide, Oba Arowotawaya II has written and published 5 books till date and was crowned king on Tuesday 29th of July 2014. His “Oba Arowotawaya Foundation” has offered full scholarships to brilliant but indigent students in his domain while the vocational school he introduced gives free training to equip hundreds of youths and women with practical skills for their empowerment.
The monarch through his humanitarian gestures has garnered several awards from far and near. And some of these awards include “Leadership Award of Integrity” as most outstanding royal personality by Youth Assembly of Nigeria in 2020; “Most Outstanding Philanthropic Monarch” of the year in the Southwest AKONI Yoruba leadership award by Yoruba Redemption Foundation (YOREF) 2019; “Award of Excellence” for youth empowerment and building of unity in Yoruba land by Yoruba odua Union 2019; “Patron of National Association of Polytechnic Students (nap)2019; “Award of Excellence” by Nigerian sociological and anthropological students association university of Ilorin 2017; “Special appreciation in recognition and appreciation of your commitment to the ideal of service above self dedication by Rotary Club of Ilesa Metropolitan 2018; “Community Excellence Award” in recognition of your accomplishments as a progressive King of Erinmo Ijesha people and for your commitment to unity across Nigeria and Africa by ameristrategy-USA; “Special tribute & proclamation from the Mayor City of Newark New Jersey April 13 2017; “Tribute & joint resolution from the Senate and general Assembly of the State of New Jersey 2016; “Golden Excellence Leadership Award” as the distinguished OBA in Yoruba land 2018/2019 by National Association of Odua Students; “Grand royal patron of radio, television, theatre and arts workers Union of Nigeria NTA, Ibadan February 18 2020; “Royal patron/ambassador of stop rape campaign in Nigeria 26 October 2021; “Merit award at the 70years anniversary in the apostolic primary school Ijebu Ijesha, July 8 2017; “Royal father of the year by Yoruba youth assembly February 12 2019; “Award of excellence in recognition and appreciation of your enviable leadership style and wonderful service to God and humanity by CAC Agbala Itura, 2 August 2015; “Award of Excellence by National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) Ghana chapter 23 July 2016; “Certificate of recognition by the Essex county board and chosen freeholders, USA. 2016; “Nigerian outstanding traditional ruler of the year by Nigerian outstanding leadership award platform/ hero magazine international 18 December 2021; “Iconic Royal father of the year by Africa youth leadership economic summit; “Special recognition awards by gova educare foundation 27 November. 2021; “Abadina council fellowship award as honorary member of the university community of university of Ibadan; “Award of merit as great philanthropic ‘Stand Out’ king in the year by oni achiever; “National outstanding leadership award as trail blazer by national association of polytechnic (naps) 10 August 2016; “Award into the Yoruba youth assembly hall of fame by Yoruba youth assembly (yya) 2018 and “Award as adult harvest royal father of Methodist church Nigeria on 29 November 2020.
Others are “Excellence award as life Royal father of unstoppable family parish cherubim and seraphim movement church 18 July 2021, “Award of excellence by Akure diocese (Anglican communion) 15 August 2015; “Award of pillar of the project bond of Rose Odika 32 years on stage July 10 2021 and “Fellowship of Institute of African Royalty, South Africa 30 January 2020.
The tireless monarch has continued to garner more accolades and goodwill messages from his associates, government officials, traditional rulers and from both corporate and private individuals as he marks his birthday with special thanksgiving service that will be conducted at the Eternal Sacred order of Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Erinmo District Headquarters, Erinmo, Ijjesa, Osun State.