Prince Dr Oluokun Kasali Agunloye is a thorough-bred Oyo son. He is one of the Princes who have been chosen to vie for the highly exalted seat of the Alaafin of Oyo which is currently vacant as a result of the demise of the former Alaafin, HIM Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III.
This vastly educated son of the soil is a Ph.D. holder and a Senior Lecturer at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU Ile-Ife. He is one who believes in the unity of the Yoruba nation, the culture and tradition of Yorubaland as well as the day-to-day traditional running of Oyo land.
His belief is leadership by example and he has exemplified that in many of his endeavours in life. These and many more are the attributes that qualify him for the highly coveted seat.
In this exclusive interview with City People, Prince Agunloye reveals why he wants to be the next Alaafin of Oyo and how he intends to integrate the different parts of Oyo and Yorubaland and how he intends to transform the fortunes of Oyo and the Yoruba nation in general.
Below are excerpts from the interview, enjoy.
Tell us about your background
I am Prince Dr. Oluokun Kasali Agunloye and a descendant of Prince Tella Adeoti Agunloye who is one of twenty-nine (29) male children of Alaafin Adelu Agunloye. I am a thorough-bred Oyo Prince. I had my elementary education at Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Oke-Balogun, Oyo from 1975-1981. I attended Community Secondary School, Oke-Olola, Oyo from 1981 to 1985 and Oranyan Grammar School, Oyo from 1985 to 1986 for my post-primary education.
I proceeded to the University of Ibadan, Ibadan where I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics in 1998 and a Master of Science degree in Statistics in 2000. I also obtained a Doctorate degree in Statistics from the University of Botswana, Gaborone in 2014. I have previously taught Mathematics at the School of Science, Oyo, Wesley College of Science, Elekuro, Ibadan, defunct Oyo State Unity Secondary School, Igboora, and Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo. I am currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Mathematics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
What is your mission as a contender for the exalted stool of Alaafin of Oyo?
Oyo kingdom has a glorious history that we are proud of. My forebears ran Oyo Empire adjudged to be one of the most remarkable and vast Empires of West Africa for over 600 years, imprinting its culture, language and traditions across the Empire. This is unprecedented in the history of traditional institutions in Yorubaland and black Africa. My mission is to consolidate on the laudable achievements of the past Alaafins and extend the frontiers to higher ground in areas of fostering unity and cooperation in Yorubaland as well as facilitating the massive socio-economic transformation of the Oyo kingdom into a cosmopolitan city of destination. We need to come together under the banner of love and peaceful coexistence regardless of religion, creed or tribe. It is my desire to promote Yoruba culture in the global arena. An adage says charity begins at home, hence, if I become the next Alaafin, I will work assiduously and conscientiously towards promoting unity and cooperation in the Oyo kingdom as well as promoting peaceful coexistence with neighbouring towns surrounding Oyo for sustainable development. I will also extend the same hands of fellowship to all nooks and crannies of Yorubaland in particular and Nigeria at large. I am aware that there are many successful Oyo indigenes scattered all over the world who are doing very well in their various chosen careers.
We are going to mobilize our people via a forum to be called the Oyo Alaafin Economic Summit where different professionals will be brought together to brainstorm on the economic transformation of Oyo for the benefit of all. Many individuals have contributed to the growth and development of Oyo in the past. We need to acknowledge their contribution with a view to encouraging other indigenes to emulate this worthy contribution.
We shall introduce an annual reward system in Oyo to recognize and appreciate our past and current heroes and heroines who have contributed immensely to the growth and development of Oyo to engender a deep sense of patriotism and community service among our people.
Special attention shall be focused on community development projects wherein we shall be taking stock of what we have achieved in community service and development on annual basis. We shall introduce Oyo week to be celebrated annually and this will attract all Oyo sons and daughters all over the world for the purpose of community service and development.
Oyo is a renowned centre of Yoruba culture and tradition. The late Alaafin Oba Adeyemi III was very committed to the promotion of Yoruba culture and tradition. What plan do you have to build on his legacies when you become the next Alaafin?
Our culture is the totality of who we are as Yorubas. I am very much aware of the praiseworthy effort and contribution of the late Alaafin Oba Adeyemi III towards the promotion of Yoruba culture and tradition. I will build on that laudable achievement and also focus attention on Yoruba unity and cooperation.
What is your plan for the socio-economic transformation of Oyo when you become Alaafin?
Oyo is an ancient city that should have infrastructural facilities befitting her status. We shall focus our attention on the mobilization of our people to start small-scale businesses. By the grace of God, if I become the next Alaafin, I intend to implement a 5-point transformation agenda comprising an annual economic summit, the establishment of the industrial zone for both local and foreign investors, the establishment of the cultural village where drum-makers, Calabash Carvers, leather-workers, bead-sellers, etc will be brought together under a single market to display their wares for the economic prosperity of our people, resuscitation of Aso-Oke Market and creation of new markets to meet up with the need of Oyo and introduction of annual Oyo week that will bring together all Oyo sons and daughters all over the world as well as our well-wishers for the progress of our ancestral home. I am aware that we need to partner with several stakeholders that cut across both local and foreign investors for the massive socio-economic transformation of Oyo.
What is your plan for Oyomesi if you become the next Alaafin?
The role of Oyomesi in the administration of Oyo cannot be underestimated. They play a very important role in the day-to-day traditional administration of Oyo and I am aware of the enormous responsibilities of the Oyomesi as Alaafin’s cabinet. I will do my best to make adequate provisions for their welfare and well-being.
Nowadays it is observed that community development associations play a leading role in supporting the government effort toward socio-economic development and transformation of various towns and cities. If you become the next Alaafin, how do you intend to mobilize your people for massive community development projects?
Oyo people have a laudable history of supporting community development projects. Our people strongly believe in community service and collaboration for the benefit of all. There are many trade associations in Oyo that are actively contributing to the economy of Oyo. We shall create a platform to dialogue with these various associations both trade and community associations with a view to encouraging them to sustainable participation in community development projects. Attention shall also be given to the socio-economic development of various newly-created residential settlements in Oyo like Mogaji, Elegbo and other newly-created residential settlements along the new Oyo-Ogbomosho expressway such as Oke-Mogi, Temidire, Laniba, Akodudu, Alabanla, Lagbiyan, etc. in terms of provision of social amenities for the comfort of our people.
How do you intend to address the issue of security and youth empowerment in Oyo if you become the next Alaafin?
I strongly believe that provision of security for lives and properties is very essential for any meaningful development to take place in any community. To this end, I will partner with various government security agencies in securing our community. We are going to address the issue of youth empowerment seriously as a veritable security measure. An adage says an idle hand is a devil’s workshop. The issue of youth empowerment will be a top priority.
How do you intend to promote religious harmony and peaceful coexistence among adherents of various religions in Oyo if you become the next Alaafin?
Alaafin is the father to all adherents of various religions. We will continue to work assiduously and conscientiously toward promoting and strengthening religious harmony and peaceful coexistence in our community for sustainable growth and development of our community. We will organize regular meetings with the leadership of various religious groups with a view to fostering and strengthening understanding and peaceful coexistence among various religious groups in Oyo.
What is your contribution to the development of Oyo before now?
I am the type of person that believes in leadership by example and this explains why my family established two standard private schools in affectionate memory of our progenitor, His Imperial Majesty, Alaafin Adelu Agunloye. I am delighted to be the first person in the history of Oyo to have given such due recognition to our progenitor in Oyo by establishing two standard private schools in his name: Agunloye Memorial Nursery and Primary School, Oyo which was established in September 2002 and Agunloye College, Oyo which was established in September 2009. Many products of these two schools have completed their university education and they are doing well in their various chosen careers.